flash && AJAX: two great tastes that taste great together?

Alex Bosworth articulates a vision of what Flash is good for that matches what I’ve experienced. Specifically, Bosworth mentions video (one or two-way) / audio (one or two-way), combined with data sockets (“push” instead of “pull) making Flash a crucial component of next-generation web applications. Macromedia recognises this, and is working hard to make Flash and Javascript work and play well together.
Why don’t more people think of using Flash in this way? In a word, positioning. Bosworth writes: I do think there’s a very distracting red herring here, and that’s Flash’s rich user interface abilities. Every flash demo I’ve ever seen focuses on great looking shiny buttons that look like you took a slick win32 app and plopped it down in a browser window.

5 thoughts on “flash && AJAX: two great tastes that taste great together?

  1. Marina Schiller October 17, 2005 / 2:19 pm

    No, this is suppositional nonsense.
    What you are seeing is the natural progression from HTML to Flash. As usual the fear/reactioanry aspect precludes an immediate jump. Accordingly you can expect to see a period of hybrid development until people lose the irrational fear and can let go of the HTML railing holding them up.
    A large part of the web development community is being dragged kicking and screaming to a pervasive Flash platform reality.

  2. Paul Neave October 17, 2005 / 2:22 pm

    This old argument is becoming very tiring. Here’s the answer: use the best tool for the job. End of.
    It’s not weather AJAX is better than Flash – that’s like saying a spoon is better than a fork. They’re different tools for very similar jobs, but you wouldn’t try using only one for every task.

  3. Jonathan Boutelle October 17, 2005 / 3:21 pm

    Paul.
    Nicely said. Repeating it for posterity.
    “Use the best tool for the job. End of.”
    Marina,
    Boy would I love some of whatever you are smoking. ;->

  4. Alex Bosworth October 17, 2005 / 4:14 pm

    Another reason might be that there are already a lot of tools to master for web application development: Javascript, CSS, XHTML, RSS/Atom, DatabaseX, LanguageX, TemplateLanguageX, etc, developers might not be able to handle mastering flash as well?
    For me it’s still stuck on my long list of things to start playing with even though I’m really interested in it.

  5. Jonathan Boutelle October 21, 2005 / 10:23 am

    Alex,
    I agree, there’s always too much to learn.
    On thing I’ve noticed is that people are often willing to give a simple API (that is open source) a go. It’s when it’s a framework / language that it’s a real challenge to get developer buy-in…even if it’s free!
    Lazslo, for example, is OSS, but hasn’t seen massive adoption, because developers are reluctant to bet their careers on becoming LZX programmers. The price removes one barrier, but the main price you pay when learning a new technology is time..
    The combination of non-free + requiring learning a new paradigm is a real killer.

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