Virgin America Web Site Drops Flash

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Adobe Flash may be a part of many Web sites, but not the redesigned Virgin America site. The airline recently dropped Flash in favor of HTML in a move to improve site performance and to offer support for a wider range of devices, including Apple's iPhone, according to The Register.

"I don't want to cater to one hardware or one software platform one way to another, and Flash eliminates iPhone users," said Virgin America's Chief information officer Ravi Simhambhatla.

Virgin America's Flash-free Web site

Virgin America's move away from Flash doesn't spell the end of Adobe's multimedia delivery platform, especially since nearly every personal computer includes the software necessary to play Flash-based content and companies like YouTube depend on Flash to stream videos. If does, however, show a growing interest in finding alternatives to Flash.

Once the HTML5 standard is ratified, Mr. Simhambhatla plans to update the Virgin America Web site again. HTML5 offers multimedia content support without requiring Adobe's Flash or Microsoft's competing Silverlight.

Despite its Web site redesign, Virgin America isn't completely abandoning Flash. The company plans to implement a Flash-based solution for its airport checkin kiosks.

"Flash provides beautiful interactivity," Mr. Simhambhatla said. "We wanted to bring a smoother application experience and modularity and be able to build up an interactive experience for the kiosk user. Flash is all these."

He added "Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled... If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn't [controlled] then Flash is questionable."

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20 Comments Leave Your Own

Jeff Gamet

It wasn’t too long ago that companies simply accepted Flash as their only option for Web site development. It’s interesting to see that changing, although I don’t think Virgin America’s move away from Flash heralds the end of the technology.

Joe

Virgin America alone doesn’t signal the end of Flash, but when you add together all the companies that are now developing html 5 versions of their sites, the trend is becoming very clear. Hulu, Youtube, NYT, Virgin America, and so on.

Add to that the fact that non-Flash devices are selling by the millions. Flash Lite was never any good - too many sites didn’t work with it which defeats the purpose. Flash 10.1 is a disappointment - slow and late out the door. Even Windows Mobile 7 won’t have Flash.

Flash is dead - it just doesn’t know it yet.

Tiger

Flash…Ah!

(sorry, Queen reference there)

daemon

It wasn?t too long ago that companies simply accepted Flash as their only option for Web site development.

That’s a rather wide ranging comment, and it’s BS.

Besides, Virgin America’s website is not HTML, it’s Apache Struts.

Lee Dronick

Flash is fading? I guess that I will have to get a new nom de blog smile

?It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow.? Voltaire

geoduck

A single drop of water will not fell the high mountain. It is instead the continual drip that will carve what was once proud.

Tsuchi Ahiru

xmattingly

We’ll see how much content the drips who declare Flash “dead” can produce with an unratified “standard”. wink

Substance

The most important point in the article however is not that Flash is evil or open-technologies are inherently superior, it is the importance of understanding what your customers want, determining and weighing the pros and cons of the available technologies and then making the best possible choice.

The Virgin Airlines CIO nails it in this one succint quote: “Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled…If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn’t [controlled] then Flash is questionable.”

In Virgin’s case they decided that Flash wasn’t the best choice for their website, based on Flash’s performance, its inability to reach iPhone users, and how it played a limited, nearly inconsequential role on their existing website. But Flash is far from dead, as evidenced by their choice to use Flash for their upcoming check-in kiosk system based on its ability to provide a rich interactive experience in a controlled environment.

So today I congratulate Virgin Airlines for their pragmatic approach to incorporating technology for the benefit of their customers. Not that I think they’ll need it. Usually when companies make informed technology decisions instead of “going with the flow” or following a prevalent ideaology, the customer wins. And happy customers almost always turn into repeat customers. That’s how to do business.

jragosta

@xmattingly:
“We?ll see how much content the drips who declare Flash ?dead? can produce with an unratified ?standard?.”

You mean like Youtube, Hulu, Virgin Atlantic, New York Times, etc?

xmattingly

You mean like Youtube, Hulu, Virgin Atlantic, New York Times, etc?

None of these are using “HTML 5”, neither would they be foolish enough to use HTML tags that the vast majority of currently active browsers do not support. And in the case of YouTube, that is currently in testing - not a full blown revamp of their site. Take another wild guess when you’re ready.

The Virgin Airlines CIO nails it in this one succint quote: ?Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled?If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn?t [controlled] then Flash is questionable.?

The only thing he “nailed” is that they’re using whatever technology best suits their interests. Which makes perfect sense for an airline company; you have to imagine that a pretty sizable chunk of their customer base are frequent fliers who likely check flight schedules on their smart phones. That’s where their money is at, and that’s where their technology should be.

daemon

Okay, so this is a big lie. Virgin America still uses Flash:

http://www.virginamerica.com/va/travelInfo.do?pageName=routemap&rightBar=routemap_right_bar

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

It’s the thought that counts, daemon.

Joe

@xmattingly:
“None of these are using ?HTML 5?, neither would they be foolish enough to use HTML tags that the vast majority of currently active browsers do not support. And in the case of YouTube, that is currently in testing - not a full blown revamp of their site. Take another wild guess when you?re ready.”

Nice attempt to move the goal posts.

Your original post said ?We?ll see how much content the drips who declare Flash ?dead? can produce with an unratified ?standard?.

Where does it say that they must use html 5? The fact is that there’s starting to be a huge bandwagon of content providers leaving flash - no matter whether you like it or not.

xmattingly

Comments from anonymous noobs who do not log in to post are inconsequential.

Substance

Substance said:The Virgin Airlines CIO nails it in this one succint quote: ?Flash is really, really good, but as long as you can keep the hardware controlled?If the hardware you are trying to put your product on isn?t [controlled] then Flash is questionable.?
The only thing he ?nailed? is that they?re using whatever technology best suits their interests. Which makes perfect sense for an airline company… That?s where their money is at, and that?s where their technology should be.

In Virgin?s case they decided that Flash wasn?t the best choice for their website…But Flash is far from dead, as evidenced by their choice to use Flash for their upcoming check-in kiosk system…
So today I congratulate Virgin Airlines for their pragmatic approach to incorporating technology for the benefit of their customers…And happy customers almost always turn into repeat customers.

Considering you just echoed one of my conclusions, I’d say that I “nailed it” too.

Substance

Nice attempt to move the goal posts.

Your original post said ?We?ll see how much content the drips who declare Flash ?dead? can produce with an unratified ?standard?.

Where does it say that they must use html 5? The fact is that there?s starting to be a huge bandwagon of content providers leaving flash - no matter whether you like it or not.

Comments from anonymous noobs who do not log in to post are inconsequential.

I think we all know that the only “inconsequential” posts around here are childish personal attacks.

xmattingly

Considering you just echoed one of my conclusions, I?d say that I ?nailed it? too.

Only the fact that Virgin America’s IT is going to use what is best for their business interests. If you really feel that stating the obvious should earn you some sort of recognition, feel free to find someone to pat you on the back. You deserve it. smile

I think we all know that the only ?inconsequential? posts around here are childish personal attacks.

I take it back. You need someone to pat you on the head. :D

Substance

Only the fact that Virgin America?s IT is going to use what is best for their business interests. If you really feel that stating the obvious should earn you some sort of recognition, feel free to find someone to pat you on the back. You deserve it.

If it’s so obvious, why did you feel so compelled to make the same point?  Your tap dancing is getting old.

xmattingly

My proposal for an HTML 5 standard, that I’m earnestly hoping will gain approval by W3C:

< pat >
  < pat >
    < pat >Subtance’s head</ pat >
  </ pat >
</ pat >

igotalife

get a life boys, flash sucks and obsoletes a lot of perfectly good computers. It is an adobe dictatorship with no end in sight.

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