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The Future of Flash 468

Posted by Zonk
from the next-gen-of-shiny dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Adobe is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Flash, and News.com has an article looking at the company's plans for the future of the technology. No longer just a choice for 'innovative' web designers, Adobe is positioning Flash as an application development platform, with special emphasis on video delivery and mobile device applications." From the article: "On Tuesday, the company intends to launch a microsite showing the evolution of Flash over the past 10 years, including video interviews with developers. Those videos will no doubt be played with the Flash Video Player, something many high-profile Web sites, including YouTube, have chosen to use as well. The success of Flash in the next 10 years rides largely on whether leading-edge customers like YouTube will design their Web sites with Flash, Lynch said. Adobe, which gained the Flash technology when it bought Macromedia, is trying to build an 'ecosystem' of developers and partners, he said. "
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The Future of Flash

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  • by thrillseeker (518224) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:49AM (#15866014)
    ... "just say no".
      • by gaspar ilom (859751) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:09PM (#15868213)

        Flash should be used where one needs to use Flash, and HTML/JS/CSS (+XML+XSLT) likewise.

        Flash behaves consistently cross-browser, cross/platform -- and most features cannot be disabled by the user. (compare that to a user being able to turn off JS, or Java -- something often mandated in a corporate environment.) It's either "all on" or "all off." (w/ a few minor exceptions, eg: local storage and camera/mic access.)

        Flash has a large install base. It's arguably the most widely available platform for delivering media-rich "applications" over the web.

        Flash does not rely on anywhere near the number of kludges and workarounds necessary to replicate similar features -- where possible -- in different browsers and browser *versions.* (Unlike various browser technologies, supported features are more stable across updates of the Flash Player.)

        Not to sound like I work for MM/Adobe, but, here's what the Flash Player can do at *run time*:

        • Flash can load and play external MP3 audio.
        • Flash can play video. That is not possible w/ HTML/CSS/JS.
        • Flash can render text -- w/ custom-defined and packaged fonts. (not possible in a browser.) It can apply a limited set of CSS to the rendered text.
        • Flash can load/parse/serialize/send XML.
        • Flash can POST and GET a variety of data.
        • Flash can access a user's webcam, allowing you to create your own video chat/IM app.
        • Flash can programatically-build vector shapes, gradients, and fills.
        • Flash can load and render external jpegs, gifs(v8), and pngs(v8) -- and in version 8, composite all that w/ vector graphics (+video?) -- *and,* sample the resulting display pixel by pixel. (w/ server interaction, you could dynamically generate graphic files.)
        • Flash 8 has a "file upload" ability that goes beyond what a browser is capable of: You can multi-select upload files, filter files by type or size, and have programatic access to the state of the upload.
        • Flash can animate stuff!!!
        • Flash is like a 2 MB download that works in almost *every* browser out there. ...it's pretty phenomenal that all those features could have been crammed into it. (like: a built-in interpreter for a late-version-EcmaScript-compliant scripting language.)
        • Cross platform? Flash does not work on all platforms.

          Flash 9 is only SUPPORTED on Windows 98-2003 server and Mac OS 10.1-10.4 ppc. They have a beta for intel macs.

          http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/producti nfo/systemreqs/ [adobe.com]

          Flash 7 supports Mac OS 9, x86 linux (no AMD64 or other processors) and Solaris x86/sparc64. The linux support is only for redhat and the java desktop system (linux builds).

          http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/producti nfo/systemreqs/flashplayer7/ [adobe.com]

          I wouldn't call that cross
        • ...here [sourceforge.net]

          Microsoft has Adobe very firmly in it's sight. It is bringing out technology to compete with Adobe. XAML is Microsoft's silver bullet for Flash. Vista and all future releases of Windows will include support for XAML, support for legacy window systems will be facilitated via service packs.

          XAML will have all the features of Flash, including tools for graphical designers [microsoft.com] plus the power and ease of development of Visual Studio .NET.

          If this doesn't bite hard into Adobe's market over the next 2-
      • by fishdan (569872) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @03:45PM (#15868989) Homepage Journal

        I asked a Macromedia/Adobe Flash Evangelist recently why they have not yet implemented a toggle for flash like the Firefox Extension, [mozdev.org] so that users could chose to turn flash on for one page and off for another (or possibly even more granular if you wished). He told me flat out "because then our customers wouldn't like it because it would be too easy for you to avoid their ads. We want you to have a "one or the other" choice -- either all Flash or none. We think the quality of good/userful/entertaining flash out there is what makes Flash an attractive advertizing platform. If you could pick and choose what you saw, Flash would be just another rich media option on the web."

        I found his honesty refreshing. And I see his point -- if you could easily pick and chose flash (as I do with the FF Flashblock extension) you'd probably never see a flash ad. I was surfing on a friends computer (on IE even) and his web experience SUCKS. Flash ads everywhere, they make noise without permission, they are ...ummm...FLASHY. And irritating. I honestly don't know how people get around with flash enabled all the time. For me if the choice is as he put it -- either no flash, or flash with no control over it, I'll take no flash.

        It's silly for us to get into the arguement over whether or not content on the web should be free or supported by advertisments, because neither of us will affect the other's opinion. I don't block every ad, but if one annoys me, I do block it. I think the ad companies have the right to try to show me ads, and I have the right to try to block the ones that annoy me. So for me, I'll never consider flash an option until users have the ability to selectively choose what pages are allowed to run flash, and which flash apps are allowed to run on a given page.

        Also for everyone in my company, because I block .swf at the router

    • ... "just say no".
      Like it or not, Flash is here to stay. There are some things you just cannot do in HTML/DHTML/AJAX/whatever. Vector animation is not a fad.
      Now, if there would be some standard cross-platform solution to do all this, and not some proprietary binary blob, compiled only for those platforms Macromedia chooses. I'm still waiting for my 8.0 Flash player for Linux.
      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:08AM (#15866187)
        There are some things you just cannot do in HTML/DHTML/AJAX/whatever. Vector animation is not a fad.

        That's exactly what SVG is supposed to be for -- and it has the distinct advantage over flash in that it can be integrated with that "HTML/DHTML/AJAX/whatever" stuff you mention.

        • Right, but there's almost no SVG adoption.

          On the Flash side, flash's serious, serious advantage is one of its most recent - it's really the best video-on-the-web delivery platform available. It's almost ubiquitos distribution, and cross-platform support is the tops.

          Then there are other advantages - Flash has a brilliant, mature buffering mechanism that can be programmatically controlled.

          And the creme-de-la-creme (that's TOTALLY spelled wrong I'm sure) is that you can build your own player! For instance, at my last job, we built a player that would actually detect dropped packets, missing files, etc - handle everything brilliantly. For larger files, we could run a small proprietary animation instead of stupid buffering messages in QT or WMP - and if the buffer were too slow or suddenly dropped, that could all be handled programmatically. Oh - and the video compression was on par with QT or WMP.

          All that was done with Flash 7. Flash 8 and especially 9 add fantastic video-speicific features that weren't in 6 or 7.

          Video is where Flash shines so brightly above the competition. I mean - I love QT HD trailers of movies at 400mb, but Flash video on the web is Flash's major advantage right now, and doing video in any other format is really pointless.

          (Note: Most companies are picking up on this too - YouTube and Google Video for one, but ESPN moved all their stuff as well, as did ABC (owns ESPN) etc.)
          • > It's almost ubiquitos distribution, and cross-platform support is the tops.
            > All that was done with Flash 7. Flash 8 and especially 9 add fantastic video-speicific features that weren't in 6 or 7.

            This may be true if you're talking about Flash 7, but Flash 8 and 9 are not available on Linux (I think they're going to release Flash 10), so if you want real cross-platform support, you'll either have to stick to Flash 7 (which doesn't have the video-specific features you like) or move to OGG, QT, or even
          • Another great advantage for Flash video is that it doesn't throw one's machine into an unresponsive spasm of hard disk activity the first time it is loaded. Even QT is fairly disruptive to one's browsing experience. Like PDF/Acrobat ("Is that PDF file going to be interesting enough to be worth the chugging while Acrobat loads?")
        • by bunions (970377) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:42PM (#15867291)
          SVG has several disadvantages as well that no one ever seems to mention:

          • No support for video or audio. I know SVG is a vector -graphics- format, but when you compare it to flash you have to compare it with all of flash.
          • No support for -any- kind of gui widgets. Want to make a radio button? You have to draw it from graphics primitives and provide all the logic (rollover effects, press effects, callbacks, etc). Hell, there's not even built-in text wrapping (it's in the 1.2 spec, I believe, but no one is even talking about the possibility of making a 1.2 viewer)
          • And when you DO make those widgets, oh god, they are slow as a butt.
          • No animation timeline support. This is kind of a pain in the butt in a lot of applications. You can roll your own, but that's just more work on top of the previous item.
          • Incomplete implementations. The Adobe SVG plugin is pretty buggy (and I'm not holding my breath waiting for them to fix it), and the Firefox implementation is still incomplete: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/svg/status.html [mozilla.org]


          And that's just what's on the top of my head now.

          I was a big fan of SVG when it came out. But I'm just not seeing it as a popular success in the long run, not without a ubiquitous viewer shipped with IE. My view is that SVG will follow in the path of VRML - still a success in some niche markets, but forgotten by most.
        • by jsebrech (525647) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @02:22PM (#15868322)
          That's exactly what SVG is supposed to be for -- and it has the distinct advantage over flash in that it can be integrated with that "HTML/DHTML/AJAX/whatever" stuff you mention.

          You seem to be mistaken about what SVG and flash are for. I've built a web-based CAD app before, and ended up implementing a combination of the two. Comparing SVG to flash is like comparing HTML to PHP. Flash is good for run-time manipulation of vector graphics, but it is lousy at vector graphics exchange (since you can't edit an swf). SVG excels at vector graphics exchange, but the cross-browser support for run-time manipulation is virtually non-existant. I ended up building an SVG editor in flash, which is a sensible combination when you look at the strengths of each.

          Anyway, I know a lot of people here hate flash, so as an ajax and flash developer, let me be burst a few bubbles:
          • Flash is an amazingly capable web app development platform. It is a lot more easy to develop complex web apps in than ajax (regardless of your choice of ajax toolchain). Some things are just not feasible with any alternative (like exact control over printing without forcing a costly round-trip to the server to generate a PDF). It is not an accident that yahoo's new maps and google finance are built in flash.
          • There is an open source toolchain for flash development (built around eclipse, swfmill and the open source mtasc actionscript compiler). Currently only the player is not open sourced, and that could be easily reimplemented since the swf format is fully documented.
          • Flash integrates well with HTML/JS/PHP/... There is a javascript to flash bridge, and so you can build a web app that is a mixture of flash and javascript. My CAD app has a HTML-based toolbar, and a flash content area. Interacting with PHP is a matter of either using the built-in XML classes, or using the AMFPHP framework, which lets you transmit wholly-formed objects between flash and PHP without having to do any parsing in between.
          • Flash is at least as easy (or difficult) to build accessible apps in as AJAX, since AJAX has all the same downsides of flash when it comes to accessibility, and unlike flash it doesn't have an accessibility API to make up for it.
          • There are frameworks out there for building desktop apps with flash. It's straightforward to build a web app and a desktop app that share the same codebase.

      • Like it or not, Flash is here to stay.

        Like it or not, some of us would like it to go away. Flash is a pestilence which has led to a lot of flashy and meaningless content clogging up web sites and making them unuseable. It's been smeared so liberally around the Web that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a site that uses it in some gratuitous fashion. No, I'm sorry -- I need to be able to go to a web site and find the information I'm looking for, not watch inane animations and pointless fluff.

        • No, I'm sorry -- I need to be able to go to a web site and find the information I'm looking for, not watch inane animations and pointless fluff.

          You are implying that you have some sort of intrinsic right to have information delivered to you in the format you prefer by all sites on the Internet. Sorry, your only right is to press the "Back" button when you hit some pile of flashturbation.
          The fact that web-designers use Flash gratuitously is besides the point, they have the right to make their sites as crapp

          • You are implying that you have some sort of intrinsic right to have information delivered to you in the format you prefer by all sites on the Internet.

            No, I'm implying that the state of the Web is deplorable, made more so my hack developers who think Flash animations are "the neatest thing ever" and hide the content I'm looking for behind all this useless crap. I'm also saying that I don't patronize any site where such things occur. If there's information I want on a site, but I have to wade through Fla

        • Like it or not, some of us would like it to go away. Flash is a pestilence which has led to a lot of flashy and meaningless content clogging up web sites and making them unuseable.

          Another aspect of Flash is the Flash cookies [adobe.com], cookies that are separate and distinct from those the browser creates. The Flash cookies are not managed by any of the cookie management facilities in browsers or security programs, bypassing the security and privacy measures that are in effect for HTML cookies.

      • Vector animation is not a fad.

        Agreed.

        There are some things you just cannot do in HTML/DHTML/AJAX/whatever.

        Like, umm, vector animation. (Though hopefully that will change with widespread acceptance of SVG.)

        What this is about, though, is whether or not Flash as a development environment for more complicated applications, and that's where it falls down. Keep Flash around for the vector animation, but I hate browsing a site that's made entirely in Flash.
    • I gotta say I agree. After trying to build a modular blogging app in Flash several years ago, I found out just how F'ed up flash is. There is little consistency with the Actionscript language and no DOM for the underlying structure so it requires alot of guesswork in places. Plus poor support of POST variables, SESSIONS and other functionality made me give up entirely.

      Mind you that they have overcome some of these issues ... but not really. A nice thing is that someone figured out how to make the text searc
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:50AM (#15866020)
    <Sarcasm> No Flash for me, It takes way to much bandwidth what I do is make each frame and save it as a bmp and use JavaScript to load each frame by frame, It saves a load on bandwidth! Vs. Piggy Flash </Sarcasm>

    • My Site [googlepages.com] probably wont win the *Sashdot* redesign contest.


      I tried your webpage on IE6 & an old install of Firefox (1.0.7).
      Site looks good on IE & is unreadable on Firefox.

      And you have mispelled Slashdot in your signature.
    • BMP ??? You should be using PBM you heathen ! You're just replacing one evil with another ! Streaming PBM files is the way to go. Plus they are ASCII and therefore friendly to the screen readers !
    • ... what I do is make each frame and save it as a bmp and use JavaScript to load each frame by frame, It saves a load on bandwidth! Vs. Piggy Flash

      That's the safe bet if you can't use regular mpeg. If you put the wrong kind of compression between your bitmap and transmission, you might be sued for violating someone's lame software patent.

  • by charnov (183495) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:51AM (#15866037) Homepage Journal
    Well, since I am on Linux and a 64 bit variant, I guess it will be another 10 years when I get to see the presentation.
  • by Ant P. (974313) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:52AM (#15866045) Homepage
    is to be made irrelevant by something else that works on all platforms and is cheaper/free/OSS.
  • Shouldn't they make it compatible with *nix then? Last time I remember thinking about Flash it didn't work... if it does now, please let me know.
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:53AM (#15866055) Homepage Journal






    (empty space)




    That's right. I have no plans for Flash.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:55AM (#15866074) Journal
    ...right after the blink tag.
  • until I realized that it looked shitty on slower computers and only had Flash 7 on x86 Linux. I can't even play FancyPantsAdventure with it. And, it can be incredibly annoying. Worst is when you force flash to use a site at all. With AJAX technologies and dynamically-created sites, is their really a need for Flash sites? I can see it for games or small applets [jeffmilner.com], but for an entire site (like some car websites), do you even need it? More to the point, should you even need it?
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:58AM (#15866097)
    I've started using Flash inside my development environment, but I use it to capture and annotate onscreen application sessions so I can show the developers what's going wrong. (It avoids a lot of "I can't reproduce it and can't find the time to make it over to a computer where it can be reproduced, so I'm not going to do it" B.S.)
  • Not again! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:58AM (#15866098) Homepage Journal
    Remember the mid-1990s deluge of shovelware? Every new PC came with a towering stack of bad CD-ROM apps that were "OMG interactive multimedia CD-ROM technology!!!!@#$%" consisting of little more than Quicktime videos and the old crappy Macromedia Projector.

    *shudder* Never again!
    • Blame the programmers not the Tool. The Mid 90s, People wanted to show off the computers new features, SVGA Graphics at 800x600 24bit Display, Fast 2d rendering, The massave amount of storage that CD's can hold. Realistic Sound. It was the newest and greatest thing, For the first time people were able to see computers as something more then just work and video games, but able to entertain in different ways. These pieces of software CD's which were cheap to program were just added with the PC as a way of s
  • by Intangion (816356) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:58AM (#15866101) Homepage
    i booed on them right on that article

    but ya flash blows
    they have terrible or no support for most architectures/OSes out there
    and for a 'web application' platform thats just flat out unacceptable

    they did release a 32bit only version 7 for linux, but there have been what? 2 other versions and a 3rd coming since then? and none of them work on linux..
    also they dont have 64bit support
    and as far as i know it ONLY works on x86

    so if you write your interactive web application using ajax then it works on nearly every operating system known to man.. or flash and it works only on one
  • by giafly (926567) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:59AM (#15866108)
    Flash: Gaudy or ostentatious display [thefreedictionary.com].
  • Flash (Score:5, Funny)

    by night_flyer (453866) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:59AM (#15866110) Homepage
    a-aaaaa! He'll save every one of us!

  • by NateKid (44775) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:00AM (#15866120)
    Flash is in the same space as Ajax, and has been for a while. And with something like 95% browser penetration, Flash is a great way to create browser-independent websites.

    Flash is far more robust and elegant than the slashdot crowd gives it credit for being. It has a powerful object-oriented language and frameworks enabling ant builds, unit testing, aspect-oriented coding, and almost every other buzzword out there. If you gave up on it 5 years ago, check it out again. It so isn't your daddy's flash these days.

    Or better yet, keep insulting Flash while I keep making money off it.
    • Excuse me??? Isn't the "current" Flash player for Linux exactly the same version as it was 5 years ago? They seem to have skipped one or two releases for Linux and are promising a new one "real soon now."

      Sure looks to me like the only choice I have is "my daddy's Flash." What's to check out?

    • Flash is in the same space as Ajax, and has been for a while.

      Flash: Client-side animation component.
      AJAX: Javascript that connects to a server-side script to select / create / update / delete data and update the page.

      Completely different.
    • One MAJOR problem - Flash content cannot be indexed by a search engine (AFAIK), AJAX sites (well any site that contains parseable text) can. That being said, if you don't care about being indexed (at least by content), then I guess it isn't an issue ;).
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @01:20PM (#15867739)

      Flash is far more robust and elegant than the slashdot crowd gives it credit for being.

      As an application development platform? Sure, why not. As a web application development platform? No chance.

      The fundamental problem with Flash is the same as it ever was. You have a presentation format that wraps up presentation, scripting and content into one binary bundle that couples everything together so tightly it's impossible to decompose. You might as well stick a Powerpoint presentation on the web. Virtually all of Flash's other problems that people complain about are merely symptoms of this one underlying design flaw.

      With a normal web application, you can do all kinds of things with the various pieces. On a slow connection? Turn off the graphics. Indexing content? Just parse the HTML. Security worries? Switch off scripting. Hate the design? Use a user stylesheet. Missing a feature? Add it with Greasemonkey. Concerned with a particular part of the web application? Link directly to it.

      Flash either makes these things impossible or way more difficult than they should be because everything is tightly coupled instead of loosely coupled the way all the other web technologies are. By itself, this single factor limits interoperability, which is the whole basis for the WWW's strength. Sure, you might be able to produce a fancy interface, but you're doing it at the expense of cutting off ties to the rest of the web's technologies. It's Flash's fundamental design flaw that Adobe/Macromedia don't seem to understand or care about fixing.

      Ajax, on the other hand, works with all the other WWW technologies. It doesn't invent its own way of representing content, it uses HTML. It doesn't have its own layout system, it uses CSS. Its constituent components already all exist, and, more importantly, lots of other software is built to manipulate them.

      For example, if I have my browser set up to automatically make tables sortable, this works with tables in an Ajax application because Ajax applications would just use a normal, standard HTML table. The same thing hasn't got a chance of working in Flash because it doesn't build on top of existing technologies, it throws them all away and does its own thing.

      Flash isn't a way of creating web applications. It's a way of creating traditional applications and making them appear in a browser window. If that's what you want, then fine, go ahead and do that. But don't pretend they are web applications, because they've thrown away everything that makes the web so powerful and replaced it with something else.

  • Flash FTW (Score:5, Informative)

    by WPIDalamar (122110) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:00AM (#15866121) Homepage
    In the past I've always classified flash as a cute toy that web designers play with to get some interactivity that consisted of timelines and hiding little snippets of code in obscure places in the timeline.

    However over the past month I've been imersing myself in the Flash world and have been amazed.

    Did you know...

    - You don't have to use the Flash IDE to create applications, you can use:
        Eclipse (My preferred environment for this)
        FlashDevelop
        Notepad/Emacs/vi + a compiler
        A crapton of other environments
        Flex Builder (another adobe product)
    - You never have to deal with a timeline if you don't want to.
    - Real object-orientated programming is possible.
    - Actionscript 3 (available in Flash Player 9) is clearly targetted at developers and not designers and removes many of the oddities of AS2 that you may have heard about.
    - Real applications, not web toys can be created.
    - With the upcomming apollo runtime, native applications can be created with full access to all machine resources.
    - There's a ton of open source libraries out there
        Want an IoC container like Spring? Sure!
        Want a port of the java swing library? Sure!
    - The new version of Flex Builder (the environment targetted at developers) is simply an eclipse plugin.
    - Adobe is now making tools and libraries available free of charge to developers. (not the whiz-bang IDE's, but compilers, libraries, etc.)

    • What an exciting astro-turf, I'm sure the koolaide tastes great, but I am left in the dark without any new version of flash in quite sometime seeing as how 90% of my browsing occurs under linux. Maybe one of these great developer centric features they could be /truly/ proud of would be to make flashplayer OSS...
      • A little later than the Win and Mac releases, but it'll be there.

        http://weblogs.macromedia.com/emmy/archives/2006/0 5/yes_virginia_th.cfm [macromedia.com]
        • Adobe? Is that you?

          Anyway, wow. Adobe is working on Flash 9 for Linux only a good year or so after it premiered on Windows.

          Don't you understand that this just reinforces the argument that programming in Flash will limit your audience?
      • Re:Flash FTW (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jsebrech (525647)
        A few remarks:
        - Flash 8 is the latest release, flash player 9 is available, but there is no flash authoring environment for it yet (there is a flex environment, but that's a different product).
        - Flash 7 is available on linux and for most web apps it is just as capable as flash 8. My company sells flash apps, and we currently target flash player 7. Believe me when I tell you it is nothing to sneeze at.
        - Macromedia chose to skip the flash 8 player for linux because they're moving their entire player codebase
    • Actionscript 3 (available in Flash Player 9)...

      Cool! Maybe one day Macromedia will release a Linux player for version 8! And then, years later, one for 9!

      This proprietary software sure is awesome! Closed source FTW! </IRONY>

      Seriously, the most recent release of the Flash Player for Linux is "Flash 7.0 r63". I know that the SWF spec. has been published, so it's relatively open in some senses of the word, but it doesn't make much difference to me how many ways I can create Flash content if I

      • Version 7 has strong AS2.0 support and can easily be targetted by developers. Most of the features 8.0 brought are designer-centric things aimed at neat toys and are of no consequence to a traditional "application developer".

        I'm simply saying it's a platform that's to the point of being taken seriously, there aren't a lot of good applications out there yet.

        And the 9.0 player is coming for Linux over the next few months. With the new direction Adobe is heading I'd expect much more regular Linux releases.
    • Re:Flash FTW (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tcopeland (32225) * <tom@[ ]masleecopeland.com ['tho' in gap]> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:23AM (#15866342) Homepage
      > There's a ton of open source libraries out there

      Right on, like ActionStep [actionstep.org]. We've built indi [getindi.com] in it and it looks good, it's fast, and the API is continually improving. Good times.
    • > Real applications, not web toys can be created.

      Real applications can be created in LISP too. Do you have any good examples that you can list?
    • Re:Flash FTW (Score:5, Informative)

      by WPIDalamar (122110) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:08PM (#15866894) Homepage
      Seen a bunch more misconceptions in posts all over the site, so here's an addendum to my list:

      - Full accessibility, including screenreader support, is built into Flash. To utilize that is about as difficult as implementing that support for a traditional desktop application. There is no need to have weird hacks.

      - Actionscript is the language the flash player is the environment it runs in (the VM?) and it provides an API that is fully accessible from actionscript without touching adobe design tools.

      - Flash has it's own control panel for privacy concerns that rivals most browser controls (not counting addons) for html content.

      - Just because there are crappy flash things out there (animated ads, stupid games, etc.) doesn't mean real applications can't be built. You don't blame C for the latest internet worm, why blame flash for the latest annoyance.

      - It can be indexed by search engines.

      - The new target is at full blown applications. Think of something like iTunes. An application running on your computer that communicates extensively with online services. With an added bonus it can be delivered on-demand over the internet in addition to a traditional download/install or cd/install.

      - Macromedia dropped the ball on linux flash player. Adobe's picking it back up.
  • "...a date which will live in infamy."
  • The only reason that YouTube, Google Video et al adopted Flash as their video player client was because Flash is pretty much universal, and it's easier to convert videos into a Flash video file than to deal with all the compatibility issues that come with embedding a Windows Media / Quicktime / RealVideo file. Nothing wrong with that, because Flash was designed to be an animation / movie player, and moving to full motion video isn't that big of a step.

    What Flash is not is an API, at least not in terms of d
    • That's weird because we've been developing an application that uses Flash as a front-end and MySQL/PHP as the server-side and haven't had any issues with "connection points". Are you sure you know what you're talking about?
    • Wrong. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Qbertino (265505)
      Pardon, but you don't know what you're talking about.
      Flashs accessability follows official standards for RIA plattforms by the book. And there's enough ammo that has "Flash is more accessible than HTML" written on it. I'll build a site that's perfect for blind people to navigate in flash - and they won't even need a screenreader.
      Since AS 2 it's been an industry strength plattform and VM, with nearly all ties to the official IDE cut. Security is next to paranoid and because it's also monolithic plattform it'
    • The only reason that YouTube, Google Video et al adopted Flash as their video player client was because Flash is pretty much universal

      As long as you're not running 64-bit... I end up running vmware or firefox in a chroot whenever I need to access a page that runs flash. Both are a major pain. You can't even fire off konqueror in a chroot as it tries to talk to the 64-bit versions that are already running and gets confused.

      This is the problem with proprietary protocols - you are supported only if the vend
    • The only reason that YouTube, Google Video et al adopted Flash as their video player client was because Flash is pretty much universal, and it's easier to convert videos into a Flash video file than to deal with all the compatibility issues that come with embedding a Windows Media / Quicktime / RealVideo file. Nothing wrong with that, because Flash was designed to be an animation / movie player, and moving to full motion video isn't that big of a step.

      Except of course the fact that Flash always seems to hav
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:07PM (#15866892)
      As someone coding an large scale application (hint, its part of a project that is costing billions of £) that is using Flex for the presentation layer (or presentation layer + as it is turning out to be), I have to disagree.

      Flex (or Flash) is an API and can be made to develop complex applications. Though the question of "complex" is debatable. I think 10s of thousands of concurrent users with 10s of millions of daily transactions will be complex enough.

      I've yet to see the Ajax app that performs to a high degree of accuracy to the same extent.

      Server side execution of certain things? Sure, how do you want to go about it? RPC, WS, HTTP? These are obviously all wierd Adobe programming techniques that aren't used by millions of people across the planet. We're linked upto massive multiple clusters all running various Java servlets to perform all our server side needs, such as, for example working with that massive centralised DB.

      Try looking at it from a security point of view as well. Flash is prone to fewer attacks. It is much harder to spoof a Flash application, you can't simply through up a look-a-like page, you can't use simple cross site scripting attacks, no SQL injection, simply fewer common techniques will stime it.

      HTML is no greater universal than Flash, Flash has different players (which can be compensated for by directing the user to get the latest), HTML has all its IE/Firefox/Opera/etc problems.

      In the end, Flash CAN be annoying, if simply used to create an annoying moving image... much like a gif can be annoying if used to create an annoying moving image, but it IS powerful and will only get more so.
  • Flash is evil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by llZENll (545605) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:06AM (#15866167)
    I don't think I have ever enjoyed browsing a site that has exclusively used flash. One of the biggest benefits of HTML is a standardization of GUI controls, with flash that goes right out the window. The only flash sites I have seen that are not totally annoying and worthless are from car manufacturers, they have huge budgets to spend on design and development of their sites, even then they are substandard to HTML sites in usability.

    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html [useit.com]
    http://www.webpagesthatsuck.com/main.html [webpagesthatsuck.com]
    http://dack.com/web/flash_evil.html [dack.com]
    • Re:Flash is evil (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      God I am so sick of seeing that Alertbox post - check the date:

      October 29, 2000

      Almost 6 years old.

      *6* years.

      The update is 4 years old, and IT admits Flash has gotten things right -- 4 years ago.

      Flash is drastically different now, and the dev community has evolved from graphic artists with timelines and transitions to programmers with solid API's and robust, documented libs - if you're still building on 6 year old design information, techniques and (since we're talking about 6 year old buzzwords) par
    • Links that suck (Score:3, Informative)

      by Frankie70 (803801)
      Two of those articles have written 5-6 years back.
  • Make it searchable (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:06AM (#15866168)
    I spent about half an hour looking for a company's site last week. I knew the company name, but couldn't guess the URL. I'd tried a dozen searches till finally I found a forum post that linked to it. Of course, the entire front page and all navigation was in Flash, so it was totally invisible to Google's searchbot. And it didn't do anything that couldn't have been done just as easily in vanilla HTML
    • Of course, the entire front page and all navigation was in Flash, so it was totally invisible to Google's searchbot. And it didn't do anything that couldn't have been done just as easily in vanilla HTML

      So you're saying that all we need to do to maintain our privacy wrt the NSA and their searchbots is to correspond only via Flash objects?

      Now if only we could embed Flash objects in our Slashdot posts to alleviate tinfoil-hat concerns.

      Wait. Scratch that -- Very Bad Idea. Very Bad.

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:06AM (#15866170)
    I've been doing Flash/AS professionally since the 5.0 days. The plattform has come a long way. For one, it actually has become a plattform, and not just some crappy IDE with a little scripting bolted on. Allthough not percieved as such, it's even closer to open source right now than Java. AS 2&3, MTASC, osflash.org and the GNU Gnash project continue to add OSS credibility and non-slashdot-bullshitting awareness in the developer community. I didn't like the hickup in the release line of the official Linux Flash Player though. If Flash won't reliably support Linux, it's a no-go for me and quite a few other serious Flash developers. The dev-laps of Macromedia where a nice place to get that straight to the devteam of flash and they got the message.

    All in all it's clear that if Adope doesn't screw around to much they can't do much wrong. It's still the most widespread plattform ever with nearly zero-fuss cross plattform deployment via the web. You get a high profile independant VM, with a security model and security policy that remains unmatched in RIAs. And a rock-solid ECMA compliant OOP language along with it.
    Ajax just isn't in that league. Nice for the one or other drag-and-drop gadget or small-scale data sync but that's about it.
    XUL maybe will get there someday, if they get their stuff sorted out and manage to build a hassle-free XUL-Runner plugin for all major browsers. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.
    • It's a trade-off. Much like any other development environment.

      For some applications, especially intranet type applications, it may have its place in the world.

      Do most of the users in the average corporate environment run Unix? Probably not. Do they have a Flash player on their computer? Probably.

      I'm not saying that it is the best way to go, but it could have its uses.
  • "The success of Flash in the next 10 years rides largely on whether leading-edge customers like YouTube will design their Web sites with Flash."
    Obviously Flash needs customers in order to be successful, what makes the article worth reading is Lynch disscussing his strategy for keeping Flash successful. Lynch says he wants Flash to work well with other systems like AJAX as a means of keep Flash relevant and useful. Apparently this is something that Google Finance already does, and Macromedia is encourag
  • by ScentCone (795499) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:09AM (#15866193)
    I think this is more like remembering Perl Harbor.

    Thanks, I'll be here all week. Oh, and try the Flash-Fried Content, and don't forget to tip your web servers. Ba-da-bing!
  • When will it be possible to watch one of these youtubes where the audio will be in synch with the video?
    • Even to consistently have audio would be nice... In Linux a lot of the flash gimmicks are mute. This is fine with noisy ads (although I haven't seen any in a while) but with films and animations it's rather iritating.
  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:12AM (#15866223) Journal
    A decade of a product they just recently purchased?

    Macromedia made flash ubiquitous on the web, like it or not.

    Then Adobe-come-lately appears on the scene, and we start getting "flash bugs"; every single site requests local storage; Flash causes more browser crashes than ever...

    Sorry, Adobe, but you don't get the credit here. The profits, yes, but no Kudos for you!
  • by psbrogna (611644) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @11:17AM (#15866277)
    Somebody should develop a proprietary scripting language embedded inside flash embedded inside dhtml/javascript. Cause as we all know, the more nested layers of closed-architecture, write once, run one-place, functional redundancy a page has the cooler it is.
  • In the future, software like this will be free.
  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @12:28PM (#15867133) Homepage Journal
    As more features get added in Flash, there will be more vectors that can be used to potentially infest computers with malicious software. As it is, using Flash as an application development platform is a bad idea because nobody tends to program for security, and decides on programming for performance for media players, webcam broadcasts, video streaming, etc. As more code gets added on, holes will open up, eventually. As is the future of any piece of software - there will be a crack, hack, hole, exploit, whatever for it.

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