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Adobe makes CS5 preorder form Flash only. Alt title: Worst use of Flash ever. (adobe.com)
91 points by toisanji on Apr 12, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments

They've been Flashizing their entire web site for years; their online store has been Flash for a while.

And, yes, now we can all see why we hate Flash so much.

Adobe's attempt to create a proprietary web platform is destined to fail.

Ex-Macromedian here. It was the release of Flex (which generates Flash UIs by default) that started this trend. It was clear to me from the start that MM (now Adobe) had made a bad move with Flex because all the examples reimplemented basic HTML form + JS functionality in Flash, with a bonus "Loading" window at the start.

I know a lot of otherwise bright devs that were drawn to Flex by the MVC paradigms that littered the tutorials. Classic 'Architecture Astronaut' stuff as Spolsky would describe it which really didn't translate to delivery of better sites for users, especially once the JS frameworks took off.

In my view, the decision to trade off user experience and established standards for developer convenience is never the right one, but I guess it's a temptation if you're in the dev tools business.

Talk about lock in. I wasn't able to back-button back to HN.

It also breaks scrolling with the scroll wheel.

It's almost as if they are trying to prove Jobs was right when he said code written non-natively sucks. (In this case, native would be HTML + Javascript).

>It's almost as if they are trying to prove Jobs was right

If the Flash compiled to crappy HTML+Javascript I'd agree with your analogy.

Flash CS5 allows you to export your flash to html5 canvas so in the not to distant future it will be a reality.

Just an aside, because I happen to have encountered this recently: if the scroll wheel problem is in Firefox 3.6, it's probably because the Firefox dev team had one of their now-infamous "we know better than our users" moments and screwed up event propagation to embedded content so it works differently to all other browsers and all previous versions of Firefox. That change has messed up quite a few popular web sites, and affects Flash, Java applets, and any other similar plug-ins. For once, Adobe would be right to claim that this one isn't their fault.

Scrolling problem exists in Safari (Mac).

And it prevents RoboForm (and presumably KeePass?) from filling in my credit card and such. I guess I just can't buy with it.

It also prevents pwdhash[1] from letting me use a hashed password. Makes me resent any Flash-based login forms.

[1] http://www.pwdhash.com/

bloody hell it broke ctrl-w

The best part is that even Adobe can't get their own flash working well... A "TypeError: Error #1034: Type Coercion failed: cannot convert mx.collections::ArrayCollection@2377c381 to Array" exception popped up in a modal dialog when it loaded (I'm using the debug version of flash). Awesome.

I guess eating your own dog food doesn't always taste that great.

More like force-feeding your dog food to potential customers.

Jesus christ! Something in the order form wants to chat with me!

That was scary, I have to admit.

I had an empty dialog box pop up on load that just had an "OK" button. No text ever loaded so I finally just clicked it.

The whole page took like 20 seconds to load and I can't use my scroll wheel. How annoying. And yeah, I can't use the back button.

When you change the first value from "Full" to "Upgrade" or vice-versa, an empty dialog box pops up, with no text and a Ok button. I have to clcik on it twice to dismiss it. IE on Win XP!

That page crashed Firefox 3.6.3 on OSX 10.5.6! You need to have some ridiculously embarrassing development skills to build something like this.

Learn to use Flash, Adobe.

I'm not seeing the Flash form in Chrome on Mac OS X.

Interesting, Chrome is directed to an HTML page, but Safari and Firefox show a full-page swf (which is piss slow to load, and clunky as hell).

It's not just the form though, it's the whole page. They have even replaced the browser scrollbar with a Flash-based scrollbar.

The page is basically a poster child for why people hate Flash.

I have tried Chrome, FF, IE, Opera and safari on windows, none of them give me flash page.

Mhm, do you have Flash installed?

I just tested in IE (in VMWare) and it gave me the flash page.

edit: maybe a/b testing?

Yes I have flash installed. Also, on latest Chrome builds Flash is integrated into Chrome, so even if I didn't have it should have worked on Chrome.

Its possible they are doing a/b testing, obviously some of you guys are getting flash.

I was thinking the failure for Chrome was UA-sniffing related, but it could be a/b testing as well.

Opera 10.50 on Vista worked fine. You have a problem with your flash.

So say we all.

My god, I just realized that after looking at my scrollbar. Terrifying. I couldn't understand why two-finger scrolling wasn't working, and now I am disgusted.

Yeah - What on earth about that page suggests that it should be done in Flash, other than "it's possible to?".

I love my flash games, but that page is a amazing fail - my credit-card auto completion didn't work, my two-finger scrolling failed to work - it's almost like they are trying to demonstrate how _not_ to create an order page.

Me too, Chrome in Windows XP

Same here, Chrome on Windows Vista.

Aha, my question exactly. I'm using Chrome too and it seemed pretty HTMLy.

Ah darn, too bad there isn't a Silverlight version for the rest of us :p

Forgot my <sarcasm> tag there :-) Yes, Html version would be nice indeed!

Or just an HTML version from the start, for the entire world, regardless of what/where/who.

Nah, they're buying Flash, therefore it's better to remind them how badly it sucks when something important to them can't be done without Flash.

Not sure when they switched to a Flash-based store, but when CS4 was released the store was so overloaded you couldn't load the site. If you disabled Flash you could visit the HTML version just fine.

Interestingly if you view the page source you will notice there are 2830 characters of whitespace before the DTD. There are lots of weird tabs in there... It looks like the tabs are for some sort of server-side code that is being parsed/removed but the whitespace is being left in the rendered document.

That might seem like a small issue, but imagine how much traffic their site gets. ~2.8Kb of wasted bandwidth for every request...

Reminds me of old-school FrontPage sites.

Yeah, in this case the page is rendered by ColdFusion. Which i'm guessing is the root of the issue!

Well it may be gzipped...

Is that alt title commentary or is it actually in the page? I couldn't find it in the source, at least.

It's an alternative title for the HN link.

Yeah, it's a misleading HN title. I thought the page was from a disgruntled designer too.

Though -- why does the source of their page start with 100 empty lines? Do they think it'll stop people from scrolling down and seeing the source of the page?

Unless you suppress whitespace (not sure if it's always a default setting), ColdFusion will render blank lines where CFML has been run.

It broke the back button for me.

Why is the kerning so bad?

I don't have an unusual setup (Firefox 3.0.1 on Mac OS X 10.5).

It broke mine as well (Firefox 3.6.3 on OS X 10.5).


If you meant the "platform" in your Apple section to be iPhone/iPad SDK don't they require you to be on their expensive hardware and software platform (Mac and Mac OS X) too?

Adobe doesn't even force you to have its free flash runtime to use its products (that page degrades nicely for me without flash). Apple expects you to use their expensive Mac and Mac OS X to be able to build products using their SDKs. I don't see how Adobe is worse than Apple here! And there are flash sites with great user experiences too; so great user experience has nothing to do with just using Apple's SDK.

I'm by no means a Flash lover but this idea of making Apple the David and Adobe the Goliath is pathetic.

Think of the poor devs.

"Hey, guess what part of the site you AS3 guys are going to be working on for a Q2 launch! Yes, technically it does involve animation!"

I clicked on the form wrong and suddenly the tab was filled with Chrome's "Aw, Snap!" error. I'm impressed at how Flash is enhancing web usability with rich graphics and multimedia experiences. (Error messages are an experience, right?)

If you run top while you're there you can see Safari and WebKitPlugin (I'm on Mac OS 10.6) start churning away in the %CPU column, even while you're doing nothing but reading a page.

Firefox (on Windows 7) only uses 1% CPU while idling.

It has been an Adobe Flex form for quite a while now. I have used it several times in the past and have never had a problem. Personally, I kind of like RIAs.

Umm, I don't have flash and I was able to go through the purchase process fine. (I'm on the firefox Nightlies on Linux)

Does not require Flash (Chrome seems to be directed to HTML), but if you have Flash you will see the entire page is a Flash swf (except some people aren't seeing it, but it seems that most are).

It is not flash-only. It degrades well to a HTML page if you don't have flash.

It upgrades well to a HTML page if you don't have flash. FTFY :)

The point isn't that it doesn't degrade, it seems to do that fine, the point is they did an entire webpage as a Flash movie, duplicating the scrollbar, all the page text... it's a complete disaster.

Except I have Click to Flash installed in Safari, and it still insists on that full screen flash monstrosity.

ClickToFlash behaves as if Flash is installed and working, it just prevents it from being displayed.

In other words, you will always see that gray 'Flash' box with ClickToFlash instead of getting any no-flash fallback content that may be setup.

Unfortunately I don't think there is an easy way to temporarily and completely disable Flash in Safari for sans-Flash testing.

> Unfortunately I don't think there is an easy way to temporarily and completely disable Flash in Safari for sans-Flash testing

Prefs -> Security -> Uncheck "Enable Plugins", refresh.

Damn, it's right there isn't it? Thank you.

The fall back works fine - I didn't know what was going on.

It "upgrades" well to an HTML page.

Friendly fire?

Oh boy :D Sorry, I have no other words.

Facepalm. :|

A company used their own product to do something on their website. Oh no! Let's all cry about it.

More like: a company's use of its own product to do something on its website demonstrates how poorly the product is suited to that particular activity.

Less cry, more point and laugh?

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