the bandwagon in the shape of flash’s coffin

Yes suddenly within the mobile market, a flash-less web experience is the norm, and the mobile market is of course the target for the new wave of “surfer”. With HTML5, CSS3 showing how god damn awesome it is, one just dreams of being able to write flash like web sites, but in pure HTML so “everyone” can see it. As a web-developer, it has been a dream for years, but so has browser standards and how well realised a dream is “that one” especially with the mobile market and their legions of bastardised “lite” browsers for smaller screens.

What is bumming me out, is this bandwagon jumping over the death of flash.

There are some really smart-rational people out there, who are people trying as fast as they can to be nailing (or at least SEEN to nailing) the coffin lid shut, onto a coffin which hasn’t even been finished built yet.

Admittedly I am a web-developer, who in today’s climate specialises in flash, but I’m not in a blind camp trying to defend something because I develop in it, it doesn’t mean to say that I have not the vision to see what it is happening.

In the past 2 years I’ve seen flash sites built by me being ripped out only 6 months later and being replace by a HTML-jQUERied site.

I’m a realist, that’s why I’m so twitchy and energetic about web design, and quite frankly seeing “professionals” denouncing flash “in a hurry” is beginning to annoy me.

One flash developer starts even going into a conspiracy about Apple’s open standards VS microsoft fighting to take over the market as to why flash became so popular.
On the same article there is this good points on how the “point and click” interface via a mouse (with help via hover effects) would never work on a touch-screen interface, as you have no mouse, and how keyboard driven inputs don’t work too well. But this is a clear cut arguement, seen in the gaming circles between keyboard and mouse vs console controlers. It has nothing to do with OS, or gaming engines, it’s just you got to think your design out appropriately to the platforms you are designing for. I mean there ARE apps and games that DO work on the iphone right?

Yet Lo and behold this denouncement of how flash would fail without major re-designs, (of the older sites being viewed on a touch-screen device). What is more embarressing for this arguement that Flash can’t work as flash sites are designed to work with keyboard and mouse, is that it describes how current HTML sites are designed, as the jQuery lot have been doing their best to make things look at “flash-like” as possible.

It was well thought out design tips for people who are used to design and current practices for mouse interaction and who would like move over to touchscreen for ANY application/program, it had NOTHING to do with flash, what-so-ever, but this flash developer couldn’t be quick enough to state that it was arguement citing a specific flaws in aparently inherent in flash. Irrespective of his intentions/metods/argueent, it sadly added one more nail to the coffin jumpers.

A good web developer uses the best the tool to deliver that best user experiences and service, that cushions the user landing on the “site/application” and takes care of them. Back in 2001 – Flash was never the first choice, being that it’s a external plug-in, but it became first choice due to a number of reasons literally through a whole decade of highly unstable and bad cross browser experience with HTML/CSS/Javascript: Flash has THRIVED for damned good reason.

Now with more stable javascript via API’s like jQuery, HTML is looking to be the better tool do deliver a “standard” website. Which lets face it, that has always has been the desire. But those customers who previously wanted a little more “style” and animation, can get a little taste of it too in HTML and without the need of flash.

HTML5 and CSS3, is amazing, and I can’t wait to use it, professionally, and not just in tech-demo’s or showing off why I can do some cool web site that 3 years ago I could only do in flash, NOW I can do it in HTML.

But when can I start doing that professionally? Sadly not today.
HTML5 isn’t here, it’s not fully in safari, it’s not fully in Internet Explorer 8 nor is it in Firefox or nor chrome.

Today is the day you still do dramatic nice web sites heavy in animation and integrated video in Flash.

Now that all that has no impact of course on content, just merely presentation, and I know great Art-direction and creativity can make the simplest and static art have more impact than all the 3d-rendering time in the world.

But let us say even IF say by spring or summer 2010 we get HTML5 as delivered by W3C, web developers will rush out and start coding HTML5 with passion and vigour,
let’s not face the dogging reality of the internet that we’ve had since day 1 of popular internet,
your customer and their circle of friends and family may not have a HTML5 complaint web browser.

Suddenly you are having “THAT” conversation with your client, yet again, on why the 5-degrees of Kevin Bacon isn’t getting the web experience your pitch described and your design team has built and developed for 70-80% of the stationary computers in the world.

Suddenlly all your UX and Onboarding, the navigations and tips, and pops-up, help and advice, as usual when being degraded to work on older browsers start to lose their functionality.

Adobe claims HTML5 won’t be standard for 10 years – and they are idiots to claim so.

But the people claiming that the death of flash today, are also just as idiotic as Adobe.

Flash is a tool, it has specific uses, it always has, sure it has some competition on now, which is looking to increase dramatically in the near-future, but until I see someone writing a web-cam API for JS, we are still going to be using flash for little things like glyph and icon recognition from our desktop for some time to come.

We’ve entered a new decade with the same “browser-war” problem as we did with the last one, but also with the additional dream of the mobile web and social media to take into account.

As a web developer,
I can say I’ve lost Flash sites, to HTML sites,
but I’ve lost custom built HTML solutions to pre-existing content-management solutions
and not only that but to word-press as well.

I am loosing work as a “classic” web developer, or rather I’m not using my vast skill-set and experience on current projects and sickeningly enough I’m happy to do so, because the alternatives are more correctly the right tool for the job, and I want what is best for my client.

It isn’t unusual for technology to evolve, and I don’t see why people are jumping and shouting over such changes, instead of just getting on with it and just learning stuff as it comes along, like we have always done. Not that at the end of the day, the customer hugs us for all our biting and scratching at out keyboards to deliver their site to them in as many different formats that we have learned since the prehistoric ages of the web.

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