Scribd “scrapping 3 years of Flash development” for HTML5

May 6, 2010

It's looking more and more likely that Flash's fate will be decided not by technical merit but by market dominance, and with the iPad dominating tablet sales this year it seems companies are content to abandon Adobe's technology in favor of HTML5 simply to get a foot in the touchscreen door.  Online document sharing site Scribd are the latest to jump ship, with CTO Jared Friedman bluntly stating "we are scrapping three years of Flash development and betting the company on HTML5."

"We are scrapping three years of Flash development and betting the company on HTML5 because we believe HTML5 is a dramatically better reading experience than Flash. Now any document can become a Web page" Jared Friedman, CTO, Scribd

Scribd's existing system embeds Flash viewers into a webpage, and obviously isn't visible on the iPad's browser or on smartphones that lack Flash support.  The new HTML5 system, which has been a six month project for the company, will basically treat documents as webpages using bookmark tools to keep place, regular sharing tools to export contents or links via email, Facebook and Twitter, and support pinch-zooming on platforms like the iPad.

Scribd plan to switch on their HTML5 functionality from tomorrow, with an initial 200,000 documents available using the new system.  Eventually, though, all documents will be offered via HTML5 rather than Flash.  Friedman reckons 97-percent of browsers will be able to view the documents, since the text-related aspects of HTML5 are older and more widely-adopted.

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