There has been a fair amount of chatter over the last few days in response to a letter from Steve Jobs, the head of Apple Computer, where he basically says that Adobe Flash is unsuitable for use in the Web 2.0 world.
With a post over on Cartoon Brew, the debate is pretty much divided with plenty of people supporting the format and plenty of people against it. Having never used it, I can’t pick a side even if I wanted to. Sure there is some truly awful animation produced in flash, but there always has been truly awful animation produced at some point. it’s a poor workman that blames his tools.
Is flash perfect? No of course it isn’t. It was never designed for use in TV shows. It was meant for quick animations on the web. It’s great that someone figured out that it could be used to animate a TV show, but that’s kinda like me using MS Word to make a flip book. It can be done, but it’s not perfect.
Back to Steve Jobs. He’s within his rights to ban flash from Apple devices if he wants, that’s his way of doing things. However, I know myself how many places it pops up on the web because I use NoScript, and I have to approve a lot of flash stuff.
The only problem I have is that he’s trying to force people to move on to the next format (HTML5) when that’s not quite ready yet. This is similar to when he launched the iMac without a floppy drive. A brave choice but floppys stayed around for at least another 5 years.
The problem is that there is no immediate replacement, at least for animators. Sure they have some choice in regards to producing animation, but flash is by far the cheapest, most popular solution right now, and it will take time for a similar product to emerge.
I could get on my soapbox at this point and argue that we need some sort of open standards but that’s never going to happen, at least not for an industry such as animation.
Right now the whole thing is a bit of a moot point. We’ll all just have to sit tight until a solution comes around, which it will. There’s money to be made in one, and if that’s the case, somebody is bound to figure it out.