Oh, I still love Flash. But I have to be real; it does not work on the tablets, and I love tablets. Phones, I don’t mind building different versions of production for phones, because they are essentially different browsing gadgets in my opinion. The screen is small, even if the resolution is high. The experience is less focussed, and it is more targeted towards quick interactions.
But a web-page is more than that. It is like the difference between a movie like Avatar and tonight’s Two-And-A-Half-Man. They are both shot by camera for your entertainment, they both work on my television, but the experience is completely different.
This is – by the way – why in my opinion why Twitter is mostly successful because of the success of the mobile phone. Not because it is such an amazing technology or the thing mankind has waited for. It simply fits the communication lifestyle on the phone; smart-quick-short. Good for a quick dose of communication based on the old Short-Message-Service (SMS). But this is just a side-note.
Back to what I was talking about.
So, I have been offering clients lately more and more HTML solutions and avoid the Flash a bit. These days you need to impress new clients who think they are tech-savvy and talk about their iPad. They want their site to show up on the iPad. I can’t sell them that it cannot work because of some stupid conflict between the late Steve Jobs and Adobe, completely unnecessary. (quick update, as you can read in my other postings on the subject – Flash is by far not the least secure technologies Apple allows on their iPad/iPhone/iPod, and not even near the most battery draining apps).
But, my company specializes in building tech for multimedia online experiences. Websites for clients are just a side-business. And for clients, the HTML is not so much of a problem. They want to show their site on their iPad… fine. No problems. I love my iPad, so I understand.
But for the Multimedia experience, Flash is still absolutely unbeatable. Sure, you can use the new Adobe tools to build HTML5 applications in the Flash interface. But this is not my problem. Creative and an innovative use of multimedia requires far more freedom than HTML5 + CSS3 will allow.
Sure, it covers about 84% of all that you can do with Flash. But Flash is a blank canvas. Not to be compared to the ‘canvas’ supported in HTML5. The comparison is that Flash delivers a REAL blank canvas, while HTML5 delivers a square-patterned blank canvas. The use of CANVAS in HTML5 is too technical. It does not allow creatives to go out and do new things. It is a pathetic attempt to get near what Flash is. And it comes close, but clearly it has not been imagined by creatives but by programmers.
But even that is not what I am after. Even with good programming, and putting way more time and money in your project than you should, you can do about 84% of what Flash is capable of.
And the last 16% that HTML5 + CSS3 is lacking is the innovation. Flash, like any program language, allows you to do things on your own. You use code to create freedom. But HTML is a MARKUP LANGUAGE (That’s the ML in HTML). And CSS3 is laying everything down how it has to look. Together, they bring your site together. But the problem, it has to be in the pre-defined coding that HTML allows. Because HTML simply needs you to do things this way, or otherwise you screw it up.
Flash? Nope. You want 100 fonts? Sure. Animation and video combining, with moving clickable characters in my videos, or responding interactions to the words that are spoken out loud in the video; no problem. Mixing a audio stream with interactions that can be gestures – whatever. Multi-touch? You could program it in Flash already since Flash 8, which was in 2004. I could program a 10-touch multi-touch interface. Sure, you have to have a device what can support it, but, just like with any kind of other free programming platform, you have freedom. HTML delivers you a constraint.
And that is what is my problem with HTML5 + CSS3. It has to be done in a certain way. It has this confined space. And I don’t know if you heard… but creatives don’t function well in confined spaces.
My worry with HTML5 + CSS3 is that it simply is this giving kids a box of lego, and mentioning that they can build anything, as long as you only make it fit within 10″ by 10″ by 10″ and it has to be build on one of those green ground plates.
Worse, actually. It is telling the kids to only ‘draw’ what the Lego thing should look like, and have tech kids building the thing without any other input of the creative kid.
That’s not supporting creativity…
So I do have a request, although I do think it might be a hopeless one; but I would like everyone who owns an iPhone, iPod or iPad to send an email to Apple, or post in their fora, just for the request to activate Flash on their devices. Believe me, it doesn’t hurt you… you only gain… and you will gain a lot more creative sites and possibilities.