Put a set of components in the Flash player already!

I was going to put this in the Flash Team Weblog on the Flash 9 wishlist, but it started turning into a thoughtful post rather than a quick comment, and I didn't want it lost in what Scoble would call 'the Mudpit'.

Put a set of components in the Flash player already!

Those AJAX guys are laughing when they hear that a Flash developer has to add 10K to a program to get something as simple as a scrollbar, and those Java programmers haven't coded a scrollbar since before they had enough code that they needed a scrollbar to fit it all in. The idea that the basic functionality provided by components should be outside the purview of the Flash player has been around so long that people have forgotten how crazy it is. Diversity is great and the Flash player will always support all the existing and, no doubt, future component sets, but have a native default set that doesn't need downloading.

A good way to sell someone on a Flash solution is not to tell them it's Flash - and native components in RIA's (think Java SWT) would be a great way to do that. I don't like using non standard UI widgets. Throw another few million towards Jakob Nielsen and he'll tell you why - or here, let me save you the bother. Non-standard UI widgets act in slightly different ways to the real widget - they can be unpredictable, every time the UI does something even a little bit unexpected, it frustrates the user and impacts the experience. Experience matters.

Posted by Alexander at October 20, 2005 04:58 PM

Make Flash tests and assessments with the Question Writer, Quiz Software. Question Writer 4 is now available. Click here to download.

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Posted by: John Giotta at October 20, 2005 06:31 PM

I'd agree with you, on the day when the Flash components are worthy of being embedded in the player. The V2 components just don't cut it. Maybe the Flex 2 components will be of that level by the time Flash 9 is released.

Posted by: Keith Peters at October 20, 2005 08:37 PM

Go on! Agree me with anyway! Components that are supplied with the player don't have to be Actionscript - actually it would be better if they weren't. They could even be hooks into the underlying OS. There would certainly be scope to improve the performance of inbuilt components in future versions and maybe even tolerance for improving the functionality if there were problems with them.

The performance of something like a scrollbar won't be so much of an issue with the new Virtual Machine, but the download is always going to be an issue.

Posted by: Alexander McCabe at October 21, 2005 09:22 AM