The more I read attacks on Flash, the more I end up shaking my head in confusion. Honestly, I am a little surprised this is still being debated. People, we need to get over this. Before I elaborate further, I want to make clear my support for web standards, usability and accessibility. Additionally, I understand the concern with Flash – it is not as easy to make accessible compared to HTML/CSS, it has, and continues, to be used for some really stupid things, etc., etc., etc. We have all been down that road, we have heard the arguments. That being said, standardistas: you are fighting a losing battle, and on top of it, a battle not worth fighting. Flash is about as standards-friendly as any media plug-in there is. For each bad use of Flash, there are hundreds being used well. Lastly, and more importantly, it is changing what we can do on a browser and how our generation accesses media. Please, for everyone’s sake, stop griping about Flash and start educating people on how it can be used more effectively with standards and accessibility in mind.
I have been developing with Flash for the last four years. Nonetheless, my philosophy is that if something can be done outside of Flash, it should. In fact, I have written on ways to minimize the amount of Flash used in certain areas. However, due to the fact that HTML was never designed to handle rich media (video, audio, vector-base imagery, motion, etc.), the overwhelming majority of rich media delivery cannot be done on the HTML layer. This becomes abundantly obvious due to the plethora of length tutorials on how to round corners or put a drop-shadow on a rectangle. In fact, I would argue that Flash is the ONLY way to deliver rich media – all other technologies (Windows Media Player, Quicktime, Real, etc.) are not only less pervasive on the internet, they are infinitely less flexible. The whole UGC (user-generated content) revolution would not have happened without Flash technologies pushing the content to viewers. Flash made this happen. Not standards (have you taken a look at YouTube’s HTML?), not AJAX, but Flash. I am not trying to diminish the necessity for web standards or AJAX, but many of the standards-manics seem to have their heads in the sand as to what Flash-enabled sites are achieving. In my opinion, the people that are still clenching onto the archaic notion that Flash is not necessary are diluting the discussion on web standards. Rather than deny its merits and accomplishments, why not work to push it further into the circle of accessibility and standards? No one wants technology and progress to be stifled in the name of standardization.
- Advanced visualizations
- Advanced motion treatment
- Physics engines
- Projects where visual typographic control is paramount
- Video or audio playback
- Video or audio recording through a webcam
- Rich-media browser based games
- All of the above occurring simultaneously
I have no doubt the anti-flash standards folks mean well. That being said, should we not be devoting our energy towards making this technology more seamless throughout the browsing experience rather than pretend that it will just go away? And honestly, if it did somehow go away, would the web be a better place because of it?