Recently came across a project, which had used Adobe Flash technology. Me being new to it had to do a lot of reading about Flash. Flash in this project is used to create a really good looking user interface with cool looking menu options. We had to buy license for the Flash developer tools and the licenses are not cheap.
As a developer I am really not excited to see use of such a technology in a web based application. When I look around the World Wide Web and browse several Flash sites it doesn't convince me to continue using it in future.
1. Nothings cool!
I don't find anything so cool in Flash which can't be done in a simple HTML/CSS and Client side scripting.
Well this is true and and many of you won't disagree that there is not anything significant which can't be done using HTML,CSS & Client side Script combination.
2. I love Open Source & free stuff
Why pay for something when there is a free alternative? Nothing in Flash technology comes to you for free. The developer tools are costly and require special training. Where as the open technology has it all freely available for you. There are many free editors available to improve productivity of developers.
The open source community is gaining more and more encouragement and its growing day by day. So I would always stick to my own people, the great open source community with world wide contributions.
3. Finding resources is difficult
Finding a Flash developer is difficult as its a proprietary technology and requires developers who have really worked on it before. Where as the HTML CSS is a something even a college graduate can start programming in without much of a training, so recruiting them is not difficult at all.
In case you are a manager my advise to you would be to stay away from flash technology just because its going to be a nightmare to deal with resources.
4. Abstraction is good & bad
I know abstraction is a good thing for making life easier but also having freedom of knowing whats behind the scene is also necessary in my opinion, as it opens more options for us to think in terms of designing a system. I don't feel like using something which never gives me freedom to know what its doing behind the scene. There is so many things Flash does internally and as a developer I will not have any clue about how its doing it.
5. Flash installation varies for different operating systems
World Wide Web is suppose to be platform/OS independent, and I would not want to block my user base just because they do not use Windows. Here is a snapshot of recent Internet Explorer Crash due to Flash 10 on my windows system.
6. Maximum Utilization of Resolution
Most of the flash sites only handle a standard resolution (usually 800X600). I have a screen that is four times that size, but most Flash sites don’t take advantage of it. HTML/CSS has a lot of easy to use capabilities to take advantage of more screen real state.
7. Forward & Back Button are Useless
Browser provides you a forward and backward button as it can help you navigate back and forth without being defendant on sites navigation.
If you use Flash you loose the forward/back browser buttons and history. Bookmarks don’t work either. Which can be a benefit only in few cases but most of the times if you are over the World Wide Web you would want to give the freedom to navigate back and forth between pages.
8. Loading time is high
Flash sites are slow to load for the first time and are almost impossible to use under dial-up connections. You won't observe much of performance hit in case you have a broadband connection but if its dial up, I am sure you will prefer to stay away from any site which has flash. If your site has static contents then using Flash would probably give you the worst performance.
I will not want to limit my website audience to only broadband users. Technology is growing but most of the developing countries still don't have a good broadband network.
9. Saving Flash Pages is Difficult
Well, there could be good and bad part to it. At the side of copyright violation I would say it would make sense to keep something not copy-able. But for most of the places where you would not want to limit someone from just saving the information for his own future reference.
10. Lose control over browser functionality
Flash disables you to use the regular browser functionality which otherwise could be enabled like the right click menu with various options.
Though not everyone would be interested to do this except for a web developer, the view source doesn't get you any information about the page.
There are many sites which start playing audio visual advertisements running from nowhere using Flash.
Have you ever come across the advertisement in loud voice "Congratulations!! you have been selected to win a Free iPod"
I just can't stand this type of advertisement anymore. Any flash support on browser makes the end user helpless. These advertisements are played in background and the only way I found to get rid of these advertisements is to close all browser windows and open again. Which can be very annoying experience for anyone.
If you still find some reasons for using Flash let me know, I would be interested to know them. I am sure there must be lot many people who would have some more reasons to share. Please feel free to share your thoughts & leave a comment.