updated 03:39 pm EDT, Tue July 3, 2012
Adobe to push ahead on post-Flash plans
Adobe Systems believes web standards have achieved most of what Flash is capable of handling. In an interview with CNET during Google I/O, the senior director of web platform and authoring at Adobe, Arno Gourdol, suggested that web standards are "close to 80 percent" of Flash, as the company moves away from its multimedia platform.
As Adobe transitions toward other web products such as Muse and Edge, Gourdol appears to be spending time convincing others that Adobe is serious in its commitment to move forward. Adobe is "not just looking at parity with Flash. We're trying to go beyond what you can do with Flash," according to Gourdol.
Suggestions by Adobe have been adopted by browser developers, however the Flash platform is still viewed as advantageous in some respects. Hardware-accelerated 3D graphics support via WebGL is being supported by Mozilla, Google, and Opera, with Apple also "very involved," however Microsoft sees WebGL as a security risk due to downloadable shaders. Adobe's knowledge of Flash has translated into its work on CSS shaders and filters, enabling the company to avoid security problems by hiding data in such a way that malicious shader code cannot access it, though regular updates to the Flash software typically include patches for other security vulnerabilities.
Some developers have also encountered issues with high-pixel-density screens, which sometimes require large filesizes to keep up with the resolution increases and avoid visibly pixelated art. Current discussions to find a solution are again leaning towards Flash, which utilizes Scalable Vector Graphics. By replacing pixel-based images with mathematically constructed shapes, lines remain smooth and appropriate for a range of resolutions without requiring proportionally larger files.
Other issues that Adobe is attempting to address are "blend modes" for web graphics, which affect the way images overlay each other, and copy protection for web video, a capability supported by Flash but absent on most web standards such as HTML5.
Adobe last week announced that it would stop supporting Flash Player from Android 4.1 onwards, and would cease Flash installs altogether on the mobile OS from August 15 onwards.