back to article Dead Steve Jobs was dead wrong on Flash, bellows ColdFusion man

The founder of the ColdFusion markup language has lent his voice to a growing list of big names expressing concern over the death of the open web. Jeremy Allaire has called for an end to the religious wars engulfing devices that was originally sparked off in 2010, when Apple co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs launched …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    web(text) was not meant for applications

    an application feels a lot like the hardware and OS it runs on, if implemented properly. that's what the users want - extensions of their beloved mobile device. whatever is done in html x it will still not be native software and can't in my opinion become really popular.

    after all the web is stunted listings of an almost real time application on a server somewhere. it just doesn't feel right for applications. it is though quite right for documents - on the web everything feels like a kind of document (it makes sense, since we always need a browser to "browse" the web).

    Psychologically a mobile device is a body extension - like a second skin if you will - so the user will expect to behave like an actual organ. Think: you don't feel with your skin only every 2 seconds.

    Bottom line the proper native app makes you feel connected to whatever you're doing with it while stuff that runs in a browser makes you feel like you're looking at a document (stroboscopic experience, not continuous).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: web(text) was not meant for applications

      Well the problem with web apps is you're effectively streaming an application. Okay, parts of the javascript code will be cached but much of it won't.

      On a limited bandwidth device with high latency web apps can be a right pain.

      Apps are a solution to the poor mobile web experience, but not the best thing really given the number of different platforms. I see this as being like the home computer wars of the 80s. The cheapest clunkyist platform will win ultimately and that's Android.

  2. J. R. Hartley

    The title is no longer required.

    Say No To Frames!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most html "apps"

    Suck donkey balls. A properly written native app will thrash it in performance and usability it every single time. A "properly-written html" app is invariably compromised by the fact that html isn't designed for applications at all and is essentially a pile of hacks running inside some abortion of a javascript sandbox hack tacked onto a browser hack. Squeezing square pegs into round holes wears thin after a while.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A properly written native app will thrash it in performance and usability it every single time

      There's another consideration though, which is portability. An html5 app can run on many more devices than any of the proprietary apps,.

      (and while I agree native apps will run faster than JS apps, the native app advantage in usability is less clear cut. If I've used the facebook website and the app looks like the website then I'll know how to use that too. It doesn't have to mimic the native interface of the device.)

      >>html isn't designed for applications at all << html5 is. I know, IT is fast paced and it's tricky to keep up...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A properly written native app will thrash it in performance and usability it every single time

        Portability? You are having a laugh. Researching the lowest-common-denominator among an endless serieis of (sometimes intentionally!) broken, half-arsed implementations of a so-called "standard" that no-one actually implements yet, then adding a load more hacks to implement any actual, real functionality in your app takes more resources than actually learning the bloody native platforms in the first-place.

        Adding a few half-implemented tags to the html spec and some convoluted hacks to keep application state makes the problem worse, not better.

        We've been at this "write once, run everywhere" foolishness for decades now: when I think of the wasted man-years devoted to drinking this kool-aid when everyone could have been learning to write portable, maintainable code instead, my blood boils.

        There's a reason html(x) implementations for mobile devices suffer - it's a crap application paradigm in the first place, as crap as the new trend for shoe-horning touch interfaces onto the desktop, as if waving your arms about like a demented tourettes-sufferer over a 2 metre monitor is somehow efficient. It's not.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Most html "apps"

      Native apps aren't about the code - they are about getting an icon on users' home screen.

      No-one wants to be relegated to a bookmark and not be running all the time.

  4. W.O.Frobozz
    Thumb Down

    It's almost 2013

    And using my mobile device of choice, there are almost NO sites that offer non-flash based video. That goes for newspapers, online versions of news networks, you name it. Thanks to Steve Jobs and his holy war, I still have to go to a PC in order to view this content.

    I still don't understand why Adobe agreed to go along with Jobs and kill their egg-laying goose. Jobs may have killed Flash but he didn't change the minds of the media giants about this. Oh sure we're inundated with irritating and useless "mobile" versions of sites now but we're also still inundated with "You must install Adobe flash" messages as well. Thanks for nothing (again) Steve.

    1. Paul 135

      Blame Mozilla

      I'd argue that the reason why many sites are still using flash is because Mozilla STILL haven't implemented h.264 support for Firefox.

      1. KroSha

        Re: Blame Mozilla

        Mozilla don't support H.264 because it isn't an open codec. It isn't even FRAND. Apple started the big push of H.264 in iOS. Guess who has a large stake in the consortium that owns it?

  5. Jeff 11

    I have no doubt about Jobs' ingenuousness on Flash, but for me there is a much deeper issue. Flash only works as a modern platform *because* it's closed, and Adobe can add features at a much faster rate than native browser features because it's completely in control of Flash's capabilities and update model.

    By contrast look at how long it's taken the open HTML5 model - loads of bickering about capabilities, best practices, and then a long lag for browsers to implement the agreed functionality - it's tortoise versus hare.

    However running any sort of browser plugin on your device to provide native code-execution capabilities for web apps (currently) places device-wide trust on the plugin provider. If Adobe gets something wrong - and it does, pretty much every day of the week for Flash there's a security hole and corresponding update - then errant Flash apps can cause however much havoc they want because they've got the same level of native access as the browser itself. Now that could change with the introduction of a better HTML plugin model, which defines a standardised sandbox for running native code, but getting it right and standardised would be as enormous an undertaking as HTML5 itself.

    Peddling an alternative to Flash - that's all this fundamentally is - is not the answer.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, I'm missing the bit where Flash, a closed propriatary format, helps the open web.


      Apple makes even Microsoft look good.

      > Sorry, I'm missing the bit where Flash, a closed propriatary format, helps the open web.

      That closed proprietary platform is cross platform. That's more than you can say for some phone app.

      It may not be perfect. It may be far from perfect. It's still better than what the Mr. Flash-Killer wants to offer you.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: Apple makes even Microsoft look good.

        Er, no. Sorry.

        Flash has always been a massive resource hog – especially on Apple's computers. That latter point is the main reason for Jobs' rant: Adobe had years to sort out the major problems with their applications, but they never did. Adobe took years just to port their Creative Suite applications ported to the Intel versions of OS X – years after every other f*cking developer, large and small, and including Microsoft managed it!

        Why the hell would Jobs trust them to organise this particular piss-up in a brewery when they've never shown any ability to pull it off? Adobe have become lazy, coasting on the fat of their ever more bloated (and staggeringly overpriced) applications and resting on their laurels. Ever since they ate Macromedia, they've had so little competition to speak of that they're not even trying any more. They've lost their hunger and that's not going to end well for them.

        Flash has only ever been viable on full-fat desktops. It requires so many resources to run properly, even Adobe themselves have finally admitted defeat and thrown in the towel. There will be no mobile Flash releases for Android either. Flash is dead. It had a good innings, but it is an ex-platform and has no place in today's web developer's toolbox.

        Any website that still requires Flash is doing it wrong.


        As for Mr. Allaire's argument that HTML5 is the future: Unfortunately, as a certain Dutch brewer's marketing department might say, "Sschtop! HTML5 isn't ready yet!"

        In the meantime, the underlying medium itself, the fabric we call the Internet, is trundling along just fine and works perfectly well as a means of getting data from a server to a client. So that's what developers are doing: using what works, applying tried, tested techniques, and getting the bloody job done.

        And client applications should be tailored for the platforms and devices they run on! That's just basic GUI design. They must also be responsive and that's something HTML5 still isn't ready to deliver, due to high latencies and inconsistent availability of suitable bandwidth around the world. Not everyone on the planet has ready access to broadband – be it fixed-line or even GSM.

        This is a transitional stage. The IT industry is full of those – I'd argue it's now a never-ending series of them – so either deal with it, or take up forest husbandry.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Apple makes even Microsoft look good.

        Vector graphics, video and other multimedia support.

        HTML was a little too late to offer it with HTML5.

        It does not matter is flash good or bad. It has taken 99.9% of the market before any alternative solution (and no, java is not an answer, java is the question and the answer is no) and has retained it for half a decade. It is entrenched. It will take years before any alternative has a market share worth mentioning.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple makes even Microsoft look good.

        So you, in typical fashion are taking that contrarian stance because Jobs said so. If you are the openista that you claim to be the the following should resonate;

        "The Adobe flash plug-in is non-free software, and people should not install it, or suggest installing it, or even tell people it exists."

        It's possibly on the only points that RMS has ever made that I agree with. So no, it's not better than open solutions on the internet, which is precisely what Jobs was taliking about n his open letter and precisely what Allaire is saying is wrong.

  7. QdK

    Ungenuine HTML5?

    "It’s a position taken by Firefox maker Mozilla, too, which champions HTML5 – genuine HTML5, not the kind promoted by Steve Jobs – as the future."

    I'm interested in learning what this kind of ungenuine HTML5 is, exactly..?

  8. William Donelson

    Crap. Flash that is...

    As much as 50% of all crashes in browser are caused by Flash. it's a complete mess, poll-driven and terrible authoring.

    Kill it off fast.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crap. Flash that is...

      "As much as 50% of all crashes in browser are caused by Flash"

      Not true for Firefox - that manages to kill itself quite happily* given the right circumstances, and without any help from Flash. Also, 99.999% of forum statistics are made up.

      But Flash is, and always has been, a mess.

      *There was even one (in)glorious episode (amongst many over the years) where you could kill it with a tiny amount of XML!

  9. Alan Denman

    a Tardis like future?


    the idea is very much like Vic 20 like gadgets but instead of plugging in a games cartridge we plug into a proprietary app store to get a dose of the web.

    The open web is not quite dead yet, though surely Apple wish most of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: a Tardis like future?

      "the idea is very much like Vic 20 like gadgets but instead of plugging in a games cartridge we plug into a proprietary app store to get a dose of the web"

      That the aim of Google, Apple and everyone else on this particular block. They all want, amongst many other things, (to control) your traffic over their networks.

  10. Dave 8

    HTML 5 is vapourware.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A web app won't steal my location, address book, phone log and read all my SD card contents. Or start up on their own and suck battery and data whilst reporting my every move back to marketeers.

    Why should I load dozens of individual native apps on my phone, just to use service I usually use through my desktop browser? Well written web sites for mobiles is the answer. Is HTML5 the right tool for that? Dunno.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      An html5 app can get at most of the things you list, it can definitely ask for location and SD card access. A good browser will make sure you know about it though, so it's not strictly stealing.

      1. A K Stiles

        exactly - why do newspaper sites, fora and <insert deity of choice>-knows what other sites insist on trying to get me to install their "great" apps to browse their content. That would be why I have a 'browser'... of course, that doesn't then tie me in to always looking at their site or giving them unrestricted access to the rest of my phonebook / storage / gps data now, does it?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web is crap

    Web is crap. It hasn't really improved since inception.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Web is crap

      Thank goodnes. If you got rid of the crap, it wouldn't be worth anything.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm an idiot who doesn't know what BBS is.

  14. JohnnyTheSailor

    If the BrightCove website, where the $5/month magically changes to £5 before your very eyes, is an example of how wonderful HTML5 is then I'll stick with Objective-C.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If the BrightCove website, where the $5/month magically changes to £5 before your very eyes, is an example of how wonderful HTML5 is then I'll stick with Objective-C."

      Then you are obviously happy to support a closed ecosystem and aren't too bothered about maximising the size of your market.

  15. Anal Leakage

    Must be a slow trolling day for the Reg if it needs to get it's Apple-baiting headlines from this guy.

  16. Azzy

    Regardless of his motives for doing so, we should thank Steve Jobs

    He killed Flash - it had been the insecure scourge of the internet for many years, and everyone was afraid not to support it, so people kept using it. Even though it was crap, and insecure, and slow, and buggy, everyone accepted it. He told Flash to go to hell - and by denying it a place on the iPhone, hurried it on it's way there*.

    There are very few other people who could have killed Flash, and it very much needed to be killed.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: He killed Flash

      If someone could tell the internet that'd be lovely.

  17. sisk

    I must disagree

    Jobs may have had ulterior motives for killing off Flash in iOS devices, but that doesn't mean he was wrong. Flash is, and has long been, a bloated, bug ridden mess. It's well past time for it to die and be gracefully replaced by a better alternative. HTML5 (or rather the collection of technologies that keep getting thrown under that umberlla) fits the bill nicely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I must disagree

      "HTML5 (or rather the collection of technologies that keep getting thrown under that umberlla) fits the bill nicely."

      Well it would, if they ever get beyond draft. Considering WHATWG started on this in 2004, a previous commenter is spot-on - it's (in danger of being labelled) vapourware. A delivery timeline of 2014 means a total of 10 years from WHATWG to recommendation. That's piss poor in anyone's language.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I must disagree

        You can thank the W3C and Microsoft for that.

  18. Stevie


    I hadn't up until now read Jobs's letter.

    I had no idea that someone who had risen so high in a business devoted to communication could be so awful at putting a point across in writing. Repetitive juvenile style, self-contradiction and fallacies even I could exploit without breaking a sweat, and yet this was what people took as gospel? From a CEO-level, tech-savvy executive? Did the man actually proof-read this?

    Ye gods. I'm more in awe that anything got to market as well as it did under the Apple label after reading that. The undergrupenfuhren and worker drones deserve yet more kudos.

  19. Anonymous Dutch Coward

    Object-C? Where can I get it?

    Where can I learn more about this Object-C you talk of that apparently runs on Apple devices? Or do you mean Objective C?

    1. toadwarrior

      Re: Object-C? Where can I get it?

      Search for objective c Linux and use it on Linux or if you're not a real programmer I'm sure there is a windows option.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Object-C? Where can I get it?

        "Real programmers"? Linux?

        "Real Programmers... are perfectly happy with a keypunch, a Fortran IV compiler, and a beer."

        Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal

        1. P. Lee

          Re: Object-C? Where can I get it?

          > Real Programmers Don't Use Pascal

          I used to run Pascal on an Apple ][

          There's nothing unmanly about running pascal in 48k from 5 1/4" floppies.

  20. toadwarrior

    So he promotes the open web and flash? They don't go together. No matter was Job's motives were he was correct. That is why flash is effectively dead on mobile platforms. They could have made flash the greatest thing on android. I'm sure google would have loved that but they didn't do that and perhaps because it is an impossible task.

  21. Dana W

    You have to be kidding.

    Flash is 'slowly" going away because it seriously shortens mobile battery life, no more no less. The fact that its a mess, dogs performance, and is a security threat are just icing on the cake.

    But claiming flash as some sort of savior of the "open web" is absurd.

  22. ThomH

    Revisionist, surely?

    One of Android's early selling points was that it's much more open than iOS. Yet it took Adobe two years — three from the launch of the iPhone — to build a suitable version of Flash, which it then turned around and cancelled barely more than a year later.

    From that you have to conclude that even if Apple had wanted Flash on the iPhone in 2007 there's no way it could have happened. So I just don't agree with Allaire's claim that Jobs killed Flash on iOS. For whatever technical reasons an argument was required as to why not having Flash was not a disadvantage.

  23. Alan Denman

    Web now closed for business a Flash.

    Whatever next.

    Slow the gadget's web apps down so the likes of Facebook have to abandon it?

  24. Alan Denman

    U forgot the U

    Their iPhone 4s beater can be had for £129 PAYG. (is probably unlocked too)

    Does HD video capture and has Sonys great Exmor R camera. (Sony supply Apple)

    Maybe it is the square corners that mean Apple don't sue.

  25. Ilsa Loving


    A guy who invented a crap language/system that people at large hate, supports another another crap language/system that people at large hate.

    At least he's consistent.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well its good you reported it..

    Good ol'Reg..

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