To Flash Or Not To Flash
Adobe (ex-Macromedia) Flash is a core technology of today’s Web. Unfortunately, it got a wrong start back in the days. Many designers sold their souls to the unprecedented opportunities offered by graphical web and forgot that Flash is a complement to HTML, not - a replacement. This confussion ended us in the initial flood of all-Flash websites - a complete nightmare, by any reasonable standards.
You might remember that even some big media companies made the mistake. I will spare their good names, considering that they [relatively] quickly corrected the mistake, but to make a point - the confusion did not infect only amateur designers. Unfortunately, the cure was not any less damaging - many websites and designers refused to use Flash, at all. It also helped that right at the time, Ajax emerged, giving buzzers new “hot” thing to buzz about.
It is an interesting story with an interesting ending and I was thinking for a while, now to blog about it, but I was late - Dan Mall from A List Apart, recently published a wonderful post about the whole matter: Semantic Flash: Slippery When Wet. It’s an excellent reading that I completely agree to. There is not much I could add to it and I would highly recommend it to anybody interested in the subject.
The only point I would like to make is one concerning license and vendor lock-in. Flash is a proprietary technology and it is a problem. Adobe, having so much experience with PDF, will probably be able to mitigate this concern. However, it will never be gone. You can see the effects watching the battle of Ajax and Flex (a rich-client solution spring-off of Flash). It does not look like Flex will do much harm to Ajax, partially because it is a proprietary technology.