The “Occupy” brand has exploded, Im not going to get into all the different products latching onto the Occupy theme–that would take to long. What I have found a little interesting is that two Occupy movements have popped up that I think are worth a mention here, they are Occupy Flash and Occupy HTML. Oh dear.
Lets start with Occupy Flash. Flash is propriety software that is distributed by the corporate giant Adobe, after they purchased their biggest competitor–much to my annoyance at the time. At the time I saw it as Adobe creating a web monopoly, something the OWS have been vocal about since they launched their brand. Since then the web has changed and the Macromedia stable is nolonger the dux-nutz of web development tools. Who uses Dreamweaver as much as they did in 2001?. Flash managed to survive the Web 2.0 upgrade by catering toward a different market, and it worked; testimony to that was Microsofts attempt at encroaching Adobe’s market share with Silverlight… To any webmonkey claiming flash is dead, just log into Google Analytics and right click on the map overlay!
However the folk at Occupy Flash seem to think otherwise:
Flash Player is dead. Its time has passed. It’s buggy. It crashes a lot. It requires constant security updates. It doesn’t work on most mobile devices. It’s a fossil, left over from the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash present a completely inconsistent (and often unusable) experience for fast-growing percentage of the users who don’t use a desktop browser. It introduces some scary security and privacy issues by way of Flash cookies.
Flash makes the web less accessible. At this point, it’s holding back the web.
All of the above could be true of any web technology; Sharepoint, iOS, .NET, their all guilty to some extent. Holding back the web? well back in the late 90’s it was Flash that was the fore-front of rich web, and without it we would have never seen any of the Web 2.0 technology we have today; Google Maps, Youtube… I could go on.
Then there is the counter argument from the Occupy HTML folk:
Flash is mature. It’s supported by all major desktop browsers. It’s stable when used properly. If not, it crashes a lot, just like every other technology. It requires constant security updates, just like every other web technology. It doesn’t work well on most mobile devices, and for good reasons. It’s a content plugin, developed during the era of closed standards and unilateral corporate control of web technology. Websites that rely on Flash can present a unique (and often unparalleled) experience for the massive percentage of users on a desktop browser. Flash powers some amazing experiences that work consistently across all of the major browsers in a way that cannot be replicated without Flash technology.
Championing simplistic statements regarding web technologies makes the web less educated.
At this point, it’s holding back the web.
A “content” plugin? well thats news to me–altho the XML data connector is a great little object to display your content in a visually pleasing way, Flash is for the most part asthetically driven as opposed to content driven (but maybe my definition of content differes from the writers?). The point about Flash working consistently accross browsers is a misnomer too–Konqueror anyone?.
As someone who wasted MANY years of my life with ActionScript, Im not one to quickly bash
Macromedia’s Adobe’s rich-web software. That said, having years of experience dealing with an anti-Flash market, and the shortcomings of the platform, Im not one to instantly praise it. Flash is still useful in certain situations, and HTML5 does not get full cross browser support (yet). Really its like comparing Apple’s and Wintel’s.
Im not going to bash either technology, both are useful, both are required by the market. Both cater to a different market share. And most importantly: Both can co-exist on the web. If we as developers and designers dismiss one tech for another then we are only limiting ourselves to one market or the other.
Live and let live.