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7th Floor Media has been thinking seriously about interactive digital media for culture and education for over 20 years. Here on our much less formal blog, staff discuss discoveries and issues that arise from the fascinating work they do. This is 7FM "outside the box," where ideas and opinions are set free.

You are invited - nay, encouraged - to participate in the conversation.

Author Archive

Is Flash out?

By Pamela Sevilla-Anderson on March 29th, 2010

With the coming launch of the new Adobe CS5, I searched for the next big thing in Flash CS5 and found a post in a funny blog by George Hahn, a professional Flash Designer. His first few paragraphs struck a cord. He writes about the demise of Flash on websites because of the non-Flash support on Apple’s iPhone, iTouch and iPad.

So is Flash out?

Being an iPhone user myself, I often get frustrated with all-flash sites that present a big blank spot in the middle of the page. Even though I am the Flash “person” in our office, I find myself agreeing with Mr. Hahn, as there are plenty of other ways to present a moving, Flash-like environment.

Here’s one example of a photo gallery with jQuery. JQuery is a javascript library that allows developers to add movement and added functionality easily to a page. Mobile users can see that extra magic and it downgrades nicely when done properly for non-javascript enabled browsers.

And, dust off that old video codec: Quicktime (mov). For developers, the conflict of trying to accommodate all browsers often gave us the arduous task of having to provide a choice of video formats such as Quicktime (mov) and Windows Media (wmv) or else risk alienating some of our audiences by only supporting one camp. When Flash started adding video support and with it’s mass adoption, the answer was easy. Coders could stick video on a site with Flash without worrying about what browsers people were using to view their site. Now, with the iPhone, iTouch and iPad, it seems like we are back to square one. Luckily, Apple owns Quicktime, so for clients looking to add video to their site, exporting video to mov is a no-brainer. And, rest assured, it will happily be supported on the Apple family of devices. Take a look at Quicktime Trailers on an iPhone or iTouch. It works beautifully.

And finally, when they can agree on which video codec to use as a standard, HTML5 video and audio tags could potentially wipe out Flash media players altogether.

Bottom line: I agree with the proponents Mr. Hahn writes about, Flash may be on it’s way out for delivering online content. And, not to mislead you, Mr. Hahn really wrote about how some sites really benefited from being entirely built on Flash. But, looking back on a few, I’m sure they could have done it in an entirely different way.