Back in June, Macromedia started talking publicly about their ambitious plans for Flash. It’s clear that they’re planning to take it up a few gears on all fronts; the creation; the server; and the player side.
For us, the big news is the updating of the video CoDec, taking it from the old H.283 CoDec of the previous release to On2 Technologies, VP6. Both are claiming better performance than Windows Media, with a 10-20% size reduction over it too.
High-quality video running in Flash could be a serious contender to Apple, Real and Microsoft. The Flash player is thought to be installed on 98% of all computers, totalling about 600 million machines.
While some of those involved in producing video for the Web might see this and groan – encoding video in each of the three dominant formats was often seen as a major headache – it could be that Flash could cut across that problem.
For a long time many have thought that Flash could become a dominant development platform, delivering what Java promised and failed to achieve – write once, play anywhere.
As Flash is vector-based, not bit-mapped – its graphics are described in terms of shapes, not absolute positions on a screen – it has the strength that the displays scale. This is of particular benefit when writing applications for mobile phones which have hundreds of variation of screen size and resolution across the market.
Developers of mobile phone content find themselves having to write hundreds of different versions of a programme, if they want to support the whole market.
The rumours a flying as to when Flash 8 might be released. The official word is ‘Summer’, but some are speculating that it might be 8/8, 8th August.
Making the most of the interest that is bound to be heading in their direction, this week On2 have released a new version of their encoding tool, VP7.