Flash and HTML5 are hot topics in the online world right now. We’ve heard plenty about how more smartphones will get Flash, how performance might not be what users expect and how mainstream sites are looking to alternatives, and of course there’s Apple’s ongoing reluctance to add Flash functionality to their mobile devices. Meanwhile HTML5 is getting plenty of positive press, and most recently Microsoft have announced full support for the technology in IE9. Is there room for both to live together in harmony, however? “Adobe platform evangelist” Serge Jespers reckons so, and he’s thrown together the code to demonstrate it.
Video demo after the cut
In Jespers’ example, HTML5 is used to pull out geolocation data that can then be fed to a Flash application, even though only Adobe AIR has access to geolocation APIs. This takes advantage of HTML5’s geolocation API, that can use not only true-GPS but WiFi and cellular base-station triangulation depending on what the device itself has access to.
The end result is an app which is written in Flash but which – when used in a fully HTML5 compliant browser like Firefox 3.5 – can access location information using an ExternalInterface call. It works on both desktop systems and – if you have the Flash 10.1 beta, which obviously Jespers has – the Google Nexus One’s WebKit-based browser; you can try it yourself here or check out the details in the video below.
Is Flash dead at the hands of HTML5? No, certainly not – and we didn’t need this app to tell us that – but paired together they make for even more interesting applications. If anything, it comes down to how browser developers add in support for the technologies; if one or both isn’t stable then users will have a bad experience, no matter what the content they’re accessing is coded in.