While Flash remains a popular tool for developing sites that require an immersive experience, it has succeeded less in the realm of "rich web applications" that users return to day after day. Aside from video, Flash has tended to be used for smaller, splashy microsites advertising a new product or movie, despite Adobe's attempts to push it as a platform for application development. Beatport, the hugely successful digital download store for electronic music, has long been one of the few high-profile e-commerce sites built entirely in Flash. From the beginning, Beatport has offered its entire user experience - which involves browsing and purchasing from a vast catalog of music - in Flash.
This week, the company has announced that that will be changing. Beatport is launching Version 4 of its site - currently in locked-down, invite-only mode - entirely in HTML5. Compatibility across devices is apparently one motivating factor for the switch. According to a blog post where they announced the change, "We’ve abandoned Flash and moved over to HTML5, making Beatport accessible across a much wider range of devices."
Accessibility is another issue. According to Beatport, "the shift also addresses serious usability issues for our visually impaired customers." Obviously, Flash struggled to address accessibility issues even after years of development.
Exactly what HTML5 features the new site might incorporate, of course, remains to be seen, and no doubt they will continue to offer audio streaming via Flash as a fallback for users with older browsers. Still, this change by Beatport has got to be viewed as a sign of where things are headed. Before this week, their site was the highest profile example of an all-Flash application that was used by millions of people around the world. Now, they are proudly marketing their new "HTML5" redesign.