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When should we use HTML5 vs Flex/Flash/Silverlight?

July 19th, 2011

RIA Mobile Solutions works with startups, small, and medium scale business to make strategic technological decisions. It is a tough decision to make for technically challenged whether to use HTML5 or flash, silverlight technologies. So how to make a decision?

We, as technical consultants, need to provide businesses and its owners a strategy that can deliver successful results for their business challenges. In this economy, you cannot afford to make a wrong decision because a “technology” has “coolness” factor. To simplify it for the business owners, RIA Mobile Solutions suggests to answer the following question

  1. Is your business building an application that will be used by other businesses in an intranet environment and your clients are flexible to use the support technology needed?
  2. Do your end users like using Desktop applications?
  3. Do you have to support old browsers?
  4. Did you already develop major part of your product in Silverlight/Flash/Flex and ready to do a beta release?
  5. Your application that your business is developing is not used by general public in mobile platforms?
  6. Your staff is already trained in developing applications in Flash/Flex/Silverlight but not are not strong in fixing cross browser compatibilities?
  7. You don’t have QA team or time to support all major browsers and older versions of  major browsers?

Keep in Mind: Government and other huge enterprises have strict IT policies and they won’t update their browsers frequently. So they might be still using IE7 or IE8

Well if you answered yes for the any of the above questions, we strongly suggest that you continue with the solutions you are currently using for at least another year or two.

Staying in business and making money is more important than supporting latest and greatest technologies. But that doesn’t mean we are suggesting to not to update your technology in long term.  It is crucial that when the time and effort is put into creating a solution, proper planning should be in place.

Is HTML5 the right solution for you? Answer the following questions to find out:

1. Are you developing an application that is used by public in both web and mobile environments and you can’t control their environment or ask them to install a plugin?
2. Did you start developing your product recently and you are only 20% to 40% feature complete?
3. Is your product already a web application and thinking of updating it?
4. Your staff has good background in developing web applications and supports cross browser applications and have experience in using tools like Modernizr 2.0 to support cross browser platforms?
5. Your application doesn’t need any advanced multimedia features?
6. You have QA team or you test your product in all cross browser platforms

If you answered yes to the above 5 questions,  HTML5 is your solution.

Another thing to keep in mind is, there is no hard and fast rule to either use HTML5 or plug-in model. You should be able to use both and use the plugins when you need features that your browser cannot support natively.

Last but not least HTML5 is not going away, so plan on supporting it near future strategically. You should invest in technology and use the latest only if you believe you will loose opportunities. The best solution is to strategize and slowly migrate to HTML 5 in near future when required.

At RIA Mobile Solutions, we not only architect, develop and implement technology solutions, we also analyze your strategic goals and situation you are in and we will help you take the right decisions. We will help you succeed in your business. If you have a project that either needs to be updated or developed, we can help you.  Please contact us for further details.