jQuery usage soars as Adobe Flash shows slight decline

A press release from .appendTo, a company which offers jQuery-based services and training, states that “jQuery Overtakes Flash on World’s Top Websites”. I found it a curious claim insofar as jQuery is not really an alternative to Flash, though there is some limited set of graphical effects for which I guess you could use either.

I took a look at the source data from httparchive.org – note that the data at this link changes regularly. I compared the most recent stats, from August 15 2011, to the oldest available, November 15 2010, an interval of nine months. The data is based on the most visited sites based on various lists and seems to amount to between 15,000 and 20,000 URLs.

In November 2010, jQuery was found on 39% of the sites, whereas Flash was on 49%. In August 2011, the stats show jQuery on 48% of sites with Flash on 47%, hence the press release.

Other figures that caught my eye: in web servers, Microsoft IIS has moved from 21% to 20%, apache from 51% to 49%, nginx from 11% to 13%.

Google analytics is the most commonly found script, moving from 61% to 63% of these sites. The amount of data Google receives on internet traffic is remarkable.

The real story here is the ascendancy of jQuery rather than the decline of Flash. If you want your website to work on Apple’s mobile devices as well as on desktop PCs, then Flash is not an option.

Adobe does not make money from the Flash runtime, which is free. It makes money from design tools and server-side services, among other things. Although it is good for Adobe if everyone uses its Flash client, it can still succeed in an HTML 5 world.

Flash has other roles too. Adobe AIR uses the Flash runtime on desktop PCs and some smartphones, and an iOS compiler lets you build Flash apps for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

There is also some evidence that Adobe is tilting its efforts a little more towards HTML, with products including the preview of Edge which is a motion and interaction design tool for HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.