Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ten years of Flash

Love it or hate it, Flash – the flawed and oft badly (and inappropriately) used interactive web content and vector animation software – is ten years old. Despite my reservations it does have many great uses too: interactive web presentation, video, gaming, and dare I say it advertising. YouTube would never have got where they are without Flash and, hey, we all love YouTube don't we?

Here's what the Beeb had to say about it.

I've been working with Flash since 1999, know it pretty much inside out, and it still does my head in on a regular basis.

Dear Adobe, how do you feel about fixing one or two of the major Flash authoring tool bugs as a kind of birthday celebration? Like that network saving bug where the document gets corrupted and won't save - you know the one.

Hey, you could even release a free patch instead of charging for an 'upgrade'. That would be nice.


Well happy birthday anyway.


Peter Gasston said...

I get accused of being a Flash hater. I'm not: I just hate it's inappropriate use.

I've seen so much bad Flash in my time that I now encourage people not to use it at all unless they know all the implications of it's use and how to implement it properly.

gridrunner said...

Good. At least 90% of Flash designers don't understand the implications of it at all.

Despite being a senior Flash developer and designer I advise against using it perhaps surprisingly regularly, especially when it comes to designing websites. My own website is pure XHTML in fact.

But by websites I make a distinction from advertising campaign microsites. Clients want music, interactive video, sound effects, draggable elements, 3D and so on. Of course there are other ways to achieve all those effects (Java, Ajax, SVG, MPEG and so on) but Flash is the easiest and quickest way to bring it all together in one package. Plus, its player has a larger install base than any other single media player. Both these things make it the most commercially viable solution. Ajax developers charge a lot more than Actionscripters not least because there are far fewer of them!

But I should stress that I'm talking about cases when it's not about people needing to get information at all, and more about experience and atmosphere. A small web game to promote a new car for example. The user can take it or leave it - it's just a glorified advert after all.

When I want to get at actual information on the web and come across Flash I'm the first to hit SKIP INTRO, believe me :)