A question for developers, and those who pay them (Flash)

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by iamkarlp, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. iamkarlp macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    To all developers (and those who pay/direct them....),

    In my day to day job as an IT infrastructure consultant I occasionally get dragged into meetings with web development teams or outside contractors.

    Over the past year or so, I have seen a large majority of these teams starting to redevelop the sites they are responsible for to function without flash. This seems to be coming partially from some teams resigning themselves to the fact that there will never be flash on TouchOS, to some looking for performance improvements, to management directly dictating that the site must be fully functional on mobile devices.

    The change of pace seems to be picking up at a fairly rapid to where I am not seeing flash used for much of anything but online mini-games or flash based ads in my current circles.

    To be clear, I am not suggesting that flash is disappearing, IF it were to happen it will take a very long time. I understand that. I also have no particular hate for adobe.

    To be honest, while I understand, and even partially agree with the reason behind the lack of flash on TouchOS, I always thought adobe would eventually develop an efficient enough flash client to convince apple to incorporate it.

    However I am now wondering if this traction I am seeing is purely coincidental in my small area of the world, or if this is indicative of a new direction. Right now, while flash is still prevalent, it seems, at least in my small corner of the world, that there is a lot of pressure on the developers to minimize there flash useage.

    So what say ye developers out there? (or if there is anyone here who regularly commissions work) Is there pressure to reduce flash usage? Are you putting pressure on your teams to reduce flash?

    Karl P
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Personally, I block all flash (and JavaScript [NoScript addon]) with occasional exception to watch a video. I just find most implementations to be unnecessary and cumbersome to interact with. There's certainly exceptions to this, but I prefer to stay away from it as a developer and visitor. There's also the proprietary issue. HTML5 is bringing new ways to embed audio and videos, which will likely reduce flash usage on many sites as that's all they were using it for.

    Here's some discussions here on the topic:
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Users HATE flash. Back in the beginning the idea was that web developers would tag blocs of text with tags like "paragraph" or "bold" and leave it to the browser to decide what this should look like. This was great because the text was readable on any size screen or window. But graphic designers wanted more control over layout so that got first tables and finally Flash.

    There is a constant war between what's users like and what designers like. Now finally the people that pay for this have woken up and are telling the developers "let the users win".

    Many company firewalls block Flash. But even more important the demographic that owns iPhones and now iPads will not be able to see your Flash based site. This demographic may be a minority but it is the one the advertisers want.
  4. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I doubt YouTube feels their users hate flash, considering their videos are presented using flash (some now moving to HTML5 video tag). Users don't hate flash, they hate how some (maybe majority) designers use flash on web sites. Namely ads, but also very horrible flash-based sites.
  5. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Hi Karl,

    *this forum* has a particular hated for flash... and any mention of the "F" word gets a flurry of posts hating on the technology. Please keep that in mind.

    The hate is not undeserved... but angelwatt is right, flash gets a bad rep from a large collection of poor authors and usage in ads... people often have a hard time seeing beyond this into the many places where flash is used in a viable and appropriate way...

    I personally have not felt this shift you speak of... I develop a lot of "rich media applications" (primarily interactive data visualizations) and a few years ago as AJAX began to mature I started to feel a shift away from flash to AJAX. I don't actually feel this as strongly as I used to.

    Part of the reason behind this may be that (in my experience) the development costs for AJAX are higher that that of a similar application written in AS3. We can develop a AS3 app much more quickly than an identical AJAX app (and believe it of not, I have a crazy, but lucrative, client that asks us to make identical applications for both platforms).

    So, i suppose it all depends upon what type of web communications you are working with. If you are primarily interested in web video, HTML 5 may soon give you an opportunity to remove some flash... tho this will not avoid the licensing issues that revolve around many of the video codecs we use.
  6. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    I think that argument is missing the point somewhat.

    In the past, in order to watch a video on the web you needed to do so through Flash. There really were very few cross platform tools that allowed developers to offer video on sites to a large cross section of the web community.

    This is starting to change and many new technologies are coming out. The fact that people use YouTube in no reflects whether they like or dislike Flash as a product it merely shows that they have accepted the fact that if they wanted to watch videos on the web they would need to use Flash.

    Now that HTML 5 is promising an alternative we will soon see if those sites and in particular those users will still stay with Flash or choose to use the other options which are available to them.
  7. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I am a Flash developer (among 50 other things) and I think there is a trend away from Flash.

    Flash is not going away anytime soon. However, there is DEFINITELY a return to more old school methods. What's old is new again. HTML, CSS, Javascript. Server side stuff.

    Javascript is really the unlikely hero of this story. AJAX and Jquery can do so much nice stuff. Mobile is also part of the reason for this shift.

    When I was watching the iPad keynote today, and saw the missing Flash icon, I said, "one more device to push HTML video forward."

    Personally, I've been paying more attention to php, coldfusion, html, css, javascript/ajax lately. 2 years ago I was all about Flash and Flex. I still like Flash/Flex but I would honestly make sure it was appropriate for the application.

    I will be rebuilding our company's website this year, and we will opt for less flash, more live data integration with our systems, better SEO, better usability and ease of updating and revising. There will be Flash, but more as modules and not like a "whole flash site."

    Flash is not going away, but you are not wrong in sensing a shift away from Flash for a lot of applications.

    Some of this is also maturation. People who make decisions are not always the most qualified to do so. I think we are past the era or dumb dumb producers who just say "yeah, and we could use some Flash and oh it will be so cool!" Now people are paying more attention to appropriate technologies, useful data and the actual user experience and not just some art director's dream.

    The story behind this site is AMAZING. Works in Flash. Each section is based on templates. Deep links. Good SEO. No flash? Fails over to an HTML website. That's a lot of work though. I think to do a proper flash web site, you'd have to pay attention to all of these things now, and mobile, and iPads, and whatever else is coming.


Share This Page