W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > September 1998

Re: Future browser types

From: Murray Macdonald <murray@mha.ca>
Date: Wed, 02 Sep 1998 04:30:49 -0700
Message-ID: <35ED2C69.34885AE5@mha.ca>
To: "www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>, Cultimo <jeroen-g@bigfoot.com>, sales@macromedia.com
Cultimo wrote:
> I saw it, the startup is a bit slow for me (only 75 mhz). Will
> Flash be the the future for this kind of experiments? The plug-in is
> realy small and so are the files that are created with it (all vector
> images and vector animations).
> HTML is nice, anyone can at least learn the basics, 

Exactly.  And its free, public, grossly machine readable and writeable,
extensible (or at least via XML).  There are lots of content creation

> but of course: what everybody (especially the commercial enterprises) 
> wants is the kind of videoclip capabilities of flash.

WRONG.  Commercial enterprises want to access the greatest market share
possible.  This is the biggest one of many reasons why flash (which has
been out for some time now and had good market exposure) has not
dominated the market.  It is obviously a superior UI technology than
plain vanilla html, but one that doesn't allow access to the mass
market.   Even if it shipped tomorrow built-in as standard-issue in both
rev 5 major browsers there would still be millions of older browsers
(not to mention the onslaught of Web TVs, NCs, palm pilots, etc...) that
would not be capable of a cute flash site.  Flash is a cool toy that
some percentage of your visitors are capable of, but try getting a
budget from a commercial enterprise to develop a site that over 50% of
surfers can't see.  Other than the 50 meganationals that market mass
hype and glitz more than any real substance in their products (nike,
pepsi, etc...) I think the market for the existing flash technology is
limited.  Corporate enterprises are looking for the web to provide
function, not flash.  Its all about sales.

> Alas: No database links to flash at the moment (there is something
> called the generator though, that automates links to HTML).
> Anyone any thoughts on that?

As a web programmer 90% of my jobs (and preferred sites) involve some
kind of server-side dynamic content.  This is where flash falls down. 
Why can't I create "flash' files on the fly?  Why haven't they published
a text based file format that programmers can dynamically generate? 
This is Macromedia's biggest marketing mistake.  They should release the
file format and source code for the flash player into the public domain,
then make $$$ as the primary supplier of content creation tools for a
widely accepted standard.  

Similar Technology Acceptance Note:   DHTML and CSS do ship as standard
features in most browsers and many web appliances.  Although flash can
do many things DHTML & CSS can not do, DHTML and CSS based interaction
is hundreds of times more popular on the web.  This is because of its
wide browser audience, compatibility with server-side dynamic content
systems, and its somewhat downwards compatibility with the older/smaller

Cute flashy interfaces are largely useless unless they provide
meaningful information to the masses.  Meaningful information of any
magnitude belongs in a database, not 48,765,546 hard to edit pages of
"Flash".  Even if Macromedia offered a 'generator' technology it would
not satisfy the scope of needs of database designers and web
programmers.  Macromedia needs to stop being proprietary and start
publishing the information programmers require such as file formats. 
Until programmers can write dynamic flash content in any language (perl,
php, c, asp, etc..) on any platform (nt, unix, etc...), I (and many
other content developers) consider it a cute impractical toy that is
adeptly named.

If you're a flash-freak please don't send me your flames.  I'm happy for
you that you love your tool.  I just have to make practical discussions
for a living and satisfy clients who want millions of happy web site
visitors who can interact with their dynamic online e-commerce systems. 
I wish flash were capable and supported.


Murray Macdonald            			      http://www.mha.ca
Macdonald Harris and Associates - Vancouver, Canada    Ph. 604.608.0218
Software Development, Web Programming, Database Programming, E-Commerce
Received on Wednesday, 2 September 1998 07:30:31 UTC

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