Let’s look at some of the differences between Flash and HTML5 and provide some tips and tools to help ease the transition between these two platforms.
Flash Platform BasicsFlash is often used as an umbrella term to refer to a proprietary Adobe platform that actually consists of the following components:
- Flash: A tool used primarily to design and create animations
- Flex: The development environment used to build applications, including a software development kit (SDK)
- MXML: Markup language used in Flash projects
- ActionScript: A scripting language
Flash uses the following main file formats:
- .fla: Flash project file
- .flv: Flash video file
- .swf: Compiled Flash/Flex application file that may contain .flv files
HTML5 Platform BasicsHTML5 is an open standard platform that consists of the following:
- HTML5: Markup language used to create Web pages
- Cascading Style Sheets 3 (CSS3): Style sheet language used to specify the formatting for objects on an HTML5 Web page
- Application Programming Interfaces (API): APIs to support features such as drag-and-drop and cross-document messaging
HTML5 file formats include the following:
- .htm/.html: HTML5 Web page file
- .css: CSS3 style sheet file
- .mp4: MPEG 4 video file with H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec
- .webm: WebM video file with VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio codec
- .ogg: Ogg video file with Theora video codec and Vorbis audio codec
Google Labs has released Swiffy, a free Web-based tool that converts a compiled Flash application file (.swf) to HTML5. The output can then be embedded into a Web page but is not easy for a developer to edit. Like Wallaby, Swiffy does not convert all Flash features. Swiffy supports ActionScript conversion, but only version 2.0 (ActionScript is currently at version 3.0). The Swiffy output only runs on browsers that support Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
At the time of this writing, Edge anticipated its fourth preview release. New features are being added to each release.
Converting YouTube to HTML5One sign of the move to HTML5 is that YouTube now offers the option to use an HTML5 video player to view videos.
Prior to offering the HTML5 option, all YouTube videos were delivered via a Flash video player. Users could upload video files in almost any format, and YouTube would then convert each video to the required Flash (.flv) format.
YouTube is now also encoding videos with the H.264 video codec and the WebM format for HTML5 delivery. To view videos in the HTML5 format, you must have a browser that supports the HTML5 video tag and a video format used by YouTube.