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Archive for the ‘Flash’ Category

The end of the year 2011 was a hard one for Adobe Flex community, better to say the hardest time in the history of this technology. 2011 caused storm of discussions, debates, speculations over the future not only of Flex but also of Flash and Silverlight. But, as we know, after every storm the sun will smile…  Now it`s possible to say for sure that Flex is not dead and, from technical point of view, remains one of the best tools to build web applications.

Adobe first began designing the Flex framework in 2002.Creating web apps for the enterprises is not the same as developing a Web site for a pizzeria in your neighborhood. During the last 6-7 years, development with Flex slowly became an approved enterprise technology – it’s compiled and controlled environment with good performance, testing tools, and internationalization support.

However, then, Adobe turned its back on Flex. And the way they did it could be included in the Bad PR section in textbooks. Instead of starting Adobe MAX conference in October of 2011 with a proud announcement that Adobe is donating Flex to Apache Foundation, which would get a standing ovation, they waited a month and made the same announcement right after declaring that they wouldn’t support Flash Player (Flex runtime) on the mobile devices. This sounded as if they wanted to kill Flex.

But it would be wrong to pronounce Flex as dead. It`s definitely alive! Technically it remains the best environment for development of Web application, but politically it became the product of the past.

Flex is a framework that helps you build dynamic, interactive rich Internet applications. What types of things would be considered rich internet applications? Just about anything. Online widgets, charts, calendars, and even games can be enhanced using Adobe Flex. It is capable of doing a lot of things. Websites such as Wilson Athletics Discovery Channel Online, and many more use Adobe Flex to power some of their online apps, features, and rich media.

Flex still successfully competes with other technologies. I`m not asking you to predict one more time the future of Flex:) I wonder, what kinds of applications you develop with Flex and why you`ve decided to choose this technology:)

 

Kind regards,
Anna Kozik – Business Development Manager (LI page)
Anna.Kozik@altabel.com
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

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Recently, you might have heard a lot that Flash is a dying technology and soon it will be replaced by HTML5. Many developers have picked up this idea and a lot of applications for the same iPad are designed, using HTML5. Flash and HTML5 seem to be competing platforms. By the way, these platforms are not really competitors as they fulfill quite different tasks. Everybody knows, each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages. And the most interesting point is the following: in this case, advantages of one platform compensate shortcomings of the other and vice versa. So Flash and HTML5 can be successfully used together in one project, and complement each other.

The advantages of HTML compensate the disadvantages of Flash:

- Flash is quite weak and ineffective with text and complex formatting.
It is an everlasting problem of flash and vendors cannot solve it. Yes, you could say that Adoby has made Text Layout Framework which solves this problem. And in general, you would be right but still it is not free from bugs and unpleasant side effects. That is why, in some cases you must reject it and go back to the old and less effective facilities. But HTML was originally designed to work with the text. So, if you want to show more than two paragraphs of the text and format it for more than a couple of styles you should use HTML.

- While using Flash, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to implement many of the standard features for the browser. For example a user can open a link in a brother in the same tab, a new tab or a new window. The user can only open a link in a flash in the same tab or a new tab as a programmer would do (and the programmer, of course, would like to take the second one :). The problem could be solved partly – you could add the appropriate function in the context menu. But it would be impossible to distinguish the middle mouse button click on the left button (it could be possible in the AIR). Or, as a variant, you could involve JavaScript but it would be worse for performance.

- Flash requires a certain amount of resources and does not always suite mobile technologies.

The advantages of Flash, offsetting disadvantages HTML5:

- Cross-browser compatibility, it does not depend on a certain browser. This problem arises if you use HTML, CSS, JavaScript as the browsers understand the code in their own way. Although developers know the way to solve it and sometimes it is possible to make a cross-browser code, still it takes a lot of time and effort.

- Flash provides more opportunities to work with media content. The possibilities of HTML5 are good for working with video, but still it is a long way to the possibilities of Flash. And there are some inherent problems with codecs andlicenses that will be difficult to deal with.

The projects where HTML5 and Flash could be usefully combined:

The projects where it is important to obtain data from a server with low latency:

  • chat;
  • instant messaging;
  • whiteboard;
  • simultaneous work with a range of documents;
  • e-learning and etc. ;

The projects which could be relating to the publication and reception of video and audio:

  • video chat
  • IP telephony;
  • services video (youtube);

Browser multiplayer games.

So, in conclusion I would like to notice that the achievements of HTML5 are really amazing and, possibly, soon nobody will remember the devices which were used before it. I think that HTML5 will gradually replace Flash only for some activities, but Flash will have a place, especially when it is necessary to develop complex games and rich Internet applications.

Best Regards,
Elvira Golyak
Altabel Group – professional software development

You`ve probably noticed a bit of a hot debate that is going on at the moment regarding Flash “vs” HTML5. Here I`m not going to defend Flash and Flex (since Flex is also concerned here) as well as I`m not going to say that HTML5 is the long awaited messiah that is going to bring a new web paradigm to your browser. I think that the situation needs to be seen from a more rational and complex point of view.

There is no HTML5 versus Flash, and they are not really competing to be honest. Full Flash web sites are now almost not created. After the Flash fever at the end of the nineties many big corporations moved away from the “pure flash” website and are now using a mix of Flash and HTML instead. Certainly the Flash player is a wonderful step in the history of the web still we should admit that it is a plugin and a plugin is something you plug in, it is not native. But we shouldn`t forget that Flash cannot be replaced in many areas like games, desktop widgets, e-learning interactivities and many applications that require advanced animation API or techniques.

A strong point in favour of Flash is that everything can be created in the Flash environment using the design tools and Actionscript. You don’t normally need to use any other programming languages except when you need to interact with server side scripting. HTML5 will require interaction between javascript, CSS and Ajax.

A strong point for HTML 5 is that although HTML5 will require interaction between Javascript, CSS and Ajax, it will be running directly inside the browser without the need of a plugin and will therefore be more “natural”.

The other part that is seldom mentioned is the continually increasing capabilities of Flash. As HTML 5 is slowly realized, Flash continues to innovate at a very fast pace so that it can continue to fill the gap between what HTML technologies offer and what developers want to build. You should see what’s coming in future versions! Flash will continue to complement HTML and help developers realize capabilities not possible otherwise. Can Adobe continue to innovate to fill the gap? Can Flash evolve fast enough to continue complementing HTML? Perhaps we will be debating HTML 6 vs Flash Player X and see whole new set of hot topics?

BR,
Anna Kozik
Altabel Group – professional software development

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