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Flash vs. HTML is a debate going on for a very long time, both sides offering arguments why it’s better, but many PC users  are still confused not only about which of the two is better, but what the two actually do for them. Let’s take a closer look at what each side has to offer, in hopes of ending this debate once and for all.


HTML5 is in the control of three major companies that form a committee referred to as WHATWG. These companies are Apple, Opera Software and Mozilla Foundation. From the get go it is necessary to point out that Adobe Flash has a market advantage in terms of users and developers that are working with it, so HTML5 only has 40 % penetration, but with that in mind, HTML5 can still be found on popular websites, as video service website such as Viemo, Blip.Tv and even Youtube have implemented experimental HTML5 support.

HTML5 is what is considered as an open format, meaning that any tool developer can take a swing at it, even their competition in the form of Adobe making the first steps towards a Flash to HTML5 conversion tool. Adobe Edge is another service offered by Adobe that works with HTML5 and facilitates its use. The first generation of HTML5 of tools is starting to come out, including Hype, making it easier to work with HTML5, which was and currently still is harder to do than Adobe Flash.

Adobe Flash Player

In contrast to HTML5, Adobe Flash has a 99 % penetration, gathered over the years since its releas back in 1996. Since then, more and more companies and veleopers have started using the service, currently giving Adobe an array of customers ranging from  PC operating systems such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X to other devices like video game consoles (PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii) and TV streaming boxes (Google TV). Mobile operating systems are also on the list with Symbian and Google Android using Adobe Flash as well. Unlike HTLM5 which is the property of a committee, Adobe Flash’s sole owner is Adobe Systems.

One of the problems Adobe is faced with is CPU performance. The issue a lot of users complained about was the fact that Adobe didn’t use the GPU to render information, put in an extra strain on a computer’s CPU. This problem has since been adressed in later builds of the service, by adding a faster code execution through the replacment of ActionScript 2.0 with ActionScript 3.0. The improvement in performance is said to be ten times over, but websites that use ActionScript 2.0 will not experienve the boost in performance unfortunately.

Let us now take a look at a few side by side contrasts between the two, to get a better understanding of how different they are.

  • When it comes to games, there are over 100.000 titles released that use Adobe Flash, while the number of games based on HTML5  doesn’t exceed the hundreds.
  • While HTML5 is currently used by a stunning 800 million users, Adobe Flash is used by a mind blowing 2 billion.
  • Adobe Flash can be found on a single SWF. HTML5 on the other hand requires multiple files, the former taking the edge.

The two function differently and have different capabilities. HTML5 needs a browser to run, and will not always have you covered in terms of audio, not to mention 3D support which is very limited. Adobe Falsh is not as browser dependent as HTML5, but you do have to install it, it coming in the form of a plugin. The support for 3D is also limited for Adobe Flash, but not as much as it is the case with HTML5.

There are multiple facotrs that come into play when talking about how efficient these two are, like the platform used to run them and the version of the platform. When tested on multiple platforms, the two, of course, reacted unequally. On Mac systems, HTML5 took the lead in performance over Adobe Flash, but when it came to video playback, Safari did not run HTML5 videos at all, while Adobe Flash did. On all other browsers across both Mac and Windows, Flash outperformed HTML5, being more or less efficient overall, depending on the Flash version tested( 10 or 10.1 ).

Security is incredibly one sided, with HTML5 giving you the option to “ View Source”, while Adobe Flash has multiple layers of protection and encryption that make hacking an Adobe Flash game pretty difficult.

Adobe Flash is years ahead of HTML5, being designed back in 1996, while the HMTL5 project was created in 2004 by the WHATWG committee.