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Adobe looking beyond Flash.

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Adobe has launched a new tool called Adobe Edge, which is made to design animated Web content using standards like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. No Flash. Although it's made to coexist with Adobe Flash, this software is an obvious step away from Flash as Adobe sees the writing on the wall.

Flash's days are numbered as more and more standards and some of the bigger names in the industry make it obvious that they are moving on. Apple famously does not support Flash on any of its portable electronics (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and even Google, which is heavily vested in Flash via its YouTube video sharing service, is working on changes that will move on to HTML5.

Adobe is a big part of the Web's backbone in terms of software infrastructure. While server technology, the latest gadgets, and other things take the front page most of the time, the backdrop to the Web's design and usability is almost entirely painted by Adobe.

The company is responsible for the most-used developer, graphics, and video building tools online. When you say a picture was 'Photoshopped,' you're referring to Adobe's graphics manipulation software, Photoshop. That's just one of many things that Adobe makes that professionals online use to make things happen when you surf the Web.

=== Flash was no flash in the pan.

When Adobe introduced Flash almost a decade and a half ago, the Web was still a quiet place with relatively few users and a lot of experimentation. Flash was the first widely-accepted video technology for the Internet, replacing horrid animated GIF files that blinked and cavorted on badly-designed websites the world over.

Flash added the ability to not only control video output, but to build video animations that were slick, didn't require a lot of bandwidth, and were scalable to the presentation's needs. Eventually, this built into Flash-based animations that went beyond just moving graphics and turned into full-on games and applications in their own right.

Facebook wouldn't be Facebook without Farmville and Mobsters. Right? Those are both Flash-based games.

=== The move to HTML5 was inexorable.

Of course, things that last as long as Flash has are akin to very basic Internet-based services, like email or chat. But even those, eventually, begin to see their days numbered. Flash is a great tool and will be a long time dying out, but new standards are better in many ways - not the least of which being that they're more open and integrated.

HTML5 is literally a standard upon which the browsers we view the Internet with are based. Until now, Flash support has been 'standard' in Web browsers by choice - if the browser's maker didn't support Flash, most users would not be interested in the browser for long. This, however, didn't mean that support was standardized. Some browsers view Flash applications better than others, it seems.

For now, both technologies are being used and Flash still reigns supreme in Web browsing. But that won't be for long and it's expected that once major video and animation sites like YouTube have ported to HTML5, Flash's use and influence will quickly dwindle.

And that's not a bad thing.


** Source: James Burchill @