Why Don’t We Use Adobe Flash to Build Your Site?

If you talk to us here at Loveclients about redesigning or building a website from scratch, you’ll notice that we don’t talk much about Flash. Sure, we might suggest throwing a flash video into your site’s offering as part of your unique value proposition, or as a call-to-action, but we simply don’t build websites in Flash, and there’s a very good reason for that — they don’t get found easily online.

Recently, there’s been a whole lot of debate about how Flash is becoming out-of-date, how the web is going to move beyond Flash and towards something more open — mainly HTML5 standards that include embedded video.

Apple vs. Adobe

One of the main reasons — and main communities of discussion — this conversation has heated up is the often-vocal Apple community online. Since the iPad was announced in January, and Steve Jobs’ demo included visiting sites featuring flash (and thus featuring the same blue lego you see on the iPhone browser), a lot of great writing has been published regarding the potential ‘end of flash’ on the internet.

First, you have John Gruber talking about Apple, Adobe, and Flash:

Flash is the only de facto web standard based on a proprietary technology. There are numerous proprietary web content plugins — including Apple’s QuickTime — but Flash is the only one that’s so ubiquitous that it’s a de facto standard. Flash is the way video is delivered over the web, and Adobe completely controls Flash. No other aspect of the web works like this. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are all open standards, with numerous implementations, including several that are open source … it is harmful to the web as a whole to have something as important as video be in the hands of a single company, and the only way that’s going to change is if an open alternative becomes a compelling target for web publishers.

Could Flash Go Open-Source?

There was also some talk about Flash becoming an open standard, that Adobe might release the source code in order to allow Apple to re-engineer it to run properly on their iPhone, iPad, and, to an extent, their computers — as both Adobe and Apple insist that they’re not given full access to each others’ low-level computing tasks in order to get flash working as best it can on Apple platforms.

But this is unlikely, and, as Gruber pointed out, the flash source code might be a “huge steaming pile of convoluted C++ horsesh*t”.

There’s also this revealing infographic from LifeHacker which shows how the number of users visiting the popular site with non-flash-enabled browsers has increased in recent years.

Adobe’s Response

Adobe has responded, both here and here, but it’s notable that the most stringest defenses of Flash online have so far come from the very company who sells it, not from Flash-using developers.

Why Loveclients Doesn’t Over-Rely on Flash

A final word should probably be given to Jeffrey Zeldman, who wrote a post entitled Flash, iPad, Standards:

As the percentage of web users on non-Flash-capable platforms grows, developers who currently create Flash experiences with no fallbacks will have to rethink their strategy and start with the basics before adding a Flash layer. They will need to ensure that content and experience are delivered with or without Flash.

This is essentially why we don’t automatically mandate flash in our designs (even though you see it on our homepage, as a video) — content and experience, which can only be well-delivered with a good, open structure, are the essential building blocks of SEO, and we don’t want to design sites on something that can’t deliver.

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3 Responses to “Why Don’t We Use Adobe Flash to Build Your Site?”

  1. [...] flash could show up on the iPad in the future, but as we pointed out in our article on why we don’t develop in flash, we’re not betting on it. The source code isn’t very well-optimized for mobile [...]

  2. [...] flash could show up on the iPad in the future, but as we pointed out in our article on why we don’t develop in flash, we’re not betting on it. The source code isn’t very well-optimized for mobile smartphones, and [...]

  3. [...] agencies who don’t use flash are already at an advantage — we already work with standards because that’s what gets [...]

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