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HTML5 assault on Adobe Flash heats up with ClickToFlash

post #1 of 101
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As Adobe works to port its full Flash Player to mobile platforms and highlights its upcoming support in CS5 for building iPhone apps using Flash tools, an open source group is leading a drive to kill Flash on the desktop using a WebKit plugin named ClickToFlash.

El asalto de HTML5 a Adobe Flash se calienta con ClickToFlash

ClickToFlash allows Safari users to isolate Flash content on the web so that it only plays when they choose to allow it. Flash content is replaced with a bounding box that enables the user to ignore the item (such as with ads) or to click the placeholder to activate Flash playback as desired.

Additionally, the plugin can convert requests for YouTube Flash videos into requests for higher quality H.264 videos, allowing desktop users to bypass Flash the same way the iPhone does, and simply play any YouTube videos using the browser's own built-in HTML5 support for direct H.264 playback.

The examples below compare the same HD clip served by YouTube, first rendered using Flash with the standard grey YouTube playback controls, and then presented in H.264 using ClickToFlash to request the non-Flash version from Google. The native HTML5 version results in Safari using its own native QuickTime X playback controls rather than those created by Google using Flash. During playback, Safari's native black playback bar disappears; using the ClickToFlash plugin, the user can also present H.264 videos using full screen playback.




In addition to offering better quality video and more functional and accurate playback controls for smoothly navigating through the video clip, ClickToFlash's direct playback using HTML5 prevents the Flash plugin from ever engaging and consuming CPU cycles and notebook battery life. Outside of YouTube, this means that loading web pages won't max out your processor just to animate Flash ads in the background. Any essential Flash elements, such as navigation components, can be activated by clicking on the placeholder created by ClickToFlash as desired.

In the example below, Safari with ClickToFlash does not load Flash content on the New York Times site by default, but will load individual items at the user's request. On the iPhone, no Flash content is ever loaded nor can be. Most ad networks using Flash now sense the iPhone's user agent and supply alternative, non-Flash ad banners. As more users opt out of Flash, the ad market will follow, just as it has accommodated the iPhone. Videos will also move to H.264 in order to support modern browsers that don't need Flash just to present video clips.



"One of ClickToFlash's primary goals is to eliminate as much Flash from the web as possible, allowing users to choose only the Flash they want to see," the plugin's development website says. The group asks for help in adding direct video support for other sites that currently use Flash to facilitate video playback.

As support for H.264 video delivered by simple HTML5 video tags erodes the primary demand for Flash on the web, and as web developers become familiar with using HTML5's new Canvas feature to perform sophisticated drawing effects within web pages without using a plugin such as Flash or Silverlight, many observers report that Adobe will face an uphill battle to continue to push closed Flash development as an alternative to using open web standards, particularly as new initiatives such as WebGL hardware accelerated 3D begin to gain traction.

On page 2 of 3: Adobe's mobile strategy for Flash, creating iPhone apps.

Adobe's mobile strategy for Flash

While ClickToFlash works to kill Flash on the desktop, the existing battle between Adobe's Flash and HTML5 has been waged squarely in the mobile realm. Apple introduced the iPhone without support for either the desktop version of Flash or Flash Lite, a subset of Flash aimed at smartphone devices. As Apple became increasingly adamant in opposing Flash on the iPhone, Adobe reported that it had a Flash Player for the iPhone under wraps and nearing completion, and suggested that Apple was even involved in working on the project.

That changed with the announcement this week that Adobe would be releasing a new version of Flash Player 10 for other mobile platforms over the next year, with an initial public beta for Windows Mobile and Palm's WebOS by the end of the year, followed by betas for Android, Symbian, and RIM's BlackBerry OS sometime in 2010. Missing from those announcements was the hottest mobile device on the market: the iPhone/iPod touch.

(Updated since original publication to note that RIM is working with the Open Screen Project; Adobe says "The collaboration is expected to bring the full Flash Player browser runtime to BlackBerry smartphones.")

Adobe addressed iPhone development with the announcement that its upcoming CS5 Flash development tools would enable the production of native iPhone apps. The resulting applications are not Flash, and this does nothing to enable Flash playback on the iPhone, either within standalone apps or embedded in web pages.

Creating iPhone apps using Flash CS5

Flash "applications" replace open and standard web content created using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with Adobe's proprietary .swf, a closed binary file that wraps up web content files (such as graphics and movies) with the company's own variant of ECMAScript (JavaScript), called ActionScript. In CS5, the Flash development tools will allow new Flash projects to be exported as standard iPhone apps rather than .swf files.

Adobe is doing this using LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine), an open source compiler technology supported by Apple and used in its Xcode Mac and iPhone development tools. The next version of Adobe's Flash development app will simply compile Flash ActionScript into native iPhone code, much as existing tools already allow iPhone developers to write their code using Java, Scheme, or other languages, and then compile the code into C or Objective-C as a native iPhone app.

The iPhone is designed not to support any alternative languages via any sort of virtual machine, which prevents it from running "raw" Java, Flash, .Net, Silverlight, or anything else apart from its native C/Objective-C compiled to the ARM processor. This is enforced in the terms of Apple's SDK agreement. There is however no restriction against compiling any existing code into native C/Objective-C and creating an iPhone app from it.



On page 3 of 3: Porting the many faces of Flash to mobiles.

Porting Flash to the mobile

Existing Flash projects will require some additional work to get them on the iPhone; Adobe notes the iPhone's 320x480 resolution is not the target resolution of most Flash apps aimed at web users, and that touch navigation will not work with content designed around the use of a precise mouse pointer.

"Certain behaviors that you may often employ in desktop application development will not necessarily apply to the iPhone," writes Adobe spokesman Aditya Bansod in a blog posting announcing the new tools. He also warns, "The iPhone is most decidedly not a desktop computer. It has very powerful and sophisticated hardware, but there is a wide spectrum of capabilities between the different generations of device, the amount of memory available, and the amount of processing power your application has at its disposal."

Adobe's Applications for iPhone FAQ further notes, "The iPhone and iPod touch have processors significantly slower than those found on most desktop PCs and Macs. Thus, content may run slower than it does when running on a desktop personal computer. However, the exact differences will depend on the specific content."

The many faces of Flash

Adobe also states that any Flash content intended for conversion to an iPhone app must use ActionScript 3.0, which debuted with Flash 9. Previous versions of Flash used ActionScript 1.0 or 2.0, which are run using an entirely different virtual machine compared to ActionScript 3.0. The desktop Flash plugin supplies two different virtual machines, one for playing existing ActionScript 1/2 bytecode, and a second for executing ActionScript 3.0.

Adobe's existing version of Flash Lite 3.0 for mobiles only supports ActionScript 2.0, which means Flash Lite can't run modern Flash 9 or 10 content. The new Flash 10 player Adobe is aiming at mobile users over the next year will only run ActionScript 3.0, which conversely means that legacy Flash content designed to work with Flash Lite won't work on new devices.

This diversity helps balloon the desktop version of Flash, which makes no effort to force the adoption of modern Flash content because it has the resources available to run legacy content using multiple virtual machines. But that doesn't translate to the mobile realm, where battery life and processing power constraints make the fat desktop Flash plugin and its pair of virtual machines unworkable.

Adobe's plans to ship a "full" mobile version of Flash 10 that only supports new 3.0 bytecode will suddenly obsolesce all existing Flash content that is more than a couple years old. That includes anything designed to work with Flash Lite, Adobe's current mobile strategy. That will force mobile Flash developers to rewrite all of their Flash code in order for their content to work with the new mobile player, undermining a key reason for wanting to use Flash in the first place: its wide installed base.



Additionally, with the iPhone consuming around half of all mobile web traffic, mobile Flash developers will have to contemplate whether it's worth it to rewrite all their existing Flash content in ActionScript 3.0 just to target the non-iPhone platforms that should be able to run Flash Player 10 by sometime over next year.

The alternative is to build HTML5 apps using standard JavaScript, which already runs on the iPhone and on other WebKit mobile browsers such as those for Nokia's Symbian, Google's Android, RIM's BlackBerry OS, and Palm's WebOS.

Such open content will not only work on the iPhone and BlackBerry, but will also run on desktop browsers including WebKit browsers such as Safari and Chrome; Mozilla's Firefox; Opera; and even Internet Explorer using Google's Chrome Frame plugin.



Daniel Eran Dilger is the author of "Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference)," a new book from Wiley available now for pre-order at a special price from Amazon.
post #2 of 101
I love ClickToFlash.... best thing to have and having control of weeding out the FLASH crap content.
post #3 of 101
ClickToFlash is great. Now they have the H.264 video redirect as well. Has anyone tried that yet?

I just tried it, and it rocks as well...
post #4 of 101
Nice write up. Between MS pushing Silverlight, Apple and Google pushing HTML5 and mobile devices getting more and more popular and still not being viable for full Flash, Adobe is in a tough spot. If Hulu allows for HTML5 and secure HTTP Streaming for mobiles, Adobe may have missed their opportunity to maintain their propriety and ubiquitous control over rich internet media for the future. I guess we’ll see how it all plays out. I have doubts about Adobe being able to get Flash 10 working well on so many mobile OSes in the next year considering how power hungry it still is on Mac OS X.


PS: ClickToFlash will let you download YouTube videos, but KeepVid lists the options for the various resolutions. This is important since iDevices won’t load the HD content from YouTube.

PPS: Anyone have any good links to HTML5 Canvas demos?
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post #5 of 101
I have been using this for a few weeks and I can tell you it's really damn handy! Especially if you hate flash as much as I do.
post #6 of 101
ClickToFlash has replaced MailTags as the first application I install on every new Mac and that completely empty whitelist is a thing of beauty. I did not experience a single crash since installing it, so all crashes I had in the past were clearly caused by Adobe's crapware. Good riddance.
post #7 of 101
How funny... this is really going to piss off Adobe if / when this hits critical mass, and rightfully so too!
post #8 of 101
Is there an equivalent for other browsers/OSes?
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post #9 of 101
If you don't throw your back out from cringing at this horrible pro-Flash video, you haven't been paying attention:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzqd5mHWTHE

What's encouraging (to me) is the growing sentiment against Flash as represented in the comments. YouTube is more a voice (for better or worse) for the technology amateur than tech-specific sites like this. When you lose the general computer-using populace (and have already lost most of the expert audience) it's time to engage in some deep introspection. Which is something that Adobe seems to be in complete denial about.
post #10 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Is there an equivalent for other browsers/OSes?

Firefox has FlashBlock but as Firefox doesn't support H.264, it doesn't play YouTube videos natively like ClickToFlash does (which would be my main reason for installing it).
post #11 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shookster View Post

Firefox has FlashBlock but as Firefox doesn't support H.264, it doesn't play YouTube videos natively like ClickToFlash does (which would be my main reason for installing it).

No Firefox plug-ins for native players that support H.264 video?
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post #12 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... The native HTML5 version results in Safari using its own native QuickTime X playback controls rather than those created by Google using Flash. ...

I love ClickToFlash, but this highlights one big issue I have with their approach.

The native controls have no volume control and since every douchebag that puts a video on the internet sets the volume at plus 15 or so, this is not a good thing.

I'd really like to see someone (anyone!), focus on a solution for volume levels on web pages and internet videos. I've been on the Web since the first day, and I had problems adjusting the audio in five different locations then, and still do today.
post #13 of 101
Unwanted flash content has essentially "killed the Golden Goose". I will skip a site entirely rather than spend time trying to speed-read the text with a border of "look-at-ME" crap going on all around.
post #14 of 101
clicktoflash has been around for a while and was one of the things that made me wait to upgrade to snow leopard. anyone on a laptop should put this in their 'must have' list: no more spinning fans, no more annoying flash ads and the whitelist features make it easy to load flash on the sites you want to (have to) see it on. which in my case is a pretty short list.
post #15 of 101
Little bit of an overreaction, IMO. ClickToFlash (and BashFlash, which this article didn't mention) is basically a Webkit version of FlashBlock for Firefox. It's not really leading an "assault on Flash," but it does help with battery life on notebooks (especially the MacBook Air) by preventing Flash from loading in the first place.

This really wouldn't be an issue if Flash weren't one of the biggest resource pigs in modern computing. Every day that Adobe refrains from a full-on rewrite is a day they lose mindshare.
post #16 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by slapppy View Post

i love clicktoflash.... Best thing to have and having control of weeding out the flash crap content.

agreed!
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post #17 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by desides View Post

Little bit of an overreaction, IMO. ClickToFlash (and BashFlash, which this article didn't mention) is basically a Webkit version of FlashBlock for Firefox. It's not really leading an "assault on Flash," but it does help with battery life on notebooks (especially the MacBook Air) by preventing Flash from loading in the first place.

This really wouldn't be an issue if Flash weren't one of the biggest resource pigs in modern computing. Every day that Adobe refrains from a full-on rewrite is a day they lose mindshare.

Tru-dat!
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post #18 of 101
As a graphic designer I love flash! (except the new AS3 language)

But I do hate stupid ads, and all that other stuff etc.
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post #19 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

The native controls have no volume control and since every douchebag that puts a video on the internet sets the volume at plus 15 or so, this is not a good thing.

I'd really like to see someone (anyone!), focus on a solution for volume levels on web pages and internet videos. I've been on the Web since the first day, and I had problems adjusting the audio in five different locations then, and still do today.

There was a rumour not too long ago about Apple including volume controls in Safari that are independent of the rest of the OS.

Using QT X to play YT videos is great, but there are certainly some limitations and drawbacks that do make it less than ideal for every situation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tofino View Post

clicktoflash has been around for a while and was one of the things that made me wait to upgrade to snow leopard.

When did you upgrade to SL. I was using CTF 1.5 Betas while SL was still in Beta. I don’t recall any problems.
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post #20 of 101
On previous threads, I saw mention of ClickToFlash and tried it out. For a person with poor vision, I find it a big help because it prevents uninvited videos and animations that can be quite a distraction.

Furthermore, in the past, I've actually gotten messages from Mac OS X saying that a website script executing Flash is about to use up all the CPU and the OS will grind to a halt. I've always found that to be amazing; ClickToFlash helps to prevent that situation. I've wondered whether Flash ever off-loads the graphics to the graphic card like Mac OS X does.

Does anyone know if using LLVM to convert CS3 code for Flash to iPhone 3.1 native code results in applications that are just as efficient in execution, or is there some variance? I am not talking about iPhone vs. desktop functionality.

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post #21 of 101
As a consumer of graphic design, I loathe Flash. It is invariably over-engineered, fussy and altogether slow and useless in the real world.

ClickToFlash has been on my MBP for some months and I encourage every other Mac user I know to install it. It makes life a pleasure to be protected from inanities produced by out of college web designers.

Die Flash. Die.
post #22 of 101
I've been using clicktoflash for a month now and it's been brilliant.

Not got anything against Flash, but my Macbook Air has never got on too well with it.

Watching Flash video for any length of time meant the processors reaching 100 per cent, the fans whirring like mad and battery life taking a huge hit.

It's worth installing just for Youtube in h.264!
post #23 of 101
Dear Jobs sycophants,

10 leading CEOs discuss the Open Screen Project and Flash

Today, Flash took over the web development World. Flash is on 19 of the top 20 smartphones in existence. Guess who doesn't have it? Well, at least not in the browser. In case you haven't heard, Flash is now on the iPhone - whether you or Jobs like it or not.

Flash is a superior technology in every way. It looks the same across browser and platform and uses a real OOP programming language.

Of course there are some bad Flash sites. There are some slow Flash sites. But that's because Flash gives the developer Power - including the power to make crap. But it also gives developers power to make incredible multi-media experiences. You know - I know it.

You guys sound a bit sad and pathetic. Join the revolution!! It's fun!
post #24 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissionGrey View Post

As a graphic designer I love flash!

But that is the problem! Why should graphic designers have full control of a browser?! What the hell is the purpose of a splash page? Yes, things can be beautiful from a design perspective, but when it reduces functionality it becomes quite annoying.
post #25 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by sympleton View Post


…Of course there are some bad Flash sites. There are some slow Flash sites. But that's because Flash gives the developer Power - including the power to make crap. But it also gives developers power to make incredible multi-media experiences. You know - I know it.

You guys sound a bit sad and pathetic. Join the revolution!! It's fun!

On the contrary, when a platform allows developers free rein, it means trouble for that platform. Remember cooperative multi-tasking and unprotected memory? That was a regression from already existing preemptive multi-tasking and protected memory technology.

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post #26 of 101
ClickToFlash is a dream come true.
Honestly, who wants to be "FORCED" to watch stuff you did not choose to?
The fact is that the abuse of flash technology has reached its peak.

Thank you very much ClickToFlash.
post #27 of 101
the negative effect will be that users who block ads from news websites will be forced to pay for the content \
Danish newspaper JP.dk have started blocking users from visiting their sites if they detect flash blockers.
post #28 of 101
These anti-flash articles on Apple Insider are becoming pathetic. Apple Insider should check their words, as THIS VERY SITE USES FLASH FOR ADS. I'm really considering emailing your advertisers to let them know that Apple Insider is advocating its users use a blocker for its own ads.

Adobe quickly took Macromedia's Flash platform from a "spiffy graphics only" package and made it an extremely useful business tool. There are tens of thousands of developers making lots of money creating business intelligence, and analytics tools with the Flash/Flex platform.

Your readers would do themselves a great favor in reading about modern uses of Flash, and how they can benefit from what the rest of the world has already discovered.

SWF IS NOT A CLOSED SOURCE BINARY. The swf file format has been open and well documented for almost 6 years now.

IF YOU DON'T WANT FLASH, UNINSTALL THE PLUGIN! Don't install another and scoff at the use of flash.

ADOBE SUPPORTS OPEN SOURCE and open formats, with large monetary and production contributions. HTML 5 is a great standard that's sorely needed. The flash platform tackles a completely different set of work. Adobe doesn't sell Flash, or closed formats. They sell tools that make building Flash content (swf) easy. They also sell libraries of code that can be used in Flash. Its the same as a Microsoft Front Page and iWeb for HTML.

THE FLASH PLATFORM AND HTML 5 ARE NOT COMPETING. They have totally separate uses. Have you ever seen a graph rendered in HTML? No, because that's not what HTML is for. That's what Flex (flash) is for. Have you ever seen an augmented reality application in HTML? Again, no, because HTML can't do that.

Apple Insider is a great site for Apple news, and a terrible way to misinform yourself about the Flash platform. This kind of sensationalistic, misinforming and generally negatively charged journalism should be a crime.
post #29 of 101
Let's suppose HTML5 takes over and Flash dies. Just what is going to stop the Very Bad Flash Crowd to move over to HTML5 and produce resource-hogging HTML5 ads and things? And how will you be able to filter them if they become an integral part of the webpage's code, undistinguishable from the truly useful content?

Also, going H.264 video would mean no open-source access to HTML5 video and expensive royalties.
post #30 of 101
Recently, I've been looking into this as well.

I thought it was the age of my mac, but tested FLVs on a few Very old PCs, and they ran them fine.


I think the deal is that back in the day, certain Mac video cards couldn't do a given type or amount of acceleration. That was the era when a lot of mac Flash plugin code was frozen.

There was even a report on one of the threads that a guy Side-by-Sided the same FLV-based web video on his PC and Mac. The Mac was somewhere up at ~75% CPU and the PC was down near 7%.


I haven't figured out how to decompile the plugin in that nest of package contents folder to look at the actual code, But:

****It gets me wondering if some ninja Mac Developer can't just figure out a way to do a small Recode of the Flash Plugin, loop test for certain funcs, and bring the GPU into the game. 7% CPU sounds awesome to me.


Here's one of the threads (it's for Leopard, but whatever): http://discussions.apple.com/thread....rt=15&tstart=0


I find it also telling that under the plugin prefs and caches, it still calls parts of it, "Macromedia"
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post #31 of 101
Thank you very much.

I love Flash, but it's architectural limitations make it a poor choice going forward. I see enough client web sites coded in flash that are essentially hidden from the analytics world because of the way they were put together...for component pieces I think Flash is great just as Java is great for those embedded functional components.

But for whole web interfaces that provide critical web site functionality, I say dump it and go with anything else that can render in mobile devices.

And for anyone who thinks flash is just peachy on the resource front, I worked on a team where the web developers had created flash banners for the project web site...the flash banners were fairly simple affairs, but to run smoothly they set the framerate to 125 fps for the animated elements. Out in the wild, people on some older computers who loaded the web site, encountered problems as those banners would consume upwards of 99% of cpu time if even the tiniest slice of the banner were visible in the browser window. So essentially Flash would lock up their browsers enough to cause some of the them to required doing a hard reset on their computers to regain control and use of the machine. The word spread and some people avoided the site like the plague thinking it was a virus or voodoo.

I would think that Flash on a low power device like the iPhone pre-GS would lock up much the same way depending on how well the flash content was put together.

No thank you!
post #32 of 101
ClickToFlash is great. Especially the YouTube feature. It's amazing. When playing the Toy Story 3 video with Flash, Safari uses 30% CPU and Flash uses 95% CPU (yes, this works, it's dual core!). When playing the same video (in better quality!) using H.264, Safari uses only 17% CPU and there's no Flash process running. So it saves around 108% CPU time! What the hell Adobe!?!?

The only thing that bugs me is that there seems no way to play the H.264 video in full screen. The QuickTime player has no button for full screen mode.
post #33 of 101
I've been reading this site for a few years now and I'd say the articles are generally well researched and written in a balanced fashion however, it seems that this journalistic integrity disappears whenever Flash is discussed. Furthermore, I just don't get why there is SO much anti-Flash sentiment in the comments. For example this article states:

"Flash 'applications' replace open and standard web content created using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with Adobe's proprietary .swf, a closed binary file that wraps up web content files (such as graphics and movies) with the company's own variant of ECMAScript (JavaScript), called ActionScript."

...when in fact, Adobe published the SWF specification as part of the Open Screen Project (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/pdf/...t_spec_v10.pdf) - that's a pretty significant inaccuracy that I hope will be corrected by the author.

Regarding my second point, I think people are failing to recognise that Flash is just a tool. Whilst I accept that the Flash Player (and Adobe products in general) has become slightly bloated, this is just a function of it's enormous popularity as a easy-to-use multi-purpose tool. Most of the crashes that people experience with Flash content can probably be attributed to poorly written code on the part of the designer / developer - something that the strictly-typed nature of ActionScript 3.0 seeks to address.

In my opinion, Flash plays a vital role alongside standards such as HTML and CSS in that it's low barrier to entry (from a development perspective) enables a great deal of amazing creativity (as well as a lot of crap). It is this experimentation that drives standards to incorporate new features as they reach critical mass (Flash video is a perfect example).

As a researcher with no formal CS training, I use Flash to develop applications that allow people to interactively design their own textile products (using Nintendo Wiimotes, RFID, Augmented Reality, microphone / webcam input, etc) and have the compositions re-generated at high-resolution in Illustrator / Photoshop ready to be digitally printed onto fabric. Not something that would be easily done in HTML5.

Finally... I hate annoying banner ads as much as the next guy but does anyone actually believe that if Flash content disappeared from the web tomorrow, it would be long before advertisers used CSS animations to grab our attention?

Apologies for turning my first post into such a rant but in essence, I strongly believe that Flash is an important part of maintaining a healthy and balanced ecosystem.


Cheers,



Andy McDonald
Centre for Advanced Textiles
Glasgow School of Art
post #34 of 101
I found out about ClickToFlash by reading post threads here a month or so ago (Thank you). I downloaded it and hopefully will never have to live without it again. It was free but I'd pay $100 to keep it if I had too.

In grad school I loved the easy of animating with Flash, and I still do because it allows non-programmers the opportunity to prototype their ideas, but on the web it has become a nuisance of ad marketeers and covert cookie statisticians. I've always hated the proprietary nature of Flash and I'm glad to see open standards like HTML5 compete with Flash's domination.
post #35 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

But that is the problem! Why should graphic designers have full control of a browser?! What the hell is the purpose of a splash page? Yes, things can be beautiful from a design perspective, but when it reduces functionality it becomes quite annoying.

Because that's our job. Asking why a designer is allowed to design something is like asking why an architect is allowed to architect something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon T View Post

As a consumer of graphic design, I loathe Flash. It is invariably over-engineered, fussy and altogether slow and useless in the real world... [ClickToFlash] makes life a pleasure to be protected from inanities produced by out of college web designers.

Some of you people are acting as though Flash is the root of all the bad design on the web. As if there's no HTML site without a splash page or superfluous graphics. As if no HTML content has ever been divided into 5 pages when it should have been all on one page, or been megabytes in size when it should have been split into multiple pages. Or what about custom CSS-based scrollbars? How about sites where enormous 3MB images have been embedded all over the place?

I'm an interaction designer. I reluctantly took the time to learn ActionScript 3, and now develop in both it, Flex, and HTML / CSS / JS. I will tell you firsthand: Flash is a resource hog, it's overused, and it's not perfect by any means. Like many other people here, I'm on a MacBook Pro, and if there's more than one Flash file embedded on a page - even simple animations - my fans start spinning. For these reasons, tools like ClickToFlash are terrific.

But if there's something I've learned, it's that nothing should be considered a one-size-fits-all solution. That goes for Flash AND for HTML (and Silverlight if it even registers on your radar). I love HTML because it's lean, it's quick, and as of late it can do a lot of cool stuff that people would have expected from a Flash-based project. But using it to create a game (e.g. FarmVille, Quake Live) would be no small task, if not impossible. And for the people talking about H.264 support, Flash has supported that in some capacity since Flash Player 9. Perhaps most important of all, even though there are a ton of terrific things HTML5 can do, it's not backwards compatible - whereas Flash plugins work even on crummy browsers like IE6.
post #36 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snafu View Post

Also, going H.264 video would mean no open-source access to HTML5 video and expensive royalties.

So you're saying x264, libavcodec and others are illegal?
post #37 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by sympleton View Post

Dear Jobs sycophants,

10 leading CEOs discuss the Open Screen Project and Flash

Today, Flash took over the web development World. Flash is on 19 of the top 20 smartphones in existence. Guess who doesn't have it? Well, at least not in the browser. In case you haven't heard, Flash is now on the iPhone - whether you or Jobs like it or not.

Flash is a superior technology in every way. It looks the same across browser and platform and uses a real OOP programming language.

Of course there are some bad Flash sites. There are some slow Flash sites. But that's because Flash gives the developer Power - including the power to make crap. But it also gives developers power to make incredible multi-media experiences. You know - I know it.

You guys sound a bit sad and pathetic. Join the revolution!! It's fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildag View Post

Adobe quickly took Macromedia's Flash platform from a "spiffy graphics only" package and made it an extremely useful business tool. There are tens of thousands of developers making lots of money creating business intelligence, and analytics tools with the Flash/Flex platform.

Your readers would do themselves a great favor in reading about modern uses of Flash, and how they can benefit from what the rest of the world has already discovered.

SWF IS NOT A CLOSED SOURCE BINARY. The swf file format has been open and well documented for almost 6 years now.

ADOBE SUPPORTS OPEN SOURCE and open formats, with large monetary and production contributions. HTML 5 is a great standard that's sorely needed. The flash platform tackles a completely different set of work. Adobe doesn't sell Flash, or closed formats. They sell tools that make building Flash content (swf) easy. They also sell libraries of code that can be used in Flash. Its the same as a Microsoft Front Page and iWeb for HTML.

THE FLASH PLATFORM AND HTML 5 ARE NOT COMPETING. They have totally separate uses. Have you ever seen a graph rendered in HTML? No, because that's not what HTML is for. That's what Flex (flash) is for. Have you ever seen an augmented reality application in HTML? Again, no, because HTML can't do that.

1) Exactly why is Flash superior from a technological point of view? The plugin runs abysmal on anything but Windows machines. On all other platforms, it uses 3-4times as many CPU cycles as necessary... Add that over the millions of devices, and that's a lot of wasted energy and carbon emissions...

2) Yes AS3 is Object-Oriented, but so is JavaScript, albeit a bit more limited. However, the implementation is rather vague and it's rarely obvious to the coder what's going on behind the scenes. Without going into too much technical details, you'll end up with memory leaks and infinite loops without even realising it. If you really want to write web-apps in a full powered OO-language, use GWT.

3) Yup, HTML5 can't draw graphs or provide for augmented reality apps. That's what the open standard JavaScript and the numerous open-source frameworks are for. (As SproutCore, Objective-J, etc)

4) My main gripe is that the web is supposed to be an open place, free for all, with no limitations. The more and more people want to use Flash, the more and more Adobe takes control of the internet. Do you really want an internet where one company is in control of everything? Imagine all RIA's, all graphics, all videos etc on every single site being made in Flash. Adobe then can do whatever they want. I'm aware that the Flex libraries and swf's are rather open, but the Flash plugins themselves are not, so Adobe could incorporate anything they want in those plugins and we'd have to swallow it. All web pages would simply be Adobe's puppets on strings.I don't see how this can possibly benefit end-users or developers.

I much prefer a web where the design tools are regulated and determined by a large group of companies and associations, and I hope you agree.
post #38 of 101
I'm all for this ClickToFlash. Can't wait to see the day when Flash disappears for good. Such a damn processor hog. Intel should be pro-Adobe. Adobe will help Intel sell higher-end processors. Flash animation might be nice to look at, but I'll pass if it's gonna slow everything down. Fine for designers, but a nightmare for people with underpowered computers. As long as I can block it, then all well and good. Let the Flash people code to their heart's content as long as I don't have to see it. I'm sorry if it's the Mac OS that's screwing up the Flash plug-in coding routines or something. Then maybe Apple should do something about it if Flash works so well on Windows. Meanwhile I'll just block it for now. I don't need full screen videos so it should be fine for me.
post #39 of 101
I had an older version of ClickToFlash that I update after reading the article so I could bypass Flash for YouTube videos. I'm tired of my Santa Rose MB's fans soundng like a jet engine when I watch YouTube videos. Unfortunately it made no difference loading H264 instead.
post #40 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_McDonald View Post

Furthermore, I just don't get why there is SO much anti-Flash sentiment in the comments.

Simple: Flash is a resource pig. It consumes CPU and battery life at a high rate, and the tasks it performs is not worth the resource tradeoff. Dynamic manipulation of web pages can be achieved through HTML and CSS with a mere fraction of the performance hit that Flash imposes. Streaming internet video can be handled with H264, WMV, and a few other video codecs, oftentimes hardware accelerated, with higher quality and lower system impact.

Then there are secondary reasons, such as Flash being the primary vehicle of intrusive web ads. It's gotten so ridiculous that the Internet is barely usable without a good ad filter. Just attempt to read an article at IGN.com and you'll be bombarded on all sides by ads--top, left, right, inline text, even superimposed over the text. It's gotten completely ridiculous. Users want quick access to content. Flash is an obstacle to that quick access: it increases load time with no tangible improvement or enhancement to the content itself.

Lastly, just as a personal annoyance of mine, I dislike pages that are presented entirely in Flash. If I want to save an image or bookmark a specific section of the page, Flash prevents me from doing either. I can't save specific portions, and if I create a bookmark, I have to navigate the Flash interface back to the section I want to see.

Flash is a graphic designer's wet dream and an end user's absolute nightmare.
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