Occupy movements are clearly the trend du jour in the world of protests right now. So much so that a bunch of web and mobile developers have settled on the name “Occupy Flash” for their movement to rid the world of the ubiquitous plugin. They are calling on both ordinary users and developers to boycott Flash. They feel this is the only way of expediting the web’s impending transition to modern open standards.
When you’re getting ready for the big dance, you slip into something nice, clean and pretty to try and put your best foot forward for the crowd. Two major sites did that today. Facebook doffed the equivalent of a new pair of shoes in anticipation of tomorrow’s F8 conference, drastically changing users’ News Feeds while keeping the rest of the layout the same. Pandora took the opposite route; they overhauled their ensemble from the ground up in a quest to impress. Unfortunately, one of them dashed its prom queen hopes after getting a big FAIL from unhappy users.
On the one hand, Adobe's platform has caused us a lot of grief--keeping it installed and updated is a pain, and even then the sheer number of security holes caused by flash is cringeworthy. It can be a system hog, too, and don't even get us started about how Flash single-handedly set UI design back 5 years.
But still, where would we be without Flash for free, addictive web games? There would be no Desktop TD, no Line Rider, and no Crush the Castle (and therefore no Angry Birds). So how can we waste our time with online games without having to deal with Flash? HTML5, that's how.
If you think there aren't any fun HTML5 games released yet, think again--we've prepared a gallery with links to 20 games you can play for free right now in any modern browser. Read on for more!
Google's Chrome Frame plug-in for Internet Explorer (6,7 and 8) has stepped out of beta after having undergone months of fine-tuning, the company announced Friday. Primarily meant to provide additional features, speed and stability on legacy browsers, the plug-in literally turns Internet Explorer into Google Chrome. It entered beta in June with the development team focusing its efforts on improving speed and stability.
“A stable release is just the beginning for Google Chrome Frame. We’ve set aggressive goals for future releases: we’re working on making start-up speed even faster and removing the current requirement for administrator rights to install the plug-in. Expect more improvements and features in the near future, as we plan to release on the same schedule as Google Chrome,” the company said in a blog post.
However, Microsoft is not looking forward to future Chrome Frame releases, as it believes the plug-in “has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts.”
The recent announcement of the iPad, and revelation that it would not support Adobe Flash, revived debate on the plug-in’s future. If you take Steve Jobs’ word for it, Flash is a CPU hog now and always. Video encoding expert Jan Ozer decided to look into it himself, and the results may surprise you.
On both Mac and Windows platforms, Ozer tested Safari, Chrome, and Firefox (additionally IE was tested on Windows). Safari on the Mac showed HTML5 besting Flash by a wide margin with only 12.39% CPU utilization versus 37.41% for Flash 10.0 and 32.07% for 10.1. Chrome saw HTML5 and both version of Flash with almost 50% CPU usage. Firefox doesn’t support the HTML5 encoding used, but Flash results were similar to Safari.
On Windows, it’s a different story. Safari’s CPU utilization on Flash 10.0 was 23.22%, but 10.1 showed only 7.43% used. Chrome was the only Windows browser that both Flash and HTML5 could be tested in. On Google’s browser, HTML5 used a sizable 25.66% of the CPU. Flash 10.0 was up at 22.00%, but 10.1 used only 6%. Firefox and IE showed similar huge gains from the 10.1 version of Adobe Flash.
Clearly, the GPU acceleration on Windows makes a huge difference and means Flash is more efficient than HTML5 most of the time. The Mac, however, does not expose the necessary APIs for Adobe to do GPU acceleration. Adobe has said the "the ball is in Apple's court". So Apple does not allow Flash to run efficiently on OSX by denying the plug-in access to the graphics hardware? Given these Windows test results, we think that’s kind of unacceptable. Where do you come down in the streaming standards battle?
Make sure you check out Jan Ozer's full rundown here.
The first part of a typical Apple product launch is out of the way now. During the second leg, skeptics will grudgingly make one final attempt at understanding the device just as fanboys get better at pretending that they know pretty much everything they need to know. Both sides can now also factor in the newfangled prospect of making VoIP calls over the iPad's 3G connection when making their case.
Apple today updated the iPhone developer SDK to accommodate VoIP apps. The move was accompanied by the launch of iCall, the first and only VoIP app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement leaves us with one question, though. Will the iPad support VoIP apps out of the box? There is little reason why it shouldn't.
Apple's ban on VoIP functionality riled many feathers while it lasted. The company's refusal to allow Google Voice to run natively on the iPhone wrecked its relationship with Google, which eventually launched a browser-based HTML 5 app to circumvent the ban. Ironically, VoIP functionality comes to the iPhone barely 24 hours after the launch of the web-based Google Voice app.
It is not clear how this fresh development impacts the hitherto unapproved Google Voice app, which Google claims is not a VoIP app. It uses the carrier's voice network to make phone calls and not the internet connection.
With no end in sight for Apple's ridiculously long review of the Google Voice app for the iPhone, the search engine heavyweight decided to single-handedly break the deadlock. A web-based Google Voice app for the iPhone and Palm's Web OS platform is Google's repartee to Apple's delaying tactics. The HTML 5 app can be accessed from the phone's browser. This being an HTML 5 app, it is more advanced than the existing browser-based version for mobile phones.
The two companies have been on the warpath ever since last July, when Google claimed that Apple had refused to admit its Google Voice app to the App Store. Although Apple had categorically denied rejecting the app back then, Google Voice is yet to earn its approval.
“You can make calls from your phone that show your Google Voice number as the caller ID. You can also listen to voicemail and read voicemail transcripts, send and receive text messages for free, and take advantage of the low international call rates offered by Google Voice,” Google announced on the official Google Mobile blog.
Google's Gears may not be long for this world. According to an article in the LA Times, Google is ready to let go of its Gears utility, which, once installed, allows for offline caching of emails, drag and drop file uploading, and the such. The reason? Much of the same functionality is starting to show up in HTML 5.
Gears is still in use, but according to the report, Google will bid its technology adieu as it prepares for the first beta version of Chrome for the Mac.
"We are excited that much of the technology in Gears, including offline support and geolocation APIs, are being incorporated into the HTML 5 spec as an open standard supported across browsers, and see that as the logical next step for developers looking to include these features in their websites," a Google spokesman told the LA Times in an email.
Worried that HTML 5 isn't yet ready for prime time? Don't be. While Google will give Gears the boot, it won't happen overnight. In a followup email, the same Google spokesman said that the search giant will continue "to support Gears so that nothing breaks for sites that use it. But we expect developers to use HTML 5 for these features moving forward."
Adobe this week anounced two open-source initiatives designed to help media companies and publishers build better Flash applications.
The first is the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF), which paves the way for more sophisticated media players to run Adobe Flash content. Formerly known as Strobe, the OSMF offers advanced playback and navigation controls, as well as plug-ins for advertising and tracking. It can also work with any kind of Flash content.
The other open-source project is the Text Layout Framework (TLF), which will help developers add advanced typography and font layouts to their Flash applications. When combined with the new text engine in Flash Player 10, TLF makes possible vertical and bidirectional text, flowing text around images, and multiple language support.
As Microsoft's Silverlight continues to gain traction and HTML 5 adding another dimension to the Web 2.0 war, don't be surprised to see an even bigger push from Adobe in expanding upon Flash's capabilities.
Much has been made recently over HTML 5, the next major revision of the web's core language and what some refer to as the second coming of the web. But will HTML 5 be the the death knell for rich Internet application (RIA) technologies like Adobe's Flash? Not happening, says Adobe.
"I think the challenge for HTML 5 will continue to be how do you get a consistent display of HTML 5 across browsers. And when you think about when the rollout plans that are currently being talked about, they feel like it might be a decade before HTML 5 sees standardization across the number of browsers that are going to be out there," Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said during a quarterly financial call.
Not only does Adobe feel HTML 5 is a decade away from having any kind of real impact, but Adobe says HTML 5 will benefit Flash, just as "Silverlight's launch helped to boost the popularity of Flash." According to Adobe, the recent publicity surrounding HTML 5 brings RIA technologies to the forefront of everyone's mind, putting Adobe's Flash in a position to "deliver on those heightened expectations."