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Flash is dead. Long live the internet. (deconcept.com)
152 points by tensafefrogs on Nov 12, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 104 comments

The internet and the web aren't the same thing. Please don't talk as if they were.

This is more important than it may seem at a first glance. Non-techies already tend to genuinely confuse the two. Those people have no problem buying a crippled data plans that will let them query web servers and nothing else, because they will believe they "have the internet" on their phones. But when you're behind a big NAT, with no public IP and most ports filtered, you don't have an internet connection. (Even according the big French carriers themselves. Thank goodness, They since stopped calling their data plans "internet" in their ads.)

The obvious effect is that the web is taking over the internet. As it does, it becomes increasingly acceptable to block nearly everything else (for home connections at least).

That would surely "tame the internet".

The Internet and the Web aren't the same thing. Please don't talk as if they were.


"Just keep making awesome things with whatever tools you have at your disposal."

This is what's depressing, though. I want to make awesome things, but HTML is simply an inferior and more restrictive platform than Flash. The thought of programming in Javascript instead of ActionScript 3 is soul-crushing. Javascript is basically ActionScript 1.0 (which I thought I migrated from years ago) without the cross browser consistency and more advanced graphical APIs.

Long live the internet, but losing Flash is a bad thing for the internet. It's not Flash that needs to die, it's the entire archaic and poor sighted standards stack (HTML/CSS/Javascript and the horrible plain file HTTP delivery system) in favor of a new standard stack that can actually do something close to the Flash Player.

I agree that Javascript isn't as mature as Actionscript 3 feels, but would you really choose to build a website or web application in Flash over Javascript even if it meant a poorer user experience for your users?

Your users don't care about your opinion of Javascript's syntax.

More focus on Javascript and the tools available will only help improve the language faster, and I believe Flash has already made a huge impact (good!) on the Javascript language.

Maybe Adobe will give us our next great Javascript editor?

As far as I know Javascript (EMCA script) is older than Actionscript , so if actionscript feels more 'mature' despite being younger and only developed by one company doesn't that tell you that there's something wrong with the Javascript as a whole?

I agree though that it would be awesome if adobe created a suite of Javascript products that focused on developing creative content in a similar way to what flash did.

I think the reasons most people hate flash are that the platform itself works poorly on anything other than windows , this could be fixed in part by Adobe simply open sourcing the flash VM.

The other reason is that lots of flash developers used the platform to create crap like flash intros and obnoxious advertising , that won't exactly go away with HTML5/JS.

I like your optimism about Javascript's future, but I think it's a bit naive. Even if Javascript was AS3 today, we would still have to deal with a lack of cross browser consistency, the ancient text document oriented DOM, a lack of the same powerful graphical APIs found in Flash, and the lack of a standard top level object oriented structure (as found in the Flash platform with MXML, SWFs, SWCs, symbol and timeline architecture, etc.)

I'm not just hoping I'm counting on Adobe or someone delivering a good Javascript IDE that mimics OOP design, and I'm keeping an eye on Google's Dart project, but even after that I'm not expecting the experience to be nearly as smooth or creatively liberating as Flash.

One of the biggest advantages of flash was that beyond a few DOM wrangling capabilities it basically threw away the rest of the browser and was really more akin to a Java applet than being part of the browser.

This meant that even somebody using IE6 can have a good experience with a flash app, assuming their flash is upto date.

What annoys me with HTML5/JS apps is I constantly see people showing off demos of something cool they did with the "open" HTML5/JS tools. Then I load their demo and it's all like "hey, sorry your not using the latest version of Chrome come back when you've installed it"

Hopefully this will get better over time , but you've still got IE dragging it's feet and doing things a bit differently + Microsoft's habit of dropping support for new versions in older OSes.

Maybe the answer is for all browsers to just standardize on one rendering engine / JS implementation otherwise I can see this becoming a nightmare and everyone having to keep multiple versions of multiple browsers installed just to run all the apps they need.

Maybe the answer is for all browsers to just standardize on one rendering engine / JS implementation

Heh, this would be an ideal situation, but good luck trying to get them to agree on that. The browser wars are not over yet, who knows if they ever will be.

We thought that the Web would be that final platform that would give us the ability to write our app once, and then make it available instantly on all operating systems. Well, technically, we got that. Except now we have to worry about browser incompatibilities. We didn't solve the problem of cross-platform compatibility. We just have a different set of platforms today.

What wee need is a language that will do for web development what Java has done for development in general in 90s - something that will allow us to write our apps once, and have them display perfectly on all major browsers. But seeing that this magical language would probably also need to support arcane versions of various browsers I don't see that happening any time soon.

> What wee need is a language that will do for web development what Java has done for development in general in 90s - something that will allow us to write our apps once, and have them display perfectly on all major browsers.

I thought we did have that and it was called gasp Java!

Yeah, but applets never really took off, for numerous reasons. One of them being that you needed to have a Java browser plug-in installed in order for them to work. This new language I'm talking about would either need to be understood natively by browsers or it would need to compile the code to something that the browsers would understand and be able to display natively (without any additional plug-ins). At the moment, that's HTML+JavaScript, but if browser vendors could agree on some other, common language that would be supported consistently across all browsers and that would provide a richer experience, that would be an ideal situation. Don't forget that the purpose of HTML was never to give us the ability to create applications, it was to display documents, which were the basis of the early web. However, now we need something that will allow us to create rich web apps that have a consistent look & feel and functionality across all browsers without the need to write additional code to cover all the quirks of specific browsers. Maybe something like Flash, but that's open, understood natively and works equally good across all browsers and operating systems. But that, of course, is just wishful thinking.

Mxml is a development tool, you could compile it down to html and css with a javascript api. Look at extjs. It provides a crossbrowser OO flexlike api on top of the DOM. Javascript is good enough as a target language for a compiler. I expect adobe to keep the dev tools but change the output to be pluginfree.

Yes there's a lot that a company could do fake a good OOP architecture which compiles down to standards soup, but such solutions tend to result in tons of extra generated crap. Dart compiles to JS... with a a simple "Hello World" app coming out as 17,000 lines of code!

Plus not having the structure as part of the standard will make iterative development a nightmare. Instead of being reliant on a proprietary runtime (like Flash Player) we are reliant on proprietary compilers and libraries. How is that better?

I think you're right on all counts here. A big issue I see is that the General Flash Hatred causes people to not acknowledge that there are places where Flash is clearly superior for the users' experience.

> Maybe Adobe will give us our next great Javascript editor?

That would be welcomed with open arms. But why not continue to use Flash until this comes around, instead of slowly killing it without a decent replacement?

Though I never used Flash professionally, it has been the most fun to use for games and any other side projects that involve some sort of visual control. JavaScript isn't even close yet.

Well, I have been using Adobe Dreamweaver as a fancy text editor for coding Javascript, but I hesitate to call it a great one. I suspect what you are looking for is a great jQuery/jQuery UI editor (i.e. a rich interface framework) that also happens to support javascript.

Agreed. Javascript is a horrible language compared to as3, and a disastrous platform compared to flash. I cringe everytime I have to write some javascript, even if I'm using jQuery and the only browser it will ever be run on is Chrome.

What would really be cool is if you could target VM's using whatever language you want (including statically typed languages like Java and AS3. The JVM and AVM did it, so I don't see why V8/etc can't). Javascript should not have a monopoly on the VM.

Have you seen haxe? (http://haxe.org/doc/intro) I don't have any experience with it, but it seems like you might like the idea. Statically typed language that can be exported into either JS or AS3.

Yeah, haXe is cool. It's a step in the right direction, but it's not first class native support.


[Context: the deleted comment suggested we don't know Javascript because we were "moaning about using it" and we should "learn Javascript before knocking it"]

I know Javascript, your comment suggests you don't know ActionScript's history: AS1 was an ECMASscript language just like JS, so to that end it was actually literally the same language as JS running in a different environment with a different API. The latest iteration of JS has hardly changed since then, whereas AS1 evolved into AS2 then AS3, which is now a much more advanced OOP language, and it's still evolving. Going from AS3 to JS is literally like going backwards in time.

If memory serves AS2 was supposed to be more or less the same as ecmascript 4. The problem is ecmascript 4 never made it out of committee. With the reboot in the ecmascript committee that produced the harmony release, we're now on the road to get optional strict typing. For me the typing is the only thing really missing from javascript.

You can get quite far on the way to strict typing with a good IDE like jetbrains. It has very thorough 'compile time' checks (while editing). I almost don't miss strict typing when writing large pieces of javascript in jetbrains.

I've never, not even once, missed static typing since accepting the move to JavaScript; you just get used to it. You shouldn't rely on the compiler to detect 'errors', rely on your test cases.

Did AS1 have closures? I was under the impression that it didn't, which makes it a very different language from JavaScript, even if the syntax looks similar.

Saying they are "very different" because of closures is hyperbolic, but at any rate, yes, AS1 had closures like JS.

Can you provide a syntax example? I couldn't find any documentation/sample code of AS1 closures.

And to be clear, I am moaning about the language AND the DOM, but I would likely moan less if not for the DOM and the multiple interpretations of the language.

I believe Google's engineers tend to agree with the JavaScript part of your argument http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2011/10/dart-googles-progra...

Example: Remember JavaScript crypto and it's problems? As it happens, Flash 11 added a new secure random number generator for crypto.

People act as if flash is being abandoned. Its not. Mobile Flash is. Several new smart-phones and tablets nowadays use browsers with REAL FLASH on it, so there is no need to continue development on mobile flash. That's all that happened. No big win for anyone.

Adobe has been focusing on html5, as have the rest of the web, and imho, Adobe has some great tools to author content in html5 already.

You're thinking of Flash Lite, but that's not what everyone is freaking out about. Adobe has, in fact, stopped development of the exact "REAL" Flash Player for mobile (tablet and smartphone) browsers that you refer to.

flash has been abandoned. developers won't (or at least shouldn't) use a closed platform whose developer has expressed a lack of faith in it. even though flash will still be developed for x86, it's clear that adobe is getting ready to drop it.

and yeah, this announcement is about mobile flash, as used on android phones, not about flash lite. that's been dead for years.

It's far from dead, it's just fighting battles it has a chance to actually win. Practically every company out there has finite resources and as such can only fight so many battles if it has a will to win the war. It's not Adobe's fault that Flash has been overused and as such they've made strides to compensate. The AIR platform was a huge step in dissuading webmasters from Flash based websites instead it's incubating the desktop app culture. The work that has gone into the platform has been a huge win for them from a PR perspective. Again with their recent concession in regards to video with HTML5 (webm). We're likely to see Flash reborn in order to take advantage of things that it can do well, rather than being the stop gap it accidentally found itself as. I suspect they'll still be a major player in the web video market, but rather than fight against the tide, they'll embrace it. They'll work to be a lower cost alternative for webmasters by exploiting P2P technologies that vanilla HTML5 doesn't have. It'll be an interesting few years.

No, it's dead. It's about to enter a death spiral. If you want to write anything for the web that appears on any mobile device then you can't use the Flash browser plugin. We're going to have a billion mobile internet devices within 5 years, if not double that. Now, since this greatly diminishes the market, Adobe will invest less in it and more in their HTML5 tools because they want that market too.

They're going to follow the money and where is the money going?

The money right now is in apps. It's why ideas like Mozilla's B2G will struggle. It's why Adobe has thrown so many resources at AIR. To reiterate; If you ask a user if they prefer an app on their smartphone or a website, you'll be told an app. Flash really isn't a player in that regard. In truth it should've never been and hasn't wanted to be for a while. HTML sites will be and rightfully so, the standard for a long time. But we're living in the age of the app now. It's far more social and measurable than a website can hope to be. It's kinda like "there's web presence and there's PRESENCE" the app provides that in a way where by a website remains simply functional.

I disagree. You can market an app if you have a real product but I will not install an app to read your newspaper or to see where your shop is. Not even to look up a cinema. Unless there is a real need for client side interaction I dread apps. I don't want to basically have your website on my phone that I now need to update regularly. And I certainly don't want to do social with my grocery store. Where is the added value for me here?

I'm curious what you think about the issue of mobile apps and scalability (in terms of having a distinct app for everything you do on your phone).

The argument is that users won't want to install a separate app for all the various things they do on their phones (especially not the things that they don't do often) and would perhaps favor a mobile website instead.

You have some users who hate the idea of installing loads of things and those are generally users who have the phone for having the phone sake. They're users that have been forced to migrate to smartphones from featurephones. You also have the social users who like being able to talk about their apps with their friends and share via the different services available. For those users, which often overlap the more 'ignorant' users, what they simply want is a reachable recognisable service they can use anywhere.

The argument that users don't/won't install lots of apps on their phones is simply wishful thinking. The reality is exactly the opposite of that. Users that have traditionally struggled with various features of the internet in browsers are able to do what they've always wanted in apps with far more ease. Even despite the a lot of the Mozilla community being dead-set against using a native UI, they've pushed on and will eat more market share as a result due to the instantly recognisable interact they'll get as they launch the app rather than waiting for the interface to load on XUL/HTML/JS/XML that just aren't as quick.

You also have to take into account that with a website, you have no one to run to. Users generally feel ignored, where as with the social aspect of any app market users feel like they're patt of a community.

Anything that currently states users prefer websites over apps is incredibly ignorant of the facts. A prime example is with Twitter. Tweetdeck on desktop and mobile shows far more usage than that of the website. As does Ubersocial and in fact their own apps. There's a firm desire on the parts of many to see people use the web over apps but those are merely desires of a small percentage.

Where are the HTML5 web adverts? They don't exsist because: 1)you have to code things 4 times (once for all the browsers + fallback) 2) There are no artist friendly tools (google's flash translator only works for chrome, see above) 3) Everything looks different in each browser 4) JS animation is Sllllloooooowww 5) Animation primitives are missing, those that exsist are from the 1960s 6) there are no mature standard/implementations (in widescale use)

with flash's workflow you: 1) create a flash file with the mature tools, test, release 2) create an animated gif as fallback

yes its buggy, and the video is slower than decent native support, but it works the same across all browsers (90%)

Considering that animated advertisements are the scourge of the Internet, if it weren't for the legitimate uses of the things you mention, I'd consider the crippledness a feature.

Advertisements should be text or images. Even animated GIFs are pushing it.

I agree that Flash will remain a major player in online video for a few more years (I also worked at YouTube on the video player team for 4 years). But for everything else it has fallen very much out of favor, hence the strong post title.

Even non-Flash online video has made huge strides in the past year, so I expect that to eventually erode away Flash's grip on that as well. The only real question there is how long it will take to sort out all of the codec issues that are holding it back at the moment.

streaming video, streaming audio, socket connections, fast 3d(soon), advertising, webcam support, mic support, clipboard manipulation, install base...

youtube, rdio, pandora, hulu, kongregate, flickr, imgur, github, googledocs, every site that has ads...

There's a ton of money made off flash these days. No one's saying you have to use it, but lets be a little realistic with ourselves.

> streaming video, streaming audio

Partly works now if you don't need much control over it, or if you do work on the server to split the media into chunks. Full streaming support in progress, see WebRTC and other ongoing work.

> socket connections

See WebSocket, which has gone through some initial hiccups but otherwise works fine.

> fast 3d

WebGL provides 3D which runs as fast as the user's system can handle.

> advertising

Don't care. "The web still has ads?" But for the sake of argument: iframe, javascript, arbitrary web content just as capable as any other webpage.

> webcam support, mic support

In progress. http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/...


And on a related note, https://developer.mozilla.org/en/HTML/Element/input#Image_ca...

> clipboard manipulation

Already exists in JavaScript, just blocked in modern browsers for privacy reasons. Needs to become another grantable permission, like geolocation, but I suspect it just hasn't become prominent enough on the radar yet compared to other features.

> install base

By definition smaller than the install base of web browsers. The proportion continues to decrease as mobile devices become more widespread.

> youtube, rdio, pandora, hulu, kongregate, flickr, imgur, github, googledocs, every site that has ads...

https://www.youtube.com/html5, http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/16/pandora-radios-html5-rede..., github only uses it for the clipboard, never seen flash on flickr, imgur, or google docs, the web still has ads?

I'm all for Flash dying in time, don't get me wrong but let me summarize your answer here:

"Partly works, recent hiccups, runs on good hardware only, in progress (aka not here yet), blocked, smaller install base..."

I am all set for Flash to die, but I am not sure the web is QUITE ready for it to die yet. Replacements are coming quick... but the operative word is "coming". I look forward to the day it's all really here and ubiquitous as Flash is/was.

I said flash has a smaller installed base than web browsers, not the other way around. :) Also, I said WebGL runs as fast as the user's system can support.

I intended my post to summarize the ongoing work on the replacements for the various things people cared about in Flash, specifically to make it clear that HTML does have all the same use cases in mind. As each new technology becomes available, more bits can migrate off of Flash.

Flash needs to start dying now, so everybody on the sinking ship can start figuring out what they need and solidifying the replacements. It'll have a lingering death scene, so the sooner it starts, the sooner it finishes. If the replacements don't work, they need fixing, without people thinking "oh, I'll just use Flash instead". People need to think "no, it needs to work now, I need to migrate off of Flash as soon as possible".

Ideally, in the next couple of years, we'll get Flash to the point that Java has reached now: an oddity that the occasional legacy site uses.

Sockets are my favourite pro-flash feature. Flash lets you open arbitrary TCP sockets, whereas WebSockets require a HTTP-style header, so to use it with existing servers (irc?) you need to proxy everything.

I realise WebSockets does what it does for security reasons, but i do prefer Flash's method of getting around that (remote server hosts an XML policy file on a separate port) since it doesn't interfere with the connection in any way.

never seen flash on flickr, imgur, or google

uploader piece with progress bar and other small components. just cos you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

Let me put it this way: I don't have the flash plugin installed, and I can still make use of this functionality perfectly, so apparently they do proper fallbacks.

imgur, for instance, seems to have an excellent HTML5 image uploader and editor.

Audio/Video Streaming is something for which Flash would be really needed. I don't see HTML5 devs talking about live streaming yet.

True, but that doesn't mean it isn't being talked about at all: http://www.webrtc.org/

This is very good, no doubt. But what really worries me is that there has to be a browser engine implementation, different for every browser being used. The devs have come up with the browser engine for Opera, FF but only for the latest versions. And, no one is talking about the great IE's. When I go in a production environment for a product, I cannot really keep a limitation on the browsers/or more so their versions.

Once, this trouble is sorted, WebRTC looks goody.

Talked about != implementation

3D graphics directly in the browser has been talked about for well over 15 years, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VRML for example Java for another.

Here's a very good read (granted, a year old) about Flash vs. HTML5 at Youtube. http://apiblog.youtube.com/2010/06/flash-and-html5-tag.html

90% of the developers I've discussed Flash with hate it, myself included (note: I haven't discussed it with many game devs). A much lower percentage of designers hate it.

Geoff's article and the comments here seem to reenforce that. The Flash fanboys here all seem to be designers. I'm really curious why this is.

I am curious about that too, unless these designers aren't very good and are just trying to translate print media to the web without considering the ramifications of the platform (see: almost every iPad magazine). Flash isn't a terrible platform to develop for. The app itself (as in Flash CS5.app) is pretty horrid, but it's not that hard to write ActionScript in vim or TextMate.

What Flash does offend is my sense of design, specifically UX design. Standard platform widgets? Nope. Standard platform behavior? Nope. Stealing keyboard focus? Yep. Bad scrolling? Yep. Back button? Nope.

    The Flash fanboys here all seem to be designers. I'm really curious why this is.
Really? Try to write code using a brush on a canvas. That's what designers feel having to design using code. It sucks.

I was doing visual design using code 30 years ago. It's doable, sometimes even preferable. It only sucks until you develope a facility with the tools. Just like watercoler paints or charcoal; which I've used for 40 years.

Design happens in your head, but it's a feed back loop between your tools and your imagination. Different tools _do_ influence the outcome.

Designers love Flash because it gives you a canvas to express yourself on.

Standards do not. If you think it does, I would predict you aren't a designer, because there's a big difference between technical parity and realistic results.

I can concede that as a designer, I really don't care if HTML is technically better for some reason, I just want to have the freedom to do cool stuff, and that this is the tension between those are "Flash fanboys" and those who are Standards fanboys.

It's not dead yet. Actually there is two things :

- one of course is that as HTML5 get stronger flash loses interest for some scenarios (even if it's still the best choice for many like games right now)

- the other is that for mobile web, it was never the right choice. If you want to target mobile right now, you either do a really simple site in HTML or you target a deeper experience with an app, but there was no space in between for a plugin. Adobe try to embrace both of these cases with their HTML5 tools for the web and Air for the apps. I think that what Stave Jobs understood early on and a reason why he never allowed plugins on mobile browsers.

To me, the "mobile web" and the "web" are one and the same thing. What I like about modern phones and tablets is that it's possible to use actual websites instead of being diverted to some m-dot thing.

If Flash is in decline on the mobile web then it's also in decline on the web.

How about tablets? Flash will not work on tablets, because they are considered "mobile" by Adobe. What if tablets take 50% of the laptop market share in the next 5 years? Will you still say it's not dead?

Most of the arguments against Flash being dead seem to be one of these:

1) Games 2) Mobile apps 3) Video

#1 I agree that flash is better for making games, but how big of a market are games on the internet? It's a 'big' market, to be sure, but how big compared to the number of Flash websites a few years ago? Surely it's a low percentage (anyone have actual stats? I don't know of any). Is the amount of Flash games being made enough to keep Adobe interested in continuing to improve Flash? As the desktop market recedes and mobile devices become more popular with users (and I truly do believe that it will) what will happen to the Flash games?

As for #2 - mobile apps. This could be the answer to the above, but why use AIR when you can get better performance writing native code for whatever platform you are working on? I'm sure it will work out for companies that want to save a few dollars and be able to launch a simple game on many platforms while writing it once, but that kind of development has rarely succeeded in the world. Look at Java apps on windows/osx - they often feel klunky and look ugly and don't support the native UI elements of the host OS (does AIR do this on mobile phones? I'm admittedly not that familiar with it). Because of the history of this area of technology, I'm highly skeptical.

#3 I agree with, and covered this in a comment below. I believe Flash will be useful for desktop video delivery for a few years to come, but will eventually lose to native support.

Games on the internet are massive. We track 100s of millions of hours a month spent playing them.

Adobe's not really killing Flash, what's happening is it's transitioning to a development platform rather than development + consumption platform and that's not a horrible thing - Flash is a great platform to develop in, being able to export mobile apps from it is far more important than being able to play the SWF files on mobile.

Flash on mobile could have worked but there's two reasons it doesn't ... one is purely technical that time and improved hardware would erode, the killer one is consumption - games on websites are just a plain inferior way to play them vs apps, and ads + video + applications are all solved problems. There is no must-have use case as a consumption platform on mobile.

They made the right choice - let Flash become just a development platform and let the output be whatever provides the optimal user experience - on desktops it is (or can be) the Flash Player, on mobile it's apps and HTML5.

As someone who has pretty much exclusively developed for Flash over the past 6 years in both AS2 and AS3 I think it's important for the more resistant members of my community to try and look at this change with some optimism.

First of all let's look at the current state of Adobe and the entire Flash/Flex/Air ecosystem. Around the time that AS3 came out everyone was griping about how hard it was and what a pain in the ass the static typing was. They were used to the forgiving nature of AS2. But eventually pretty much everyone converted and fell in love with AS3. The departure from AS2 to AS3 is like learning a whole new language, like stepping up from JavaScript to a watered down version of Java. I think that everyone's resistance was not based on how much better 3 was than 2, but really because we just didn't want to change. I don't know any Flash devs with CS degrees. They're all artists and designers and musicians who somehow got into development. For us, changing to a new language is difficult because we're self taught and didn't go through years of higher education in C and Python and Java. Once we got comfortable with a flavor of AS we just didn't want to move. But didn't you learn a whole lot going from 2 to 3? Trust me, when you go back and see what people are doing with JavaScript it'll be a little painful at first but then you'll get over the hump and have that same enthusiasm for it that you did for AS3 and the reason will be because the JS community is on fire these days and they're making so much cool shit you'll quickly forget about being forced to live off the junk that Adobe produces.

And let's talk about that junk for a sec. Let's talk about Adobe as a whole and what they've become. Because I feel like at some point they totally lost their way and tried to turn the whole thing into some messed up flavor of Java. Case in point: text. For years we've struggled with getting the right fonts to show up on a page and getting text to flow properly. Their solution, after literally like a decade of us begging for it, was the Text Layout Framework. Rather than just enhancing the embed button they gave us the biggest pile of over engineered shit and to this day I've never seen a project that actually uses it. Adobe spends so much time building dumb features and tools that are totally half baked and then they basically hold a studio's hand to build a demo for MAX and then they waste a shitload of time trying to jam their way into some market and in the end I still can't get my fucking textfields to work and it's 2011. I'm completely over being tied to the whims of that company because for them, it's all one big land grab and they're trying to get into every market possible. They're stretched, their features are watered down, and half the people in there have never done a real world project and are just applying their CS degrees to problems they don't actually understand.

Finally, I just want to say that we need to look forward to our future successes. Because right now each of us probably does not have a sparkling track record of amazing web apps or mobile apps that are not tied directly to the Flash platform. A friend of mine who has been doing Flash way longer than myself just recently launched an app that went to number 1 in the iOS store. He actually wrote it all in C++ but now he's really eager to learn Objective-C. I think this illustrates two points: 1) You don't have to do JavaScript if you don't want to. Learn Ruby or Python or Objective-C. Take this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons. You don't want to slooooowly sunset with a language and end up being the only COBOL guy left in the area code, so consider it a blessing that Flash is getting the rug pulled out from under it. 2) As soon as you start seeing success in a new language you will very quickly forget about Flash. It's kind of like getting into a new relationship. It sucks right now, but it won't always suck, and when it stops sucking it'll be awesome again.

"I don't know any Flash devs with CS degrees. They're all artists and designers and musicians who somehow got into development."

Exactly. And this is why Flash was so awesome.

Standards are the opposite side of the spectrum, full of the most pedantic and hyper-technical people, and it's why I hate standards. Just standardize everything in Flash and I'd be happy.

As an artist, you're right, I hated going from AS2 to AS3 but once I got past the challenge (rather quickly) I loved it. I'd like to have your enthusiasm, but going from Flash to standards doesn't look the same: I hated going from AS2 to AS3 because it made some things more strict, but it paid off because the resulting product was better. Going from Flash to HTML, however, is the opposite -- things are incredibly messy in JS, and as a result, stuff breaks and is inconsistent and buggy all over the place. This, to an artist, is soul crushing. I want to make cool stuff, and I will climb any mountain to do so, but once I do I don't want to see my work just crumble to bits because I switched to a different machine/device/screen.

I'm sorry, but you don't seem to realize that going with Flash instead of the "pedantic and hyper-technical people" was a deal with the devil. In the short term, you got to do some cool stuff, but in the long term, only open standards will ever truly make progress.

I knew exactly what I was doing with Flash, it was not a deal with anyone. I desperately want to do cool stuff with standards, believe me I'm in some ways I want good standards more than self-proclaimed standards advocates (I've even drafted my own additions and changes to standards technology, and always worked to make my SWFs as well integrated with the standard as possible.)

And the thing that amazes me is the fact that when it comes to longevity, Flash has nothing to apologize for. I can view Flash 3 SWFs and they look exactly how I made them. HTML sites break and blow up in spectacular fashion within months sometimes. A new browser comes out and now your beautiful website looks like trash because something isn't rendered the same. Not always, but more often than I want to deal with (which would be never), and I never once had that problem with Flash.

Completely untrue. How do you explain Apple if that's the case?

To me this just sounds like "somebody else should make me my shiny toys so I can be an 'artist'".

Take some responsibility. If you "artists" hadn't all ran after the shiny toys Adobe offered but taken those "pedantic" standards people seriously, you wouldn't be in this position.

The success and dominance of Flash held open standards back for over a decade. An you were not an innocent bystander in that.

Wow. Certainly a different perspective. I thought Flash really changed the way we view the web for the better (video, audio, animation, interaction) pushed by artists who wanted these things for their own creative fulfillment, and standards should be grateful. I remember being told by pedantic standards advocates that all those things were not the purpose of the web and had no business, yet we did it any way out of "irresponsible" desire for "shiny toy" (I do find those descriptions slightly offensive, btw -- "pedantic" and "hyper-technical" are both terms I've heard such people use as words of praise for themself, but I don't mean them as compliments so I suppose I deserve the offense.)

I just wish you could do your thing, and I could do mine. Well, congrats, you win.

How so? Open standards have held open standards back. Usually, competition is what drives things forward. Flash won for a long time because it was better.

Even today, compare flash games to games done with web standards, and that's after everyone has put considerable effort into making their JavaScript engines faster!

With apologies to Carl Sagan, not everyone wants to create a universe to make an apple pie.

W3C held open standards back, everything web related was more or less moribund for 10 years while they wanked off about xhtml and the semantic web. What people wanted was to build applications with web technologies, thats why flash won.

I felt the exact same way for a very, very long time. A few things changed my mind.

The first was the realization that Adobe wasn't going to make any more cool fun stuff for me. I feel like they've just lost their way with all that and now that I look back on it, it seems like Macromedia actually made all the aspects of Flash that I enjoy. The most recent thing Adobe has done for me is Stage3D but even that is so technical that they're relying on 3rd parties like Away3D to build the friendly API on top of it.

The second was doing a project that was as close to an art piece as I've ever come doing ad agency work that was entirely in HTML/CSS3 and JS. It was actually this project if you want to see some pictures: http://inchwormstudio.com/?portfolio=samsung-coast-to-coast-... What I found while I was doing that project was that the web has changed a lot while I've been doing Flash and I didn't realize how much annoying obtuse boilerplate I had to write in AS3 that just becomes total cake when you're using HTML for markup, CSS for style and JS for slick transitions and communication. My main love affair is with HTML and JS, I still think CSS is...CSS. With HTML I'm getting all the great structural stuff that Flex devs love, without the mind numblingly elaborate class structures they have to deal with. With good JS libraries like jQuery I'm getting the cross browser DOM support that I need because I just don't have those sea legs yet. And when you combine it all you can work really, really fast. I spent the whole first half of that project cursing JavaScript up and down the office. I would make little examples showing how setInterval loses scope and demo it for my team and be like "look! this stuff is retarded! I want AS3 back!" Then one day I had to build this twitter widget, and I sat down and I just cranked it out in no time. And I thought, 'You know, if I had been doing this in Flash I would have spent so much time dealing with URLLoaders and cross policy files and coreLib for JSON parsing...' It just felt like things had gone smoother because I wasn't fighting against the web to make it fit inside my Flash app. And that was about the time that I felt like I got over the hump, and from there it was all downhill.

It totally had warts and I got stung by IE transparency bugs but in the end we sorted it all out and now I know how to deal with those issues. And to be honest, they were pretty minimal. The Facebook API was far worse than the cross browser stuff.

If you're making the transition then read this: http://jqfundamentals.com/ I read it start to finish and it made things so much easier for me. Then once you're comfortable with jQuery, leave it behind and try the other stuff. It feels like there is SO much more to experiment with in the JS world than the AS world and I think that's largely because the community is exponentially larger. Hope that's helpful.

Thanks for your story, it's good to hear some success from someone who felt the same as I do now. I certainly hope I get past that hump, but after 2 years of using jQuery I haven't yet. I can see there being a turning point in 4-5 years, but that's in itself still rather depressing. Here's to hoping it's sooner.

And I completely agree that Adobe lost their way. I've felt this way for several years now.

Thanks a lot for the jqfundamentals link! I'm a front-end developer who knows nothing about JavaScript and hasn't ever found a good place to start. This looks like it might be really useful.

"I don't know any Flash devs with CS degrees. They're all artists and designers and musicians who somehow got into development"

Nice to meet you. Even if Flash is not my main language, i do enjoy it (AS3/Flex), and i am the proud owner of a CS degree.

The problem is actually related to this, the problem is very simple: 99% of the articles, blog posts, etc that talk about "Flash is dead" are written by people with either no clue of the Adobe ecosystem and its spread in enterprise, or by Flash dev who are not dev but glorified banner maker. Flash is not dead, never will be, how long internet will take to understand this, it is not going away, HTML5 is not on level on key features, its a fact, not an opinion, end. of. story.

Well this article was written by the author of SwfObject which is, last I checked, the default way of embedding a Flash object on the page so I presume he actually does know a thing or two about the Flash ecosystem.

As for the enterprise...wake up dude. They're shelving Flex as well. 4.6 is it. http://jessefreeman.com/articles/game-over-how-adobe-killed-...

Theres no reason why Adobe [ or more likely, a startup ] cant write a superb (web based) animation editor for designers, which spits out HTML5/CSS or SVG + Javascript.

Couple that with basic workflow and 'publish to site' and you have a product with very wide appeal and usefulness.

It's dead? Now how am I supposed to make a game with music and sound effects that is easy to play on multiple platforms?

Dead is a rather harsh statement. It's true that the mobile market is flourishing and is more important now than ever, but what I see clearly is that adobe wants that market too and they seem to be investing in html5 tooling whilst maintaining their flash offering.

So in the end it will come down to using the right tool/tech for the right job. More choice to you, more power to you and works out for adobe as well. Don't forget that flash still enjoys an excellent penetration rate on the desktop and there will always be a market for it.

Perhaps one day when the pc is dead too and the indefinite, perfectly working apps written in flash are rewritten in html5 because we've now replaced the pc with tablets and mobile devices.

I guess I'd be OK with the move to HTML5, if it worked on all of the browsers that my clients want me to support.

My last application that I rolled out using canvas and excanvas is still quirky. Unfortunately, IE6-8 still lives on. Until there is a feasible way to do custom control creation, and have it work properly, there will still be a purpose for Flash/Flash Builder.

Yep, things change. Adobe also killed Director, another seminal and important product. They bought Supersplash, turned it into Flash (and a pile of money) and with Apple's help killed it too. Things change, but they stay the same.

I'll believe Flash is dead when there's no Flash running on Kongregate any more.

Flash is still a fundamental part of the desktop user experience, so the battle is not over. The free flash alternative gnash remains a high priority project.

Far from dead. Only Flash on mobile is being discontinued, the larger, stronger, desktop market won't be discontinued.

Thousands of popular tv cartoons shows are made using flash only; competing head-to-head with Toon Boom Studio.

dead or not, companies STILL want to make a bunch of flashy, frustratingly not-very-useful websites. Until companies realize that consumers want information, quickly, and don't want to have to hunt around for it, we're going to plagued one way or another by web sites that eschew function over (yeeg) 'form'.

why is every body talking about it like adobe is giving up on flash on desktops- they are not a new version just came out friday and they have huge list of things to come in the next releases

Try and animate a walk cycle in pure javascript.

now tell me that flash is dead.


1) The url would suggest this is done using the canvas element. On my browser, though, it's implemented using SVG. Is anyone else seeing this?

2) SVG is a really terrible medium for this use case. What should be used instead, and would probably give better performance, is... canvas.

Yep, is on SVG on my browser too (Chrome).

And i think they made a zombie as an excuse for their bad implementation of a walking cicle.

That was convincingly pixar level walk cycle

On a 2010 macbook that runs at 15fps, which is a great step forward in speed for moving 8 sprites. Have you actually tried to animate anything other than a solid body, in just code?

http://www.idleworm.com/how/anm/02w/walk1.shtml is a walk cycle, and as you can see they are animating the control points, so the body smoothly deforms. As far as I'm aware you can control individual control points of an SVG with javascript. Even if you could without a decent interface you couldn't do more than move a ball about.

HTML/JS is shit at animation.

Flash is rubbish, and can be much more efficient, however HTML/JS is 10 times worse.

I don't know what's wrong with your computer but my 2010 MacBook Pro running Chrome hits a steady 52 fps.

45 fps on Chrome, ~15 on Firefox (MBP 2009).

but that's the point, its 8 sprites!

That renders like shit on my Droid X.

Ha, +1 point for snarkiness, -10 points for thinking that walk cycle experiment is a comparable example to even average Flash animation work, +9 points hoping for the love of the internet that you were just trying to make a laugh = net worth of nothing.


Sencha is aiming their animator product at replacing flash animations with html5. They have a long way to go, but it's not an impossible thing.

- You want this? Sorry, can't do it. Flash is dead. Not possible in HTML yet. Design something else or wait a few years please.

Java Applets FTW :D

I have not read any of your comments yet but I plan on doing so...I feel right at home when I see comments as long as the ones are below because I know that I am dealing with intelligent people that understand and most importantly will probably understand or at least take the time to try to understand why it is that I too type such LOOOOONG comments....including places that I sholdn't like the corporate phuking job that I have as an account manager for an IT reseller company here in Scottsdale, AZ. Also, FACEBOOK...short and sweet seems to reign supreme because you are usually just dealing with family and friends and or considered the masses and most of them are not as 'technical' as I am and have only recently joined this FAD of weilding technology as a lifestyle that has only really been recently socially accepted by the masses and non-power users (I hate the stupidity of the term geek but to each their own) and not as a passion like I have always had and been doing for the past 30 years... I mean come one and face it people...the 'old school geeks' like me have spent half of their social time explaining technology to people and usually only when asked about something because they never got into that or all of a sudden want to be your best friend because they need technical assistance. That always burned me out I don't know about you folks but it was disconcerning at best when you would be doing your fifth 'tazmanian devil' on your buddy's computer because he still won't stay off the dirtiest porn sites imaginable and of course... when you were rendering this phreeeeeee assistance they would usually make the comment..."I don't know what I was doing when it got all phuked up...I think someone was surfing porn sites..." Thus the reason I always made a FRESH IMAGE of their machine after the 1st time I laid into it. Now I just tell them to call geek squad so that when they get a bill that costs them more than a new computer they think twice about taking us professional power users for granted. I don't think that their time is more valuable than mine in any way but they certainly seem to think so when they bring these antiquated machines to me and think that I am going to spend 4 hours fixing an OS infected with butt-sex viruses I call the 'AIDS of puterz' instead of the 30 minutes it should take me if they were to have a modern machine. Just the sight of one of these A-holez on my caller ID or now in my contact list coming up on the screen of my micro-powered hand held computer from hell (T-Mobile G2x running Cyanogen MOD coupled with the Trinity kernel that let's me overclock the sucker just for phun and on the phly to 1560 Mhz PER CORE!!!) Oh yeah!....Just the sight of them coming up on that little powerhouse of a tri-corder that just also happens to make phone calls makes me want to wretch!

NOW ONTO FLASH.....as you can see we are all 'skilled' and have deep roots in microprocessing love and many of you might even have more history than I but not very many of you trust me... I used to run BBS's back in the early 80's with my PORTABLE Commodore 64-SX computer with an IEEE 8 bit bus HBA jacked into my cartidge port so that I could hook up my SPIFFY SET OF 2 1001's SUPER HIGH DENSITY 1MB 5.25" floppy disk drives... so if you used to log onto COCONET and remember COMPUSERVE and the infamous ARMOR PLATED CARTRIDGE PORTS (one left and one right) of an Atari 800 that you played your first game of 'ULTIMA' wasting hours and days and weeks and months doing Lord British's laundry then you might be worthy of understanding the big picture here... we'll see though...

APPLE PURCHASED ADOBE FOR ONE REASON ABOUT 6 or 7 years ago...THEY WANTED TO DISALLOW, PUT THE KABOSH(sp?), PURPOSELY NOT GIVE SUPPORT TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE GOING TO BUY THEIR CRAPPY iDevices and future iPhones they had in their plans of releasing with all of the other crappy iCrapple gear like iPudz and whatever other rotten crAlpples that have yet to fall from the crApple tree of nightmare lipstick on a pig devices that we TRUE and LONG TERM (thus the big into on my credz) SUPER USERz have NEVER BEEN INTERESTED IN FOR ONE REASON AND ONE REASON ONLY!!! WE HAVE NEVER HAD THE DESIRE OR NEED TO PLAY WITH OVERPRICED YUPPIE TOYZ THAT WERE PROPRIETARY AND CREATED OUT OF PURE GREED AND DECEPTIVE MARKETING IDEAS TO TRY TO FINALLY TURN A PROFIT FOR A COMPANY THAT NEVER MADE A DIME ON THEIR BOTTOM LINE IN OVER 30 YEARS OF EXISTANCE UNTIL THEY STARTED SELLING A STOLEN PATENT BASED DEVICE CALLED AN iPud! Then they gave this iPud thingy the ability to make phone calls and started calling it a SmartPhone...You new people (last ten years) that think you know what the phuk is up....just shut the phuk up on this one because you have no phuking clue and you never will... Ya see new people... crApple Inc. has never invented a god damn thing ever...they have either borrowed (stolen), aquired, or just plain copied everything they have ever done and put a dress on it and then tripled the retail price of anything like it and the crApple subculture continued to bite like a school of freshly hatched guppies (but they were actually old school hipped turned yuppie so now I like to refer to them as YIPPIEz!) the whole time being snobs because they think that unless they didn't overpay and basically get ripped the phuk off that they weren't buying the BEST of the BEST gear. Well sorry to burst all you crApple wanna be's bubblez but any old school and still way ahead of the curve today geeks out there because of just plain common sense and not because we're wanting to tweak everything all the time would tell you today that they have never owned a crApple product, never had the desire to own or spend a dime on a crApple product and will never purchase a crApple product until the day they die or they can finally afford to buy that $HIT lying company and burn the phuker to the ground and build a memorial in its place in memory of the MAC LISA....(Don't know what that is???? then stop reading this ya jackazz!)

So you've gotten this far in my lovely little tale of two worlds...one being the alien lifeform that has recently gained momentum but really has no sustainability because even you recent morons that are calling themselves techie'z are starting to realize that crApple SUX! always did, always will, and you got taken! So you made it this far? Well there is not that far to go for you to read why I am writing all of this first... so here it is!!! crApple Inc. purchased ADOBE so that they could purposely NOT GIVE TO THEIR IGNORANT DEVICE OWNERz the ability to watch the majority of VIDz out there on the internet but especially from YOUTUBE!!! Guess why or already know why? BECAUSE DUMMY, simple deal...it's owned by GOOGLE and GOOGLE is going to take over the entire planet...and this phuking geek is okay with it. Okay with it because Micro$oft is almost as bad as crApple in their bull$hit deceptive everything and GOOGLE and I have been in bed with each other for over 8 years of smartphone love. I have been using their PHREEEEEE everything even before my same day it was released to the public aquisition of the G1. THE VERY FIRST GOOGLE PHONE...keep it safe if you still have one people because some day it's going to be worth a fortune when it's inducted into the Smithsonian Institute of Science as the VERY 1ST GOOGLE HARDWARE DEVICE EVER!!! GOOGLE preys on the companies and advertisers that prey on you...Micro$oft Inc. and crApple Inc. PERY ON YOU! The device or product owner themself! I have never directly (read that again...DIRECTLY) given GOOGLE one thin dime of money and yet I use all of their products and services for PHREEEEEEE 20 times a day...however...when I first set up my PHREEEEEE GOOGLE VOICE account appx three years ago when it was still INVITATION ONLY! I also set up my GOOGLE CHECKOUT and when they verified my debit card account that day they gave me the dime...YEP...and I STILL HAVE ALL .10 CENTS BITCHEz! When I look at my GOOGLE VOICE VOICEMAIL TO TEXT TRANSCRIPTS using their widget (Don't worry about what a widget is crApple people because you don't have them) I always see my account balance at the bottom and it still says ".10" and its even colored in GREEEEEEEEEEN! awwwww....a nice touch.... so crApple Inc. valuable...?? NOPE, nothing about them adds anything valuable to your life...just more debt, deceptive advertising and marketing, half truths, only one part of the REAL story, and most important YOU the crApple device owner is now imprisoned into your little crApple trendy fad driven world and will be left with your little crApple dikz out when this bull$hit is over!

continued... you got this far so you might as well finish it because I really do get to the point mang!

FLASH IS DEAD!??? Yeah, FLASH is being put-down, murdered, snuffed out...wtf ever... but the REAL reason is because the whole $hit backfired on crApple when people that bought their crAp and complained about not being able to use a product that crApple themselves actually owned...and most of you still don't even know that ADOBE was owned by them and more of you have never even bothered to think about why even if you did... THEY DID IT JUST LIKE THEY ARE NOW KILLING IT SO THAT THEY COULD REMOVE even GOOGLE ANDROID and every other SmartDevice player on the planet would no longer be able to have support for this either because they are all gaining marketshare over crApple and with the late and NOT AS SO PHUKING GREAT AS YOU THOUGHT HE WAS, STEVE JOBLESS having now succumbed (all over his gay boyfriends butt in the afterlife) to his lifestyle of living like a YIPPIE PHREAK and is NOW DEAD!!! crApple is running scared and in a desperate attempt to thward the inevitable overtaking of the planets main portable device users because people started taking their 'anti-rip-van-winkle brainwashing pills' and even the A.A.P.P.L.E. (Against Apple Product Purchasing Lame Endusers) <-----<<< MY GROUP of PhAnAtIcZ!!! people out there are asking me...what kind of phone should I get. The answer is always the same when I say these simple and non-biased words to a lost soul who I don't want to jolt with this type of explaination because they just went through a rough period in their lives and need to be nurtured into the REAL world of technology like carefully training a new puppy as to not make any permanent imprints onto their already completely manipulateable minds because of pure innocent ignorance... I say to them... "Anything but a crApple product braddah!... anything but something with a little 'i' in front of it...and I will help support you on it...)

.............END OF LINE..............

This was brought to you by the very opened minded because it was written in the open sourece coded putity of intelligence and not the glutteness sphincterness of stupidity and dumb@$$ ignorance of listening to their friends who doesn't know jack about krakin a code let alone what kind of nightmare they would be getting themselves into let alone their family and friends by telling them to buy what they already have and have only has in their entire 2 minute career of 'SMART' technology.

My name is KiRbYdOoO...and I just pooped all over you! I'll leave you with one of my favorite SmartPhone email signatures that I wrote...

"You can't polish a turd, yet I see people rubbing their iPudz and iPhoneyz everyday trying..." -KiRbYdOoO (Sure...you can use it).

Thanks for comin' in and playin' ... have a nice day... or as we used to say when we were done chattin' it up via our PAGE SYSOP button with with one of our logged on users typing away on our 40 column, 16 color, composite video attached monitors... L8r!

probably the best article I've read about flash this week ... gr8

Great post

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