So long, Flash! YouTube defaults to HTML5

‘Proper Flash performs too slow to be useful [on the iPhone]. There’s this missing product in the middle. It just doesn’t exist,’ said Steve Jobs back in 2008.

For many years, when it came to Apple computers and mobile devices, many have said that they don’t have access to the real Internet, since they can’t run Flash content. After all, when Adobe came up with the Macromedia Suite, a really long time ago, it was advertised as the next big thing, the future of the web. As you can see today, that’s not the case and, to be honest, we have to thank Steve Jobs for this, as he had a lot to do with the death of this terrible thing.

Many have thought Apple devices are faulty, but, in fact, it was a matter of choice. Basically, Jobs said that the devices are too good to accept something as inefficient as Flash. Back in 2010, he also stated that ‘Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.’

And then there was the problem of YouTube, who used Flash content because, according to them, there was no better option. The network’s first attempt with HTML5 was four years ago, when they offered early support for the <video> tag. Things have advanced awfully slow since then, with YouTube experiencing lots of problems and limitations, among which the lack of support for ABT (Adaptive Bitrate).

So, as you can see, it was a bit of a struggle to bury the Flash Player, but now it’s era has completely and irrevocably ended, as you will see in the rest of the article.

The good news: YouTube now defaults to HTML <video>

According to YouTube’s announcement, the company is no longer supporting the old style Flash <object> embeds and their Flash API, encouraging all embedders to use the <iframe> API.

There are a lot of advantages to this move, but if you ask us, the best of all is the fact that it eats a lot less traffic data, the bandwidth reduction being optimised by 35% on average.