Nov 25, 2011

Adobe Flash vs Apple Talk

Greetings. I hope my readers in USA had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed the break.

2011 is coming to an end. This is yet another interesting year for the computer industry. Industry will remember Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs for ever. 2011 will also be remembered for Flash vs HTML 5, thanks to mostly for Mr.Jobs.

IMO, proprietary technologies can't win against open standards. I was with Sun for a decade and we often was told about TCP/IP vs other proprietary network stacks. I see that history is repeating itself this time for Adobe- Flash vs HTML 5.

I read the famous blog by Steve Jobs- "Thoughts on Flash" several times. He is right. In fact when I was reading his blog, it reminded me of AppleTalk rather than Adobe Flash! It was Apple on the receiving end during the network stack evolution and AppleTalk is the proprietary network stack from Apple. AppleTalk & other proprietary network stack failed. TCP/IP won the battle, otherwise there is no Internet today.

Basically Steve Jobs was telling the "inconvenient truth" of proprietary technologies can't win against open standards to Adobe and the world. He is absolutely right. He is just telling his own experience with AppleTalk :-)

The websites like Occupy Flash ( is the just the beginning. Next few years we will see more & more HTML 5 applications across the devices. It's funny that HTML 5 is not just bad for Adobe and even for Apple itself. Click here to see how Financial Times bypassed Apple Store with a HTML 5 app.

I have got great respect for both Adobe and Apple. They have got some great engineers and consistently delivered some innovative products for the last 2 decades. We all remember Apple for the best computing experience. But please don't forget that it was the Flash which gave the best web experience. (Do you use YouTube?)

The end of Flash doesn't mean end of Adobe. If Adobe embraces HTML 5 and Adobe can become the Apple of "Front-end Web". Adobe knows what it means to deliver high performance RIA over the web. It's just the game got changed- instead of Flash it should be HTML 5.

For reference: Apple Talk is the TCP/IP equivalent of Apple's proprietary network stack. Mac OS X v10.5 was the last Apple OS to support AppleTalk and is now history. I don't have any experience with Apple Talk and can't talk about the technology. The following is the table from Wikipedia describing the implementation of Apple Talk. I am sure Apple might have leveraged some of the investments here to their TCP/IP stack for MacOS but still it's waste of resource & time on a proprietary network stack that failed against TCP/IP.

OSI ModelCorresponding AppleTalk layers
ApplicationApple Filing Protocol (AFP)
PresentationApple Filing Protocol (AFP)
SessionZone Information Protocol (ZIP)
AppleTalk Session Protocol (ASP)
AppleTalk Data Stream Protocol (ADSP)
TransportAppleTalk Transaction Protocol (ATP)
AppleTalk Echo Protocol (AEP)
Name Binding Protocol (NBP)
Routing Table Maintenance Protocol (RTMP)
NetworkDatagram Delivery Protocol (DDP)
Data linkEtherTalk Link Access Protocol (ELAP)
LocalTalk Link Access Protocol (LLAP)
TokenTalk Link Access Protocol (TLAP)
Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)
PhysicalLocalTalk driver
Ethernet driver
Token Ring driver
FDDI driver

Adobe Flash is the new Apple Talk. HTML 5 is the new TCP/IP. If Adobe wants to be the leader in the front-end web, it should fully embrace HTML 5 and should build a open standards based web browser with full duplex asynchronous communication for Rich Internet Applications!

Happy Holidays. Stay Safe. Stay Warm.


At 11/28/2011 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more. While I don't agree with many of the business ways of Apple of the past few years, I do think Steve was right on this, and I was probably one of the few pro-andriod/anti-iphone developers out there that argued against flash being a good thing for Android. With most browsers support HTML5 on mobile, and it being a standard, it just made sense to avoid add-on plugins that were constantly a problem and often crashed.

On the other hand, I don't think Flash is going to go away very soon.. there is way too many sites out there with it.. I think it will be years before we see the last of it. Plus, Flash does a lot more than HTML5 does, but I think the combo of javascript + html5 + css3 provides a lot of the desktop user experience and cool FX and such that the majority would use Flash for anyway.

At 11/29/2011 12:08 AM, Blogger my-inner-voice said...

informative. thanks Uday


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