I Still Love Flash. Here’s Why.

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In recent times, people from all quarters have been getting their boots into Flash. The late Steve Jobs felt that (other than the competing business model issues) supporting Flash was not in the interest of Apple’s customers and that iOS products would not support it. A week or two ago, I came across the Occupy Flash movement. A group of developers have decided that it is time that Flash left the web space and work towards its strengths. Adobe itself recently announced that it was ending Mobile Flash development.

What this means is that Flash will not be supported as a browser plugin on all modern and future (for Android) hand held devices – where Air will still be supported via applications.

  • What does this all mean to the average designer who wants to use Flash in a site?
  • What does this mean for the future of the plugin for desktop based sites?
  • Can’t Flash and HTML5/CSS3/jQuery coexist and play to their own strengths?
  • How can it be accounted for that in less than a decade, there will be more hand held devices not supporting Flash than desktops that do?

Sadly, I cannot answer ANY of these questions.

What I can tell you is that I Love Flash. I always have. I always will.

I will be the first to admit that I saw the CPU cycle issue when testing my simple Flash movie that was an autorun on an installation CD when I considered myself a Flash developer (ooh that was a long time ago – I used Flash 4, 5, MX).

I will also admit that I use the ‘Kill Flash’ app to help me preserve battery life – if you have a billion tabs open on at least 3 browsers, you might notice a significant power drain from all the badly coded repeating Flash adverts on all those lovely blogs!

And though, I gave up Flash development due to my unyielding brain not accepting the new ways of coding for Flash (or Actionscript 3 for that matter), I still love Flash; what it was and what it is – Let’s take a trip back in time…

What WAS Flash?

In my experience – Flash represented an incredible and creative way to add a richness to our mundane static pages. It was like a Gif89a on steroids… No… if GIF89a was a graphic on steroids, then Flash was Godzilla. Flash buttons, Flash sites, Flash cartoons, Flash games, Flash intros, Flash autorun installers, Flash sites! It was such an exciting time!

I loved watching Flash cartoons (Bat Girl series, Stan Lee’s 7th Portal) and who could forget that Flash intro and interface for rayoflight.net (you can find it under projects of their current Flash based site as “Ray of Light Legacy Site” as a video). There are still ‘ray of light’ tutorials floating around the web too!

It was a time where Flash helped creatives ‘create’ and charge a lot for it too.

Then Flash grew up.

What IS Flash?

Yes, it grew up and there were growing pains.

As Flash was further developed, it could access web cams and the microphone. We could watch movies via the FLV wrapper – YouTube and the copycats come to mind. The growth of the Flash based video game industry is still boggles the mind!

While developing for Flash became more difficult for people like me, Flash based rich interactive media creations still made me gasp at what Flash makes possible.

However, as we have matured as web users, most of the time we just want to find content to quickly absorb and not have so many farty bells and whistles.

While effectivness of say, a restaurant website that is based in Flash can be high (love the video background but not the carcas menu), perhaps “low key” usage of Flash on others made doing the whole site in Flash possibly unnecessary (I do love the site design).

One other important aspect of web is SEO. Flash has a poor track record when it comes to text searching Flash files as well as deep linking issues. It just doesn’t come too naturally to Flash. (Of course, as time moves forward, we do get some solutions.)

Further reading on deep linking for Flash 1 | 2 .

It also seemed that as the Flash Player matured, was getting big, complicated and buggy. Oh, and let’s not forget that security issue that got to see a 1st birthday. There was a definite change of attitude towards Flash across all web communities. Developers looked towards simplifying Javascript by creating libraries of functions to harness the untapped potential and one seemed to have asserted itself as the dominant Javascript library.

Yes, it is me – jQuery in ALL MY GLORY

jQuery is pretty awesome! I am still a novice learning to become a jQuery Ninja, but I do like it alot. There are plenty of free scripts floating around the net that offer a nice media experience – I do like the FancyBox script right now and I have built a news slider or two as well as a control panel to display and hide different DIVs. Great stuff!

But from a user perspective, it just isn’t Flash.

Flash still makes my jaw drop.

Flash still beats jQuery for impact and richness

jQuery might be the Incredible Hulk, but Flash is still Godzilla!

You may disagree with me, but I truly believe that in terms of rich media experience, Flash eats jQuery up and spits out the bones.

Flash has certainly had its share of issues and has a reputation that may be too far gone. I just want people to remember what Flash does and why it is so cool. The late Steve Jobs may have pushed Flash Player close to the edge, but it will be others (media included) that will tip it over the side… I hope not…

I love Flash and it seems I stand alone.

Do I stand alone? If you feel the same way about Flash, use the comments to put links of the most impressive Flash based sites you can find! We need to remind people what it is that Flash can do and why desktop computers and devices need Flash Player. Don’t forget to type in “I LOVE FLASH” in the first line because you do, right?

You are either WITH US or AGAINST US

With Apple not allowing Flash Player onto iOS and the withdrawal of support to Flash Mobile, there is no middle ground. To quote a famous movie

“Now who wants to go home… and who wants to go with ME!”

The vast armies that stand against Flash Player have something to prove here too. Can you show me that a live site using jQuery or any Javascript library based site, coupled with healthy usage of HTML5 and its bag of tricks along with currently supported CSS3 tags can out do a media rich Flash site? Put the link in the comments to prove me wrong! I may come around. Don’t forget to type “DUDE! FLASH IS DEAD!” in the first line, because it is, right?

My name is Felix Mak and I LOVE FLASH.

Putting on my flame retardant suit now.

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  • Jay

    I love flash too, but if I say it in public I will get picked on … mostly from nerds, weird isn’t it. Now that Flash step parents (Adobe) have given up on it (well it’s mobile plugin version that is) I am not sure if my friends with ipads will be able to view any of my bad type animations.

    – J

  • Alex

    I agree with your article 110%. (sighs) I miss the good ‘ol days of Flash. Things were easier back then. Apple sold everyone on HTML5 as the *magical* replacement for Flash. And now thanks to “HTML5″ I’m stuck with jQuery slideshows and YouTube videos (since HTML5 video is too much of a hassle requiring 3 different formats). Things aren’t as exciting as they were when Flash was king.

    • http://www.vajaah.com Vajaah

      I LOVE FLASH and totally agree that, “Things aren’t as exciting as they were when Flash was king.” — via Alex

      Unfortunately, DUDE! FLASH IS DEAD! I’ll attend the funeral, mourn and move on. It hurts me to need to talk clients out of their desire for a full Flash site or at least a Flash intro, but it’s necessary.

  • Pingback: I Still Love Flash. Here’s Why. /  Weblog – Hans van Goor

  • Mike

    My name is Mike and I LOVE FLASH!

  • http://blog.aplusmedia.de Michael

    DUDE! FLASH IS DEAD! (at least as dead as IE6 ;-)

    This site is pretty impressive and built with another JS lib called MooTools (just an equivalent to jQuery and the like)
    http://www.ultranoir.com/en/

    I had fun playing with it – especially with cool effects on my iPad.

    • Felix Mak

      Hi Michael,

      … as dead as IE6! Them’s fightin’ words!

      Yeah… that was pretty good. It brings the biggest strengths of Javascript to the fore.

      A good argument with that site. Here is my retort!

      http://www.marcecko.com

      (Jay and Alex, I hear ya! Keep the hope alive!)

      Thanks for your post!

      Felix

    • roddog

      The site was OK. But the jerky, shaking nature of it is hard to stomach for more than a few moments.

  • http://www.formula360.co.uk Paul

    I LOVE FLASH!

    It still has a future, too, that people keep either forgetting or ignoring. For a while, it’ll continue to be big with internet video but it’s still hands down the best option for complex animation and small to mid-sized games for the internet – sites like newgrounds.com are based around content that cannot be easily recreated using html5 technologies. And there’s still Flash in AIR apps as well as the potential for 3D-accelerated Flash apps.

    I was working at a company full of Mac fan-boys (nice guys but over-zealous about Macs) when I heard the news about mobile Flash being discontinued. That was an irritating day for me – politely smiling at some of propaganda they’d memorised by rote…

    They were seeing the situation as a Jobs vs Adobe ‘war’ and Mr Jobs had beaten the evil foe. Hah, Adobe isn’t evil, Apple isn’t evil, even Microsoft isn’t evil – each company is just pushing their own technologies and eventually some get fall out of fashion when better things come along.

    But at the end of the day it’s foolish to think that there is something ‘better’ than Flash out there for the internet (granted, some may cry ‘Silverlight’). At the moment, JS-based ‘animation’ really isn’t better than Flash, it’s just an acceptable substitute for basic animation. And is there a JS equivalent to Flex (ie a fully -fledged extensible application framework)?

    So for all Flash naysayers, consider this: before you go about trying to remove Flash entirely, wouldn’t it be a good idea to develop tools and libraries that can do all the things Flash (and Flex) can actually do first, because jQuery et al just aren’t up to the task yet.

    • Karl

      I LOVE FLASH

      Personally, I am hopeful that the html5 + CSS3 + js framework will collectively deliver the functionally equivalent UI richness that is easily delivered through flash today. But at this point, I think Flash is by far the most complete platform for delivering media richness to the browser.

      The push to kill Flash is simply another case of corporate warfare, with Apple using its leverage to stick it to Adobe.

      The legend of Steve Jobs as a visionary and a leader who revolutionized mobile technology will live on (and deservedly so). However, the position he took to exclude flash player from the iOS platform will set us back a number of years (similar to that of the browser war of years past).

    • http://www.pawpaints.net Rebecca Clark

      I totally agree Paul.

      I LOVE FLASH!

      Beginning to hate Apple with the “I want to be like Microsoft and not play well with others attitude!”

  • Ckris King

    Yes , I love FLASH !!! :D

  • http://www.raimond.lv Raymond

    Yeah.. and iPhone and iPad users love flash too…

  • André Martins

    I LOVE FLASH!

    I believe you can do the same things you do in flash with jquery+css+html but it takes much more time.
    You have to worry about browsers and browser version and dont forget that javascript is slower in certain browsers.

    Flash is just faster to develop and runs smoother.

  • stope

    Well yeah, every dying technology or idea cries the loudest at its end…

    There are plenty HTML5/JS experimental sites that show the true potencial. But yes, you have to learn new tricks which could be hard when you are full of Flash knowledge…

    • cyberprodigy

      Obviously you have not developed with flash. working with javascript and html5 canvas is surprisingly similar to what you do in flash and actionscript. It is actually really fun for flash developers. Flash was a pioneer in animated, good looking web. Now html and css has catch up with it. Which means flash is obsolete in those cases. However, web has not stopped to evolve. Flash is now the most suitable platform for gaming and video. The future is open for a change and flash as a plugin is quickly adaptable and will always be a pioneer for even richer user experience. So use flash wisely to exploit it’s powers, and give a little moral support for guys at the Adobe who allows all the developers to create amazing work that we do. I love flash.

  • http://mv-designs.eu Martin V

    Flash is still an option for complex interactive sites/apps.
    But with html5/canvas and webGL on the horizon, the end of Flash is in sight. Even Adobe drops Flash, I don’t see a reason why anyone would still use unsupported software a couple of years from now on, especially considering the current impact of mobile devices. Time to face reality and move on…

  • Florian

    I love flash as well! HTML and JavaScript was what I started with and what I can do best. While both languages are pretty awesome, I can’t say that flash has no future.

    About 90% of the people saying that Flash is dead in a year never really worked with Flash or JavaScript (or are jQuery noobs).

  • http://www.pier2design.com Pier2Design

    Every time I read a hyped web fad-ist saying that JS and HTML5 have rendered Flash moot, I shake my head. JS and HTML5 are great, but they don’t begin to have the flexibility or production efficiency of Flash.

    I think the dropping of support for Flash is ill-timed for the above reason. If we have to transition away from Flash, lets do it when the alternatives are fully better.

    Less hope, more change, if change must be.

    • http://www.globalserve.net/~dvafa Dave 111

      RIGHT On!

  • http://Rodne.me Erik Rodne

    I LOVE FLASH!

    And I’ve seen what HTML5/CSS3/JS can do, and on paper it seems to be the same thing. But the richness that Flash brought to the table still shows up as shakey or glitchy with HTML5/CSS3/JS solutions. Flash was fluid, movie-like in it’s movements, and it made virtually anything possible. Since the disownment of Flash, sites have seen a step back in creativity (I think).

    Usability is up, true, and perhaps the gilded age of ‘RIA’ is transitioning into App Development…

    • Alex

      “Since the disownment of Flash, sites have seen a step back in creativity (I think).”

      YES. Thank you! So glad to hear someone say that.

  • rick

    I’ll miss flash. As an animator, I still have plenty of use for it for animation based projects.

    One thing that really amazed me about flash was around 2004 when things really started happening with flash video in terms of adding multiple video layers with alpha transparency. I remember the first time I saw Billy Bussey’s site( managed to find the link: http://www.billybussey.com/highband.html). Sure it was an empty portfolio site with alot of coming soon content but the interface was so unique.

    Nowadays somebody will send me a link of something cool done in jquery and it looks like stuff we were doing 7 years ago with flash.

    Sure Flash had it’s issues but Im sure with apple’s and microsoft’s support they could have overcome them.

    It’ll be interesting to see whats happening in years to come.

  • Scott

    Pretty much agree with your point-of-view. Started myself as a Flash designer using Flash 3.0. While these days many sites are focusing on being effective, short development cycles and conversion, conversion, conversion … you see few sites today that really make you go ‘wooow’.
    Flash won’t die anytime soon. JQuery handles a bit of the low hanging fruit that Flash used to deliver in the olden days but it stops there ( for the next year or 2 at least ).

  • Ilya

    Strict comprehension of flash platform and js library (one of the many similar) looks a little bit wierd.

    Js with lot of libraries, frameworks, server and client side engines and new html standarts (partially dead-born :( ) – that is the real new platform, not jQuery by itself.

    But its forgivable for front-end designer or for simplified feature-oriented view: “here tweens, animations, events, and there the same stuff – so looks like them from the same domains”

    • Felix Mak

      Hi Ilya,

      Yes, I agree with your comments. However, Flash is fully capable with integrating with middle-ware and through that, databases. Flash itself is capable of frameworking – just internal to itself and not openly laid out.

      I guess you are right that a major part of the argument is exactly about front end. Front end development of a JQuery powered -say- animation would be far more difficult to produce for intermediate levelled js programmers than an intermediate levelled Flash programmer. With time, that may change – Who knows what is around the corner with integrated platforms or even Flash itself (the development software) being able to output some amazing “javascripty” thing through some sort of souped up wallaby project…

      For me, the excitement is in the end result and if the end result is a spark compared to the fireworks that Flash can produce, I am still not ‘wowed’.

      Thanks for your comments.

      • Ilya

        >JQuery powered –say– animation would be far more difficult to produce for intermediate levelled js programmers than an intermediate levelled Flash programmer

        But trend is opposite.

        I think youll be interested in some projects and tools, aimed to make rich js-based graphic applications with HTMLCanvas, webGL and CSS:

        http://www.admixweb.com/2010/01/07/17-javascript-animation-frameworks-worth-to-seing/

        Even flash-like IDE+animation platform is exists, its creation was forced by unavailability of flash on apple mobile devices
        http://www.sencha.com/products/animator/download/

        This is very early birds with limited functionality, but for animator, designer or game developer they are more common then clear js with general purpose libraries.

        Of course, there are many different approaches and i can’t predict which of them become the new standart.

        I think, that in near future flash will settle down as tool for providing rich client-server interfaces, media streaming and platform for large-scaled 3d applications and will leave domain of front-end 2d graphics and animation, just because development on js+css+html(5) will be much cheaper.

      • http://baffleinc.com/ Harley

        $(this).animate({left: 30}, 300); is a lot more simpler than creating motion tweens…

  • http://adorabledesigns.info Gagsy

    We love Flash :)

    • manda

      Bring back more flash/math art like Joshua Davis (flash to the core) & flash math creativity (Keith Peters, Manny Tan and Jamie MacDonald). Big fan of Flash vdieo art – can be truly beautiful ♥

  • http://loveforpixels.in sajay

    Ohh I can give up flash..and I dont think html5/jquery/js/css3 cant overpower flash.

  • http://apple.com Steve Jobs

    f**k flash… it is dead… now move on and work with stuff that does break or use too many resources on people’s devices.

  • http://www.straight-p.com Straight-P

    I do sites every way i can think of. But nothing locks in a Clients $ and excitement better than flash. Shoe me these same sites i did in jQuery! i doubt that.

    http://justplaintrick.com

    http://www.glasstag.com/gorillaautoglass/

    as long as i mhave my mobile redirect code i dont worry about apple users missing out on a decent version of the site. Please stop saying flash is dead.

  • http://www.mathopenref.com John

    In the educational arena Flash is pretty much indispensable. Math and physics classes are highly enriched by interactive animations and simulations.

    For example http://www.mathopenref.com/thalestheorem.html

    There is an immense library of these educational tools already existing in Flash, and at a stroke, Apple invalidated the lot them! Thanks a heap!

  • Omid

    Agreeeeee :)

  • rotimi
  • http://ensightful.com Dan

    The future of the web is in mobile devices. Period. There will always be wired computers, but the increasing majority will be wireless.

    Not designing for mobile web is designing for a shrinking market.

    Today responsive web design allows one to design for wired and wireless devices.

    Unfortunately, Flash is not welcome to the party anymore.

  • Pawel

    As a devoted Linux user, I hate Flash. It has never worked properly on my system. For me, it’s jQuery and HTML5 that eat Flash for breakfast and spit out the bones. One thing should not be forgotten: the former technologies are TRULY UNIVERSAL, while the latter is not.

  • http://dnstuefloten.com d.n.stuefloten

    I was never a hot Flash developer, but I really appreciated some of the effects I could get, fairly simply. I used it here, for instance–http://hagmovie.com/thehags.html — to activate a series of short videos. And here, too: http://artifactsmagazine.com/. Pretty basic stuff, but for me it was delightful and exciting–and not too complicated to make. I’m not a professional developer, and now I suppose I’ll have to spend a lot of time converting everything to JQuery or something to get the same effect. Grumble….

  • http://www.linkage.nl/ Erick S.

    I love Flash!

    If used nicely that is :-)

  • http://kitsmedia.ca John Owen

    In my former life I was a Macromedia Director developer (lingo). I was regularly dissed by the growing numbers of new kids using Flash. “give it UP Dude!!”

    Still using Director for non-web creations. Never use Flash for anything.

  • Keith

    I don’t love Flash, but they’re hands-down a freakin’ must imo for movie websites!

  • http://chriscaldwellvoiceovers.com chris caldwell

    Jakob Nielsen did the research on this 11 years ago: FLASH: 99% BAD
    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html

    1. It encourages design abuse
    2. It breaks web fundamentals
    3. It distracts from a sites core values

    Some people actually care about usability and standards. It’s good for business, too.

    If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, some people would still think Flash was a good thing. Too bad too many so called “designers” ruined it by not using it properly.

  • CR

    My name is CR and I LOVE FLASH

  • Christoph

    I LOVE FLASH

    For me, the reason Flash has been given the elbow is nothing to do with the technology. It is to do with business and making money. It’s very similar to the days when there were 2 competing video formats, VHS and Betamax. VHS was far inferior but managed to win the day. Why? Somebody was going to make a lot more money from it. Rolls Royce have been on the verge of insolvency more than once because their product lasts too long and is too good so people don’t have to keep buying new models. It’s all to do with the way the wheels turn in business.

    I admit that Flash has got a bit of a bad name but that is because of bad programmers not because it’s a bad product.

    The late Steve Jobs seemed to have it in for Flash. Why? Probably because he wasn’t going to make any money from it. I have an iPhone but I wish it could use Flash.

    I have managed to rewrite a site, that I built in Flash, by using my Actionscript skills converted into Javascript so that it can be viewed on an iPhone, but it isn’t anywhere near as smooth and crisp!

    The world will be a poorer place without Flash.

  • Larry

    Truthfully, it’s hard to replace Flash in many situations. But, when it comes to a full website using it, owners of the website would be poorly served. An extremely important issue for most business websites is the search engine traffic. In most cases, Flash is awful for SEO. For that reason, it’s bad, bad, bad for a business website needing organic SE traffic.

    However, for all others that don’t care about the search engine traffic because they don’t need or want it, or they use a pay-per-click program instead, Flash is usually superior when it comes to user experience. Owners of the sites must realize their sites can’t be seen on many devices, so they limit themselves to certain users. But, if they are fine with that, Flash is the way to go.

    The bottom line is there is a place for Flash and in those places, it really is the very best solution. Flash just needs to be avoided in situations where it’s just not a viable solution.

    I wouldn’t use apple juice when the recipe calls for orange juice, why use flash with the recipe calls for something else?

  • Andreas Becker

    I love Flash because people build things like this with it:
    http://www.audiotool.com/app

    Would we have these discussions if IOS would support Flash? NO

    written on my Ipad
    where I miss Flash for a lot of media rich websites!

    • http://www.newmediaevents.com Marc Verschueren

      try that in Html5! LOL

  • http://flexperiential.com/ David Salahi

    I’m with you. HTML/CSS/JavaScript has its place, lots of places, in fact. But HTML5 doesn’t work on IE7 and there’s lots of IE7 still out there. Meanwhile, Flash/Flex is here now and it’s a serious, enterprise development environment. The tooling for JavaScript pales by comparison.

  • Nick Persyn

    I love flash
    … ever since I saw the XeoFreestyle site (still at http://cwolf042.deviantart.com/art/XeoFreestyle-52455670)

    Back then Flash was a giant step forward for websites, I remember. But it seems somewhere along the line Adobe failed to solidify that dominant technical position, unfortunately …

  • http://TinBug.com Chris

    As far as website are concerned, Flash is taking a beating. My clients are screaming that they can’t view their animations on their iPads, so I comply.

    But, a ton of companies are using Flash-based training module that just can’t be replaced yet. They show complex 3D assemblies and the users needs to interact with that in complex ways.

    As tech advances, those will be replaced as well, but until then, I STILL LOVE FLASH!

  • roddog

    I Love Flash!

    The conglomeration of HTML 5, CSS3, and Javascript are no where close to substitutes for Flash.

    One can see the difference by looking at Fusion Charts’ Flash and iPad versions. Flash=smooth, fluid movement with spiffy looks, iPad=jerky, blah charts. This statement is agnostic of data visualization principles.

  • http://www.webofawesome.com Nic Johnson

    Flash is a dinosaur. Don’t you be a dinosaur too.

    If it’s not supported on mobile, that means it’s not supported. We build sites that run anywhere, and mobile is the fastest growing sector.

    Part of the fun of being a web developer is that it’s always new. If you don’t like learning, you’ve got the wrong job. Harsh.

  • awais

    Love flash and will always love it ..! :)

  • http://www.rigging.com Alex

    Man, I wasa hoping flash would be dead for the PC as well. *Sad Face* In other news Air is scuking the life out of my computer, I hope it’s close to dead as well.

    Great way to ruin a wonderful service like Pandora.

  • http://www.marketagent007.com MarketAgent 007

    I LOVE FLASH!!!

    Flash is not dead… yet. I still believe in the power of Flash. It will be a long time before HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript can produce equal or greater dazzling effects that Flash can do – and with a small file size. In the meantime, Flash better revise it’s language or it will for sure be replaced by the newest/hungriest software looking to take down “#1.”

    The issue is not based on CPU usage, if it were, devices can simply increase processor speed and network connection speed. Your average desktop today can handle even the largest of full-flash websites.

    The issue is rooted to “smart-phone” technology. Flash is clearly made for desktop usage. It totally conflicts with touch screen devices. Flash/ActionScript produces robust interactive sites, shape tween, paint brush effects, random motion tweens, movies within movies, things that HTML5 only dream of doing.

    Apple didn’t want to open their technology to Adobe because at that point, Adobe would have had access to Apple’s iPhone technology ‘magic.’

    Maybe Adobe should develop their own mobile devices – they make great software, how hard can it be to make a smart, mobile device? :)

    • http://www.soundawesome.com Jon

      Adobe are not responsible for producing the original Flash – Macromedia were – and then Adobe bought it. The main problem with it is that the memory leak bug (yes, bug) has been there since version 6 and Adobe have never fixed it. This is a shame because if they had, it would rule the world now. Flash is the cause of browser hangups, BSOD’s and all manner of annoyances because of that required fix. Simply because of that, Goodbye Flash and good riddance.

      On a slightly different note, despite Flash sites looking good (eventually), most people coming across one wont wait long enough for it to fully download. Your site may get thousands of hits, but how long do they stay? Because of Flash, you may not actually be as successful as you think you are.

  • http://www.mbrv4ever-december-site.nl Rej

    I love Flash pleace to

  • mkn

    The problem with CPU cycles was the utterly bad programming model combined with lousy code. I saw many AS2 pieces of code with an ‘onEnterFrame’ CPU hogging loop. I tried AS2 a couple of times and rejected it because it was after all a toy language and I never saw a good application written in AS2. Just small moving thingies and widgets most people hated.

    With AS3 things turned out completely different. The language was a _very_ good object oriented language suitable for serious work. With Flex we had access to high-class business components and Flash offered 3D with hardware support.

    I know that many seasoned Flash programmers stopped using Flash after the switch to AS3. But many seasoned Java programmers (like myself) got really interested.

    We had plans to move our full development line to AS3 for mobile development but we were lucky enough to postpone the decision.

    We are dealing with a lot of media and now we are in DEEP trouble. We will have to support several operating systems, providing audio in two formats and video in two formats. We must be able to detect browser capabilities and offer the HTML5 capable ones the correct format and for the non-HTML5-compatible a format relying on the existence of Flash.

    We stopped supporting IE6 two years ago. I have no idea how we will be able to deal with IE7, IE8, IE9, FF 2.x – N.x, Opera plus all mobile browsers. Looking at the browser logs in our sites is a frightening experience. Welcome to the Tower of Babel.

  • Terri

    Thank you for this commentary. I miss Flash every day. Sites that were fun to design and build have turned into such tedium. I always called the Flash Player this perfect “security blanket” that made it all work cross browser. Now I have to test browsers and deal with IE headaches. Not fun. As a designer I miss having my sites look like I want them to look, typography etc.

    Will Edge be an answer? Not sure and seems to be moving slow. There is just so much misinformation out there about HTML5. It’s a battle with clients who have no clue.

  • http://www.oscaralderete.com Oscar

    Flash, well Adobe, fails because its aim was not integrate to HTML (via better and fluid JS interaction) that’s why Flex never caught. I like the way Flash let us to work with animation, some 3D render , effects, video & sound; but sooner o later, canvas/HTML5 will let us to do the same..

  • http://baffleinc.com/ Harley

    In the nicest way possible, you must be all old web developers.

    Flash is redundant. That doesn’t stop you from loving it, but with today’s web technologies Flash is pretty useless- there’s not much jQuery can’t do better.

    Flash dying will be like IE dying- drawn out and very much awaited.

    • http://www.plastikk.no Joakim

      Thanks!

      Flash does these things, HTML5 technologies not, as far as I can tell.

      – Timeline based boned animation for non-programmers.
      – Multilayered interactive video with alpha channels.

      I currently have a ménage a trois with Flash and jQuery, and we all love each others peculiar ways.

    • Ricki

      Does this mean that you’re therefore an inexperienced whippersnapper web developer? :P

  • Craig

    Flash is for people that can’t program and scoff at web standards.

    Flash makes the fans in my computer come on.

    If my phone ran flash it would die sooner but luckily it doesn’t. I love the blue lego block.

    Google cannot (easily) see inside of Flash

    My name is Craig and I hate Flash, I always have and I always will.

    DIE FLASH DIE!

    • Dave

      Yep, ‘cos you don’t need to know how to program to write AS3 or MXML do you?

  • Vicky

    There are still places where Flash is completely appropriate: high impact, media rich pages such as movie sites (I’m pretty sure that Pottermore was/is — it’s down right now — a flash site, which is completely right); and games (aren’t all those FB games Flash?).

    The biggest problem with Flash was that a whole lot of designers got taught it and ended up using it in situations where HTML would do (restaurant sites may mostly be in Flash, but so are many portfolio sites, without much justification).

    Finally, remember Shockwave? That was also similarly amazing, but got moved into Flash ….

  • donCams

    Flash is dying? do you mean the player or the whole thing? the whole thing is still good for some things. but yeah, flash in the web would be redundant.

    i don’t love flash, i love batman :) jk i love everything

  • http://route19designs.com Dan Excell

    I LOVED FLASH
    Flash was the No.1 money maker for me at one point. I did not like how S.Jobs handled that situation with the security issue. I will never purchase another Mac, ever. Back when Apple was struggling, it was Adobe products and universities that kept them afloat. Funny how things change. I don’t have a favorite Flash site to present, I’m just glad that I am not the only one…

  • Johan

    You may love Flash but you will be doing your clients a disservice by building anything new in Flash.

    With increasing focus on mobile devices Flash is not an option anyway.

    Adobe themselves recommend HTML5.

    Do yourself a favor and move on.

  • Ricki

    I love Flash, but I think for me its time has passed. Not because I want it to be, but for the last few years every time I’ve used it in a project, clients have moaned so much I’ve had to seek an alternative solution.

    Part of it definitely is that I’m familiar with Flash, so it’s obviously quicker and easier for me than learning new things.

    But part of it is that at this stage, so few people seem to actually able to leverage HTML5/CSS3/JS in a way that can rival Flash.

    It’s obviously possible – I’ve seen a few mind blowing examples of what can be achieved – but what Felix has said about intermediate Flash developers vs intermediate jQuery developers rings true for me. It seems that in Flash it is comparatively easier to achieve complex things.

  • http://webdesignlasvegasx.com webdesignlasvegasx

    It still has plenty of uses outside the web browser and is a good option for developing across different platforms.

  • http://www.jmonit.com/ Monit

    I think Both the technologies should co-exsist.

    While HTML5 & Jquery make building web interfaces and effect easy. Try creating a game or drawing with HTML5 LOL.

    Flash is a great tool for drawing, animation & games. Flash is the best tracing tool ever, it can really trace anything in flash real easily. Flash really had created a revolution when it came. I love actionscript.

    So Both Have there pros and cons. No one should be abandoned.

  • Naveed

    I love Flash

    Flash is still is on top as far Richness and compatibilty is conserned
    if flash find out solution for SEO Problem that are comming in flash sites.

    E.g I have written paragraph in HTML instead of flash somehow flash fetch this paragraph and display in swf i hove used in my webpage. so if that can happen then flash SEO problems will be solved . But for mass production user friendleness should be on the top priority thats what i think.

    And till now for quality web Experiance Flash is the best.

  • http://www.lsd-advertising.com.au lyndle

    omg all I’ve ever used is flash for animation, websites etc …. I feel lost, what do I need to learn now? I don’t know where to start… :(

  • http://simon.fi/ Simon Rönnqvist

    I’m happy there are finally emerging natively supported open web standards (HTML5&co) that feature by feature can replace Flash.

    This is nothing but natural development, first something starts as proprietary and at some point becomes standardized for everyone to use freely. Think iPhone->Android/others or Xerox/Mac&mouse->Windows/Linux&mouse. So we certainly don’t need to Occupy Flash, drop the politics and let Flash fade away by itself. RIP

  • Omar Matos

    I love flash as developer and I know I will love html5, but common users which are most don’t really know what flash is and don’t even know what html5 is and they just don’t care, they just use the application at no concerns. And to make things better Adobe is exporting from flash to html5 directly. So i think that flash isn’t dead neither html5 will kill it, they will co-exist in a symbiotic way.

  • http://alex-webgr alex

    I LOVED FLASH but now I LOVE JQUERY AND AJAX

    i love flash for unleashing my creativity and for supporting video and music playback on websites back in the day of ie6
    i hate flash because its a black box owned by a company
    its a product while jquery is an idea owned by all those who use it
    the fact the holy trinity of the web html / css / js can actually be compared and take on flash i think its accomplishment by itself

    i dont see flash really dying anytime soon if used wisely flash can be a great tool

    the internet should be free ,free to access ,free to develop for ,free to learn ,free to bring ppl together and open to everyone by default
    ~alex

  • BitchPlease

    Flash is the pretty young girlfriend who turned into a raging demanding bitch.

    Too much code, too many bugs, and a UI toolset so complicated I’d rather take an ice pick to my balls.

    *F**K FLASH*

    HTML5/CSS3 FOREVER!

    • http://www.ganttic.com Indrek

      … got my ice pick ready … :)

    • rick

      LOL,

      Sadly, HTML5 and CSS3 wont be around forever either.

  • Bertolato Veronon

    I LOVE FLASH & HTML5 w/jQUERY. Now, now play nice… There’s enough place for everyone. Never before have we had such a diverse ecosystem of devices with equally diverse capabilities. The mobile web is exploding right now & with limited hardware capabilities (compared to desktops) – these devices would require something lighter. At the same time the Flash ecosystem is quite powerfull when you consider things AS3.0 and JSFL can do. One thing I don’t have too much faith in is whether Adobe will come to the party. The products are good – but they are too pricey & Adobe themselves often do the ostrich-head-in-the-sand bit when it comes to their player. With tools that are pricing themselves outside of most shrinking IT department’s reach… it’s easy to reach for the free/cheap alternatives – even if they might be slightly less capable.

  • Rob

    I love Flash. There is so much richness and creativity that can be done. Here are just a few sites that really show off Flash. There are so many more.

    http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/

    http://www.allandye.com/

    http://vpbookclub.com/

    http://www.thefwa.com/site/pet-moustache

  • http://studioauditions.com Jim Nayzium

    I love Flash.

    2 sites I designed using Flash back in the day of 10 thousand dollars for five days of work…

    A site for the sampling of microphone recordings to help you pick out a microphone. The client simply uploads their new recorded mp3 to the right folder and whalla…

    http://www.studioauditions.com/jamroomsessions_home.php

    and my magnum opus site….

    http://richardsonconstruction.com – be sure to click all the way in and see the animated navigation — crazy cool stuff there.

  • http://www.politicaygobierno.org Dardo

    I HATE FLASH! Because I can’t use the Mozilla quicly. Flash is too slow!!! many time my browser collapse and hang up my PC. I like make choice when i like or not flash in some web site

  • http://www.jgreenwalt.com Jessica
  • http://www.ganttic.com Indrek

    Too early to dig a grave for flash. For web applications using advanced graphical interface and drawing / drag&drop capabilities there is no real alternative yet. Our resource / job scheduling software http://www.ganttic.com runs on Flash and only negative feedback we get are from iPad users.

  • Shawn

    It feels like a lot of people in the web development arena are smoking crack right now. The argument over Flash vs HTML5 feels so exaggerated to me. Does everybody really think Flash and HTML are conflicting technologies?

    For the younger generation to have a skewed opinion about the Flash and HTML5 debate, well, I get that situation. They have not been exposed to the years of torment with a non-compliant group of browser manufactures. For the non-newbies, does anyone remember the IE and Netscape wars? That era of web development sucked. And, the citation about “Jakob Nielsen’s research on Flash being 99% unusable” is fair, if only partially relevant to the current conversation. The context surrounding that study was accessibility and Flash exposes a lot of power that can be used unwisely. However, it’s hard for me to believe that someone is still quoting research from 11 years ago as a logical use case for 2011 and beyond. Seriously? That research was based on Flash 5. That was 6 versions behind the current player. If using research that old was a realistic position, then we could say that HTML has no Div tag. Get Real!

    Accessibility has improved tremendously in Flash through the years and accessibility isn’t all that easy in other technologies either. You can use any technology choice you’d like to write code that displays a stop light to a color blind user. Ignoring the end user experience has nothing to do with technology. Afterall, JavaScript and ActionScript are based on the same language syntax, so how can one choice be so bad and the other so great? I think people should plead some ignorance on that argument, until they’ve used them both.

    I also think people are confusing the Flash IDE with the compiled and deployed .swf that displays in the browser. If you’re having trouble with the learning curve of the IDE, then ok. But, don’t get all sour grapes, because you can’t use a technology or it is hard for you to learn. Take a training course or choose a different technology. Not every web developer is able to grasp design patterns, but that doesn’t make them less useful to the people who can grasp them. They exist to make life easier and so does Flash.

    Flash and Flex have been really useful for deploying a solution that is backwards and forwards compliant. Imagine when the JQueryMobile framework has a bug that appears in one of the browsers. Well, you’re locked into an external solution, just the same as Flash Player Plugin. There certainly can’t be anyone naive enough to think that Adobe is the only company to write code with bugs … ? IPhone battery issues with upgrade to iOS5, jQueryMobile button click bugs in IE7, Microsoft releases a patch every 5 minutes, Firefox and Chrome both release patches now every couple of weeks, early versions of Android were terrible. With the sheer number of integrated technologies in use on the web, there are bound to be bugs. We all write bugs in our code. If you don’t, then why don’t you put your golden head to work on the next best framework for the web. We could use it yesterday, so get to work and blow it out of the water grasshopper.

    Back here in reality, the simple HTML standards argument has gone on for years now and there is still no agreement. I don’t see why people are so intent to kill a technology like Flash that does a lot of good things … it’s not the end all solution and neither are JavaScript, HTML, CSS or any other client technology. Until we can reach compliance on standards, Flash is a really helpful tool for creating experiences that look and run the same in different browsers. Yes, JavaScript can do that, too. Ok. Why not use one or the other? Why does one have to be better than the other. Show me a tool or technology that does it all best and I’ll tell you why it’s next to fall from the top.

    As a developer, we have accountability to make intelligent choices and not blame crappy banner ads and bad animations on technologies such as Flash. You can create bad banner ads and poorly written code just as easy with JavaScript. I’m sure that they are on the way. We’re on our way to banner ads causing an ‘Object Object’ error and killing the rest of the page load. So, good luck with that one.

    I love Flash and I always will. Macromedia was a great company when they created Flash. Flash was created with a great intention to overcome the limitations of the browser. Adobe has extended it and provided a really nice tool to develop very creative experiences. Flash has transformed the web. It’s not perfect. It has it’s place.

    I like HTML/JavaScript/CSS for different reasons. They certainly aren’t perfect. If you haven’t struggled from time to time to bend them to your will then you probably haven’t pushed the boundaries of the web. So, you should withhold your judgement of Flash Player Technology which IS capable of pushing the boundaries of the web. And, yes, I agree that we could stand for simplifying a lot of the content out there. A good portion of it is unnecessarily over-the-top. However, if killing over-the-top content is your desire, then why not take on the Super Bowl ads and leave Flash to those who love the creative web.

    Regardless, I’m sure we’ll head back in the direction of Flash after the next big celebrity name expresses how nice it was to have cross-browser support in Flash. Until then, I’ll kick around the new kids on the JavaScript block, such as JQueryMobile, CoffeeScript and KnockOut. They are pretty nifty. And I’ll continue to use Flash where it fits. A good tool belt should have more than one tool.

    • phil

      well said!

  • http://keith-hair.net/blog Keith H

    I LOVE FLASH!!
    There is no single solution to every problem a developer must solve. The Flash platform is another great tool that provides options to build applications with. Javascript, CSS and HTML5 aren’t able to do everything.

  • Plain Jane

    You right quite well, but the part of this article I agree most with is the part about farty bells and whistles.

    And how can anyone encourage people to install a proprietary product that doesn’t come pre-installed in web browsers and has the security vulnerability track record of Flash?

    I’m a proponent of simple design too and to keep web pages WCAG 1.0 compliant, that usually means leaving out even JavaScript.

  • gesse
  • http://besst.co-lastsitebuiltforallbrowsersandsreensize staff

    I LOVE FLASH

    I’m just being humorous and serious so don’t take offense. Let me tell you young whippersnappers something, everything on the Internet and code becomes outdated, even you. Remember AOL, x-Facebook. With that said Flash & HTML5 is a battle and we as developers have the honor to be the solders that will orchestrate the war and eventually decide when the death of this code happens. In my opinion; what colleges teach will not determine this war, the battle field is you, pretend you have the task, mobile apps, games vs other. Flash will win in games for me at this time. But a simple app for mobile got to go with other options. But the browsers have always caused problems and nonFlashers always said you have to download the Flash Player, On that note check flash player 11 3D. Lets see the HTML5 code that does that, Flash wins again. Code for browsers after the 80’s has always had complications and its getting worse not better. Browser and Apps in:
    mobile derives.
    lap tops – home CPU’s.
    xBox and the like.
    Television are here with network connectivity and processors.
    the mouse will soon be history.
    And you whippersnappers always forget about bandwidth. We’ll be laughing about 4g in the near future.
    I’m stick en with mostly Flash and I know your forced to learn jQuery now and some other new stuff coming down the pipe and guess what? its about to get whole lot worse. In the end your code is out dated and you’re out dated. But one might argue that TV pong is still fun to play. Does DOS ever go away? read my thoughts at webisers.com

  • http://www.davidlapointegilbert.com David

    I just simply love flash. It learned me how to animate properly and to code properly too (I passed from flash 4 to cs4 and actually learned ActionScript 2 AND 3 ahah… I believe that makes me some kind of ninja). I believe Flash is not meant to completely die. I think it just made its time on the web and it could stand out by being a complement to Adobe Air… Like the graphic design and animation part of it. There are still time and places to use Flash that will last (interactive terminals and such), but just not on the web.

  • http://thomerwald.net Thomerwald

    I LOVE AUTHORWARE. Bring Back Authorware!

  • Mahmoud

    I still love Flash. All the Steve Jobs crap (and I am glad we won’t hear it from him again) about Flash being slow and crash-prone is laughable. He should hear it from me about how many times my ex-iPhone crashed (nothing to do with Flash). He should maybe realize that an update every month to iTunes is annoying as hell. Apple touts open standards but they are far from open. You know what, let people decide what they like. Some Flash sites are memory hogs and some are rightly so, since they display amazing beautiful rich experiences. Some flash content is simple but impressive. Let’s theoretically say Flash is bad, all of it. Let users decide. Why meddle in everything? Flash content ran beautifully on early Nokia devices, when Steve and all of Apple had no idea what a smartphone was. To say it is not compatible is pure stupidity. Let people decide. User control should be the next big thing. So many apps on the app store are pure crap. TO say he wants to control the user experience is really dumb. He can’t. He can limit it. And he did.

  • val

    love flash too

  • http://www.learnfromlisa.com Lisa Larson-Kelley

    “You are either WITH US or AGAINST US”

    I beg to differ with this point. (And I love Flash, btw).

    Polarizing the web community into pro and anti-Flash doesn’t serve anyone. Just as in government/politics, it puts the focus on the conflict, and shifts it away from real solutions.

    My focus is video, so I’ll use that as an example:

    Video in HTML5 is fantastic. Being able to play a video natively in the browser and add simple controls in JavaScript is a step forward. It has its challenges (e.g. codec support) but it makes video more accessible and has a ton of potential for future functionality.

    Video in Flash is mature, and more sophisticated. If you need advanced controls, real streaming, content protection, hardware acceleration, etc. Flash is still the way to go. This includes AIR on devices. If you have premium content that you want to protect and deliver to all screens, you can do that with AIR.

    Bottom line: It’s complicated. We’d all be served by taking a step back from the rhetoric, assess the needs of any specific project, and use the technology that best meets those needs.

    cheers,
    // Lisa Larson-Kelley
    web video sherpa
    LearnFromLisa.com

    • Felix Mak

      Hi Lisa,

      I do agree that it is complicated.

      I thought long and hard about the “with us or against us” comment. While a bit tongue in cheek, I do believe it is a moot point anyway. Flash Player as of next year some time, will be completely gone from devices – which are projected to out number actual desktops in the next few years.

      This reason has taken the choice away from developers. No client will be comfortable with developing a Flash site if they need to create a non-flash version – unless they have lots of money.

      However, you did say about HTML5 video has a ton of potential. The same goes for HTML5, CSS3, jQuery and supporting software – the maturity is not at the level of Flash. I hope to be bamboozled in a few months or years time. For example… http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/wallaby/

      Thank you for your interesting comments about video and I love your title!

  • http://www.editundo.to Kim Raznov Coon

    I LOVE FLASH!

  • http://axdgt.com Arie Prasetyo

    they see me Flash-in’, they hatin’.
    i don’t use it as often as I used to, but I still, and always will, love Flash!

  • http://debbshosting.com/ Debbs Hosting

    I LOVE FLASH and I hope it has a future. The irony is, in this day and age, everything changes in a flash. On a positive perspective, there’s a reason for Apple’s decision, and they’re not known to make rash ones, so I guess we have to wait and see what they have in store for us. Agree?

  • Atheist

    Here’s a quick quiz to test your knowledge of the subject being discussed:
    Who developed Flash in the first place?
    a) Adobe b) Macromedia c) Flash corp
    Who first said “You are either for me or against me”?
    a) Josef Stalin b) Jesus Christ c) Ayatollah Khomeini

    my point is just that the religious undertones of this Adobe vs Jobs discussion are ridiculous (b was the right answer on both).

    • Me

      Which reminds me, there’s only thing I hate more than brainless flash-hating drones. And that’s inopportune mindless atheist drones.

  • Justin

    I LOVE FLASH!
    I was excited the day I could do Flash on my phone and enjoyed the experience.
    I think jQuery is great, but javascript, Flash, and Silverlight should co-exist at this point; at least for a time..

  • Iulian

    I LOVE FLASH!!!! Because I’m a DESIGNER… Not a coder… How much time should I spend to learn all that code to build a button? Why should I uise 2 or 3 languages to make a slide show?
    Flash will be the best for DESIGNERS…

  • John

    hate flash..cant scale to device, cant touch on device, drains battery due to performance, HTML5 can achieve video/animation/games with high FPS, its third party platform so usually sits on top of another medium…..read http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

  • I love flash

    I came from C/C++/Java before stumbling upon AS3 and I fell in love with it instantly.

    EVERYONE loves flash, statistics have displayed that several times. Developers love it, designers love it and consumers in particular love it more than anyone else.
    It’s only a small number of pseudo-anarchic mediocre programmers that decided to hate it.
    Sadly, the people who produce the least in society are the always ones who have the most time to spread hatred.
    I only wish Adobe would grow a pair of balls and start fighting back this hatred.

  • http://skylab.si benjamin

    It’s just that

    F antastic
    L ightweight
    A wesome
    S uperfast
    H yperengine

    wins overall. And I’m good in C, objective-C, php, python, javascript,.. too ;)

  • http://www.weloveflash.org chris

    I designed weloveflash.org for people who love flash. Its in the very initial stages. Its meant for people who love flash and want to show their work.

    Visit the site for more info.

  • http://www.thirty5media.co.uk Andrew Kelly

    Ironically, none of the HTML5 examples of Flash-beatingly rich content are actually usable on my Android smartphone, rendering the arguments for cross-platform compatibility kind of stupid. Nice as they look on my desktop.

  • FlashIsGreat

    I love flash. Right here in autumn 2012 I love flash and, damn right, it still has its uses.

    I don’t think it will die as quickly as the naysayers are hoping, because it’s so eminently versatile! That’s why it’s everywhere!

    I should be used IN CONJUNCTION with css and jquery. The key is using each according to its strengths.

    And let me add: I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER APPLE PRODUCT because of how they selfishly tried to kill this accessible, versatile tool. Jobs tried to kill flash so that he could control the app development environment and thus collect $$ from successful apps.

    Adobe should also be called on the carpet for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. How do you sit back and watch such a successful product and nearly universally ubiquitous plugin go down the tubes? Is adobe really THAT bad at p.r. and development? Good lord!

    Long live Flash. Before flash, tv was more immersive and impressive than your desktop. With flash, and its versatility and interativity, your computer becomes more immersive and interesting than tv.

    Now we’re threatened with a step backward. Jeesh.

    Long live flash! Adobe wake up and make the most of this great product!

  • Jason Anthony Colón

    This is still my most favorite website of all time…

    http://waterlife.nfb.ca/

    There has not been a single website I have ever held a candle to this one in my opinion. Not even close. If I ever had to call a website “art” this one would be it.

  • Sztatty

    Flash is still 5-10 years ahead of js+css based animations. Like when I stayed on a site where was a jQuery image rotator, the whole page gone laggy after 10 mins… And what about the other super 3D css3 transitions, have you seen any of them on ie? Certainly not and will have to waite at least 5 years for some cross browser html-js-css animation concept that may beat flash or at least be something like it.