The Future is Here. Flash is Not Welcome.

Notice anything odd here?

Screen shot 2009-12-23 at 11.36.06 PM

Compare it to this:

Screen shot 2009-12-23 at 11.35.34 PM

It’s tiny, but I notice it every time I launch this awful program. The “ID” in InDesign’s splash screen is slightly transparent. You can see part of the iTunes store behind that “D”. You can kinda make out an “A” and a “d” in the background. Every Adobe CS4 program has a transparent “periodic element symbol”.

Flash’s “Fl”?  Not so much. Stark, 100% black. Not real sure why InDesign uses a capital “I” and capital “D”, either. Flash just gets a capital “F” and some poor excuse for an “L”. Fireworks gets a capital “F” and “W”. Although, the “W”, like the “D” in InDesign, is physically smaller, it’s still a capital.

What’s worse is that Flash’s splash screen refuses to exist in the background. It just lords over your desktop like your mother after she caught you masturbating in the basement.

Any web designer/developer out there needs to recognize that Flash is already four feet deep in the ground. Microsoft, in their typical Microsoftian way is already racing a year backward with their Silverlight software. I wanted to learn ActionScript more extensively last summer and realized later it was a horrid waste of time. HTML 5 is going to help us move right along with the embedable <movie> and <audio> tags. It’ll be a while, as Microsoft still needs to realize no one wants to use Silverlight, either, and they’re not likely to push <movie> and <audio> into IE anytime soon. They’re still using a diskette as the icon for “Save” for Pete’s sake.

Let’s face it, no one uses Flash except for watching cute puppies on YouTube. If it weren’t for YouTube, no one would use Flash except for looking at band, energy drink and movie websites.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the third nail in the coffin for Flash was Apple. From Wired:

Apple declined to comment, but some iPhone developers speculate Apple opted against a full Flash experience because of technical problems it could raise on the handset, such as battery drainage or sluggish web browsing

“These [smartphone] processors are going to become a lot more powerful now, but I think right now between battery and memory and raw processing power, performance is a major issue,” said Bart Decrem, CEO of Tapulous, developer of the popular iPhone game Tap Tap Revenge. “As an app developer I’m very focused on performance. I can see how Flash may not have the right performance characteristics yet.”

Gee. Ya think? Anyone wondering why you can play YouTube videos on the iPhone doesn’t realize that Flash Video is just a front for Apple’s own QuickTime H.264 rendering engine. Strip away the Flash front and you’ve got a QuickTime file. No problemo there.

Aside from video, the Flash program was evidently developed in one of Adobe’s “offices”. I have reason to believe that the folks at Adobe separate each of their software programs into separate offices in separate counties in California and they all meet once a year to figure out what the box should look like for the Creative Suite. Each office clamoring for their software to be the foremost box, of course.

I have another beef with Flash that makes me irate every time I try to move it. For you Mac users, let’s have an experiment.

  1. Open Flash.
  2. Click outside of Flash, either on another window or your desktop after Flash has loaded.
  3. Now, click on that Flash toolbar and try to move it out of the way.

You can’t. You have to click inside Flash to make it active, then click again in the title bar to make it move. Slick.

I’ve been using Flash for almost 5 years now. I still can’t figure out keyframes and tweening. I don’t use Flash every day, I’m sure I’d get the hang of it, but it’s not exactly helpful. Why it isn’t smart enough to figure out keyframes for me when all I want is for a few things to fade in and out is beyond me. I was a SWiSH user long before I used Flash. Flash scared the crap out of me. Why must it take an hour of programming or tweening to make text bounce or something else equally simple? SWiSH had templates effects built in out of the box. Sorta like, you know, Photoshop filters.

Here’s another test. Try dragging something out of Photoshop and into Flash with an alpha layer (Photoshop document on left, Flash document on right):

Screen shot 2009-12-24 at 12.14.25 AM

Whoa. Bet no one saw that one awful black-to-white box coming. In the process of producing this little gem, it almost crashed Flash and caused OS X to give me the clock cursor for a few seconds. Proof positive that no one on the Flash team at Adobe uses Photoshop and vice-versa.

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Photo of Justin Harter


Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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