When a big change is a long time coming, it can be downright startling how quickly the final stages fall into place. However, in the tech industry, there are plenty of examples of exactly this phenomenon. The world was eminently ready for a highly functional smartphone like the iPhone and old stalwarts like BlackBerry paid the price. The social world's turn away from MySpace was similarly quick and emphatic. And now, it appears HTML5 Web and app design is here to execute the same kind of switch. While Flash has been the standard for years, it can no longer offer the type of experience developers and users are after.
A trickle becomes a flood
ReadWrite recently predicted that the time has come for HTML5, indicating that the end of Flash on YouTube is a sure sign. This event has been covered before in this space and is a huge landmark. As the source noted, the relationship between Flash and YouTube goes back 10 years, to an age when the Internet was a vastly different place. ReadWrite explained that such a big shift away from Flash is a recent change, one that has happened in fewer than five years. The source gave a rough timeline - in 2010, Adobe made the claim that three-fourths of online video was Flash-powered. At the same time, HTML5 support appeared on YouTube as a test feature.
While the recent development of HTML5 has been in the PC space, ReadWrite points to mobile as the culprit that turned things against Flash in the first place. Specifically, Steve Jobs deciding to keep Flash support out of the iPhone was the turning point. In an era when Apple ruled the smartphone space, attempting to work in a medium that was not relevant on that company's devices began to seem like a losing proposition. Since one of HTML5's major selling points is its ability to combine mobile and PC application development into one process, it was perhaps inevitable that it would step up in the desktop space.
ReadWrite pointed out that HTML5 is becoming a video medium of choice beyond the PC, smartphone and even tablet spaces. Now, TV streaming is seeing attention and HTML5 compatibility may be one of the keys to this space. The news source noted that the "write once and distribute everywhere" mindset has made inroads with app designers who imagine their creations being used on TV screens instead of just more traditional computing devices. HTML5 conversion can help across a huge variety of popular platforms.
The tipping point explained
InfoWorld recently published remarks by IDC's Al Hilwa explaining what may come next as the software development industry reacts to YouTube's big move. He stated, for instance, that other content providers base their movements on YouTube, so seeing the site become comfortable with HTML5 video could set off a chain reaction of similar adaptation. He pointed to the battle to become the default Web browser for the masses as a likely catalyst in the process that led to the switch. Now, several browser options are sufficiently advanced to make HTML5 work for a site as popular as YouTube.