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Macromedia Pushes Flash For All Things Web 751

Posted by timothy
from the how-to-break-the-web-quickly dept.
nakhla writes: "This article at News.com details how Macromedia is expanding its Flash product to be more of an all-in-one web solution. Rather than relying on HTML codes to design web pages and embedding Flash as one component, Macromedia wants Flash to be used to design the entirety of a site. Pre-built components, such as scrollbars and buttons, are included to allow designers to write everything using the new Flash product. With websites becoming more and more complex, and the trend to move towards providing web services rather than application software, could something like this be the answer? The article also mentions how Macromedia is on a campaign to have its Flash plugin included in all Internet-compatible devices. How long before we see a Qt based plugin for the Qtopia handheld project?"
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Macromedia Pushes Flash For All Things Web

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  • ..because all it adds is FLASH, not SUBSTANCE.

    I've never seen Flash add any value whatsoever to a site. This is an awful move, yet one that's sure to succeed because salespeople and the great unwashed ignorant masses like shiny things.
    • by InfinityWpi (175421) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:25AM (#3105661)
      That's like saying HTML never added anything to a site. 100% true. It's the content that matters, no whow it's delivered. But let's face it... if you have good content, then it look s a hell of a lot better in Flash than it does in a single page of text.
      • by StormyMonday (163372) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:42PM (#3106191) Homepage
        if you have good content, then it look s a hell of a lot better in Flash than it does in a single page of text.

        I'm intrigued by this comment. How would Flash improve, say, Slashdot? Slashdot is essentially pages of text, with small, simple graphics.

        What would you add? Besides 250KB - 500KB per page of overhead, that is. Animations? Distracts from the text. Better linking? How? Typefaces? I like my defaults, thankyouverymuch. Splash pages? Yeah, I really need a movie at each new page. Programmability? Not in Flash, you don't.

        Perhaps you could take something simple like, say, an RFC and do a Flash version to show us how it's better?
    • I see only one problem with Flash sites: Navigation. Too often I have found myself trying to figure out how to get a Flash site to do what I wanted. With HTML pages, links and buttons were generally always easy to recognize. And the Foward, Back, and Reload buttons did just what they are suppose to.

      If Macromedia wants to push off a complete Flash web solution, I would want this problem resolved before I would ever think of using it.
    • by sacherjj (7595) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:54AM (#3105888) Homepage
      Almost everything they suggest can and has been done with XMLHTTP post in IE 5+. Unfortunately the only method of sending HTTP requests via JavaScript in a browser compatible format is with RemoteScripting (yuck!), with no standard XMLDOM on the client-side. With Microsoft's handling of a client-side XMLDOM in IE, you can have structured data storage client-side with one-way schemas to seriously reduce data traffic and Dynamic HTML to update the use without having to navigate away from the page. You send and receive XML packets over HTTP without having to leave the page. Life is good if you can develop application where users have IE.

      Moderation -1: He talked positively about a Microsoft product.
    • Every graphic designer I know who works for a Web design shop LOVES flash. It takes so much more design-work to make a Flash site. Make neat-o sounds for when the buttons press... Make neat-o rollovers and roll-offs for the buttons, with sounds, and with changes to the rest of the UI. Etc..

      It can make a simple 'brochure' site into an interactive 'gee-whiz' site. At only twice (or more) the cost.

      Of course the salespeople for Web design shops love it too. You don't need a database? That's OK, we have this other idea for spending your money. Flash!

    • It isn't Flash that sucks, it's web site "designers" with grand "visions" of how their site should look and feel. There's far to much arty-farty impractical Flash that has given it a really bad name over the years. It really isn't as bad as the legions Flash munchkins would indicate.

      The problem is much like when Photoshop was first taking off. With so much flexibility it is easy to get lost in the toy qualities of Flash and forget about the purpose of project.

      Remember: Flash doesn't kill web sites. Irresponsible designers kill web sites.
    • Everyone knows that macrmedia don't care about the web. They just want cold hard $$$$. That's what they bend over, and open up there anus to businesses. The end result?

      • Annoying adds that don't stop, even if the designer left the loop and play options on.
      • Giving the designers the ability to remove the 'play' and 'loop' options (which don't stop animation totaly anyway), leaving you no way to stop it, even the browser stop button dosn't work.
      • No volume or mute options. If someone has music, and forgot to add a mute option them selves. You have to suck it. Too bad if your already listening to you favorite CD.
      • No way to bookmark pages.
      • No way to open a link in a new window.
      • No way to drag a link to the desktop etc.
      • Browser button becomse useless.
      • The program to create falsh animation isn't freely avalible. There are lots if free HTRML options.

      I have seen some amazing things done with flash, like this [preystation.com]. But flash is NOT an alternative for 99% of sites. Sure... I can be use inside sites, for fast, and small animated diagrames etc (a good use of flash). Maybe even to adda bit of life to a site (as long as people can turn it off). But not for the main site. It has FAR too many usablity issues that macromedia don't give a fuck about.
      I have e-mailed macromedia several times--nicly--and ask them if they ever plan to add normal browser features, and add the abiliy to stop animation, mute options etc....No reply. Can't say I really expect one though.

      This is worse than when the CEO of coke said his dream was to have a coke tap in every household. Why? Because this is more likly to become true.
      What can you do?

      BOYCOTT FLASH!!!!

      And my that, I mean e-mailing every commercial site that uses an annoying instance of flash that you come across. Drive it into the company's skulls that this flash is loosing them customers, not gaining them any. Explain how you friend wanted to buy something from their site. but spent there $$ elsewhere cause the flash was annoying or they didn't have the plug-in. This is /., I'm sure you can think up better ones.

      Let me say again: I like flash. I'm a web designer, and also like animation and other muiltimedia, flash is a very powerfull tool. I have seen soome really amazing things done with flash. But it's just not ideal for most sites, and never will be unless macromedia change there mindset.

  • Not gonna happen (Score:2, Insightful)

    by punkball (240859)
    Flash is incredibly annoying. You can't link to particular sections in a flash movie, blind people certainly can't enjoy the movies, and flash has really become just a way for people to make funny skits (All your base, Weeeeeee!). It's rare to see it used for much other than a web design firm's way of showing off or some drunk idiot's way of getting people to laugh.
    • I disagree - flash is great... It's an almost foolproof way of telling if a website is worth visiting. If it uses flash you might as well noy bother. Of course this doesn't imply anything about flash, just about people who think it's a good idea.
    • Think of it twice (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mirko (198274) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:28AM (#3105676) Journal
      You can't link to particular sections in a flash movie

      Actually, this could decide some paying web sites to adopt it as not being able to distinguish between subsets of a web site also makes it difficult to filter junk^Wads and it may also have some impact on some future restrictions regarding links between web sites.

      So, if I agree with you on its shortcomings, I however think they could just boost some unworthy practices
    • Re:Not gonna happen (Score:5, Informative)

      by Big_Daddy_CBT (555808) <.ku.oc.oohay. .ta. .llewkcor_sirk.> on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:33AM (#3105719)
      I have to disagree here. I think what most people see Flash being used for is crap, but there are several different applications that Flash is used for.

      We actually use Flash to develop "Smart Graphics" which are representations of aircraft panels that can then be embedded in Authorware, HTML, Visual Basic, etc... and configured through text files on the fly. This saves us an incredible amount of development time and leaves us with a cross platform library of reuseable objects.

      In addition to this Flash is also being used by several companies as a way to create and distribute CBT. I have actually seen one group that developed a shell in Flash with other Flash movies that loaded depending on the content that was needed for the training application.

      I think that the fact that Flash is also available on many different platforms makes it a great tool for that type of development. There are many people that I have spoken with at various conferences that believe that the future of the internet is NOT the browser. Flash is at least one viable alternative.

      No, I wouldn't develop all of my applications with it, but I think with a little work you can actually use it to develop some very usable programs.

      Kris
      • Don't forget, though, that CBT has long ignored foreign language training, and that Flash does not support Unicode, even though the large majority of LMSs, LCMSs, etc. are moving that way.

        There are other reasons, including openess, that make XML (XML SVG, XMLVoice, etc.) the way to go for CBT, and, ecpecially, WBT.
      • We have also used Flash to do some things that we just couldn't possibly do in HTML. The choice is either Java applets (which MS is working so hard to kill) or something else that lets me run a program in the user's browser. If you put it in the hands of real programmers, Flash is powerful.

        We built a site that lets users browse through sections of a catalog; a single "wrapper" Flash holds all of the different sections, but they dynamically built from a script, so the user only downloads the sections they're interested in. Product detail "pages" are also dynamically generated by querying the commerce site's database. The result is a well-designed, very flexible interface that is still highly "boiler-plate" from the IS department's perspective, and gives us much more control over the presentation than HTML ever would.

        And we didn't even use the XML hooks! (There wasn't time to do the engineering on the e-commerce server/db). Flash isn't the answer to everything, but it is a lot more than just, well, flash.

        I'd throw in an URL, but the client would strangle us if they were slash-dotted.
    • It's just that no body ever does it. Flash can load variables from the Querystring. You could then take the vars from the Querystring and tell the player to go to a specific scene within the Flash movie. Then you could bookmark a page and return to that same "page" in the Flash movie.

      Most of the Flash done for websites is created by Graphic Designers (usually print media designers that have decided (or been made) to create a website) and they don't think this way.
  • by Trinity-Infinity (91335) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:25AM (#3105659) Homepage
    How would sites written in Flash be accessible to disabled users of the internet, that rely on alt-tags and other items to navigate a site successfully. I had a hard enough time trying to navigate DoCoMo's website (in flash) through the Babelfish translator. I can only imagine how hard it would be were the site in English and the user blind or unable to use their hands/fingers/etc....
    • http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/productin fo/newfeatures/ [macromedia.com]
      Macromedia Flash Player 6 now supports assistive technologies such as screen readers through support of Microsoft Active Accessibility. In addition, Macromedia Flash MX now integrates tools for creating accessible content. To add descriptive text to animations and user interface elements, select an item and enter the appropriate description. Users with disabilities will be able to experience your content.
      • As the poster below mentions, this is all nice and good, but what if I don't use IE, active X, or heaven forbid, Windows? I know it's a hard concept to use, but not all disabled users flock to windows, as (from what I understand) windows "accessability" support sucks sweaty donkey balls. Mac is said to be better, but hey, I can see and use my arms and hands, so what do I know.

        This is IMHO a big issue though. If MM is going to start trying to convince everyone to go flash, then the way the web is used and /can/ be used is going to change. I just hope that there are still ways to screen scrape information for people are actually interested in information and not "enjoying a multimedia experience".

        That's my morning rant. Happy Monday :)
    • Macromedia has a press release [macromedia.com] describing the 'improved' accessiblity of Flash MX - it uses Microsoft Active Accessiblity [microsoft.com]. Unfortunately, I doubt that those features will apply to any non-Windows versions of Flash player
    • by wgnorm (163220) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:37AM (#3105751)
      With this new version, Macromedia has added an accessibility object that will allow developers to specify alternate content for screen readers. It's based on Microsoft technology, so I'm not sure how well it will work over other OS's and devices.

      Here's what Macromedia has about it on their site:

      "Macromedia Flash Player 6 now supports assistive technologies such as screen readers through support of Microsoft Active Accessibility. In addition, Macromedia Flash MX now integrates tools for creating accessible content. To add descriptive text to animations and user interface elements, select an item and enter the appropriate description. Users with disabilities will be able to experience your content. "
    • by mblase (200735) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:43AM (#3105812)
      How would sites written in Flash be accessible to disabled users of the internet, that rely on alt-tags and other items to navigate a site successfully.

      They're not. Simple as that.

      If you're developing using Flash, then you're assuming your client has a graphical operating system and a graphical browser. Granted, it's a minority of the web-surfing world that relies on Braille displays or text-to-speech readers or keyboard-only access, but they do exist.

      However, it's not really fair to shoot the messenger. Developers have been demanding this sort of thing from Flash, because clients have been demanding it from developers. Macromedia is simply giving people what they've asked for.

      It's the clients that are the problem, clients and underexperienced developers. Too many people don't realize that "universal accessibility" is something that should be built into every Web site, or at least taken into account. The example site [enteryourinformation.com] cited in the News.com article understands this perfectly -- they include a link to a low-bandwidth version [broadmoor.com] which provides the same functionality using ordinary Web-based forms, and of course the home page lists the phone number for information and reservations. Those who have Flash are treated to a dynamically-updated reservation system stored entirely on one Web page; the rest have ready access to non-Flash or phone-based methods. Good developers; much praise and approval from self.

      Of course, there will be developers who create their sites using Flash and nothing but, and they'll eventually get complaints and either address them or ignore them. But there have always been developers who ignore accessibility; I'm still the only guy at my company who uses ALT tags universally. But it's not fair to say "Macromedia shouldn't be offering this tool" when it's the developers and clients, not Macromedia, who need to consider accessibility.
      • by RickHunter (103108) on Monday March 04, 2002 @01:02PM (#3106406)

        Don't just blame the clients for designing websites accessible to only the "majority" of web users. Underexperienced developers. One (pen-and-paper) gaming company whose products I like recently "upgraded" their website. To some horrible thing with IE-only Javscript menus. When asked why, their representative claimed that:

        1. Everyone they'd interviewed (who? No-one on any of their public mailing lists can stand the design) liked the new site better.
        2. Users of other browsers are a minority of their customers.
        3. Designing the site for universal access would have cost more money.

        Its mainly the last point that's the problem. "Web designers" often have no skills or training whatsoever. They just throw together some "hot technology", a photoshop-generated image or fifty, and hand in a huge bill. When asked to design a simpler site that presents the information better and which more people can access, they present a larger bill. Why? It means they actually have to do the job they were hired for.

  • This of course depends on how it's used. Some of the nicest sites I've ever seen have been flash. And I wouldn't mind seeing more *commercial*,*non-porn* sites in flash.

    Most home sites don't need it, most useful sites shouldn't use it (for accessability reasons, and because they'll need mostly text), and most porn sites would... well, let's just say I don't want 10 windows of jiggling cartoon flesh unless I ask for them.
    • Well, I'll say one thing, it certainly will shut up all the people who complain about HTML written in attempt to create a specific look, rather than describing a document structure.
  • Web site traffic is concentrating more and more to a few large sites, and these sites are not going to hand over development (and hence, site control) to Macromedia.

    Flash will continue to have its place, but we've probably reached a steady state as to where its acceptable.

  • Yeah, but don't they already know that Microsoft owns the Web now? In fact, I heard from Matt Drudge that Microsoft representatives are currently in talks with Tim Berners-Lee and other high-ranking W3C officials to rename it the Microsoft Slave Network.

    monolinux.com :: Latest Headlines [monolinux.com]
  • by smoondog (85133) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:28AM (#3105678)
    While I tend to think Flash sites are overdone, I do think that flash is useful. I wish, however, that there was a more open standard for developing flash-like functionality. Kind of like a postscript versus pdf. There aren't many non-commercial options when trying to develop this kind of functionality. Macromedia might want to rule the world, but they probably shouldn't.

    -Sean
  • not quite (Score:2, Informative)

    by archen (447353)
    Go to Macromedia's website and get an installer for shockwave. You use Netscape or IE. Don't use one of those? Sorry, our installer won't let you install wherever you want or even detect other browsers - i.e. do the copy and paste kludge yourself. As far as I know Flash (not shockwave) STILL doesn't work under Mozilla. I've been browsing flash free for a while now, and it's actually quite nice. No annoying sounds or music all over the place. There are a few places that I can't navigate without flash, but that's what the back button is for.
  • MS ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by selderrr (523988) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:28AM (#3105681) Journal
    Wonder how long it will take for Microsoft to embrace and extend this...

    anyway as tons previous and future posts will tell, flash makes things complicated rather than practical. Most flash sites drown in goodies. Except for joecartoon (www.joecartoon.com) I have yet to see a truly original flash use.
    The biggest problem is that flash wants to be a general system for making all things online That's exact the idea of HTML. Only HTML add the keywords indexeable, shareable and ease If macromedia can add those to flash, then perhaps we'll be getting somewhere.
  • by richardbowers (143034) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:29AM (#3105682)
    Macromedia has been pushing site development like this for years, and a number of fairly unpopular sites have used it.

    The problems are nothing you wouldn't expect -- Requires high bandwidth
    Inaccessible to people with disabilities [addressed in part with today's release, but not enough.]
    Doesn't usually lead to usable sites. Flash sites are usually too complicated and too cool-looking, not designed for actual people but for marketing droids.
    Requires specialized Flash knowledge -- not built on other open products, like XML.
    And, most important for this audience -- Flash isn't an open standard. You can't depend on being able to watch it on any given operating system or browser.

    Instead, consider some of the "new" offerings from the W3C. Technologies like SMIL and SVG have the potential to overtake Macromedia and make life easier for all of us.
  • by Aexia (517457) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:30AM (#3105690)
    I got sosick of all the flash ads and useless entrance page animations that I uninstalled the damn thing from my machine, no small feat I assure you. I ran the uninstaller(d/l'd from flash's website, not actually included) repeatedly to no avail. Finally, I resorted to just deleting the flash files themselves and removing any registry entries manually.

    Made my browsing experience much better overall. Any site that requires you to have flash usually isn't worth visiting.
  • There are still a large amount of people living where High Speed surfing isn't available. What good is a "cool site" when it takes 2 or 3 minutes to load to a browser?

    I'm one of those folks, where I live there IS no cable hookup, DSL, or even ISDN. I'm stuck calling a city 20 miles away for my dialup to the net - thank the deities that I have access to a call pack that makes it a local call - since it would otherwise be considered a toll call for me to get online.
  • Good looking pages are only useful if you can see. How well, if at all.. is flash for the blind?

    Can I increase the font size in a flash applet? No.

    Those with poor or lack of vision are competely screwed by the use of flash, but they are just like Unix users... a minority; who cares about them?
    • Those with poor or lack of vision are competely screwed by the use of flash, but they are just like Unix users... a minority; who cares about them?

      Luckily, they're a minority the government tends to listen to and likes to protect.
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:31AM (#3105705) Journal
    I have seen a number of sites based entirely on flash. Some were pretty cool for what they did.

    One thing I did not like was that some of the ones I liked were entirely unlinkable. I could not even bookmark a page for my own referance. Great for designers wanting to keep absolute control over their content.

    Bottom line, I never went back.

    never mind that I wonder how a search engine will index a flash site. Heck, they usually do static pages only. Even java script calls to offsite get bypassed, nevet mind Flash.

    So you have a great page that can only be ignored by search engines. Not that this is the way most sites get known, but it is a real issue.

    • So you have a great page that can only be ignored by search engines. Not that this is the way most sites get known....

      I wonder if that's true. I just spent the weekend closely analyzing the logs for site where a bunch of jazz critics have articles posted [jazzhouse.org], and at this point about 4/5's of the traffic enters the site from Google searches. So when I look at another jazz site [jazzcorner.com] that's gone all to Flash (I tried to talk her out of it), I can only guess that all the folks searching for info on their favorite musicians (most of the Google searches are that) are totally missing the musicians' pages on that other site - which the musicians are paying for - so it's pretty totally a disservice unless the business goal is just to have something that looks cool when the musicians show their friends.

      I was really surprised at how much Google has become the approach-of-choice to the Web. Thought it was just /. types who realized how good it was. Turns out it's most of the world, if the logs I've just been reading through are any indication - and a couple years ago they looked entirely different, people entering from bookmarks or links at sister sites. This has prompted some adjustments to the site, so people coming in sideways will still find the other resources easily.

      Flash consists in removing yourself from the Internet, and only makes sense if you have a captive audience, at least until the search engines can all digest it and drop people in precisely.
      ____

  • Dude! (Score:5, Funny)

    by EricKrout.com (559698) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:32AM (#3105708) Homepage
    Rather than relying on HTML codes to design web pages and embedding Flash as one component, Macromedia wants Flash to be used to design the entirety of a site [for all sites on the Internet]. Pre-built components, such as scrollbars and buttons, are included to allow designers to write everything using the new Flash product[to entice coders to use the Flash development environment].

    Dude, 1996 called. Microsoft wants their business strategy back.

    monolinux.com :: All Linux, No Ads [monolinux.com]
  • Blind users (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm a web designer for a governmental entity (not in the USA), and I have adapted for blind users (WAI-Guidelines). The blind positively dislike flash, especially on the first page, especially if there is no "skip animation" button.

    Stay away from flash: It burns bandwidth, it locks out people who use text browsers (lots of blind folk use Lynx!), it locks out anybody who does not have the newest version of flash, and it is prone to error. HTML may not be that spiffy, but it works. Today, it takes a lot to mess up an HTML page. With flash, this is too easy.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:32AM (#3105715) Homepage Journal
    If Macromedia is so serious, they should consider that web developers have a much higher percentage of *nix people in the ranks. Yet no dev tools have been ported. Hmmmmm.... MM is buying the FUD.

    Also, I smell the day coming when there will be a "Flash Tax" ala "GIF Tax", but Macromedia needs to become more entrenched before this can happen.
    • There is going to be Flash MX development tools for unix users. They're releasing Flash MX for Mac OS X.
    • Furthermore, if they want flash to be universally accepted, flash has to be available on EVERY SINGLE PLATFORM and for EVERY SINGLE BROWSER. This includes Linux/{PPC|Sparc|Alpha|MIPS}, Linux/StrongARM (handhelds), *BSD, webTV, Amiga, and browsers: Opera, OmniWEB, Mozilla, etc. (right now Mozilla is available for several more platforms than Flash is)

      I highly doubt that I will Ever see a Linux/alpha player. If their crap becomes widely accepted they will become another M$ -- forcing everyone to use Intel because their software is only available for Intel. For this reason alone no one should use flash for a "real" website.

      strip tag <param name=movie value=~/\.swf/> add encloser <object> [sourceforge.net]

      --Bob

  • by humps (245087)
    once everyone is happy to implement say 70-80% functionality of their site using Flash. Flash plug-in itself will no longer be just a 'plug-in'. I then becomes a browser itself. Then all M'media needs to do is to launch a better packaged Flash browser (or the flash player) and flock people to browse swf files instead of HTML.

    Hence moving away from W3C standards. Then having the 'standard' themselves and change it as much as they like at anytime and launch new products.

    By maintaining compatability with normal browser, they can certainly claim they are not trying to dominate the browser market even the browser itself becomes more of a launch pad for Flash.

    That's how I see the evil plan anyway.
  • bah. (Score:2, Funny)

    by garcia (6573)
    Flash is great and all but I hate it.

    I find myself clicking skip intro and using the "non-flash" site all the time.

    Maybe some people like blinking lights, animations, and bullshit, myself, I like clicking the damn link and seeing the porn. I don't need to wait for 3 mins for something to load (even over broadband) and then waiting 3 more minutes to find the bouncing lady to click.

    I will stick to HTML, thank you.
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JMZero (449047) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:34AM (#3105724) Homepage
    The goals of Flash are pretty much perpendicular to those of html.

    Is HTML perfectly well thought out? Not really. But it's there, it's open, it's getting more standardized all the time. It works reliably on a lot of different platforms.

    And through extensions like Flash, it can produce whatever monstrosity of a web site that evil designers can imagine.

    That said, Flash only sites are annoying to use in a regular browser. Linking to certain parts of a site doesn't work (at least not usually), and back/forward are unreliable. But the solution should come from the Flash developer. When you click a link, the browser should move to a new page, one that initializes the same Flash data with the parameters to show the new page. Unfortunately, most Flash sites don't work that way. The browser stays on the same Flash data and the poor user is forced to use the Flash navigation.

    Nothing better than right clicking and getting Pause, Play, and Stop...

    /.
  • so its not necessarily a Bad Thing (TM). Flash is more efficient (and easier) for vector drawings and animations, and they could probably even make lightweight text display if they wanted to.

    But I don't think this is the product. It can't really do animation, and it can't really do formatting. It's a case of the happy middle that ain't. Even if it was open, and better designed, its just a small bit between two very strong poles -- information (text and images), and entertainment (video and 3D games)
  • I like to think of flash like black paint or salt...

    A little bit goes a looooong way.

    Flash is fine for grpahical accents and small navigational elements that would otherwise require tons of scriptiong, but as for building and entire site on flash it's pretty much overkill.

    Personally, I think flash would make a wonderful interface for embedded objects like PDA's and cellphones.
  • Flash is nice but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PotatoHead (12771) <doug&opengeek,org> on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:37AM (#3105755) Homepage Journal
    Should we be building our web with closed standards? Macromedia owns flash. Once the usage rises, whats to say they continue to do good things with it?

    The built in widgets are nice, (hope they are cross-platform) how much does it cost to develop and maintain vs what we have now?

    How many really bad flash sites have you run into? I bump into a lot of them. Flash makes some things easy, but does nothing to hide lack of talent.
  • Rather than relying on HTML codes to design web pages and embedding Flash as one component, Macromedia wants Flash to be used to design the entirety of a site.

    I don't know about anyone else, but the LAST thing I want to see is a web gone completely flash.


    Not only is flash annoying, invasive, and a pain in the ass, but it's not exactly the most user-friendly of web interfaces. Cumbersome downloads, long waits for those on slower connections, and a lack of accessibility for people with disabilities make flash a poor choice for web content, period. And let's not even get into those annoying in-your-face demands that you download this or that component in order to display the latest and greatest flash widgets.


    I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who automatically clicks the "Skip Intro" links on sites that have them, and find other sources of amusement on sites that don't. As for the ones that have the option of flash or HTML on their splash page.. I can't remember ever actually CHOOSING to visit the flash version. If there's no static HTML option, I go elsewhere, period.


    We thought the advent of FrontPage was hell.. can you IMAGINE what the self professed "Webmasters" will produce with a flash-based equivilent? Even Macromedia's people admit that people don't know how to use flash to advantage. From the article: The usability argument is somewhat ironic, given that Flash has been identified as a key culprit in bad Web design, enabling pages of blinking text and galloping images that do little more than consume bandwidth. Flazoom's MacGregor said that Macromedia learned its lesson with the last version of Flash, when it began an extensive campaign to educate designers on appropriate use of Flash.


    Sorry MacGregor, but you can't train people to have good taste and common sense.


  • by thesolo (131008) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:39AM (#3105777) Homepage
    I read the article, and I'm not convinced otherwise. Flash is nothing more than a gimmick, and I personally don't want it used at all, let alone having entire pages done in it. The only places I ever see Flash used are on websites that offer no real information, or "Beat Up Osama" movies.

    Face facts about Flash:
    1) It's hard to keep up to date. Until you can make Flash that updates itself from SQL, it's worthless for any real data.
    2) It's not backwards-compatible with older browsers, nor is it friendly to text-only browsers such as Lynx. The flash content doesn't have an alternate of plain HTML & text for those without the plugin (although you can do an elaborate detection scheme which only works 50% of the time)
    3) It breaks the standard web paradigm; once you in a flash movie, the back button on your browser doesn't take you back a page, it starts the movie over again! ARGH!

    To top this off, recently a lot of ad designers have started using Flash in their ads. Which means animation, sound, a lot of stuff that makes me IGNORE the advertisement and want to DISABLE Flash in the first place.

    Also, the only real benefit of Flash, vector graphics, are completely lost in the mix of horrible effects, processor-killing animation, and canned sounds. If you want good vector graphics, use Adobe SVG [adobe.com] instead.

    On a semi-related rant, I personally am tired of companies trying to treat the web like Television. Even in this article, they mention how they can make web pages like TV. It's a completely wrong approach; the WWW is supposed to be interactive! I don't want animations forced on me, I don't want excessive loading times so I can have glowing scrollbars, I want the information I'm looking for! The web is not meant to mindlessly entertain you for 30 minutes at a time with ads snuck in, it's meant to exchange information. No one can force us to look at ads online, and the more they try, the more we are going to block those tools. If I see one more ad with Flash on it, I'm going to completely remove it from my system.
    • 1) It's hard to keep up to date. Until you can make Flash that updates itself from SQL, it's worthless for any real data.

      I can't speak to anything else in your comment, but I can say that Macromedia is working on this. In particular, they are working on integrating their Flash and ColdFusion products so that you can link a Flash movie to an SQL database.

      Of course, the integration as it stands now is, well, pretty painful. But I'm keeping my hopes up. :)
    • 1) It's hard to keep up to date. Until you can make Flash that updates itself from SQL, it's worthless for any real data.

      You can. This has been a feature since Flash 4. The only problem is, in most webdevelopment shops, all things Flash are the domain of the designers, whereas the SQL stuff gets done by the programmers, so it's a feature that's left unused a lot (probably for the better, though).
    • by Chagrin (128939) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:08PM (#3105982) Homepage
      Flash definitely has bad implementations as well as good implementations; I'm by no means advocating 100% use, but sometimes the flexibility of Flash allows a better UI.

      Anyway, to counter some of your statements:
      1) Flash can be dynamic. Check out JGenerator, an open source, Apache-style licensed dynamic generator for flash at http://www.flashgap.com/ [flashgap.com]
      2) Any intelligent developer will know to keep their content seperate from their presentation, and should be able to create alternate interfaces, such as plain HTML.
      3) The "back" button really isn't the greatest paradigm (motif) to begin with. The only purpose for its use is for sites with poor navigation, where users can tend to get lost in a maze of subpages with no clear way to get back to where they were.
    • I pretty much agree (Score:3, Informative)

      by Colin Smith (2679)
      Had one guy ask me why his web sites never got into the search engines and why mine were always on the first page of search results despite him trying to "submit" his sites multiple times. I've never "submitted" a site to a search engine.

      The pages are about much the same stuff. When I looked at his sites, everything was flash and javascript linking while mine simply provide *useful content* with relatively vanilla HTML. When I told him this, he looked at me like I didn't know what I was talking about and insisted that I must have some secret tags which the search engines use. I don't even use the meta description tags.

      As a result, my pages get 10 hits for every one his get.

      Some people are just too dumb to give advice to.

  • ... considering that Flash is killing the web by effectively blocking content from search engines, making it impossible to link to specific information etc is that Macromedia apparently is giving the developer interface yet another complete overhaul. I'm willing to bet this is going to piss off a lot of web designers, who've had to take time off from active development to familiarize themselves with the revamped Flash 5 interface only a year ago. And if it doesn't piss them off, I'm sure it will their employers. Now I actually *like* Flash, provided it's used as the toy it really is, and I *like* the fact that Macromedia seems to 'get' the web a lot more than Adobe (designing webpages is a *lot* more pleasant in Fireworks than it is in Photoshop or ImageReady), but they should really stop trying to reinvent their flagship product every year. It alienates their support base and doesn't get them anywhere.
    • by scarhill (140669)
      Flash is killing the web by effectively blocking content from search engines, making it impossible to link to specific information etc

      This is really a key point. If your site can't be linked to and can't be indexed by search engines, are you really "on the web"? This is both a theorectical question (Is hypertext that can't be linked to an oxymoron?) and a practical one (Are you on the web if no one knows your site exists?).

      A lot of the same issues apply to DHTML sites where a page consists solely of a huge mass of Javascript.

      Speaking from personal experience, if Google can't see your site, odds are I won't either.
      • The DHTML sites you mention would probably be better off if done in Flash, however. You can say what you want about Flash, but it's a *lot* easier on browsers than pages with all sorts of whizzbang JavaScript menu's and shit like that.

        Actually, it would probably be best if these DHTML sites and Flash only sites didn't exist at all, but that's a different issue altogether.
  • Seems like the proposed move from C/C++ based development to something proprietary like C# (or Java, depending on how you look at things).

    I foresee problems with stuff like standards (no standards body, just a proprietary company) and licensing issues.

    Seems like the W3C just needs to propose something "nextgen" (some kind of toolkit based design like this apposed to yet another mark-up language) to make things move forward, or maybe we just need to stick with the evolving standard stuff like HTML, DHTML, CSS, XML... etc. Just a thought.
  • by HalfFlat (121672) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:42AM (#3105801)

    With a "built-in media player, based on Sorenson Media's video player" we're not going to see a source-available version any time soon. In the past Flash has been a security liability through buffer overruns in the player. There's no way they can be held accountable for them if there are no alternatives.

    Executable material in web pages is very rarely necessary. When it is though there's that language, um, what was it called? Java? I hear some people code in that already.

    Flash has been one of the suckiest aspects of the web in recent years. Given that it so counters accessibility, usability, cross-platformedness, and indexability, there is no way it can possibly be a good thing for web pages. It is the exact opposite of good for web pages.

    Flash developers are being smarter about how they're using Flash.
    There's no smart way of using Flash as part of the web. You can use HTTP as a transport mechanism for your closed Flash application, but you can use HTTP for anything. There's more to being part of the web than being served over port 80.

    Flash should be thrown out as a web application platform. Just tossed. Don't use it. The record shows that most flash is expensive, bandwidth sucking, usability crushing crud, which is all the more frustrating for its complete lack of necessity. The only Flash I've seen that was not so were animationts where the animations were themselves the content. In this situation Flash is a glorified video codec, and if that's all it was ever used for, things wouldn't be so bad.

    It's hard to see how Flash could be fixed. One could open up the format, but that doesn't change the fact that it's sucky for the web. If a site uses Flash in a way that works well without it, why bother with it in the first place? If it doesn't degrade gracefully, then congratulations, you have made a site that throws away most of what makes the web actually useful.

  • If you plan on doing this you might as well factor two things:

    1) You're going to also need to make an HTML site for those who don't have (and/or don't want) Flash installed in their browser, thereby adding to your work/cost, or

    2) Be willing to alienate a large number of potential viewers.

    If this is your personal site, then knock yourself out. Make it all blinky blinky and shit, you've got nobody to cater to but yourself. However, if this is your business site then you're better served taking that bag of cash you were going to pay the Flash "artist" and running it through the shredder. Quicker, less heartache, and less heartburn.

    If you want to get your message out, it's best to do it in a manner that the majority of people can use. And that is our old friend HTML.

  • To paraphrase Charlton Heston:

    "There's no such thing as good Flash. There's no such thing as bad Flash. Flash in the hands of a bad designer is a very dangerous thing. Flash in the hands of a good designer is no danger to anyone, except the blind guys."

    Accessibility arguments aside (as I assume that eventually the folks at Macromedia will start to deal with methods for making Flash accessible to screen readers), the major arguments against using Flash really have more to do with the page designers than with the technology.

    The problem as I see it is that there are hundreds of ITI-like schools that teach "web design" by doing little else than going over the basics of HTML, then jumping into how to combine JavaScript, DHTML and Flash into the ULTIMATE WEB PAGE!!! which will get you noticed and earn you millions. No attention is paid to the more important aspects of web design, such as: usability, accessibility, size restrictions(remember the "no page over 50k!" design guideline of olden days?), proper layout of information and function, etc, etc. On top of this, the art of code optimization is lost on a lot of these developers, so they do little in the way of making judicious use of Flash -- they basically use it everywhere, for things which HTML could easily do for them.

    In the hands of a good designer, Flash can be used to create really innovative navigation methods that reduce the time required for users to accomplish their tasks. The example reservation form linked from the article is a pretty nice way of dealing with online hotel reservations (there are a few things that I found wierd - like how it selected a range of dates).

    Overall, however, I see no need for Flash to replace HTML entirely. The design should always be:

    Basic function in HTML,
    Extended function in Flash,
    Ridiculous function left out.
    • I disagree. I think basic *and* extended functions should be done in HTML. Flash is really cool, but it should only be used for 'gadgets', not for information. For example, a lot of electronic musicians use Flash on their site to implement all sorts of audio toys that lets visitors 'play' with the music of these artists. That, I think, is fine. What isn't fine, however, is the fact that on most of these sites, 'important' information such as release dates and tour dates is put up in Flash as well.
  • by uncadonna (85026)
    Flash is a programmer's horror as much as HTML is.

    Try curl [curl.com] for a reasonable client side solution.

  • I'm the tech guy on a project to put some Arabic courses on the web. While I understand why our design people (I used to be one... back in the day) want to use Flash for EVERYTHING, it just doesn not fit our needs.

    Yes, it looks better than HTML. Yes, it can be integreated with JavaScript, PHP, XML. But two big problems still linger (for us, anyway):

    1. No Unicode support. No, I am not going to convert every separate, initital, medial, and final script character to an image. Plus, this kills our DB/XML integration.
    2. It is still closed-source, and support for the features we use could be dead tomorrow. The story on /. yesterday about the laser disc archive being obsolete happens to use all the time. It would do us little good (and waste US taxpayers' dollars - we are on a DOD grant) to code our courses in Flash.

    What we do use Flash for is display of certain animated graphics. For example, I wrote an XML/JavaScript activity that can teach how to tell time in any language. Basically, the script chooses a random time and then passes it to the XML for translation into the foreign language, and also into a function that displays an analog clock with that same time.

    For now, that clock is displayed in Flash. Perhaps later we will use XML SVC, or something like that. But the key is that we are using Flash as a removable part.

    Someone already mentioned braille access, etc. I'll just echo that concern.

  • You can't cut and paste from a flash site. I could see big corporate webmasters loving that (HA! They'd have to go to our site to see our content.), but it would be annoying for anyone who uses the web for research.
  • Flash: 99% Bad (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chachi5000 (533103)
    Take it from the expert, Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, October 29, 2000 - http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html [useit.com]
  • The biggest problems that flash has in my mind are:
    • Lack of standards in presentation
      Every flash site is different, and usually you cannot resize them to take advantage of your screen. Or change font size.
    • Bad/no support for different languages.
      Maybe apache can do this for flash, but if you are really Hardcore then apache can serve up different version of your site for different languages automatically.
    • No cut and paste
      At least for text it would be nice to be able to cut and paste text easilly in ALL flash sites without having the author put that feature in.
    • Can search engines/robots search them?
      can google / altavista/ etc index flashfor searching?
    • What about dynamic flash content?
      Most websites worth going to have almost 100 percent dynamic content.
    Basically, flash has a long way to go before it can even come close to replacing HTML.
  • by popular (301484) on Monday March 04, 2002 @11:58AM (#3105914) Homepage

    Flash is not perfect, and it has been abused quite a bit. However, most of you are ignorant of its capabilities, largely because you've never seen them used.

    First of all, Flash can be made accessible. The latest version will work with screen readers, and on top of that, you've obviously heard the annoying music in some of them -- do you suppose that audio could be used to read the screen?

    Second, Flash does have its place. I'm a programmer for an educational software company, and let me tell you -- it's just about the only thing educational software companies are using these days, with the exception of slower, more bloated Macromedia formats like Director and Authorware. It's relatively fast, and the small file sizes make a HUGE difference when content is delivered via Internet.

    Third -- the "usability" whiners. No, you can't use the back button, and that's a good thing when you're talking about instruction. Did you give a wrong answer? Well oops, I guess you just hit the back button and do it again -- that sounds like a really bad way to give tests to me. As for "deep" linking, you may or may not be able to. It has been possible to load a Flash movie using a query string that sets variables within the movie, e.g. "marketing_crap.swf?section=FAQ", which could be used for navigation into that section.

    Lastly, Flash is open. You can download the SDK from Macromedia's site. It explains the file format, internal data types, plus low and high level interfaces for creating SWF files with Visual C++. I understand that it is not as cutesy as the overbuilt XML-type SVG format, but for many people, that isn't a Bad Thing®.

  • I disable Flash, even if my browser supports it. I don't need closed standards like Flash on my browser. So, companies that have all Flash websites don't get my business. It's that simple. If the site isn't accessible without Flash, it doesn't get looked at by me. I encourage everybody else to do the same. There already are a couple of companies that have lost my business and the business of my employers over this.

  • Flash MX Site (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheMatt (541854) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:02PM (#3105940) Homepage Journal
    Here is a site [enteryourinformation.com] that Macromedia is using to tout the power of Flash MX.

    It is a reservation system for the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. I think it is one of the most usable Flash sites I've seen in a while.
  • Most Flash sites I use tend to be fixed at certain resolutions. Since the screens I use vary from an 1024x768 to a 1600x1200, this really doesn't work very well.

    For example, those of you with large screens and Flash might take a look at Jaguar's X-Type site [x-type.com]. See that tiny square somewhere in your screen? That's the best use that site will ever make of your screen real estate...

    Cheers,
    Ian

    • That's stupid designers, not Flash. Change the tags to width=100% height=100% and you have vector art scaled to your screen that looks great.

      Just like you can fix a TABLE to be a bad width (like width=1600), does that mean HTML sucks?
  • For example, it's intended to eliminate page refreshes. Users will be able to continue to browse a site even while the Web page processes credit card information and other data

    Which means you'll have to wait longer for the page to load in the first place - even if you won't submit a form, beause the info you'll be viewing while you credit card info is being processed must be preloaded. I know - some of you have DSL and don't care about that, but I'm on a 56k dial-up. And by me experience, noone can remember the word "optimisation" when it comes to flash.
  • by Tazzy531 (456079) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:13PM (#3106013) Homepage
    Flash is great...but only for certain things. Flash is not made for presenting information. It is more of a linear time animation. It is the same as saying storing an encyclopedia on a VHS tape. It's a pain in the neck to find what you want.

    From what I see flash lacks:
    • Uniform Printing ability
    • Search functionality
    • Basic navigation (forward/back)
    I'm sure some flash developers can add this to theirs, but the problem still exists in that a user cannot fully control what he is seeing. For example, a flash site may only want you to see the information in order. When you hit back on this site, it doesn't go to the last screen, but to the beginning or somewhere else.

    Hey..maybe this is how the media is going to control the web...
  • by skunkeh (410004) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:33PM (#3106126)
    Anyone remember when the great premise of the internet used to be equality? Anyone with a text editor and a net connection could stick up their own site, leading to a golden era of communications and freedom of information.

    If you have to shell out $499 for the tools to create web content this equality is gone. The division between those who can and those who cannot is back (no doubt protected by some archaic law such as the DMCA) and once again information is controlled by those who can afford to disseminate it.

    Any new "standard" for web applications should be an open standard. I know Macromedia published the specifications for swf but they are hardly obliged to continue to do this with Flash MX. If the net needs a revolution in web application interfaces we should be looking to open standards such as SVG [w3.org] (for presentation) and XForms [w3.org], not closed standards that are controlled by a single commercial entity.

  • Affordable? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hether (101201) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:42PM (#3106195)
    HTML Is free. Its easy to learn. You can use a simple tool like notepad to create and edit your pages and do just as good a job as someone who used an expensive WYSIWYG tool.

    So how does one go about learning flash? Can you do it as easily and cheaply as you can HTML? NO. You must buy the Macromedia development software. The full version of Flash is $399 and there's no open source alternative. That cuts out a lot of people that make web pages.

    I know this may be considered a good thing, because John Doe who makes the pages about his pet dog won't shell out the bucks to buy flash thus eliminating his web presence, but what about the good and informative pages out there that are created entirely for free by people without the $400 to spend?? Flash is not a affordable solution.

    That aside, I can think of dozens of reasons why I hate Flash. Many of them are already listed here. I see it Flash as mainly a tool to use for graphics, movies, etc. and all the little bells and whistles that need to be on certain sites. I don't see its practicality for dealing with text and information only pages. In addition, I don't like using it in most cases. This may be due to designer ineptitude, but it makes no difference to me why the page is bad. Flash also encourages people to design things with moving parts, mouseovers, etc. that are unnecessary, just by stressing that as one of its primary functions. Just what we need, more animated crap.

    I certainly hope nothing becomes of this idea.
  • question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BigBir3d (454486) on Monday March 04, 2002 @12:43PM (#3106203) Journal
    Did anybody actually read the article linked to this story? Did anybody check out this [enteryourinformation.com] sample page of a online registration for a hotel? The article is not about those idiotic Flash 5 pop-ups and such, but using Flash in a meaningful way. Click on something, the corresponding information is displayed, but, the whole page does not reload! It gives a website the capability of being intuitive, hence productive.

    Productive for e-commerce sites that is.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Monday March 04, 2002 @01:00PM (#3106390) Homepage Journal
    Geez guys, lighten up. If Flash pages suck, that's the users making it suck, not the program itself. Gimmick? It's far more useful than HTML because it has more programmability to it. With Flash, you can actually create a well thought out interface. An HTML interface relies on tons of service side and client side programming, plus having to re-load to go to the next page. With Flash, you can programatically ask all the questions without having to talk to the server at every step. At H&R Block's site, for example, you have to answer a bunch of questions in order to get a tax refund estimate. That involved a lot of talking to the server.. click.. wait.. downloading, ok done. Or they could have sent down a little Flash app that had the interface programmed into it. The only talking to the server would be in sending the tax information up to get a response from the server.

    The page can scale to fit the screen, smoothly. That's another thing I like about Flash is that I no longer need to develop for multi-resolution displays. If you haven't developed a website for a corporation, or somebody who's just really picky, then you have no idea what a headache it is to try to please everybody with HTML in the state that it's in. HTML gives you tables you can scale, so there are a few tricks you can do there. You can even scale images in HTML, but the browsers don't do any kind of filtering, so it looks like a crummy Playstation texture. Flash beats HTML there. It'll anti-alias re-scaled iamges. Plus it has vector drawing capabilities which can be quite useful in nice, simple design without being hard on bandwidth.

    Adding little animation and stuff to a page is nice, but I agree that it's obnoxious on some sites. I remember in the early days of the web, people had some really strange taste in colors and dizzying backgrounds. I think eventually people settled into what's tasteful, and that will happen with Flash too. Animation can be a useful interface tool. Remember that when you you are designing a site, you're expressing message to your customer. I'll give you an example, there's a forum I go to where people have artwork that they want put into a permanent gallery. He used Flash to do a bar-chart of the number of votes. To do that with HTML, you'd have to have a program on the server creating the charts for you.

    Flash is yet another tool in your toolset, not a cockroach. Yes, people abuse it. I think once the gimmick features of it wear away, the more interesting uses of Flash will surface. It's a broad tool that is cross-platform. If HTML had even some of the capabilites that Flash has, I probably would have stayed as a web developer.

    As for you people shouting "Flash sucks! It's just a gimmick!", then I suggest you actually go download the trial version at Macromedia's site and learn what all you can do with it. That way you can develop an intelligent opinion of it, instead of sounding like an idiot.

  • by technohead (536309) on Monday March 04, 2002 @01:13PM (#3106488)

    Flash normally get's used for awful brochureware (as lampooned in the excellent Skipintro.com [skipintro.nl]) but I think it's best use is as a lightweight GUI for web applications and projects like elearning.

    It provides a highly controlable lightweight enviroment that never breaks (providing your users have the plugin). I mainly use it on intranets/extranets as here you know your target audience & this is where more serious apps are hosted anyway.

    If authored correctly Flash can be much more effective on a low bandwidth connection than HTML. On an elearning project the flash developer knocked up 30 minute modules that weighed less than 200k! The users on 56K can be interacting with the content as the rest streams down. The trouble is so much flash on the web is bloated gunk produced by graphic artists (with no usability knowledge) rather than GUI developers.

    Macromedia is bang on track to make Flash a GUI standard with these changes, particularly as it seems one of the few things that works on different set top boxes, Mobiles, PDAs & Desktop OS's. They just need to make it more accessible for disabled users, what about a version of the player that interoperated with a speech browser?

  • by Da VinMan (7669) on Monday March 04, 2002 @01:26PM (#3106587)
    Macromedia needs to demonstrate how Flash is appropriate to be the presentation layer of an n-tier system before this will work. They have to go beyond field level validations to be really useful. Do they have a way to make my validations data driven? Can it talk to a database to get the most current information before it goes to the client? How does it handle backend errors? How will it support transactions? Will it support over the wire encryption of my credit card?

    Etc. etc.. Also I think that re-using the Flash trademark for this new purpose is a bad idea. Whatever you may think of Flash, it's not associated with the concept of being a stable and useful front end for transactional systems. Flash should be left alone to be what it is, and that's all. Now, if they want to leverage the existing installed based of Flash plugins to trojan in the new transactional abilities, that's another story, but that won't poison their existing customers' mindshare (unless they screw up deployment of the new abilities).
  • Accessibility (Score:3, Insightful)

    by netik (141046) on Monday March 04, 2002 @01:36PM (#3106663) Homepage
    Back in 1993 when Gopher was all the rage, one of the promises of the Internet was to offer information to a diverse array of people, and to make that information available to all.

    I've always been against Flash, DHTML, Frames, and other 'technologies' that serve only to push out those who are fully sighted, have powerful computers, and money from accessing information. Once sites take these routes, it's very difficult to read content without having these factors in place.

    Look at _Lynx_! It's so simple to get data using it -- Imagine trying to download a software package who's link was only available somewhere deep inside of flash source?

    Keep the web accessible to all, and if you must offer a flash-only site, at least do a browser check, and offer a text-only site for the unprivledged few.
  • by Com2Kid (142006) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Monday March 04, 2002 @02:59PM (#3107362) Homepage Journal
    My scroll wheel does not work.

    I cannot use my keyboard to scroll around through the text.

    Oh sure those features (well at least keyboard functionality) COULD be added to individual flash animations, but why? Seriously now, each movie would have to independently implement these features, oh joy, like that is ever going to happen.

    When such features are reliant upon the OS the system works the same across EVERYTHING that is viewed.

    Not to mention that Flash is unwieldy when you only need to, say, oh, put up an image gallery. See my site. Simple. It works in Lynx. (I know, I tried it. The tables degrade very gracefully).

    How well does Flash work for the handicapped? The blind, those who cannot see well, or anybody who just wants to have a site read to them from their computer while they are out in the kitchen fetching a snake. Yah sure those people ARE the minority, but as digital voice syntheses gets better and better more and more people will begin to use such virtual web page readers.

    Of course OCR could be ran on all the text, but, uh. . . After a certain point, you just have to ask yourself. If your web site consists of text and pictures, why in the HELL Would you want to use a delivery method that is built first and foremost around graphic content delivery? That is like saving all of your text as GIFs, and that went out of style LOOONG ago. (Remember when n00bs used to do that? ^_^ :) )

    Of course Flash can deliver text at a significantly lower size then a GIF file can, but it is still insane. Flash offers nothing to the majority of sites out there on the net. Think about it, how would Slashdot look as a Flash site? This is ignoring that Flash demands high levels of anti-aliasing to make anything look good. (though granted Flash does INDEED look good, more on this later.)

    Then there is the matter of screen resolution.

    You see the LOVELY thing about flash is that IN THEORY you can scale it to ANY resolution and, besides from any JPEG or other bitmap images embedded into it, the graphics will look just as good. (or bad. ^_^ )

    Too bad WAAAY to many FRIGGIN IDIOTS decide to RESTRICT the size of their Flash animations. Oh lovely. Anybody on a 1600x1200 monitor who comes across a Flash animation in a browser window that is hard locked at 320x240 must have such a LOVELY time...

    (this can be bypassed of course by viewing the page's source and going to the flash file directly, but it still is not all that nice...)

    So one of flash's most lovely features is almost completely obliterated by user stupidity. Lovely.

    (by comparison, few web sites place a lock on the size of their main site page, thankfully... )

    In conclusion. Flash is overweight for general usage, has too high of a processor requirement for general usage, is platform dependent, requires IDEs to develop in (though I guess if you were REALLY patient. . . . . hmm, Flash was NOT made to be user editable on the text level though, HTML was) and has a nifty "run file on users computer" 'feature' that I really don't like. . . . :P

    Flash _IS_ good for some things. Xiao Xiao rock . But taking 400mhz+ to render a page full of text? Noooo thanks. (ok 266mhz+ if the page is done properly. But you know how friggin EASY it is to screw up a movie and bloat the heck out of the size and kill all performance? Even for still scenes. . . . Flash is way to easy to make a costly mistake in. Bad HTML won't slow your system down to a crawl, though if your browser is feeling naughty it may crash. ;) )
  • by Krelnik (69751) <timfarleyNO@SPAMmindspring.com> on Monday March 04, 2002 @03:37PM (#3107715) Homepage Journal
    Without Flash, where are we gonna go to get goofy stuff like those hilarious and inexplicable ads for Panasonic's Hi-Ho ISP [google.com]?

    Hi Ho! Hi Ho!

  • by Hibernator (307430) on Monday March 04, 2002 @06:50PM (#3109301)
    There have been many posts here that raise concerns about the use of Flash in an HTML environment. For those of you who are not happy with Flash, I suggest that you consider developing content with HTML+SVG, instead. Here's why:

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