Friday, April 30, 2010

Thoughts on Flash and Its Future

Steve Jobs (Apple) released a little article entitled "Thoughts on Flash". As you can imagine, it has raised quite a stir among the web developers out there. You can read it here:

It sparked these thoughts from me on Flash as a platform for photographer's sites.

I think flash will continue for quite awhile. I am NOT a fan of it for a website platform, but it has definite uses in app design, and interactive situations where it is best used.

The point is that the web is NOT TV, nor is it a moving brochure, or a bouncing logo... it is information delivered in a rich form, and collaborative across platforms.

I want my stuff to be seen by everyone. I want it to be delivered with ease to each and every potential client. I want it be be bookmarked and shared for potential clients,while maintaining the control over usage that I can. (Tineye will be better and better and spark competitors, so within a few years, my jpg.png will be tracable, while a screengrab of a flash page may not be. But that could change as well.)

The iPad, like the Kindl, has sparked a new delivery method that will continue to grow. And grow. And while Apple may not ever own the total market, the penetration is most definitely going to be felt.

I think there is a very important part of Job's post - #6 that has even more far reaching implications. Developers of platforms do not want to be held hostage by developers of software. Flash is proprietary, so they can begin to create things that may FORCE the platforms to comply, and that may not be tenable in the way things are moving.

I am not anti-flash. I love it for what it can do, and there are times when it matters not if it cannot be rendered in an iPod Touch somewhere.

But - for photgraphers... wow. I cannot imagine why a photographer chooses flash. I have never understood it, and still don't get it. I understand the images look better - I get that.

But in today's market, reaching the most people and pull marketing and social marketing are so far away from what Flash delivers... sorry, I still don't get why Flash gets chosen.

I have heard its cool. Yep. I have heard it is easy to do with the backend support (XML). Yep. And there's all the designers who do all them cool things with bouncing this and fading that and sliding whatchamacallits. Yep. Got that. I do.

But that is designing for yourself, not for the client. It is all cool and such till a client tries to share an image with their client and has to refer them to 'go to the home page and click on the little box and when it expands chase down the 'portfolio' button and click on it... after all the nav buttons slide in, click 'auto' and count 11 in from the first image... that's the one we are talking about..."

Yeah... that's sooooo coool.

There is very little a good developer cannot do with CSS/JQuery or MooTools that Flash can do. And it is far easier to work with.

Flash developers may get all hot and angry and such, but I really rarely ever meet a Flash developer that gets the paradigm of usability/content delivery/pull marketing that the web, at least I believe, is all about.

Notice that EBay, Amazon, Flickr, FaceBook, MySpace, CL, and other totally huge sites use flash... or, well, DON"T use flash.

Wonder what they know that photographers simply don't want to hear?

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