Monday, December 23, 2013

Adobe Flash - Dying breed or...

It's been a while since I have used Flash for web/app development and that got me to think when did I last time find a page on the internet that was Flash based? And...I barely remember any at all.

The first question that comes to my mind was why is this happening? I personaly always liked Flash for its
vector graphics and also the way animation can be done inside of it. I mean latest versions have Inverse
Kinematic (IK) wich means u could probably create a good cartoon in there with all the characters or you could just create a cartoon character that could interact with user as he absorbs the content of the page. And thats kinda the good and bad side of it.

Good side, in my opinion is, because in some cases if you do something wild as creating character toon for
interction with users, users can recognize that character as some indication for the info they are absoring. But
also Flash gives an oportunity to build rich and very attractive content. If you think using Flash for this
reason or any reason that bring more usefull content to your users I think you should go for it.

Another good side from my point of view is that, once you created a web-page or application in Flash, wherever and whoever opens that page it will always look the same! In short, it has no issues with cross-browser compatibility so you would never have to worry if a browsers might present your page/app diffrently as it is the case with HTML and CSS web-pages.

Also another good aspect for using Flash is if you wish to develop a video game. I've seen and played a lot of nice games when I had "one of those awesome classes" on my university and I never really payed attention was it Flash or not. What I am trying to say is that users if they search for web-games most of them are in Flash.

In short Flash is powerfull tool if you wish to create, games, vector graphics, animations sound effects etc.
But what if user who wants to see your page gets a messege saying "you must install plug-in to view this page" and what he does is "...not this again...*clicks X button in top-right corner*"? Not everyone will want to upgrade or install Flash player to see the application you have to show, tho I am not sure how much is that the case today as most of the things being played on the internet goes through Flash player. But that's not the only down-side of it.

If you do a full web-page in Flash, generaly is not good because of SEO or Search Engine Optimization and that is probably the biggest problem of it all. Because it can't get any link that otherwise it would if it is done
in HTML, therefor whenever user search for something that your Flash web-page have , it won't be "seen" by any search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo! etc.). My advice would be to whenever you need to do a web-page and you want a Flash inside of it, try doing it so that Flash section doesn't have some significant impact on the page. Such would be dynamic loading of the video files, but then you would have to use additional coding. Or some side menu for latest posts of something.

Most of the Mobile phones can't read flash. Enough said. Today people are using phones probably every 10min for something and if they cross the page that is full-based Flash and it can't open it? Well you don't need to be rocket scientist to know what will happen then! And this is for users who have such phones to view web-pages on it.

So after mentioning few good and bad sides of Flash, question still remains "should we use it or just forget
about it?" There are some alternatives to Flash I never checked but I've read somewhere that Adobe released a tool for converting Flash to HTML5 and that Google have done the same. I wonder tho how does that effect on links...

So, should we use it? Should we leave it rott? Or there are, or there will be alternative solutions that will
make Flash convert to HTML with ease. I guess time will tell.