Is HTML Dead?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by sk3pt1c, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. sk3pt1c macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    a simulacrum
    with the advent of Web 2.0, Ajax and the increased use of Flash,
    do you think that pure (or mostly pure) HTML + CSS websites
    are now a thing of the past?
    i recently finished a masters in web design and we weren't even taught
    Flash, had only one lecture on Web 2.0 and were told to make websites
    in HTML + CSS because the majority of web users still use modems
    and web 2.0 is too new, also flash requires a plug-in that not many people
    have and requires a good connection.
    up to a certain point, i agree with this point of view.
    nevertheless, the trend seems to be towards Flash more than traditional
    lightweight HTML pages being created.
    i understand that Flash gives you more artistic and creative freedom,
    but it does limit the amount of people you reach with your design.
    am i old-school?
    is Flash now the way things should be done and HTML something to use
    whenever you need something specific?
    i thought it'd be more like the other way around, but it's not
    what i see happening...
    what do you think?

    ps. my apologies if this has been discussed before :eek:
  2. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    I don't know. However I do know that I skip every Flash "opening page" and "enhanced content" that I can, even to the extent of going directly to the "Contact Us" link at the very bottom of the page and get an email address so I can get the (*&% out of slow, buggy and annoying pages as fast as possible.

    This includes badly made HTML/CSS pages as well, BTW. Flash has no monopoly on slow buggy and annoying.
  3. ezzie macrumors 68020


    Sep 7, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    i do not know if this has been discussed in-depth, but i assure you that there are plenty of us "old-skoolers" creating pure HTML and CSS-based sites. it is certainly not dead, and IMHO it will not die for quite a while.
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I think Flash is in danger of becoming the flaming logo of now... Remember how IBM used to run those commercials during the Boom about how people were focusing on making flaming logos and things like that instead of actually making useful websites? Google is certainly an example of a website that uses basic scripting techniques to generate basic webpage layouts and is extremely powerful because of the ease with which content is reached.

    I can think immediately of some great examples of Flash, in particular, but then there are so many websites where the Flash is more cumbersome than anything else. And it also seems to me that technical pages, such as pages describing electronic products, when rendered in Flash primarily, tend to be "dumbed down" -- they are interactive but have far less information than they used to have before Flash.

    I personally feel like interactive technologies like Flash and AJAX are great, but like the flaming logos and like Aero in Vista, they're in danger of looking good without making core improvements to the user interface experience. And I'm not a big fan of that.
  5. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    actually, my understanding is that sites are moving away from Flash back to HTML/CSS/etc.. because it is lighter, easier, more accessible and generally not nearly as much of a cheesy, aesthetic, pain in the ass that Flash is.

    i for one think flash is useful only for delivering embedded video and thats about it, barring "art" sites or programed, applet-like objects.
  6. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    A mixture of everything is what Web2.0 is and will be, IMO.

    You need HTML to make a website, thats not going anywhere soon.

    CSS will only get better and more customizable, and hopefully more browsers will stop being so egotistical and possibly follow this little thing called "standards".

    Flash, as always, has its place. Today, and in the future, it will be what lots of sites are doing, which is make the flash components seamless. The only way to know what you are looking at is Flash is to right click it. And being able to spot impossible to do with HTML/CSS alone tricks, like fades and stuff.

    AJAX is a future tech that I am dying to be made slightly more accessible and seamless.

    I think a good website could use all the tools to create a website thats not only functional and easy to use, but actually interactive in ways most people hardly think about.

    To say one tech could kill another is just plain ludicrously, they all work hand in hand.

    In the future, there may be no Web, but if Futurama is anything like a snapshot of the future, its not going anywhere.
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Can anyone point out a good example of a website that uses Ajax?

    Also is it pronounced "Aye-jacks," like Americans say it, or is it pronounced "Ai-yacks" or so, like the football team? :D
  8. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    a simulacrum
    personally, the only flash site that i actually waited for several minutes to load and was worth the wait was this (hit the enter tokyoplastic v.2 button)
    other than that, i love the freedom it gives you, but as you guys said, it's a bit of a hassle
    i would use flash on a page maybe to create a cool navigation menu or something but that's as far as i'd go, and if that
    the thing is though, that people demand that you are skilled in flash in order
    for them to approve you as a web designer
    i know these people may not know what they're talking about, but it's pretty
    hard to explain and win the argument that you're not using Flash because it's buggy and takes ages to load and not because you are just not good enough to be able to make "kick-ass" sites with it.
    don't really know how this is going to develop...
    keep your opinions coming :)

    ps. mkrishnan, i believe (if i'm mistaken, please correct me) that gmail uses AJAX, i'd say that's
    a pretty good example that AJAX rocks! :)
    and as far as i know it's pronounced the first way, ayjacks :D
  9. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Actually, AFAIK, most modern browsers come with a built-in plugin nowadays.

    Depends if you're in America or The Netherlands. :D
  10. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    I see just the opposite. Flash use, in my opinion, at an all time low. I see Flash most commonly being used for YouTube or YouTube like sites, which makes use of the video component only. I also see Flash being used for animation and ads but there are other applications like ToonBoom which appear to be more appealing for animation now (have not used it myself). I think Flash will slowly phase out as Ajax and web standards increases in popularity.

    In addition to my design work I also teach a class in interactive development. When I first started teaching the class they had my covering Director as the main focus. I quickly switched the class to Flash (this was 5 yeas ago) and now I am moving to web standards. Students seem to be not so impressed by Flash anymore, the "oh this is cool" aspect seems to have warn off.

    Personally I also find that if I come across a Flash site I will skip it in favor of any other alternatives or just not go to it altogether.
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    It's easy to get the Flash Plugin, but this is not correct. At least....

    MSIE 7 - I don't know.
    WM5 / Pocket IE - requires you to download it and does not automate the process.
    Firefox -- requires you to download it, but finds it for you automatically and installs it with zero config.
    Safari - requires you to download it and does not automate the process.
    Opera - I don't know.
  12. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

    Nov 21, 2005
    Is there a website somewhere where all the plug-ins you need (Flash etc) are linked (and the links kept up-to-date)? It would make sense for Apple to do this themselves but I'm sure some enterprising soul must have done it...
  13. epochblue macrumors 68000


    Aug 12, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    HTML + CSS is most certainly not a thing of the past, quite the opposite, in fact. HTML + CSS + JavaScript effects can make a flash-like experience that's half the size and equal the experience. More than that, if you have decent designers, everything will degrade gracefully for those people without modern browsers, and your HTML will be optimized for search engine crawling.

    Flash doesn't really offer you all that much over that....except perhaps some smoother transitions and better "effects," but those come at a cost.

    I don't necessarily agree with this statement. All you need is to do is take one look at to realize there is tons of room for artistic and creative freedom within the confines of HTML/CSS.

    No, sir, HTML is by no means dead and if you want opinion, it hasn't even hit its stride yet.
  14. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    a simulacrum
    yeah, csszengarden does rock, but css to me is still problematic, given that you need to add several hacks to make things display properly in different browsers.

    i am all for web standards and decent sites with just the information needed and no clutter.
    personally, i think that sites like myspace are pure junk on the internet.
    then again, they are very popular.
    so we have a paradox:
    there's us trying to be as professional as possible and to make decent lightweight accessible and usable sites,
    and there's the rest of the world who mostly just like the Flash animations.

    i accept that flash is fading away and we are moving back to web standards,
    but maybe this "we" is not really true.

    in countries that are still a bit behind on the web train, Flash is still big and popular and gets peoples' attention.

    and the thing that bugs me the most is this:
    clients here (don't know if it's the same there) look for fancy looking sites,
    because they don't know better (and i can't blame them)
    but this means that i'll have to learn and use Flash to "prove i'm good".

    more to come... :)
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What university would offer a "masters in web design"?

    As for Flash. It's kind of like "customer repellent" Spray the stuff around the site and those pesky users just vanish.
  16. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    The best and most professional web developers use HTML and CSS for their sites. Flash is nice fore replacing animated gif, but that's about it. No serious web developer would used flash as the primary medium. It's just not practical.
  17. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    Yes, HTML is dead, just like print and paper died back in 1996 when people started getting online... :rolleyes:
  18. Cult Follower macrumors 6502a

    Cult Follower

    Feb 20, 2007
    North Dakota
  19. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
  20. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    AJAX usage: Any book that has a Look inside option.

    Another great Flash killer.. I mean XHTML/CSS/JavaScript resource: Apple uses their scripts :)
  21. Java macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2003
    Marin County (where else?)
    I agree. I also skip all of those intro sequences.
  22. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    Actually, most of the time it's because people learned to "hack" the HTML 3.2 and try to continue "hacking" with CSS that they're having problems.

    "Think Different" also applies when going from table-based HTML 3.2 coding to CSS+DIV based XHTML coding. ;-)
  23. radiantm3 macrumors 65816


    Oct 16, 2005
    San Jose, CA
    The only browser you really have to provide alternate styles is to IE6. Everything else pretty much displays css the same if you know what you are doing. And you don't have to apply "hacks" anymore. You can use conditional comments to feed IE6 alternate styles. It's fairly standard and easy to do these days. Once IE7 becomes the dominant version of IE, things will be smooth sailing in the CSS front.

    The main problem with flash, aside from the fact that it's a plugin and search engines can't crawl them, is that they take a lot of time/money to develop and redesigns are costly. I had to provide a completely different UI for a site and was able to build it in 4 hours because all it entailed was exporting images from the new design and modifying the css files. Try redesigning a large flash project even in a week.

    There are hundreds of reasons not to use flash to build a website. Flash is a tool for specific cases. There are many good reasons to build a flash site. But on the web, 90% of flash sites don't have a good reason. Building a flash site for the sake of "looking cool", is the worst reason.
  24. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    Good points.

    Second to not searchable would be no bookmarking capabilities.. yes I know that Macromedia did have one method but it only worked with IE.
  25. sk3pt1c thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2005
    a simulacrum
    i'm glad you guys all agree with me that HTML + CSS is the good way forward.
    nevertheless, as i said, in countries that lag a bit in Web Design terms,
    Flash is still quite big, it hasn't started fading out yet...
    i will stick to my guns and try to make good quality sites though,
    in hope that the nation will eventually come around and slowly discard
    Flash :)

    ps. ChrisA, this university

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