E-books, Flash, and Standards

In Issue No. 302 of A List Apart for people who make websites, Joe Clark explains what E-book designers can learn from 10 years of standards-based web design, and Daniel Mall tells designers what they can do besides bicker over formats.

Web Standards for E-books

by Joe Clark

E-books aren’t going to replace books. E-books are books, merely with a different form. More and more often, that form is ePub, a format powered by standard XHTML. As such, ePub can benefit from our nearly ten years’ experience building standards-compliant websites. That’s great news for publishers and standards-aware web designers. Great news for readers, too. Our favorite genius, Joe Clark, explains the simple why and how.

Flash and Standards: The Cold War of the Web

by Daniel Mall

You’ve probably heard that Apple recently released the iPad. The absence of Flash Player on the device seems to have awakened the HTML5 vs. Flash debate. Apparently, it’s the final nail in the coffin for Flash. Either that, or the HTML5 community is overhyping its still nascent markup language update. The arguments run wide, strong, and legitimate on both sides. Yet both sides might also be wrong. Designer/developer Dan Mall is equally adept at web standards and Flash; what matters, he says, isn’t technology, but people.

Illustration by Kevin Cornell for A List Apart.

5 thoughts on “E-books, Flash, and Standards

  1. I don’t think Flash will die.

    The internet did not replace television, which did not replace cinema, which did not replace books…

    …and I don’t think standards based ‘design’ will replace other technologies either. Flash will no doubt always have a place, just not in any substantial way in standards based web sites. And I think it will shrink in terms of web site design (hopefully) but will still be there, somewhere.

  2. Joe:

    I’m going to hazard a guess that Evan is responding to the two *blurbs* and not the two articles—using the logic of one blurb to refute the rhetoric of the other.

  3. I do so hope we can finally use any font we own for display in HTML5, without having to use awkward workarounds (like sIFR) to keep things usable.

  4. I do applaud the level headed approach that Dan takes.

    I think the future of the web, is the marketplace.

    Google has taught us how to find things. But, for most people, its found the same things, over and over and over again. Imagine all the interests of earth, then take the 1000 most popular, what is left? Like so many things, people aren’t as complicated as they seem. We are asking ourselves now, what suits us best, browsing the internet in search, or going to a marketplace? I believe, as do many others, that model best suited for our future interactions with most of our devices, is a marketplace of task specific applications.

    So the past was home to the desktop computer. After awhile that got boring so we added the laptop. Soon, it became apparent that we needed a phone, and now, we need a tablet, and tomorrow, we will need what?

    Yes the iPad is there, and Adobe kindly will allow us to compile our Flash apps for the iPhone App Store. (The iPad is a giant iPhone.)

    And what is the application environment that will run across these myriad devices, being sold as an app, or accessible via the web? You guessed it, FLASH. What about getting old apps to run on new platforms? Flash does that flawlessly. What about rapid development putting designers in an environment they are most comfortable with? Flash. No muss, no fuss, write it once, publish it everywhere.

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