HTML and CSS Reference
As was discussed in the previous chapter regarding browser cookies, Flash also has its own way of storing data
on its internal cache. Local shared objects—known as Flash cookies—allowed developers to store up to 100 kilobytes
of data by default to provide richer experiences within ads. However, the legal issues around privacy still arise in
advertising, whether it's browser- or Flash-based cookies. One thing is for certain, though: with Flash, rich media
advertising was really born; rich motion graphics, video, dynamic data, and much more could finally be done within
the browser by using a true ubiquitous plug-in.
So now we know that Flash has made the biggest impact in online advertising thus far, and we're not far off from
seeing how HTML5 will do it again. Sure, HTML has been through a couple of versions and even a few variations
to date (XHTML), but we're now in the midst of the fifth release. As of 2012, the HTML5 draft isn't set for public
finalization for many years yet, but advertisers are looking to leverage the new power of HTML5 to create their
next innovative advertising campaigns, taking what Flash did within the plug-in but doing it all within the browser,
natively. The HTML5 spec has had a lot to learn from Flash, so it's pretty important to see its significance within the
Such HTML5 features as the canvas element, drag-and-drop, and the video element all evolved from experience
with the Flash Player and what the browser couldn't handle on its own. Think about it: there was no cell phone before
the pay phone! You must understand that the Flash Player did what the browser couldn't do for roughly ten years, so
it's pretty exciting to see where we will end up, what with coming back to web standards and HTML5 after all this time
HTML5 may seem like the new kid on the block, but in reality the W3C and working-group members drafted the
first spec in January 2008. Since then it's been through many revisions and public “last calls,” where members inside
and outside the W3C voted on the completeness of the current spec.
One may well ask, “What rushed HTML5 onto the scene so quickly?” or “How come Flash was fine for so long and all
of a sudden, HTML5 was the main focus for everyone online?” There is a simple answer. On June 29, 2007, Steve Jobs
of Apple changed the world with the release of the iPhone, complete with a browser that would not support the Flash
Player. Now, I say change the world for a variety of reasons—first, it would be the first smartphone to have the full
web browsing experience with a glass touch screen. Second, it would change the Web forever, since before its release
nearly all web sites were powered with at least a small bit of Flash content for graphics, video, or dynamic content.
Finally, along with the Web, digital advertising would follow suit because nearly all digital campaigns to date had been
created in Flash.
Many folks have mixed feelings about Apple's decision not to support Flash on the iOS operating system. Some
say it was business related; others focus more on the overall performance and battery life on smartphones and tablets.
I myself don't care too much if Flash, HTML5 or something else is the new standard. The same thing went on years
back when everyone transitioned over to Flash. At the end of the day, working with web standards and removing
any dependencies from external plug-ins will always bring you out on top in the long run. As with all respectable
technology of its time, it eventually comes to an end and eases the fragmentation for everyone. For more insight into
Steve Jobs's perspective on the Flash platform, check out the now-infamous post “Thoughts on Flash”
Now you may be saying, “OK, so Apple pushed through HTML5 by removing Flash Player on the iPhone, but what
about the other browsers?” This is a great question but one that isn't easily answered. First, as mentioned in the
previous section, HTML5 is in a working spec state, meaning it's not complete. Even as I write, it's still evolving.