Home > Design, Random Stuff > Flash Crashes?? (Best Tool for the Job)

Flash Crashes?? (Best Tool for the Job)

Okay, Flash has never ever, ever crashed on me, not once. So why is it that every Apple lover I know complains of Flash crashing their browser? Is this Stockholm Syndrome? The “Turtleneck” just kidnapped you and you fell deeply in love with him, but you have no reason why… then he took you wallet.

You’re a Tool

Mac, your a tool. Your the best tool I know for web development. Your the best tool I know for design. Your the best tool I know for making most awesome things. But you’re still just a tool, you have your strengths and limitations just like any other tool. Development tools, software and languages all have their purpose. Each one has very specific attributes because not one of them can accomplish every task. Plus, using different tools and languages are a good way to separate task, for example, you’d never use HTML to design because that is what CSS is for. Each tool has its own particular set of skills just like people. So when a powerful company like Apple decides, for no other reason than to make more money, throws another company under the bus by calling one of their most revolutionary products “buggy”, it smacks of ignorance.

The Flash wars have been ginned up by a company who wants to generate more revenue by limiting web app access. Think about it. Apple takes a 30% cut of all the revenue generated from any app and Angry Birds is the number game on iTunes. Angry Birds is basically just a simple Flash game. Flash games are incredibly addictive, we all play them. So what if Angry Birds was just a simple web application that could run on every browser in every platform? The maker of Angry Birds would be 30% richer. Apple isn’t dumb though, by restricting Flash on its mobile platform, Apple gets to claim that 30% because it knows that the success of iPhone is based in its apps. Apps are the best selling point for the iPhone and iTouch, with out them, its just another smart phone with lame Blackberry like apps. If Flash were able to run on the iPhone, then we could all build really sweet games and apps in Flash and keep our 30%.

It’s About Using the Right Tool

I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a war zone. I use Adobe products all day, my career is dependent on them and for the most part (except Fireworks) each piece of Adobe software is the far and away the leader. There is no other equivalent to Photoshop and in my eyes, there is no other equivalent to Flash (at least not yet). From design stand point, Flash still remains the heavy weight for web animation.  Its awesome for designers because you can easily build clean, fast animations that will run on any browser without being some super Javascript developer.

Despite my feelings with Flash, it does have it’s limitations (and some big ones) and that’s why we have other wonderful tools like jQuery, Scriptaculous, etc. I love using jQuery, it has a lot of power and can do a lot of the same things as Flash, plus, you can still use live text in an image slider or any other animation. But as of today, there are still thing that jQuery can’t do as easily as Flash. Knowing the limitations of each is key to using the best tool for the job.

Its our job as designers to learn and understand what tools we can use for what particular job we are doing. I would never use wire cutters to change my spark plugs, there are better tools for that. The best mechanics know which tools make their jobs easier and more efficient. The same goes for the best designers, they know what tools should be used to create the best product that will meet the client’s needs in the most efficient way. Flash is still widely important to the digital world. Let’s not forget that the innovation of Flash in web development sparked the dynamic web design movement. As Android continues to take over the mobile smart phone movement, Flash will still play a big role because smart app development firms will capitalize on its ability to run Flash.

Choose Wisely

Whatever Apple says, Flash still plays a key role in today’s digital development. It’s not something that will go away anytime soon, despite what all the wannabe turtle neck wearing fan boys say. I think the better choice is not to jump on the “Turtleneck’s” bandwagon, grow up, and then learn to use the best tool for the job. I wonder is Steve Jobs has ever seen Handy Manny?

The great Adobe V Apple war continues…

Categories: Design, Random Stuff
  1. Blake
    01/05/2011 at 10:53 PM

    Another well written article Pat Rick! Another point that could be brought up is ones own view of the web. Mine has broadened and changed as I view it as open source and fully accessible. Flash is neither. I get more of a kick out of things that work natively in the browser. But personally I have no need for flash in the work I do anyway… It is a great tool for a some job though.

  2. Patrick
    01/20/2011 at 11:56 PM

    Blakers, you got me thinking about flash more lately. I have been doing a lot of jquery stuff and I realized something… I think flash may be dead on the web. The only thing I can even think of that makes sense anymore is flash banner ads, but those really aren’t even worth the time to develop. I’ve seen some jquery banner ad tutorials lately, which would be sick, but I still haven’t figured out how they get delivered. iFrame maybe.

    I think flash is gonna have to be used for what it was originally developed for, video (production and animation), light weight desktop apps and animation. JS is a way better solution for the web.

    Anyway bro, thanks for the comments.

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