When Apple promoted HTML5 as an alternative to Flash, the value was said to be in being an open standard, and in having better efficiency for device-based execution.
The problem is that there are no authoring tools for HTML5. Flash is popular because it’s fairly easy to kick start the creative process. You buy the tools from Adobe for a few hundred dollars and begin to tinker. With HTML5 you need to be a programmer, read arcane documentation, search for sample code and manually integrate results into publishing systems. That’s bush league.
iAd Producer narrows the gap a bit.
The bigger question that I struggled with is whether web apps are competitive enough. The absence of tools is a damning accusation that they aren’t. Note that Apple is first introducing production tools for iAd, not for web apps in general nor web content in particular.
So why isn’t there an iWeb-like tool to allow consumers to design web sites (for MobileMe Galleries for example) which benefit from HTML5? At the other end of the spectrum, where are the Apple equivalents to Adobe’s Flash Professional (with CS5 integration)?
The tools for HTML5 are just not there. Tools are the first things needed to build an ecosystem. Is their absence due to a lack of demand or are there no skilled toolmakers outside of Adobe?
When the market is failing to deliver a solution, I question the need for the solution in the first place. It’s also worth while to follow the money: Adobe makes money only on the tools for Flash, not on distribution of content. For anyone to disturb Adobe’s franchise, it’s tools that need to be put forward as alternatives. Tools are not easy to build. Are the incentives simply not there?
I hope iAd producer is the first in a series of tools from Apple to build an HTML5 ecosystem. Whatever the future of web apps is, it’s coming very slowly. No wonder Flash is still a viable business for Adobe.