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Víctor Pascual-Cid

Flash vs HTML5

Posted: 22/03/2012-Likes: 0-Comments: 0-Categories: Visualization-Tags: flash, html5, periscopic
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Yesterday the Information Visualization company Periscopic posted on their highly recommended blog a very interesting comparison between the reachable audience of Flash versus HTML5. The post is a follow-up of their research conducted 10 months ago which concluded that although HTML5 had a lot of potential, Flash was still a better framework to develop interactive online contents (aka interactive visualizations):

If your goal is to develop content in HTML5 so that it can be viewed through both a web browser and the iPad, (to reach the largest amount of people), you might be a little disappointed. Content developed in HTML5 for the iPad has the least available features and performs the worst out of all HTML5-compatible scenarios.

and

from a purely analytical point of view, the best option for developing a feature-rich dynamic data visualization right now still seems to be Flash.

It is very interesting to see how this picture has changed in just 10 months. According to their study, while Flash still reaches a bigger audience (supported by up to 99% of the available web browsers), HTML5 (supported by 50% of the browsers) has got a 10% increase since May of 2011. Their main conclusion is:

In May of 2011 we concluded that from a purely analytical point of view, the best option for developing a feature-rich dynamic data visualization was Flash. Today, it’s harder to say that’s still the case.

According to Persicopic, this is because the fact that HTML5 core technologies are open source which indicates that it will be well supported and its features will tend to increase with time. Nevertheless, there is drawback that has to be taken into account: developing in HTML5 requires a bigger effort to make sure that the developed applications behave the same way in the different existing platforms (computers, tablets, phones…)

During the past year, our testing and debugging time has tripled from the time needed when working with Flash.

Plan accordingly: the inconsistency of browser support for HTML5 features, specifically among mobile devices, can easily add a significant amount of development time and budget to your project.

They have also created a beautiful infography with the results of their study:

Thanks to the Persicopic’s team for such a useful and rigorous study of such a treny topic in the Information Visualization community!

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