I’m no expert, but I thought that Steve Jobs’ recent declared desire to kill off Flash (and thus Flash animation) had a certain point to it, this time around. Even as a long-time Windows groupie, I though… yes. Flash is annoying enough for me to have an always-on Flash-blocker in my browser. It can be a security and privacy risk. There are better video codecs now than the one Adobe licensed from Sorenson years ago, and YouTube is already working with HTML5.
Sure there are a few excellent interactive storytelling games and interesting experiments in Flash. But they sit atop a 99.99% pile of undemanding and fleeting dross — made by underpaid teen animators skinning canned templates to target puzzle-moms, gambling addicts, bored toddlers, and unwilling audiences for animated porno adverts.
Then I thought about Jobs’ vague claim to want HTML5 because of open standards for creativity etc — but I dismissed that in about three seconds. Apple is one of the most closed-product control-freak companies I can think of. Jobs detests “open” and sees it as a threat, and especially so if it’s underwritten by companies like Google. Then it hit me. Is Jobs still bearing grudges against Microsoft, and thus bitterly resenting Adobe’s focus on Windows? If so then I’m guessing his real twisted hope may be that HTML5 will kill off Microsoft’s Flash-killer Silverlight, at the same time as killing off Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR. HTML5 would thus simultaneously whack Microsoft and seriously weaken Adobe’s finances — maybe enough that in a few years Apple can buy Adobe. Apple could then end up with the crown jewels of Photoshop, Acrobat etc, and would finally be able to dictate that the Mac get development priority over Windows.
The real problem for animators with HTML5 might be that we may no longer have the security of holding on tightly to our belovedly-secret .fla source code files, if anyone who knows how to “view source” in a web browser can figure out how a HTML5 animation was made and grab the code. Animation suites could output encrypted core .js files for HMTL5 — but it’ll only take a Russian cracker or two to break that protection, and the game is quite literally up (…on Pirate Bay).