Farmville, Flash and Apple

I’ve recently started to play Farmville, the Facebook-based online game in which you 
build a farm, seed and harvest crops. My friends laugh at me and say I’m the last person they’d expect that from and I tend to agree.

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Published: Sat 24 Jul 2010, 9:10 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:51 AM

On the web, Farmville is built in Adobe Flash so I can’t play it that way on iPhone or iPad. But Zynga, makers of Farmville, have created an iPhone app for the game and although it doesn’t have all the functionality of the website, it supports the most critical tasks. By the way, the iPhone app also runs perfectly well on iPad, although the graphics are of course just scaled up.

Apple has made no secret of their refusal to allow Flash to run on iPhone and iPad. In fact, in an open letter, Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, laid out their case point by point for why Apple will not let anything created with the Adobe software onto their mobile platforms.

He talked about Flash being a closed standard with security problems, that it drains battery life and reduces performance, that it’s not built for a touch interface, and more. I’m not in a position to argue with him but it’s clear that there are strong feelings on both sides. Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen obviously doesn’t agree with Jobs’ views and called his letter a ‘smokescreen’.

Instead, Apple is putting their weight behind HTML 5, an open standard, and they’re joined by other heavyweights including Google and Microsoft.

Both Apple and Google have created demonstration sites with many examples of how powerful and versatile HTML 5 can be for developing web sites. In fact, it seems like more and more sites offer HTML 5 versions of what was previously only Flash content, including Google’s YouTube.

Although I have created my fair share of websites I’m not a web developer by profession but it seems clear to me that Flash still offers more functionality in terms of developing rich multimedia experiences but HTML 5 is catching up.

With what little experience of developing for Flash that I have I found it a very fun platform to work with and you can find thousands of examples around the Internet of amazing Flash creations.

Therein lies perhaps the saddest aspect of this conflict, that users of iPad and iPhone are not able to take part of this rich variety of Flash content on the web.

Personally, I really don’t miss Flash support much on my iPad and iPhone. It happens that I come across a site that is all-Flash or depends heavily on Flash and if I’m on my iPad or iPhone I can’t access it. Especially if it’s a company website, I feel like they should at least offer a HTML alternative.

As far as Farmville is concerned, I don’t care that they have a Flash site that I can’t use on my iPad but I do want them to add to the functionality of the iPhone app and also create an iPad version of it. That would mean a lot for my farming experience. Now I see that my strawberries are ready for harvest, better go take care of them.

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