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Flash Fades, From Flagship To Legacy App


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#1 iamlost

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 10:39 AM

Another in the 'clearing the backlog' topics. :)

You may remember that back in April 2010 Steve Jobs wrote an 'open letter' on the Apple website entitled Thoughts on Flash.

Conclusions.

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

Well, at the beginning of this month Adobe either proved Jobs' prescience or followed his advice. :D

Flash to Focus on PC Browsing and Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5 by Danny Winokur, Vice President & General Manager, Interactive Development, Adobe, 09-November-2011.

Over the past two years, we’ve delivered Flash Player for mobile browsers and brought the full expressiveness of the web to many mobile devices.

However, HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.
...
Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations
...
We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations.
...
These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video.
...
...we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged.

So Flash has taken the first step in becoming a legacy product.

While it has not 'gone' from the web for those webdevs coming new to the business or planning to remain this is a huge kick in the directional pants: learn HTML5 and CSS3, learn them well; and stop building Flash sites. Plus, remember that all formats become obsolete eventually...so be ready and able to port prior art to other formats as necessary.

Further reading:
* Adobe discontinues mobile Flash Player by Sylvie Barak, EE Times, 09-November-2011.

* Adobe Ditching Mobile Browser Flash Player Development by Chloe Albanesius, PCMag, 09-November-2011

* Adobe's future is controlling what you watch, not delivering it by Bill Ray, The Register, 11-November-2011.

#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 11:00 AM

Wish it would disappear even sooner. Little story: Flash has been crashing in my browsers a lot lately, so I finally just decided to disable it from automatically rendering, and I'd just click to enable when needed. I was surprised to see just how much it's used. I had no idea how often ads were really flash-based (including adsense ads), and how often sites used flash for silly little reasons. One example...AT&T site, when logging in to pay cell phone bill, for instance, pops up a little animated AT&T world logo. It's flash. There's nothing special about it. It could just as easily be an animated gif. Anyway, rather than dealing with all of these silly flash-based googaws that do nothing of substance, and having them constantly crash, I'd be happy to see flash go bye-bye sooner rather than later.

#3 DCrx

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 01:47 PM

I don't understand.

Flash was politically incorrect. Going -- far less than commonly believed -- against semantic canon. And let us not forget the unforgiveable sin: Not being search engine spam friendly.

True, Adobe is throwing in the mobile towel. But every last user frustrating, nonsensical thing anyone ever did with Flash is now being done with HTML 5, CSS 3, and a huge overdose of Jquery. Because, hey, Mootools is so over.

Flash isn't going anywhere. Flash achieved programatic sainthood.

Used to be you got ridiculed for mystery meat navigation, and playing "Where's Waldo" with navigational foldouts fit for a government agency. Now stupid Jquery tricks and CSS3 gimmicks you can't see in all but the newest browsers isn't an arrogant Flash developer trait -- it's a best practice. (Bad user, go get a new browser and come back).

Let me get this straight: Downloading Flash player: Bad. Downloading a bloated library -- where they're now deprecating parts to streamline the bloated beast -- that's A-Okay. Politically correct. Unless you're into the geek rapture thing, then it's religious orthodoxy.

I see just as many incomprehensible, doing-it-because-we-can, CSS3/HTML5/Jquery proof of concept pages as ever there were pointless Flash-for-the-sake-of-Flash pages. Gimmicks all.

The same people, joined by many more now, will be doing the same bad things to users Flashers did. Scratch the "more optimal than thou" attitude and nothing changed.


Related:

This thread I started has 1,810 views - ZERO replies. Since 2009. Must be just coincidence.

Edited by DCrx, 20 November 2011 - 02:33 PM.


#4 DCrx

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 02:39 PM

I'm waiting for the deprecations to play merry hob to the extent you'll have to constantly upgrade/downgrade to get the version compatible at the time the site was developed.

I particularly loved the Flash prompts that didn't recognize I had the newer version the old detection didn't recognize, and prompted me anyway. Let's get that in proper semantic markup.

Edited by DCrx, 20 November 2011 - 02:40 PM.


#5 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 02:57 PM

So far, none of those things that annoy you cause my browsers to crash 20 times a day though. Flash crashes constantly, and has for years.

#6 DCrx

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 03:59 PM

I've had non-Flash sites seize up my browser. Still do.

I go to Digg. Often the pages won't load.

Flash can degrade gracefully. Flash programmers, however, are not prone to comprehend the concept of degrading gracefully. That's not the tool, that the flawed mindset of the development community. This will simply move to HTML/CSS3/Jquery. And quite probably multiply.

There is no reason why it wouldn't.

#7 iamlost

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 10:12 PM

DCrx, I enjoyed re-reading Call For User-centric Application Of Mootools, Jquery. Not sure but suspect that I didn't reply because I try not to simply say that I agree. On this reading the only addition I'd make is that it could be made about perhaps every bit of software, hardware or protocol ever created.

Whether Flash, AJAX, CSS3, or whatever there will be those - indeed likely the vast majority - who will build what the software allows (and a few who who will try to go even further) rather than identifying and using software that most appropriately, efficiently meets business requirements and surpasses user/customer needs. And that gracefully degrades or, better still, progressively enhances to include the broadest spectrum of users with their myriad appliances.

People usually do what they know, even if that is not the best (or even a good) solution. As Abraham Maslow said: "It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail".

So, I report what is happening and where applicable I toss in something about business and users just in case there happens to be a perceptive receptive reader browsing by. And thoroughly enjoy it when you add a heaping helping of passion and expertise to the mix. Thank you.

#8 DCrx

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 03:46 AM

Not looking for agreement. Looking for examples.

Million monkey banging on a million typewriters theory suggests -- out of eighteen hundred -- somebody would have stumbled across some interesting example. Even if that example happened by accident to have some keen user insight.

Still, the point is don't look for things to change much at all. The concept behind flashing your users will merely migrate to another platform. Glitchy, over designed, browser clog websites aren't going away.

If anything, Flash concepts went mainstream. Remember, a lot of AJAX was supposed to be about the user focus.


Related:

Adobe Edge

Hellocode Warning! Flash. Run ...save yourself.

What this user experience Web 2.0 crowd needs is an equivalent usability site like Flazoom. That won't happen, since Web 2.0 is usable by default. It is not about hash-bangs, it's about just what was said to be going away with Flash.

Edited by DCrx, 21 November 2011 - 04:10 AM.




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