Flash in the pad

Ever since the iPad was announced, the Internet has been abuzz about its lack of Adobe Flash. It goes something like this:

"Flash is DOOMED! It will go the way of the dodo!"

"No, you're wrong, Flash is everything! The iPad is doomed!"

Here’s what I think.

  1. Steve Jobs finds Flash distasteful and wants it to die.
  2. With FarmVille gone, America’s GDP will double.

On the other hand, FarmVille has some value, if miniscule. Once the bankers finish destroying the economy and we are all forced to become subsistence farmers, at least we’ll know what cows and chickens look like before McDonald’s bags them up for us.

Maybe I’m biased. I’m a confessed ClickToFlash user. I even got my wife to use it.

I don’t understand all the Flash controversy. If you ignore certain edge cases, Flash has only a handful of common uses.

Video

Video has traditionally been a difficult situation on the Internet, and it’s because there have been no good standards. Apple’s Quicktime is widespread, but it doesn’t ship with Windows. Windows Media is widespread, but it doesn’t ship with Macs. Ogg Theora is… let’s say something you treat with an ointment?

Flash leveled the playing field by making it easy to create video that would play on nearly any computer. But times have changed. HTML5 is bringing us the VIDEO element. Due to the popularity of the iPhone, many sites already offer Flash-free video when they detect Flash is not present. In other words, this problem has already been solved.

Games

Most Flash games I’ve played are operated at least partly by keyboard. They wouldn’t work too well on an iPad anyway. Also, see my earlier prediction vis-à-vis FarmVille.

By the way, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I should mention that there are about a kajillion games available on the iPhone platform. They are superior to Flash games in performance and user experience, almost universally.

Creating an “Interactive Experience”

What, you don’t love web sites that are 100% done in Flash? But they’re so darned nifty!

Just ask this guy.

By the way, try any of these simple things on a Flash site:

  1. Blog about it, and provide a link.
  2. Share a link with someone.
  3. Bookmark something.

What? All you have is a link to the front page? Yeah, exactly. You can’t deep-link to anything on a Flash site, because Flash breaks the basic navigation model of the web.

I like to imagine that whenever Tim Berners-Lee encounters a site like this, he froths about the mouth and screams.

Lance Burton Billboard

You know these sites. They’re like a used car salesman and an Elvis impersonator had a bastard love child, which was then raised by Clark Griswold’s wife’s cousin in his trailer in the desert, and grew up to be a web designer who only codes while he’s on brown acid.

Animated Ads

Don’t even try to tell me with a straight face that you would miss these if they disappeared tomorrow. You filthy, filthy liar.

Now wait a minute, you say, Flash ships with almost every browser out there. It’s not going to go away, never, ever, ever.

To which I say: OMG, did you know the iPad doesn’t support Java applets, ActiveX or RealPlayer either?!

Adios, Flash. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.