I don’t know when this day came to be. But I knew that it would. I’ve known to Flash internals a bit. No knack for coding but I knew enough since I used to be a big time Macromedia Flash lover. The honeymoon all ended when Adobe brought it over. Their plans for Flash were big, actually too impressive, they want it to be the platform for the web, mobile and beyond. Likewise Sun had their own plans for “write once run everywhere” their beloved J2ME too. For that ask from any mobile developer, they know what the mess they are in.
In the desktop end I watched in horror, Flash Designer becomes Flash Developer. It almost had a free ride until Google Stuff (Ajax) and then Apple came in. Gosh! it was destined to be next Microsoft Windows or even worse. Actually Windows is better because it solved industry’s bigger problem once and for all that many people face right now here and here.
I happened to be a Flash designer for some distant past. It was a wonderful time, when web was in its infancy Flash made possible things which we could not even have imagined putting on web. Finer graphics, animation, streaming content after all that Real Player and MW windows media hassle. Then the impossible partial refresh issue of a web page without having to reload afresh. Those are few good memories that I have which we could not resolve (until web 2) without the help of this once beloved Flash. I remember the things at Eye4U and 2Advance Studio guys did with Flash in 1998-2000 time. We were stunned!
And ever since everyone who had a sight of Flash abused and raped it in full time. Dial-Ups were dead hoc jam trapped. Then they had a free ride when DSL emerges because the bandwidth seems the best thing for Flash to eat. Web became all crap.
Living in a Flash for a lifetime was going be a fun or so I taught. You know, the initial web animations, banners, business scope of online advertising, then smart/ rich Flash Clients and our famous YouTube (until Apple liberated) were all based on Flash technologies. It was my hobby and then it finally migrated to my bread and butter too, the firm I work for, is too, converted it’s one part cash cow ATM Client to run on Flash. I should have been happier.
This was possible cos Flash was originated as FutureSplash , a graphics software, a designer tool with industry’s most hyped term at that time. Vector based graphics, further it had streaming media and animation capabilities too! It was a designer’s Nirvana. Since Adobe had the graphics monopoly it was obvious that their next move would be to merge them all to be a single platform since they brought it from Macromedia. Wow! nice idea, except one fundamental error.
This is where it all went wrong. We, designers don’t eat code for breakfast, nor that developers need more than a jazzed up little Notepad to do their wonders. Not until a new breed of Einsteins emerge out of this rubble who have knack to do the both or Adobe fixes Flash and build a better Visual Studio like developer-designer friendly new environment with Flash. No, I ain’t see that happening having seen four versions of Adobe Design Studio CSs just clogging and eating up nearly 8GB of my hard disk without that happening.
So here we go, Flash have fundamental errors to start with going in either direction. Below are a few that comes to my mind.
# It is utter annoyance for the end users because (No one complains, everyone’s been through)
1. Having to download the plug in
2. Then take much more bandwidth and time than the normal content
3. Crippling your poor processor and the memory and battery when in use
4. If not properly done, starts to play before the full download messing your taste buds.
(you know, it’s like eating your pie in a rodent way)
6. Blinks, sings, hoots, flashes, throw flowers at you when all you want is peacefully read
5. Version conflicts repeat things all over
6. Right Click doesn’t work as expected
#It used to have knack for designers because
1. All the strengths of Flash we commonly know for content, animation, streaming media, rich client creation
2. Having the potential to be an All In One Tool for
– Print mass media document creation ( Rival PageMaker, Illustrator, InDesign, Freehand and QuarkExpress)
– PDF corporate document creator and archiver (Acrobat, FlashPaper)
3. Obsolete old favorites like gif animations and video & audio (RealPlayer, WMA)
4. Give you the partial refresh of a web page (Pre Ajax era)
#And now it try to solve a problem we never had
1. Designers like their eye candy, they want it J-LO, the Photoshop way
2. Developers will eat, sleep and drink their gibberish code
3. Both will co-exist together fine, but we just don’t talk the same language.
4. They will be happy with just a notepad
5. We, designers want beyond Dreamweaver/ VisualStudio equivalent
But I still see some major places that I would love to visit uses heavy Flash content. I regularly use my Treo for browsing for the last three two years. I am happy Palm did never bother to port Flash for their Treos as with they neglected everything else. But do I miss what miss cause that my Treo couldn’t access Flash content? Nope, not in the least. It was because Palm never updated their Garnet OS to have 3G or a better browser. It was the best when it came a six years ago. Anyway I lived the Treo generation in full which is now shaken though. Anyway let Treo begone since iPhone will probably solve the biggest problem of mobile web.
Here GX-5 is one good example, some real good talents but still insists you to install and enjoy full flash content if you are on a desktop. I had abandoned this kinda sites altogether for long. But recently I saw if you are on a mobile device that we can have a simple html version instead.
I hope at lease people will follow suit. Adobe’s vision for Flash may be great, but no thank you. I don’t wanna MS DOS legacy saga repeated here like even after Vista arrives. We can’t carry on the burden of legacy saga or a designer-developer mutated creatures here.
What do you guys think?