Do not use Flash? Get real. Real programmers, that is.

I read an article in Entrepreneur arguing not to use Flash on web sites. From a development standpoint this is like saying, “Don’t use a crescent wrench when working on your car.”   But what if the crescent wrench is the best tool for the job? Is prohibitive cost a reasonable reason to avoid using Flash?

Here is the article:

Seven reasons to avoid using Flash on your website

And I responded:

Mikal,

“Flash development is highly specialized” I disagree. Real programmers are language agnostic and can use any tool at their disposal. Flash development does mean someone has to design the content, but this no different than a well-planned .html web site.

“Flash sites are s-l-o-w.” This is not a problem with Flash it is a problem with the programmers. We have developed internal web applications that fly as though they are completely running natively on our local machines. I am talking about querying information from a huge remote database, and the app responds nearly instantaneously. Gee, how can this be?

You are right about accessibility and you can include the blind or other handicapped people who inherently cannot use a Flash site. Web site owners should understand this and provide alternative content or direction for users.

“The boredom factor” Web sites with long animations should always offer options to skip the animations or disable them for future visits. A little planning goes a long way, but this problem does not indicate that the language itself is a problem.

For programmers who maintain Flash web sites (or any sites!) I suggest learning everything they can about Steve Wozniak. The guy was obsessive about building computers with fewer chips and at a lower cost. His motivation was probably due to the extravagant cost of parts at the time, but he is also plainly brilliant and thus took the correct approach to design. Today, programmers have gobs of CPU power, massive memory, and corporate budgets that let them putz around developing bloatware over several years that should take six months. They do not address optimization because they do not know how, they do not care, or they do not have political control over the design.

In conclusion, always use the right tool for the job. If Flash is the right tool, use it, and optimize the heck out of every step the program takes. Certainly do not accept gigabytes of graphics for content that is being viewed on the web. Get the graphic designer in the habit of compressing to the optimal size!

John,

Thank you for your email message. While I agree with what you wrote, it is still going to cost more to work with a programmer who knows what you know (when it comes to using Flash). People such as yourself charge a premium for the skill set you describe, and rightfully so. At the end of the day, that’s a simple truth (in my experience, and I’ve been producing websites since 1997).

Mikal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *