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altermatt
Premium
join:2004-01-22
White Plains, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

What are you doing about Flash vs. HTML5?

With the Metro app version of IE10 the default in Win8, and Flash disappeared from Apple devices and Android without a workaround, it's looking like Flash's days are numbered.

While I've never been a fan of Flash on business sites, for fun, Gracie always makes very creative Flash presentations for her season's cards, and cards for friends' birthdays, anniversaries, etc. She uses both Flash 8 and Firestarter to create .swfs, and until recently, all our friends could see them and enjoy them. With many newbies coming on to Win 8, which defaults to a Metro IE with no Flash support, and not yet figuring out how to use the desktop version of IE10 (which can have Flash), suddenly there's a rash of people not able to enjoy the .swfs.

What are you all using to replace Flash? Is there anything she can use to create the equivalent of her very creative Flash cards using HTML5 that could still be seen by people not using IE10? something affordable and easy to learn? Can .swfs be embedded in any other way so they can play even without Flash? (I'm pretty sure not, but thought I'd ask). Shame for all those lovely creations to die.
--
The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it. -- Stanley Kubrick



jandz

join:2001-03-11
Houston, TX

Flash still has its place in the world. At least for now. There are some things it still does quite well. That said, we barely use it in production anymore as we prefer to use Javascript whenever possible.

said by altermatt:
What are you all using to replace Flash?
That varies by the task and the level of browser support required. Typically we use some combination of Javascript libraries (starting with jQuery) or CSS3 transitions. The latter requires a modern browser, though, so it has to be very task specific. For kiosks where we control the hardware, we often use Objective-C and native graphics libraries.

You can get pretty far along with Javascript, though. It's widely supported - arguably more ubiquitous than Flash is - and the libraries for it are generally very good at supporting older browser iterations.

said by altermatt:
Is there anything she can use to create the equivalent of her very creative Flash cards using HTML5 that could still be seen by people not using IE10? something affordable and easy to learn?
That depends on the complexity of what she does with Flash. Creativity does not have to be complex, of course, so depending on the level of animations, it's quite possible to replace Flash with Javascript and have it be mostly supported. Older browsers can be painful so proceed with caution.

For the affordable / easy to learn path, writing Javascript against the browser DOM can seem intimidating if you're used to timelines or GUI interactions. Adobe has two programs - Edge Animate and Edge Reflow - that purport to make the process of animating and responsive design easier. I believe both of those are included with the Creative Cloud membership so it's a monthly sub instead of a much higher out of pocket cost. I don't have personal experience with either one of these so I can't say how well they work. They are from Adobe, though, so the interfaces might be more familiar to a person with a background in Flash.

said by altermatt:
Can .swfs be embedded in any other way so they can play even without Flash? (I'm pretty sure not, but thought I'd ask). Shame for all those lovely creations to die.
Possibly. If they are not interactive, Flash can export them as videos instead. I believe it supports FLV and maybe MP4 but don't quote me on the second one. If it does support MP4, though, that might cover you where Flash is inaccessible to people.

Alternatively, Flash offers something called projectors that are stand alone executable applications that run without needing Flash. That removes it from the context of the browser entirely. You'd export native .exe or .app files that run when clicked. This will work on Windows and OS X machines but not on Linux boxes unfortunately. Adobe is no fan of the penguins so they get left out.

Ultimately the world will probably move on from Flash. Adobe is trending in that direction. Right now it's still a useful technology to know and use but it never hurts to make your brain bigger and start looking at other animation technologies.

Best of luck to you. Hopefully you can keep the cards alive.


altermatt
Premium
join:2004-01-22
White Plains, NY
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Thanks for your response, jandz. The idea of exporting as a video is a good one, and one that sounds like it would be supported pretty much cross-browser. Have discovered Edge before, but it's expensive. She got Flash 8 for free as a beta tester back then, and there are a number of good .swf-creation programs that are inexpensive, like Firestarter, but haven't found one that creates HTML5 files as easily as Flash. She did try Swiffy, the beta tool from Google that converts .swf to an HTML5 file, and it works pretty well, but creates HUGE files, not at all iPhone friendly! She's got people all over the world (including a group from here) who keep telling her how much they look forward to her cards, but it's just a labor of love that is getting less "loving" as people use Apple products or mobile devices that don't support Flash.

Javascript just doesn't seem to be a real alternative for the kind of stuff she does. Perhaps as HTML5 becomes more ubiquitous and Flash dies out, there'll be new inexpensive tools. Just wondered what some of the pros who rely on this stuff for a living do. Thanks for the good suggestions.
--
The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it. -- Stanley Kubrick