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Adobe Won't Charge Users For Flash Player

Cringely writes today that Flash is the 'ideal Trojan horse program of all time' and it has been a worry of mine for some time that Macromedia might start to charge users for the Flash Player (in the form of a bundled unwanted download). I think the point Cringely misses here though is that Adobe already has massive desktop presence and can do a pretty good job of forcing unwanted applications down users' throats already. So they don't need to use Macromedia for that project. That's why I was happy that it was Adobe that purchased Macromedia and not say, Yahoo. By the way, the unwanted application of the day is "Yahoo Toolbar", which I haven't used, but I'm sure it can't be much good if has to sneak onto people's systems bundled with something else.

And completely separately, I hate it when people write about Flash and call their article 'A Flash in the Pan'. Even I wouldn't do that.

Posted by Alexander on June 24, 2005 | Adobe Won't Charge Users For Flash Player | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Business Model

Hi. I'm an asshole. Please wait for the flash to download then give me your money.

Shit! It looks like someone stole my business model. I can't help but feel that Flash would have been a better choice for this doodle.

Posted by Alexander on June 21, 2005 | Business Model | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Desktop Accessibility Today Means Mobile Usability Tomorrow

I'm really glad to hear that FlashLite 2 (Deuce) will be supporting the equivalent of Flash 7. I had wondered if Macromedia were planning to work their way through earlier versions of Flash (like Flash 5) before getting round to more recent functionality.

The potential of virtually any current flash application running on a mobile device is positively mouth watering. One of the most important things when launching a new platform is to ensure that a wide range of content is available for it. Using Flash 7 maximizes the possible number of Flash applications that can run on the platform. Question Writer, for example, will publish to Flash 6 and the output should run on the new platform.

However, one big caveat - If you're writing a Flash application today that you hope will one day run on a mobile device - make sure you're designing it to be fully usable with the keyboard alone. If your application can't be used without a mouse, it may be completely unusable with mobile devices. I'd wager that mobile devices of the future will mostly use key control rather than a pointing mechanism.

Posted by Alexander on June 16, 2005 | Desktop Accessibility Today Means Mobile Usability Tomorrow | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Reconsidering Flash

There's some big new facts on the horizon for people considering the Flash platform. (They're in a pdf so they _must_ be both important and correct ;) So if you've ever rejected Flash in the past because you needed feature X, and it was a showstopper and it just wasn't available in Flash, then odds are it was one of these three.

Flash 8 is billed to include

Dynamic loading of .gif/.png images and progressive .jpg's. This is hugely important. The vast majority of images on the web are either .jpg, .gif, .png. Flash has been capable of dynamically loading .jpgs for some years now, but only non-progressive ones and not .gifs or .pngs. This new capability means a big boost to displaying dynamic content within flash. DENG - for example, an xhtml flash browser can now have much greater functionality.

File upload and download. Previously it has been impossible to select files from flash except by using a cumbersome javascript solution. That meant stepping outside of flash for any file operations. So imagine a Flash e-mail client - if you wanted to add sending or saving of email attachments for example, you couldn't handle this within Flash. Now you will be able to.

Improved Text Rendering. I think this could be the most important of them all. I don't think that Flash rendering fonts fuzzy at small sizes is something that is often identified as the problem - but may be the main underlying reason why Flash is not selected for some projects. It immediately identifies the content as something rendered in a different way. It also limits the amount of textual information that can be rendered in Flash as compared to HTML. If this new text rendering lives up to the promise, it could remove that distinction.

To finish up, I just want to include a short note on my thoughts on AJAX. Often the choice will be between Flash and AJAX for a certain type of web application. Ajax is definitely the best solution for some projects, but it is no panacea and giving something a new name doesn't make it a new technology or solution. It still has all the problems it always did.

Posted by Alexander on June 07, 2005 | Reconsidering Flash | Comments (0) | TrackBack