Anyone who knows me (even internally at Adobe), also knows that I am the first person to tell you NOT to build an all Flash site – and don’t use Flash to build your site navigation – or your contact form for that matter. You see, I lived through the stupidity of the “Skip Intro” era – and spent countless hours teaching the emerging Flash designers/developers how to at least optimize what they were doing if I couldn’t convince them “not” do it at all. Back then there were all too many examples of “because I can, I should”.
Don’t get me wrong – there are times when Flash is not only appropriate, it is the only logical choice – and there are even appropriate “all Flash” applications. One great example of this is in the eLearning arena. In fact, speaking of that, it will be interesting to see how schools and other institutions react to the fact that their eLearning content won’t work on the iPlatform. But I digress.
We can waste hours discussing the pros/cons of HTML5 video, which for some reason has overtaken the discussion, but it really isn’t the point of my frustration – and others have already listed the amazing amount of problems with the current spec for HTML5 video, such as the lack of support for DRM, no alpha channel support, next to impossible syncing with timecodes, the need for multiple encodings, no ability to adjust/change streams based upon bandwidth, and the list goes on and on.
The thing that has irritated me most during the past few weeks is listening to the “Flash-haters” say things like “I can’t wait to see my last Flash ad” and “I’ll be so glad when I don’t have to look at irritating Flash crap anymore” – because I think there is one, very important piece of the puzzle that these individuals are missing. They are not “required” to look at any Flash today. Not only can they uninstall the Flash Player very simply, there are also any number of Flash blockers – plugins which turn off Flash content without uninstalling it.
I guess it really boils down to “be careful what you wish for”. Like I said, in today’s web, I have the ability to decide if and/or what I want to see by installing or uninstalling a plugin, or using a plugin to block certain content. But that won’t be possible when you have no way of identifying the “advertisement” from the content of the page.
Consider this some food for thought – let me know what you think.