To Flash or not to Flash
That is the question. Flash design is one of the reasons I grew in this field as much as I did. Once I found out I could animate my artwork I was off. While trying to herd cats with the HTML in every browser the Flash always looked perfect. Movie sites were worth waiting 5 minutes of loading time to see. Right when I started to get the hang of Actionscript 2 it seemed developers were taking over and then flash forgot about its designers.
Then smart phones arrived, the unfinished HTML5 became the talk of the town and bandwidth allowed videos to play without an XML playlist. I myself realizing this started working more in After Effects than learning Actionscript 3. Why animate video in Flash when I can use cool plugins, scripts and presets to do stuff that looks so much better in AE? Why save it off as an FLV when I can embed an H.264 file that looks awesome in full screen?
So is Flash dead? Well let’s view the evidence of its competitors.
- Video Codecs – Google thinks it’s Microsoft, Steve Jobs thought he was God and Bill Gates is playing golf. Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer 6 through 9 and Firefox. That’s a lot of potential places a person might be visiting your site from and all of them would have have different requirements. Web developers now have to write code that says “If IE6 do this, IE7 do this, IE8 show this instead, if Firefox hide this, etc.” Google with Webm, Firefox with H.264. HTML5? Yeah now it’s easier to add a video to a page after you’ve encoded it in 3 different formats and code the page to show one or the other depending on what browser.
- HTML5 – For animation? Have you seen the code it takes for this? Yikes! How long does it take to do something that doesn’t look like an animated GIF? And let’s not forget that the same people that do all the amazing design work might not know HTML. You can animate in Flash without a single bit of code writing. As much as everyone is dying to be able to ignore early browser versions, the truth is people still use them, companies more than anyone. More people have faster bandwidth these days than newer browsers. So the code you’re wanting to use to prevent loading times is almost competing with its own need to do so. CSS to create a gradient? C’mon?
- Iphone – Had one but didn’t want iTunes or having to convert all my stuff to work on it. Is this the Flash killer, because Steve Jobs said it kills batteries? Um, cough cough Android cough! Keep your goofy app store.
- Ipad – When I first saw one of these in the store I couldn’t help but joke with the salesman about it being an iPod for people with bad vision. Reminds me of the giant joke calculator at Spencer’s in the mall. (Why are you laughing? You know you bought one.) My camera is 10 megapixels so I’m good, more goofy apps, more iTunes converting and no Flash. So we’re to throw it out because of two devices? Not good enough. Even the new Chrome OS comes with Flash. I just got the new one that came out 2 days after the last one. The only difference is this one is white. (next week I’ll spend $600 on one in blue.) All joking aside, mine has a 17 inch screen, i7, 16 gigs of ram, 500 GB hard drive, can out to an HDTV or 27 inch monitor, enjoy 4 USB ports, a smart card reader and can play games that aren’t about finger flicking. Also I have a full keyboard with real buttons and can even out to a wireless keyboard and mouse. I can use all my design programs with no problems whatsoever. Wow you say, what iPod is that? It’s the one made by asus. (even folds to protect the screen.) Good luck Apple with replacing it with your giant Ipod.
Well those are damaging reasons to throw out Flash.
Adobe can save Flash by coming back to designers, getting Wallaby up and bug free and redesigning Flash to be more like After Effects (a difficult thing being that I can’t even use blur too much without choking something.) Leave Flex for developers and give Flash back to designers. Maybe cutting all that developer code out might help out with the crashing and virus nonsense developers use it for. How about Flash CS6: For Designers and Animators! Sounds good. Who knows, maybe even Steve Jobs will let you be on his kids toy.