We do a lot of work in Flash here, it’s everywhere on the web. I think if I had my way I’d drop it from our list of core-competencies 1.
Recently though, I found myself asking why, between the recent exploit2 that will take 2 weeks to close (and probably necessitate yet another Firefox reboot) and my realizing how fiendishly easy it is to get around Flashblock in Firefox:example here (warning, many contain unicorns) 3.
The easy answer is that it’s available on over 96% of our visitors machines, (compared to ~60% for HTML5), but that can’t be the whole story; Java is installed on 94% of our visitors’ machines and nobody’s clamouring for that 4.
Just looking over the tone of the last few paragraphs, I realize that I’m pretty down on Flash, and I think for me that comes from the pain we’ve experienced in the development environment (I’ve had more neutral experiences with Flex). So I’m a little excited that Apple seems to have declared war on them (and remember that Apple is the most valuable technology company on earth now) and that when they can get enough in stock, iPads cannibalize sales from laptop PCs … by as much as 50%.
You can always punt these questions to the customer, and in this case they preferred Flash. That was easy enough but I wonder if there will soon be a day when offering flash solutions seems as out dated as a “Best viewed in IE 6″ button.
- but then again, I’d probably prune the list down to just “passionate technology advocacy” if I didn’t have adult supervision ↩
- Edit: it’s not a zero-day exploit, since that requires an exploit to appear the very day the developers know about it. ↩
- I’m happy to note that it’s easy to completely disable Flash in Chrome, by visiting chrome://plugins ↩
- I like to think that this is because early Java web apps were ugly, and we make a lot of our decisions on emotions, but it’s interesting to note both technologies are 15 years old, with both Java and F(uture Sp)lash launching in 1995 ↩