HTML5 and Flash | Skyfire app combines them on iPhone


iPhone developers can now use Flash through the Skyfire app, which translates it to HTML5. Image: Flickr / ivyfield / CC-BY

There has been a longstanding debate between Apple and Adobe over the Flash media platform. The iPhone does not support Flash, and MacBook Air computers will not ship with pre-installed Flash. An app called Skyfire, however, is attempting to bridge this gap.

Apple’s argument with Flash

The Flash-Apple debate has been raging since the first version of the iPhone was released. Apple has lately stated that it much prefers that HTML5 become the standard for media transmission over the web. Apple says Flash simply takes too much processing and battery power to be “realistic” on mobile devices.

Skyfire translates Flash to HTML5

The Skyfire app has just been approved for the Apple App store. This application takes any Flash program or video, sends it to offsite servers, translates it to HTML5, and sends it back to the phone. Much like alternative phone browsers, Skyfire does more to put processing requirements in the cloud and less on the phone. This is the first Flash-related app that Apple has approved, and it will improve the functionality of smartphones.

Flash versus HTML5

Flash and HTML5 are essentially two different codes designed to do the same thing. Both are used to show media and create interactivity on the web. Opera, Mozilla and Google have all thrown their support behind HTML5 as the standard for interactivity. Flash, however, is still used most often on the web by big players like Hulu, which streams television shows. In the end, though, Flash and HTML5 are two slightly different applications that have different uses. Flash pushes the edges of gaming and functionality on the web, while HTML5 uses a combination of Java and markup language to create general-use programs. In short, both HTML5 and Flash are going to continue to have a place on the web. Skyfire just brings it to more handheld devices.

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