Flash vs. HTML in Website Design

Flash vs. HTML in Website Design: The Age-old Debate is Over

Flash has been used since the early days of the internet, playing an integral role in the creation of websites and similar web-based applications. In fact, flash was originally used to create animations, graphics, and websites through the Flash Player.

People familiar with flash will remember seeing animation-based websites that look like this:

Gabacorp Flash Website

Or, like this:

Clear Flash Website

Developers loved to use flash, mainly because it was easy to integrate various assets to help people interact with websites. A majority of videos and web-based games used Flash early on, and even YouTube relied on Flash exclusively until the advent of hyper text markup language (HTML5).

Flash used to control 28.5% of the market until its browser support ended in 2020. Although many developers have already switched from flash, some still are using it instead of HTML.

So, is Flash better in creating websites or is it true in HTML being its superior successor?

Keep reading below to find out.

What is Flash?

Flash is a type of multimedia software developed by Adobe, the online software company in 1996. The software has been used for decades for games, mobile apps, desktop apps, animations, and websites.

In the past, website developers used flash to create and showcase text and graphics and play games on websites. Video game websites and YouTube relied on flash to provide users with the same viewing experience across multiple platforms.

Flash was predominately used in website development projects to make websites appear more like an animation rather than a theme most people are now used to. Below is a prehistoric website created using flash:

Prehistoric Website Using Flash

And, here is what a modern website looks like with HTML5:

Discord Website using HTML5

As you can see, there is a clear difference in websites created by flash and HTML5.

The Downfall of Flash

In 2010, Steve Jobs published a report expressing his belief that HTML5 would win the battle over flash. He wrote this report as more and more developers migrated from flash to HTML5.

As the then-CEO of Apple and a technology pioneer, Jobs’ comments carried a lot of weight and led the impetus of HTML5 becoming the go-to resource for website developers across the world.

In particular, here are the disadvantages that Jobs pointed out in his report:

  • Flash wasn’t secure or reliable for developers and users. The software was one of the largest reasons why Mac computers were crashing and put users at risk.
  • Due to the strenuous effort of loading flash, laptop and mobile device batteries were abnormally draining at high paces.
  • Jobs noted that flash wasn’t synonymous with touch interaction. To put it simply, the software wasn’t ideal for smartphones with new touch screens.
  • Adobe published flash and held a monopoly over it. HTML was open standard and its growth wasn’t controlled by any one company.

Jobs posited that Adobe flash wasn’t adapted to meet the future standards of technology. To put it simply, flash wasn’t mobile-friendly, which put a damper on the search engine optimization (SEO) efforts of website owners.

It also drained batteries quickly and made it nearly impossible for developers to continue using it. As such, Flash continued on a downward trend until HTML5 became the standard moving forward.

What are the Benefits of Using HTML5?

In 2008, HTML5 was released by the World Wide Web Consortium. In 2014, a major update in the software resulted in HTML5 being used the way it is now. HTML5 is basically a code that allows images to appear on a website.

It can also be used to modify the format of fonts, text, images, and so much more. With HTML5, developers have begun capable of reaching new heights in how websites are created.

HTML5 has addressed many of the issues of flash, which include:

  • HTML5 can be used on virtually any website because it’s entirely mobile-friendly. This is a mandate for SEO, which is important for ranking websites on search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Software developers can easily create complicated graphics, animations, effects, as well as detailed web pages.
  • Users can take advantage of HTML5 without worrying about their batteries draining rapidly.
  • HTML5 can be used on iOS and Android devices, unlike flash.

HTML5 has so many improvements that there are hardly any reasons to continue using flash. Because of this, browsers have leaned toward supporting HTML5 over the years. Below are additional reasons why you should consider a switch to HTML5:

HTML Provides Much Cleaner Code:

Experienced programmers require clean and organized code to ultimately save time and money in developing websites. Clean code, in particular, makes it very convenient for multiple collaborators to work on the same project, make simple changes, and eliminate glitches and bugs.

HTML Provides Better Forms

With HTML5, developers can easily create dynamic and complex forms. With these forms, users can access more complicated forms and perform deeper searches in web browsers.

HTML Loads Much Faster than Flash

Developers and users can both appreciate fast-loading websites. Since HTML uses an offline application cache, which allows the pages to load even without an internet connection. This reduces the load time burdens placed on servers and improves page load time.

In 2011, Adobe ended the development of flash, which signified the end of an era for old-school developers and a referendum to switch to HTML5 instead. At the start of 2021, flash will reach its end-of-support date.

Because of this, it’s no longer beneficial to use flash anymore for website development projects. The lack of support and superiority of flash will just make a website slower, take more time to develop, and result in security issues that can affect users.

Which is Better: Flash vs HTML?

Overall, HTML is a much superior resource than flash. During its heyday, flash was ubiquitous throughout the internet. Now that mobile devices are widely used to surf the internet, HTML is the better option.

If you want to develop a website using HTML, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today to learn more about how we can develop a new website for you.

Ryan Nead