October 29, 2000
3:06 AM   Subscribe

Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess admits what many of us have known for a long time: "Flash can be used for good or evil ... That's not the problem of the tool. That's the problem of the designer."
posted by tranquileye (11 comments total)
Hey! that's what gun manufacturers say too! Wow, that argument really does work!
posted by Dean_Paxton at 5:46 AM on October 29, 2000

Maybe it works because it's true?

I guess you want to return to the horrible days of back-alley gunsmiths, making guns out of wire hangers? It's my right to choose.

And flash definitely sucks for modem connections like mine. If I had cable or DSL, I probably wouldn't mind so much.
posted by Jart at 7:26 AM on October 29, 2000

What's funny is that Flash - that is, FutureSplash - was designed specifically to make downloads smaller. So you could do nice-looking menus and widgets, and include basic sounds, background sounds, and all that good stuff.

I'm glad Burgess admitted it. There are many examples of Flash abuse out there... my favorites are Flash sites could have been done in HTML - that's just using the technology because it's there.
posted by hijinx at 8:52 AM on October 29, 2000

flash rant: I have been annoyed by the seattle cinerama site for over a year now. It's impossible to simply view the current showtimes without using flash - there's no text alternative. Yeah, I know I can use yahoo or imdb for showtimes, but that's not the point.

In May of '99 I kept emailing the people who developed the site, and this was basically their reasoning:

"In the end, it was determined that all modern-day browsers have Flash inherently installed, making the technology barrier nearly transparent. Just as the Cinerama theatre itself boasts many technological advancements, the Seattle Cinerama website compliments it by offering technical feats of it's own."
posted by gluechunk at 10:38 AM on October 29, 2000

the thing i hate most about flash sites is the use of tiny typography. younger designers seem to think that smaller type looks "smart," which is such a holdover from print design originating in the eighties: there was a huge interest in appropriating the vernacular of pre-printed government forms. but when it anti-aliases? good luck reading *anything.*

and what happens if you wanna save text from a flash file for future reading? total pain.
posted by patricking at 11:55 AM on October 29, 2000

Flash cannot be used for anything BUT evil. It's inherent in its nature. Here we have a non-HTML, non-standard, proprietary vector graphics format which has somehow made its way into 97% of all modern browsers. Macromedia is in the driver's seat, dictating exactly how content can/can't be delivered, without any need to go through the W3C. See the evil, new-Microsoft-waiting-to-happen pattern here?

If a site doesn't offer an HTML version, I'm gone, regardless of how important the site is to me.

A guy at my office, our Flash designer, says "Flash is the way of the future!" I rebut: "How can you be the way of the future when EVERYBODY HATES YOU?" Oh, wait, Hitler did that, didn't he.

Therefore, Flash = Hitler.
posted by Succa at 12:01 PM on October 29, 2000

Whatever happened to "form follows function"?

Is there any appreciable way in which flash enhances function, and doesn't merely glitz up and bog down the hapless UI it is applied to?

If such a way exists, why exactly is it that zero designers use it? (Or is it just that those designers who do use flash to enhance function, rather than to wave their egos in my face, do so in corners of the web I haven't yet encountered?)

ok, ok, I'm ranting again... but the prospect of a web in which flash is ubiquitous is essentially too horrible to leave unchallenged.

posted by Mars Saxman at 1:28 PM on October 29, 2000

I think Flash should be used for animation or in place of an animated gif if it will reduce file size, rarely (if ever) for an entire site. I think the problem started when it became easier to author flash interactive elements than DHTML (for most people)- the temptation to just make a whole site out of flash instead of embedding it like any other rich content was too great. That being said, I doubt any of the sites that I think are truly "useful" information-wise will ever adopt flash, so it's not a big deal to me.
posted by kidsplateusa at 2:50 PM on October 29, 2000

I think Flash is at its best for animation as well. It can make pieces of a site a whole lot more interesting than plain vanilla HTML. Think of some of the animations that have been posted here.

In any case, the new boo just launched -- this time without Flash. The moment you connect, it goes full-screen which is just about the most exciting part of the site.
posted by leo at 10:02 PM on October 29, 2000

I guess Burgess just read this Flazoom.com editorial fed it to the reporter. Sure Flash can be used for evil, but Macromedia certainly is not leading the fight for good.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:51 PM on October 29, 2000

I guess Burgess just read this Flazoom.com editorial fed it to the reporter. Sure Flash can be used for evil, but Macromedia certainly is not leading the fight for good.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:52 PM on October 29, 2000

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