No glorious future for Flash?

Digital creativity blog by Flow Bohl, 26.3.2010

The gap between designers and developers is widening. Increasing difficulties of implementing Flash into online and mobile devices and the scarcity of good AS3 developers raise an important question. Is Flash losing its prospective relevance?

It all started with the launch of Action Script 3 (AS3) which was a tremendous step forward for the possibilities in Flash development. It also had negative consequences for the industry. Flash developers had to learn a language more object oriented and complex. Few did early enough and most designers who had prior knowledge in AS2 gave up on coding completely. HTML5 and JavaScript frameworks such as jquery and mootools offer great alternatives to Flash.

Firstly and most importantly, JavaScripts are much more SEO friendly, making them the first choice for any e-commerce or information platform. Secondly, JavaScript animations offer vast possibilities and help the usability of a site. Flash animations however are very often used purely for aesthetic reasons, which is good for advertising but not for much else. And on a last note, JavaScripts offer code-transparency, making it easy for everyone to re-use them on any platform.

It is this transparency which lies at the very heart of the internet's philosophy, making it accessible and comprehensible even to non-professionals.

Flash is great for campaign-based projects or ads that don't require SEO. Hence it became a tool predominantly used by marketers and advertisers. The Flash player's biggest advantage remains its possibilities to play videos. This will change with HTML5. Once HTML5 becomes a standard, Flash or any other plugin for video playback will be not be necessary anymore.

With the expense for Flash development on the rise, marketing budgets on the decline and cheaper alternatives to traditional advertising (social media marketing), the relevance for Flash is increasingly questionable.

Here are some great web sites that feature HTML5 supported by Mobile Safari on the iPad.

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