Flash May Not Be Dead, But It's Not Feeling Well
A Wall Street Journal article this week suggested that Adobe may be finally ready to give up on Flash as a centerpiece of its software strategy. We already know that Adobe gave up on Mobile Flash last Fall. in favor of HTML5.
Adobe has to decided to focus on marketing teams using its strengths around Adobe Day CQ5 web content management software and Omniture analytics tools. So what does that mean for all the Flash and Flex developers out there? Is Flash dead or just not feeling very well -- and how long does it really have?
It's worth noting that when Adobe released Creative Suite 6 this week, it included updated versions of Flash Builder and Flash Professional, but even so, you have to be wondering how your company should be handling its strategy around Flash when Adobe's giving signals that it's not the darling of the company it once was.
Glenn Gruber, AVP of mobile solutions at Ness, says it really depends on your audience. If your site analytics show you still have a lot of web traffic, you should be OK using Flash for the time being on your web site, but you need to be paying close attention to how your audience accesses your content.
"You should be tracking site statistics by device type to give you a clue if you’re not doing this already. You’re thinking is a lot different if your user base is 90% desktop web than 90% mobile. And you have to know which direction that trend is going -- and be ahead of it, " Gruber said.
As for Mobile Flash, that's clearly dead and Gruber says you should just accept it and move on. "But on mobile, Flash is really a non-starter. It’s not just on iOS devices. Back in November Adobe announced that it stopped development of Mobile Flash. So Flash is persona-non-grata on Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry too," Gruber said.
Gruber suggests having auto-redirects for mobile devices to steer users away from Flash content if you are using it on the company web site. "You must auto-sense and do redirects for mobile devices so that you provide a proper experience to users," he said.
He adds, "It’s not just Flash or no Flash, but that the site is designed for a touch experience and page weight is reduced dramatically to compensate for lower bandwidth on mobile and users aren’t waiting for the page to load. This is particularly important for companies who want to transact over the web (make a reservation, book a flight, buy a book). Delays in page load time are bad for conversion."
As for Flex, it's clear Adobe has completely abandoned it, leaving it to the open source community at the end of last year.
While Flash still lives at Adobe, it's clearly been relegated in importance and as that happens, you may want to carefully consider your Flash strategy moving forward. As Gruber said, "So if it’s not time to de-Flash your site, it’s at least time to re-evaluate it." You would be foolish not to be paying attention.
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