How Important is Flash to You?

Poll: How Important is Flash to Your Internet Activity?
Total Votes: 93
I can’t live without Flash.
I don’t like Flash, but the sites I visit require it.
I selectively block Flash content.
Flash? Not on my computer.
  • Avatar

    Posted: 30 April 2010 12:19 AM #16

    You set up a false dichotomy. Apple has done nothing to encourage developers to not develop for competing platforms. It, however, isn’t helping developers either. Why should it?

    Apple created the first real successful consumer smart phone [Blackberry was all about business users]. It created the concept of an application store and made it highly successful. It gave developers more than a fair split and handles billing. Further, it pays for bandwidth. It is more then fair to developers essentially setting up an opportunity for them to make almost all of the profit from their work.

    Why does Apple do this? Not to sell software.  Apple wants to sell hardware. It could care less about the little money it makes off software downloads. Just like on the Mac,  the software is all about selling hardware.

    Since Apple wants to sell hardware, why should Apple help copycat competitors like Google make a profit off of Apple’s work by assisting these copiers to undercut Apple’s hardware sales? Developers shouldn’t expect Apple to do so.
    Further, you are correct. Apple doesn’t like the write once run every where model because that model allows developers to ignore all the money Apple spent developing API’s that make it’s hardware stand out. It advertises over 1500 new API’s in the iPhone 4.0 OS. It doesn’t want developers ignoring those APIs.

    Apple is also right that Adobe will cater to the common denominator in terms of features of all platforms. Flash has to in order for it’s write once run everywhere model to work. So, Flash will only support API’s that all the platforms support, ignoring all the fancy new API’s Apple spend millions in creating until Apple’s competitors create those APIs as well. That undermines Apple’s efforts to create hardware with better features then it’s competitors. Again, why would Apple do that. It is willing to help developers make money, but not at the cost of undermining it’s hardware sales.

    Finally, Adobe’s model is more harmful to consumers who are looking for applications that take the most advantage of Apple’s hardware features. As a hardware developer, Apple want it’s platform to stand out. Adobe wants every platform to be the same.

    As a consumer I will support Apple’s approach any day.

    Mikuro - 30 April 2010 02:46 AM

    As a developer, I’ve often considered learning Flash because it would let me write once and run anywhere. I usually decided it wasn’t worth it because of the shitty non-Windows support, but it HAS gotten better. For simple games it’s an appealing platform. But now Apple is trying their damnedest to make sure that I will need to choose between writing for iPhone and writing for anything else. I didn’t appreciate that attitude when it came from Microsoft, and I don’t appreciate it now. It works against me as a developer, and it works against me as a user. That’s the bottom line.

    Yes, I understand Apple’s perspective. But so what? From MY perspective (and I would think yours as well), it’s all bad news. I understood Microsoft’s perspective during all their dirty dealings in the 90s, too. Didn’t make it right.

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    Posted: 30 April 2010 02:51 AM #17

    vasic - 29 April 2010 07:03 PM

    So how does Flash perform on that Nexus One? And by the way, I am genuinely curious (not implying that it performs poorly or anything). Have you tested battery life, is it fast, how does it handle the mouse-over events? Is there some key combination (or multi-touch gesture) that you need to do in order to get a mouse-over? Nobody who has an Android device has yet written anything of substance about their Flash performance, and I’m sure vast majority of geeky iPhone owners would be quite interested to hear about it.

    The Nexus One is just a plain better, more flowy phone in most situations. Voice dialing while driving remains better on the iPhone.

    I have yet to try Flash on the Nexus One. There are numerous videos floating around on YouTube. They look promising. But I can do you one better. You can try Flash on your iPhone! For real. You can try an app created with Flash and in the App Store. My two favorite are “Fruit Smash” and “South Park Avatar Creator”. It’ll cost you $4 or $5 to try them both. And then maybe you can go through Steve’s checklist and try to figure out what’s wrong with them and why you should not have the choice to buy apps like these.

  • Posted: 30 April 2010 10:35 AM #18

    Bosco (Brad Hutchings) - 30 April 2010 05:51 AM

    I have yet to try Flash on the Nexus One. There are numerous videos floating around on YouTube. They look promising.

    I was under the impression that Flash was the primary reason you jumped to Nexus One. Is there a reason why you haven’t tried Flash on it yet? I’d have done it the first second I activated the phone, considering all the noise about Apple’s prohibition of it.

    As for Flash-originated apps for the iPhone, I have no doubt they run reasonably well. After all, they were re-compiled to run natively, rather than via an interpreter layer (which would gobble up cycles and thus battery).

    As someone already said above, it is just bad business for Apple and, in the long run, detrimental for us, consumers. Flash makes developers lazy; it gives them fairly simple set of tools and APIs (as mentioned above, lowest common denominator) that limit the hardware feature set to the lowest common denominator. If someone spends $700 for an iPhone (after subsidy is paid), they expect to get something in return. Flash-based apps barely scratch the surface of what that hardware can do. You don’t buy a Porsche in order to only drive it 20mph to the corner grocery store. You’d hope to take it to Montana and throttle it to 160mph.

    I am anxiously looking to hear testimony about Flash on Android from real users; not some YouTube video. I googled everywhere, but the only thing that pops up are those demo videos.

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    Posted: 30 April 2010 11:21 AM #19

    What gave you the impression that it was that specific? I’ve been pretty over-the-top clear that it’s because Apple, led by ?berdoushe Steve Jobs, has become a control freak company and that I’m learning that while their products are quite good, they’re not good enough to justify the dollar premium or the doushiness premium. So, I’m $680 (phone + 2 docks) into my experiment with Nexus One and, on balance, loving it. Transcribed voicemail, turn by turn directions (ditched my TomTom), multitasking that flows.

    One area I have neglected to mention where Flash is extremely important is distance education. The major Learning Management Systems (LMSs) basically bake Flash into course content, whether it be videos, podcasts, chat modules, etc. My best friend is the LMS and distance learning guy at a University, and he tells me that Flash is the currency of LMS publishing. The instructors have tools that export .swf files, and the LMS makes incorporating them super easy. For student contributed content, swf is the preferred format. No web developers involved. Just a lot of ordinary people cultivating their content space.

    On another note, yesterday, the Skyfire browser for Android shipped a public beta. It’s a WebKit-based browser that can recognize embedded Flash video (but not interactive content) and make it available via some server-side magic. I don’t know if anyone wants to lay odds on whether Apple would approve Skyfire (duplicate functionality, scripting, Flash), but the really cool thing about Android we customers didn’t have to sit and limbo for weeks or months while the app was reviewed.

  • Posted: 30 April 2010 11:55 AM #20

    Yes, LMS is at this point so tightly married to Flash that the only way it would get “un-married” (divorced?) would be if, due to the possible turn of events (Apple’s mobile platform expanding dominance to encourage more and more content owners to ditch Flash), Adobe started building authoring tools that generate non-Flash interactive animated content.

    I am currently working as an e-Learning course developer and the only reasonable tool to use for rapid development is Adobe’s e-Learning Suite (Captivate, Presenter, Flash, Soundbooth, among other titles). Captivate can only produce Flash content, embedded in html pages, creating proper SCORM packages (with the required XML manifests, etc).

    Currently, the price of a premium Android phone is the same as the price of the latest-gen iPhone. Therefore, users are making their choice based on feature set, app availability an carrier choices. As it stands, both the iPhone and the iPad seem to be rocketing forward. If the trend continues, there will be soon over 100 million mobile devices that don’t do Flash. Will this be enough to precipitate wholesale move away for the content owners? Will there emerge an easy, intuitive and feature-rich content authoring tool that would facilitate that move? Will Adobe be nimble enough to acknowledge the situation and build a similar offering? Or will they draw their own line in the sand, hoping to exhaust Apple and eventually bring them around (or push them into irrelevance)?

    If it becomes clear that Apple cannot win this Flash battle, I have no doubt that Apple would concede (and allow Flash on their mobile platform). The battle has just begun, though, and it might take a year or two for it to unfold.

  • Posted: 30 April 2010 12:14 PM #21

    “Douche?” like this: ?

    I’m curious though about Flash on other devices. Apple is getting raked over the coals for declaring they won’t support Flash on mobile devices, but we don’t really hear anything about HOW it works on other mobile devices, merely that you CAN use it (does it work on a Blackberry?). I would argue that merely being able to do something doesn’t make it good; I can put a snowplow on my Mazda3 but it would be a crappy snowplow. I tried to find an Android phone around our University to test out an Android app we were having developed alongside a Blackberry and iPhone app and IT couldn’t find one for me. I’d like to try it out and see what the fuss is.


    Less is More (more or less).

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    Posted: 30 April 2010 12:50 PM #22

    @vasic… One assumption I read into your writing is that Adobe is the tools supplier that drives Flash production, especially in education. That assumption could not be further from the truth. There are many popular programs that produce Flash, including Camtasia and Apple’s Keynote. They can produce simple Flash encoded video and interactive applications. Flash is an open enough standard that there are a myriad of inexpensive third party apps that produce it. Even can export presos as swf files!

    So the common line about how Adobe should focus on making tools that spit out HTML5 is bunk. If Flash is a problem, that doesn’t solve it.

    @FlipFriddle… I was going for a more German spelling… Typo. It happens… This is the tough thing about discussing “Flash”. When Steve discusses it, he wants you to hear “Flash browser plugin” while he is talking about “Flash platform”. The platform includes things like AIR, which lets Flash app source be compiled to iPhone and Android binaries. Right now, today, the best place for a non-Adobe beta user to test Flash on mobile devices is the Apple App Store. Download “Fruit Smash Organic” and “South Park Avatar” before Apple wipes them from the App Store. Might cost you $4 or $5. Android builds from same Flash source are in beta now, and ought to start appearing in the Android Marketplace this summer.

    As for a mobile browser plugin… Android 2.2 will have it baked into the browser. ETA is this summer. Adobe Flash product manager and engineer blogs indicate that they’re on schedule to actually release Flash browser capability to adventurous Android users by the end of June.

    Look guys, you’re all in for a WTF? moment around September. Because Android is quietly just coming together and catching up in unit sales thanks to Apple continuing to stick with AT&T. I don’t think Android sucks. I actually think it’s pretty damned nice, easy, and elegant in a not-nerdy way. A few things it needs to catch up with iPhone on. Voice dialing needs some work. Not the recognizer, but the dialing process. But let’s posit that it does suck. And the trend is still that it will catch iPhone in handset sales this summer. If iPhone can’t win on being a superior experience, it won’t win on anything else. The world will just move past it. It’s 1994 all over again for Apple.

  • Posted: 30 April 2010 01:03 PM #23

    Well, the market will prove you right or wrong. iPhone OS4 is an unknown at this point so I think Apple’s competitors are still trying to hit a moving target and Apple is still at an advantage, but competition is always a good thing. I wish someone was competing with Adobe Creative Suite, so minor updates like CS5 didn’t cost over $1000.

    Personally, all the smart phones are still too damn expensive and all come with mandatory data plans which is BS (for me at least who could care less about such things). I just want one device, but my iPod Touch doesn’t make phone calls.

    Oops. Sorry this was about Flash, not my annoyance with the mobile phone market in the US.


    Less is More (more or less).

  • Avatar

    Posted: 30 April 2010 05:02 PM #24

    Not being a tech guy or a computer geek/nerd, it seems to me that Flash is nothing but bloatware that strains computer resources - both PC and Mac.  Some people go overboard with Flash apps and features on their websites, especially on the art based sites, causing drain, longer load times, and straight-up frustration.  Less is more people.

    I would like to see it go for good or at the very least, be completely reworked and become more efficient (if that’s even possible).


    Macintosh:~ celticmagick$ sudo Mac > PC=True
    Macintosh:~ celticmagick$ killall Windows

  • Posted: 01 May 2010 09:11 AM #25

    I don’t care too much.  However, I do think Apple is doing us all a service by helping to get rid of it.

  • Posted: 01 May 2010 11:02 PM #26

    I don’t really care, either. But what fascinates me is the number of people who say Flash crashes their Mac.

    I visit a lot of sites that use Flash. Never had a problem that could be tied exclusively to Flash. What am I doing wrong?


    Karate ni sente nashi

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    Posted: 02 May 2010 08:09 AM #27

    I always thought that was odd too. It chews up CPU cycles like crazy (not unusual for Adobe products, but not enough to damn the company with hellfire) and gobbles my laptop’s battery for breakfast, but I’ve never had it crash on me. But then I only see Flash as ads and intros to restaurant websites.


    Laurie Fleming - the singing geek


  • Posted: 03 May 2010 01:12 AM #28

    I’d be fine with flash if it weren’t such an unstable processor hog. Period.

    Adobe just isn’t a company that refines its software. All it knows is adding features.


    "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin

    What’s the difference between a Mac and a PC? Macs are designed, PCs are assembled.

  • Posted: 03 May 2010 01:20 AM #29

    Laurie Fleming - 02 May 2010 11:09 AM

    I always thought that was odd too. It chews up CPU cycles like crazy (not unusual for Adobe products, but not enough to damn the company with hellfire) and gobbles my laptop’s battery for breakfast, but I’ve never had it crash on me. But then I only see Flash as ads and intros to restaurant websites.

    I can’t say it has ever been the cause of a full-blown OS crash but it always crashed Safari and now that it runs in a separate thread, it crashes the Flash plugin for Safari. Pandora plus seven or eight other open Safari windows will usually do it.


    "ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" - Charles Darwin

    What’s the difference between a Mac and a PC? Macs are designed, PCs are assembled.

  • Posted: 03 May 2010 07:07 PM #30

    I see relatively few crashes that are directly attributable to Flash. However it has always been a CPU hog, even on my fastest machines. It also poses roadblocks for accessibility, scalability and general navigation and bookmarking. For that reason I prefer sites that do not use Flash for core features such as displaying navigation and content.

    I have used my iPad online a lot, and I do not feel that the absence of Flash has had any negative impact on my browsing experience.

    [ Edited: 03 May 2010 07:10 PM by David Nelson ]