Adobe’s Flash product has obviously been an integral part of the web for many years now. But it still has a major weakness when it comes search engines and complexity. While Adobe and others have been working on solutions to make Flash-based website more Google-friendly, they’re still nowhere near as crawl-able as regular HTML-based pages. FluidHTML or “Fhtml” is a new server-side markup language that hopes to merge Flash-like functionality with the easier-to-use HTML language.
Obviously, trying to create what would essentially have to be a new web standard is no small task. But the group behind Fhtml thinks they have a shot to do it because Flash is so widely used by millions of sites on the web who want a better visual appearance than HTML can offer. Aside from just Flash, Fhtml is also going up against Silverlight another Adobe framework, Flex. But Fhtml claims to be not only simpler than both Flash and Silverlight, but more powerful than Flex.
Another downside to Flex, Silverlight, and Flash is that they all must be compiled. Fhtml, like HTML, does not need to be. This makes it a lot easier to edit on the fly. And because all of those are more complex, they often require a special developer with just those skills to create a site using those technologies, Fhtml promises to be much simpler. And because it’s server side, the company says that Java developers, PHP developers, Ruby developers, .NET developers and Python developers can all write Fhtml in their native language.
Today on stage, FluidHTML CEO Michael Collette and Founder Jim Kremens prototyped the Southeby’s (one current partner) website in FluidHTML. They also showed a Hulu media player made in Fhtml. They’re looking for $1 to $2 million in funding in October.
Expert Panel Q&A (paraphrased)
The experts: Don Dodge, Yossi Vardi, Ron Conway, George Zachary, and Jason Hirschhorn.
Q: How does this compare with HTML 5?
MC: I expect HTML 5 is a big leap forward, but what happens after that?
JK: And HTML 5 won’t be fully implemented until 2014.
Q: What has Adobe said about it?
MC: We haven’t spoken to them. (Laughs)
Q: Making Flash searchable is a big plus, but getting developers to switch their language is tough, how do you deal with that?
JK: The product is free to developers. And we think it opens them up to be more creative than HTML, while not having to deal with some difficulties of Flash.
MC: It runs at the full speed of Flash too.
Q: What’s the business?
MC: We charge a low fee to publishers.
Q: Have vast is the object library?
MC: It’s extensible, which is great. Developers will expand it beyond what it is now. And an open API in January.
TC50: FluidHtml builds a more web-friendly version of Flash VentureBeat.
FluidHTML seeks to bridge Web programming divide CNET.
FluidHTML seeks to bridge web programming divide Builder.au
FluidHTML: A Markup Language That Generates Flash Content Flash Speaks ActionScript.