Flash Snapshot circa April 2004

By sgrosvenor
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Well, it’s been several months since the latest version of Flash and its incremental upgrade and several incarnations of the Flash Player have been released. Where do we stand now?…

There was a myriad of enhancements, additions and…ahem! component API deprecations with the latest major version not to mention many fine extensions and commands to make it easier to retrieve data from XML and Web Services.

All in all, a fine release, but have we reached the end of the road for development of the application that we know and love? Have Macromedia ran out of ideas and are simply planning tweaks and minor enhancements for the next version, or are we all in for a wave of new features that’ll bowl us all over.

I know some people seem to think that Flash has lost it’s way a little as it’s evolved over the years; with SWFs trying to emulate being a web page (albeit with a little more flair) via some of the components, and has lost touch with its grass root animation ancestry, but what i’m interested in here is your thoughts on the matter.

Do you think Flash needs to revisit its roots, or do you think its heading in the right direction? Do you think the Flash Player could be a little more heavyweight to include faster rendering or include more features? (standard regular expression support would be nice) After all whats a few KB amongst friends?

It’s my blog and i can ask if i want to :-)

I’d be interested to hear everyone

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  • I think Flash has evolved greatly over time. I used it since Flash 5, I think that was about 3 years ago? I really don’t know. I have no idea how Flash could be better, I stopped using it, due the fact that most people use 56k and alot of them can’t wait for a nice flash movie…perhaps something good along the lines as to make me want to use it again? Something spontaneous yet useful…

  • Peronally, I don’t think that Flash needs to be any more heavyweight – for heftier applications you can use Director/Shockwave. The direction that Flash seems to be taking (creating nice GUIs for web application backends) is the right one, IMO. In the future, I expect to see furthre enhancements to Flash to make it even more suited for this task.

  • I agree with Simon. A bunch of DRKs and several sites creating some useful components, too many options to connect to data (ahem… like why does it seem like Macro is pushing webServices when Remoting is clearly the answer? :) ), and always the problem that new versions mean requiring the latest player- an issue that everybody hates.

    But alas, new versions mean Macromedia sells more software, more training materials, and more certifications. They are, after all, in business to make money, so I guess you can’t blame them.

  • i dont necessarily agree with simon, i like the direction flash is taking, and i wish it would get as buff as it possibly can. according to macromedia themselves, 98% of computers on the internet have flash installed compared to only 60-something% that have the shockwave plugin installed. thats quite a difference. i would say the major drawback to it at this point is its overhead for narrow bandwidth users, and i think some form of compression is in line. i think they need to make us be able to take a movie down to where it can also be enjoyed on a slow connection.

    the only other thing past that that i can see is them pushing actionscript (and improving it especially for things like regex). they dont really push the backend coding aspect of flash enough in my opinion.

    and to answer the original question, i think the current player and application is great for a version 7 or 8 release, but as always, we look forward to more :)

  • Erik

    I think the development towards a more complete and useful Flash player/API is good. A rich environment for the development of nontrivial content is badly needed, and Flash is currently just about the only option.

    I’m all in favor of a more extensive API, more features and more runtime performance. ;) kB’s are not as important. If you ask me.

  • A. White

    Something I’ve hoped for a while, but haven’t seen, is some kind of “live effects”. For animation and front-end development, nothing would make me more giddy than to see live, non-destructive effects like real blurring and live drop shadows. The CPU speeds of the flash-viewing public have risen enough to support such effects. Sure, you can simulate some of these things (you can make simple drop shadows with actionscript) but I would like to see the real thing. That, and true 8-bit alpha-channel masking for flash objects.