Adobe Edge: The World Does Not Revolve Around Apple
You could have easily predicted claims of a victorious Apple against Adobe, which had no other choice but give in to the movement dictated by the mighty Jobs and quietly bury a 15-year legacy of Flash, an animation format the company received in 2005 when it acquired Macromedia. Adobe's Flash is simply another casualty of the new world Apple wants it to be. Personally, I am not surprised of such opinions that are cultivated by what we generally describe as a distortion field continuum emanating from Cupertino. However, occasionally we ought to use common sense.
The HTML5 trend
Apple is far from being the visionary behind HTML5, as work on the new HTML already began in 2004 and is the brainchild of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG). However, Apple may have been the loudest proponent of HTML5 initially and may have been the first big name betting on this horse. If we are honest, we have to admit that few of us paid attention to this new format before Apple said it would deny Flash access to its iOS platform for performance, security and power consumption reasons (while others claim it is really the closed platform approach that killed Flash on iOS - why would Apple enable Flash, if open Flash apps it could destroy the entire idea of a closed app store?) and favor HTML5 instead.
HTML5, which is a package of different standards and technologies, has been much more visible since the argument between Apple and Adobe has taken place and has developed a dynamic that is far beyond Apple and, quite frankly, isn't shaped by Apple as a controlling part anymore. Apple's own Safari browser isn't the most compatible HTML5 browser available today and the participation and standardization of what goes into HTML5 and not is at least equally driven by Google, Microsoft and Mozilla within the W3C.
Within two years, HTML5 has evolved from an Apple thought process that may have been born from an excuse why it had to kill Flash on iOS to a global movement with the conviction that HTML5 will be the future standard how web applications will be developed. It is a conviction that is shared by those who follow corporate interests as well as those who have the open web in mind, such as Mozilla. Whether we like it or not, HTML5 will become a powerful application layer for the Internet within a few years - the first application layer that will enable Internet applications and services that will look and feel like desktop applications today.
HTML5 is not an Apple trend. It is a global trend.
Adobe got Flash as a bonus to Macromedia's strong lineup of creative software in 2005. It was a time when Flash saw its star rise as developers learned how to take advantage of Flash in new ways and build applications around it. Apple's reasons why it wasn't supporting a format it could not control may have been shady, but it was no secret that Flash has always been a power and processor hog. As the world moved to mobile devices, these problems became more amplified. Years of failure to address core problems suddenly made Flash vulnerable. Adobe continued to promise improvements for the next version of Flash, and still does so today. But the time may run out one day and as the interest for HTML5 is increasing, the attention to Flash is declining.
As much as we can give Apple credit for getting the HTML5 ball rolling, Adobe's decision to offer an HTML5 design tool is unlikely the result of Adobe giving in to Apple. It is a reasonable business decision that answers to a global trend - a decision that is driven rather by opportunity than surrender.
While Adobe has received praise for its first attempt of creating Edge, the first reviews by those who are interested in the success HTML5 are less optimistic. Edge is based on timeline animations that are typical for Adobe and is being chastised for not using HTML5 technologies such as Canvas. At least among professional developers, Adobe is already risking a reputation of being able to deliver an HTML5 tool that caters to the open spirit of a technology that should only be limited by a designer's creativity.
The beginnings of Edge are reminiscent of the beginnings of the first animation tools for the web that were integrated into Photoshop (does anyone remember the first separate GIF animators and image slicers in Photoshop?) as well as the first release of Macromedia Dreamweaver, both of which were far from perfect and improved over time.
Adobe has a unique opportunity to transfer its reputation to an HTML5 design tool and needs to understand the audience it is creating this new software for. It has to be as capable as Flash is, but cater to the open and much more comprehensive mind of the HTML5 world.
This entire discussion has little to nothing to do with Apple. Apple may get its way by apps using HTML5, but the world outside of Apple is shaping HTML5. It is Adobe's opportunity to help shape this new app world.