A Developers (my) thoughts on Flash

Throughout my life, I’ve loved Adobe’s (err, Macromedias) Products.  I can remember back in 6th grade when I was first getting into web development that I had no idea what the difference between Shockwave and Flash was.  I had no idea how the web, which at the time was ancient as hell (see www.archive.org and see “big name” sites for yourself), could produce such an experience so visual, so entertaining that it made the web go from an informational piece to an experience.

I immediately learned Flash while I had just learned HTML but not yet javascript or anything crazy.  No, I wasn’t doing any Actionscript (I was only like 11 yrs old) but I was making flash intros, websites with fake content, adding in music, the works.  I remember back in ’99 working on a preloaded for like a month cause the web was so slow.  Flash for me at the time , was as fun as ever.  Although web development was my main focus, I still loved opening up flash and creating .swf files to put online for everyone to see.  I didn’t code anything in flash, only used the timeline and would make motion tweens and whatnot.

Sometime during the 2000’s I learned Web Development really well.  Actionscript (Flash’s language), which is a dialect of ECMAscript, came natural to me because I knew Javascript very well.  In 2006 I was a Flash Developer for The Walt Disney Company, working on their internal portal and doing some cool ass stuff.  Flash was awesome.

However I don’t know how everyone feels about this, but for me Flash came only natural to program and use because I was with it since the early days.  Talk to any programmer nowadays and ask em “how can I be a web developer?” and they will say. “oh boy…where do i even begin?”  I think it was a great accident that I learned flash as a pre-teenager, because it will forever be embedded in my bain.  It’s hard enough for a programmer to learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP/ASP, and now Actionscript?

Many people see Flash as “bad” because “Apple won’t put it on their iPhone” or “it runs slowly on my computer”, but for me I have a problem not with flash, but with new technologies for the up and coming.

I’m a HUGE advocate of learning and teaching, however I feel there needs to be a fundamental backbone that EVERYONE must know.  Before in the earlier days it would be HTML.  Then CSS and Javascript.  Then you learn a server side language, say PHP or ASP.  And the list goes on.  Now you’ll see people are learning the “new generation stuff”, such as HTML5 and CSS3.

Adding in Flash Tweening, Animation, and Actionscript, is not on my list.

I want the web to look great and vibrant as ever (i’ll admit, even with intros!) but I don’t want it to come at the price of having visual animation only come from Flash developers. Why not just…developers?

You’ll usually overhear someone say, “well…if you want animation, we’ll have our Flash guy get on the job”.  Why is this the case?  Can the regular developer not do this?  Currently there is that notion because that is the case.  I know a PLETHORA of developers who can develop like all hell but when it comes to animation, don’t really know where to begin.  And I also know Flash developers who are great at Flash, but can’t program even the simplest code using OOP.

The fact of the matter is, as long as we have this separate divide between “types” of programmer, the web will not flourish into what it can be.

Right now, with HTML5/CSS3/Javascript, you don’t NEED Flash.  It’s just one more thing to learn.

And this is coming from one of the biggest Flash developers.  I just happen to like more the forward movement of the internet and web, most focus on growing technologies and less off competitors for no real competition benefit.

I still love flash and always will.

I just love a more a more focused web, one that is easier to learn for our future programmers and next generation developers.