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Why Flash Is Fundamentally Flawed On Touchscreen Devices

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the 'cause-it's-flash dept.

Graphics 521

An anonymous reader passes along this excerpt from Roughly Drafted: "I'm a full-time Flash developer and I'd love to get paid to make Flash sites for the iPad. I want that to make sense — but it doesn't. Flash on the iPad will not (and should not) happen — and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about: current Flash sites could never be made to work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware. That's not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It's because of the hover or mouseover problem. ... All that Apple and Adobe could ever do is make current Flash content visible. It would be seen, but very often would not work."

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521 comments

Eat my balls! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219286)

Flash is the future of the internet. Get with it, you limp-wristed cock-chugging mac faggots!

Re:Eat my balls! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219414)

No way, dickhead. Silverlight is the future.

Get the facts [getthefacts.com] , people.

Re:Eat my balls! (5, Insightful)

MacDork (560499) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219496)

I think what my friend here is trying to say is that perhaps it is the touchscreen input that is "fundamentally flawed." The same argument could be applied to CSS hover and javascript mouseovers. Should Apple simply dispose of Safari on the iPad, because it is "fundamentally flawed?" There are lots of sites that use css hover menus. Poor iPad users will have a bad experience with those sites, so should we then remove the browser?

We all know Apple bans Flash because it would allow third party apps that don't have to forfeit 30% of revenue to Apple. Plain and simple. All other explanations are just someone's absurd mental gymnastics to justify Apple's stupid and shortsighted iPhone OS policies.

Re:Eat my balls! (5, Interesting)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219688)

I really wish I had mod points, you're exactly right there.

The reason that inability to hover "never gets talked about" is that everybody competent knows that if something is important, don't hide it behind hover - it's almost always bad for usability and accessibility. Any website or web application that relies on hover effects is, quite frankly, broken. Sure, it may look nice and be convenient, but there should always be an alternative accessible way to navigate through an application.

If my 3 year old N95 runs Flash and can display content reasonably, there's no technical reason that the iphone/ipad can't too. Apple's decision to miss out Flash has nothing to do with performance or usability, and everything to do with money. Anyone who claims differently is a deluded apologist Apple fanboy.

Re:Eat my balls! (-1, Troll)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219792)

You start out well, but ends in the usual bile. I gave you a positive mod before I was halfway, at least your particular copy of the usual Apple-hate taught me to read fully.

Re:Eat my balls! (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219826)

Flash works great using Skyfire on my Pocket PC. The "hover" capability is covered quite nicely by the 5-way control buttons (up/dn/left/right and center), which moves a pointer around like a grid.

Javascript and CSS menus that act on hovering also work just fine this way.

Re:Eat my balls! (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219690)

I converted one of my old laptops to have a touchpad and quickly realized that what one needs is modifier keys on the keyboard to determine whether you're moving the mouse or actually clicking on something. I used a program like AutoIt/Autohotkeys(I was using XP at the time) and it worked fine. Problem solved for me. Of course without some form of external button that can be made into a modifier key, the iPad will be fucked in that regard.

Re:Eat my balls! (3, Insightful)

Snocone (158524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219714)

We all know Apple bans Flash because it would allow third party apps that don't have to forfeit 30% of revenue to Apple. Plain and simple. All other explanations are just someone's absurd mental gymnastics to justify Apple's stupid and shortsighted iPhone OS policies.

And how do you reconcile this opinion with all the effort that Apple has put into making it possible for offline HTML5 apps to act indistinguishably from native code apps ... and, indeed, for the first year after the iPhone's unveiling, it being Apple's official line that HTML5 apps would be the *only* third party development route available?

Re:Eat my balls! (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219852)

I think what my friend here is trying to say is that perhaps it is the touchscreen input that is "fundamentally flawed." The same argument could be applied to CSS hover and javascript mouseovers. Should Apple simply dispose of Safari on the iPad, because it is "fundamentally flawed?" There are lots of sites that use css hover menus. Poor iPad users will have a bad experience with those sites, so should we then remove the browser?

Well, clearly its not Safari that's flawed - it's the CSS and javascript! :) Banning those seems a much more intuitive move, as that wouldn't involve banning an Apple product. ;)

That's okay... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219298)

Current Flash-heavy sites do not work well on any other device either.

Welcome to the problem of confusing "web site", "application", "advertisement" and "art installation".

Re:That's okay... (5, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219562)

Straight up. Sites that use flash or javascript for navigation are an abomination.

Why do you post on an abomination? (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219746)

Sites that use flash or javascript for navigation are an abomination.

In that case, Slashdot is an abomination. It (optionally) uses XMLHttpRequest to load pieces of the comments page without requiring a refresh of the entire page. So why do you post on an abomination?

Re:Why do you post on an abomination? (4, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219838)

So why do you post on an abomination?

I use the "old style" Slashdot interface, and reading a few comments back in my posting history would inform you on my opinion of changes Slashdot has made to this site (including changes to the interface and fundamental changes to the (meta)moderation system) in the name "Web 2.0."

In that case, Slashdot is an abomination.

You must be new here ;)

Why Flash Is Fundamentally Flawed? (-1, Redundant)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219300)

"I'm a full-time Flash developer and I'd love to get paid to make Flash sites. I want that to make sense — but it doesn't. Flash will not (and should not) happen — and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about: current Flash sites could never be made to work.

Flash only? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219328)

I'm not into Flash development, but how would that be different from javascript hover and mouseover features? I think this is a flaw for any advanced interaction feature on any touch enabled device, which means it is not limited to the Flash technology in particular.

Re:Flash only? (5, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219434)

I look at it as a way of rationalizing the decision to not have flash on the iP* after the fact. To me, there is no reason to not have it there except to maintain the app store policy of not allowing frameworks and runtimes.

Re:Flash only? (4, Insightful)

silverkniveshotmail. (713965) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219738)

I'm not into Flash development, but how would that be different from javascript hover and mouseover features? I think this is a flaw for any advanced interaction feature on any touch enabled device, which means it is not limited to the Flash technology in particular.

Safari already supports Javascript, that's the difference.

Really? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219338)

Most flash apps don't do anything interesting with hovering, so it would be perfectly fine if the implementation just did clicking, or hovering with some weird gesture.

Not entirely true (4, Insightful)

Runefox (905204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219340)

If there's anything I've taken from all the Apple talk on its multitouch technology, it's that gestures are everything. What if when Flash is in use, dragging your finger across the display results in "moving the cursor", while a single touch results in a click? Or why not make it function much the same as how laptop touchpads work, where a double-tap+hold equals a click and drag? I can't see that being terribly difficult for Apple or anyone making a touch-based device to implement, really.

I mean, perhaps there's more to it than that, but I can't see the concept of mouseover/hover being a huge showstopper for Flash support on touch-based devices. There are definitely ways around it, and for that matter, there's also CSS/JS mouseover/hover that works the same way. How is this handled on devices like the iPad? Is this also unusable?

Re:Not entirely true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219370)

Yes. Mod parent up! We have already solved this problem, gentlemen, and the solution is to use the same metaphors that a freaking trackpad does. ScummVM on the iPhone has an option for this.

Re:Not entirely true (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219446)

I've been playing with the Nokia N900 recently and it has flash. Works fine *except* when I tried to play a flash game that required click and drag to draw lines. I couldn't find a way to do it that didn't just end up with the page being dragged around rather than the line I was trying to draw.

It might just be that I don't know how to operate it properly, or it could be that there are a few input-related hurdles to get over, but fundamentally flawed? Don't see why at all.

Re:Not entirely true (4, Informative)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219528)

the mouse pointer that one can activate by dragging onto the screen from the lower left edge didnt help?

Re:Not entirely true (1)

jx100 (453615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219558)

I haven't tried this myself, but the spacebar should give you a click when the browser is in hover-mode.

Re:Not entirely true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219596)

The N900 has a mouse mode in its browser. You can enable it by swiping onto the screen from the left.

Re:Not entirely true (2, Insightful)

ink (4325) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219494)

How would you distinguish between drag and hover in that case? A touchpad has no buttons; it's not a trackpad.

Re:Not entirely true (4, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219584)

If the object under the start of the drag is draggable, then it's a drag. If it's not, then it's a hover. Just like trackpads, single finger interactions should not be a scroll action (I know they are, and that's the fundamental problem, not something endemic to Flash). You should use two fingers to scroll, one finger to drag/hover.

Trackpads have solved all of these problems a long time ago, they are not unique to "touch" interfaces, except that touch interfaces have undone many of the solutions already discovered.

Re:Not entirely true (2, Interesting)

ink (4325) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219692)

Google maps breaks your proposition; as you pointed out, it's using drag to scroll.

Re:Not entirely true (2, Informative)

Runefox (905204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219614)

Well, you can actually use a trackpad without buttons, too. A quick tap is a single click, a double-tap+hold is a click and drag.

Re:Not entirely true (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219600)

From my understanding of Apple's capacitive sensing, it should be able to simulate variations in pressure by reading the rough diameter of touch. A light touch would have a small contact area for mouseover, a "click" could be a somewhat heavier touch or tap.

Re:Not entirely true (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219610)

All that Apple and Adobe could ever do

Does this guy really think he's smarter than the engineers at Apple and Adobe?

Sounds to me like a defeatist attitude... The authors microwave probably flashes 12:00.

I can think of a very simple fix - don't let the cursor hover over flash when a finger isn't on the screen.....move it off the animation. Dragging across the flash can activate the hover actions, releasing from a drag can act as click if hovering over a button immediately followed by moving the cursor off the animation. Wham, bam, he's wrong.

Re:Not entirely true (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219742)

Simply do your animations on mouseDown and activate it on mouseUp like most sane people. I've also been doing flash (consequently, on 40,000 mobile devices for the company I work for) and I've been able to make flash work on a touch screen mobile device. I agree with your statement about being defeatist. It sounds like a rigid thinking programmer who took a course on how to do something and can't wrap their heads around alternative solutions.

Re:Not entirely true (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219790)

Flash is one of the main languages used to develop Surface tables-- and those are nothing but giant touchscreens.

I think the real point here doesn't have anything to do with Flash itself, it's just "applications built for a mouse won't necessarily work on a touchscreen." Which is... duh. (Also true of DHTML applications that make use of rollovers.)

Never? (4, Insightful)

Rydia (556444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219348)

"current Flash sites could never be made to work well on any touchscreen device"

Really? Never? Just off the top of my head, I could envision a button that put the device in "pointer" mode, maybe with scroll buttons where appropriate, and then used the movement of your finger on the touchscreen as either 1:1 or some kind of relative movement of the pointer. There are probably issues with this approach, yes, but it took me seconds to cobble together. Saying that something is impossible as a matter of user interface is silly. You can always change the UI in some way to make it possible, or even good.

Re:Never? (2, Informative)

Apotekaren (904220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219510)

The Nokia N900 has a "pointer-mode" in its browser. Slide your finger onto the screen from the left, and a pointer icon appears on the left. Click it to activate, and the icon gets a red x over it. You guessed it, clicking that icon will put you back in regular mode. It works very well on websites that use JS hover functions with say dropdown menus or something of the like.

Re:Never? (0, Offtopic)

Rydia (556444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219744)

You know, I have an N900 and I did not know about that. Yet another little awesome thing the phone does.

Re:Never? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219534)

Really? Never? Just off the top of my head, I could envision a button that put the device in "pointer" mode, maybe with scroll buttons where appropriate, and then used the movement of your finger on the touchscreen as either 1:1 or some kind of relative movement of the pointer. There are probably issues with this approach, yes, but it took me seconds to cobble together. Saying that something is impossible as a matter of user interface is silly. You can always change the UI in some way to make it possible, or even good.

N900 has this pointer mode and it works just fine. You activate the mode by a dragging gesture from left to right. (start outside the screen)

Translation (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219604)

"I'm a Mac fanboy who also does some extremely bad flash design (http://adamsi.com/). I can't figure out how to make the silly, and unnecessary, rollovers on my site work on an iPad. I'm believe everything Apple does is brilliant so their decision to exclude Flash must also be brilliant. Therefore I have to conclude that Flash could never, ever, work on a touchscreen device."

Serious bunch of BS in my opinion. For one, a large number of Flash sites, like the author's, seem to use mouse over for nothing more than effects. Fine, but hardly essential. If all that is transmitted is clicks, they still function ok. Second, the big reason people are up about Flash these days is videos and the like. For better or worse, Flash has become THE web video standard. That may eventually change, but no time soon. As we all know, standards change extremely slowly when there's something works and, well, Flash works. It's not perfect but on most computers, it works just fine for seeing a video of a silly cat jump in a box. Finally, if a site didn't work properly, oh well, shit happens. As it stands all Flash sites are GUARANTEED not to work at all.

I don't buy this as a legit argument at all.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219782)

what about dontclick.it ?

Re:Never? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219762)

Only someone on slashdot could consider a terrible hack like this to be something that "works well"...

Flash Fully Capable (1)

mastershake82 (948396) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219354)

I'm no fan of Flash, but there is no denying it's market penetration.

Sure current flash sites might not work perfect, but if you are developing for the iPhone, Android, Maemo, etc, I'm sure you could take into account the unique interface and make it work properly.

Saying it's not possible never moved anyone further. Computer science, especially gaming, is an industry built on finding ways to make things work on resources and interfaces they shouldn't work on.

Flash? Who Gives A SHit? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219360)

Seriously, my crotch itches. That bothers me a lot more than Flash.

Hovering is not a fundamental feature (1)

eherot (107342) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219382)

While certainly a useful feature, the ability to hover is hardly one of the fundamental reasons why people use Flash to make web sites. Working around it (or better yet, developing a way to hover on the touch screen) would not be such a difficult hurdle to overcome...

oh my god the world is ending (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219384)

The author is a retard. So a tiny tweak (clicking on the video pauses and brings up the bar) or, more simply, compile flash so that a touch and slide is a "mouseover" and "double click" is a click event. I don't think I've ever seen a flash program that wanted a double-click. I'm sure they exist.

Oh yeah, sites like starfall.com (recommended if you have preschool kids) would work just fine. It's 100% a question of Apple being unwilling to allow unauthorized code to run on their devices. There's nothing to see here.

oh yeah, you could use multi-touch when you write the program. Oops. Lazy programmer writes a blog post. big deal.

John

What??? (5, Insightful)

MTO_B. (814477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219388)

Just because some flash sites are not developing flash taking into account touchscreen devices (it's a new thing!) does not mean it cant be done. The whole thing seems stupid to me. It really scares me to think this person makes money developing flash sites. It seems he is totally unable to adapt, change his methods or do things better than he does. Come on! Sure there are flash files that would create problems and would need to be further developed, but to say it's fundamentally flawed because of that is bullshit.

Stupid explanation from someone with no creativity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219398)

This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. This guy lacks the intelligence to understand what an adaptor is. This guy lacks the common sense to understand abstraction. Does he even understand how the virtual keyboard on the iPhone works?

This is a non-story and people should stop pushing. Anyone could emulate a mouse and then suddenly all the mouse stuff would work. This guy is trying to second guess what is bloody fucking obvious to anyone who works on flash.

Dumb post, uncreative dumb poster.

Re:Stupid explanation from someone with no creativ (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219770)

I have my PHYSICAL hardware not behave as expected very frequently when attempting to navigate Flash-based sites - my scroll wheel almost never works, and forms often don't respond to hitting enter as expected. If Flash devs can't get that basic level of functionality working for completely standard hardware, I can't imagine how much it would suck trying to make it worth with a plethora of virtual devices. And of course, any sort of hack to simulate mouseovers on a touchscreen device is going to be, well, a hack. Suffice to say, it will add a lot of complication and frustration to my browsing experience, something I don't need any more of when on a tiny screen with a slow connection.

This is before the fact that most Flash I encounter is for advertisements, which is something I really don't feel the need to have more of on my mobile browsing devices. The only thing I wouldn't mind seeing Flash enable on mobile devices is native camera support since that's not (currently) part of any HTML5 spec. Almost all video is done in h264 which is already supported natively by nearly all mobile browsers.

Yeah, this is a totally unsolvable problem. (1)

Lowen_SoDium (1338503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219408)

Why would it be hard to implement a virtual cursor that moved to finger location? And have the software detect if the users is clicking or moving the cursor to the location? There, problem solved.

Agreed, and the mouseover is elsewhere too. (4, Insightful)

shumacher (199043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219422)

I have a ClarionMiND. It's one of the few Intel-based MIDs that made it to the US, and with firesale pricing, the $130 for an atom-based handheld looks quite a bit better than the $699 price at launch. It runs Firefox 3 and includes flash, but flash is of only limited utility. The on-screen keyboard can't detect when it's needed inside of flash. Mouseover doesn't exist. On the other hand, many sites use mouseover in their (x)html. Facebook, for example, allows one to delete a post or comment. The delete link is hidden until you mouse over the link. For me at least, it's surprisingly intuitive to use with a mouse, but I'm completely lost with a touch-only device. I find that I spend an excessive amount of time trying to figure my way around the car crash that is the merging of a mouse-centric internet with a device interface that doesn't do enough to cover for the internet's lack of accomodation for the devices interface.

Re:Agreed, and the mouseover is elsewhere too. (3, Insightful)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219772)

I have a Viliv S5 [myviliv.com] MID, and while I can't echo specifically to issues using Flash (other than the fact that the hardware accelerated 10.1 Flash doesn't yet support my chipset) I can say that mouseover based features are very difficult to utilize with the touch screen. I can switch the joystick on the left side to move the mouse, but that's tedious. I find that when I want to make right-click actions on things in the start menu, to bring up computer management for example, I often open the menu, do an invalid drag/drop (like documents to computer) and then hit the right click button.

I could likely click and hold to get that functionality, but I sort of just figured that out while typing this.....

andylim (1)

andylim (1618383) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219424)

I agree with this article but I wonder if Flash could be changed to work differently on mobile devices - an auto-detect mode for mobile phones, for example.

Not to defend Flash, but... (5, Insightful)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219426)

I'm in no way a supporter of Flash, but how is this any different than anything else in the browser with a :hover state? With the advent of HTML5 and the Canvas element, which does work on the iPad et al, you're going to run into the same issues if you program them the same way. Now I get his concern that Flash devs would have to rewrite a lot of their already written stuff to work on the iPad if it allowed Flash, but I fail to see how this is any different from the multitude of websites that use hover drop downs for navigation and the like.

The point that we shouldn't be relying on hover states because of the push towards touch devices is a good one but it's not an exclusive problem to Flash. The reason Flash shouldn't be on the iPad, etc, is because it's a horrible bloated and proprietary plugin, and Canvas, HTML5 video, etc can do the same thing. Flash is now a dead end technology. It's only a matter of time before it's phased out altogether.

Re:Not to defend Flash, but... (2, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219564)

give the guy a +1. Hover issues exist, even without flash. I have seen several pages that use html, css or something similar to trigger drop down menus on hover. The better ones allow access to similar resources via a sub page accessed by clicking the trigger spot, the bad ones do nothing...

android tablet? (1)

amnezick (1253408) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219428)

adam has a touchpad on it's back. how 'bout that?

(for adam's back jokes: chatroulette discussion thread is here [slashdot.org] )

Title too long (5, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219436)

The title of the article should have been: "Why Flash is Fundamentally Flawed."

Still too long. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219844)

“Why Flash?” would have been enough. As in “Why in the world would anyone ever use Flash?”

Or even shorter: “Flash?”. As in “What is that Flash of which you speak? Some ancient long dead web fad?” But unfortunately, that is not yet true. Yet. ;)

could you be any more dramatic? (1)

ppetrakis (51087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219438)

Thank you for spelling out the conclusions Apple likely made (internally) leading up to the decision not to support flash on
it's initial release and brain storming some possible solutions. I don't see why the problem you've defined is anything more
than just another engineering challenge. The web is a pretty elastic place, I'm sure it'll evolve as touch screen interfaces
become more mainstream. I encourage you to view this as an opportunity to make a ton of money instead of a crisis.

Re:could you be any more dramatic? (2, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219654)

Thank you for spelling out the conclusions Apple likely made (internally) leading up to the decision not to support flash on
it's initial release and brain storming some possible solutions

No, this isn't it. Their decision process goes more like this: "Flash allows people to run software on their phone that they didn't buy through the App Store. We have to reject it, but start thinking of reasons that don't sound so much like 'we are greedy bastards.'" Otherwise, where is Java? Hover is certainly not unique to Flash, and it's certainly not an unsolvable problem (trackpads solved it a long time ago), nor is it very frequently an essential interface element (usually it just gives access to some additional detail).

WTF (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219448)

Why is it that all of you faggots usually whine about Flash (IT ISN'T SUPPORTED WELL ON LINUX LOL WE SHOULD GET RID OF IT) until Steve Jobs says no Flash on iPad - now, all of a sudden you're the biggest defenders of it? It's fine to be a contrarian but... seriously... would it be that difficult to be consistent?

Re:WTF (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219850)

Their hate for Apple is stronger than their hate for prorietary, closed-source products from Adobe.

Would these solve the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219456)

http://kottke.org/10/02/meat-stylus-for-the-iphone

hes saying this (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219470)

its not mouse jestures that are the issue. jailbroken ipods can do flash video on many sites using the media plugin. hes talking abought flash that uses keystrokes to work and hes correct in saying theirs no fixing that at least with no current stuff out there. the content would need to have both touch and keystroke support.

Bullshit (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219476)

First, the amount of hover usage in flash isn't that great. There are tons of completely static animations that don't have any interaction of any sort. And there are plenty games that just require clicking in place. A lot of flash content that gets passed around is stuff like the Kenya and Magical Trevor animations.

Second, the lack of hover is simply a lack of imagination on Apple's part. On my N900 for instance, I can have a pointer that works for flash by starting to drag from the border of the screen. Now, it's not 100% perfect and could be done better, but it works, and I played Winter Bells [ferryhalim.com] quite successfully on my N900.

How did this reach main page? (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219478)

I find this article just nothing at all. It is an opinion -- an incomplete and pretty obvious one. How did it get to /.'s main page?

Re:How did this reach main page? (1)

thenextstevejobs (1586847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219822)

I find this article just nothing at all. It is an opinion -- an incomplete and pretty obvious one. How did it get to /.'s main page?

you must be new here, and all that.

sorry to say, but that's how news works these days.

thats why i've been mostly just checking developers.slashdot.org on my time around here... less flimsy stories.

Multitouch (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219498)

Most new devices with capacitative screens also support multitouch. Interpret touches with two fingers as mouse hover, and one finger as a click/click & hold, or vice versa, depending on what's more intuitive and better for accuracy. There, issue solved, no new hardware required.

Or switch to digitizing technology for the displays which support better resolution for pressure. Interpret light touches as mouse hover.

Not to mention that proximity detecting screens that Apple, of all companies, patented a while ago. Interpret fingers hovering close to display as mouse hover. Ta-da!

Touchscreen is limited (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219508)

Reading TFA and the author's description of the mouseover/click problem, I get the sense that it's not a Flash problem per se but actually a fundamental limitation of the touchscreen interface. Simply put, the mouse/keyboard combination is a vastly more efficient and powerful way of accepting user input than a touchscreen.

Re:Touchscreen is limited (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219814)

I would go in the other direction; Hover is probably a terrible way to signal interactivity, and an even worse way to actually carry it out.

"Don't know what to do on this webpage? Scan your pointer in a grid to feel the magic!"

The real reason is flash would cost Apple $ (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219516)

No matter what excuses Apple comes out with or what other people say, the real reason is that having flash on the ipad or iphone would cost apple money. What is the main thing people use flash for? Watching video and playing games. What does Apple want to sell you through itunes? videos and games.

Re:The real reason is flash would cost Apple $ (1)

jeffehobbs (419930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219680)

Ding ding ding ding ding ding!

I love Apple's products as much as anyone, but the above comment's assessment of the situation is dead-on. They *could* make it happen, they certainly could make it an imperfect option, but the real fact is that Apple wants to keep a tight control the delivery of downloadable music, video and games on this platform.

Re:The real reason is flash would cost Apple $ (1)

Coriolis (110923) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219766)

So, um, why does it have a Youtube app? Hell, if that's their only motivation, why do they allow streaming music services like Spotify?

Fundamentally flawed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219524)

Nokia N900 has virtual mouse cursor just for those occasions, I do not own one but I have used the included web browser and the virtual mouse cursor does work with both flash and javascript hover. So it basically is all about the software implementation of the browser/device, nothing to with flash or javascript themselves. Of course one needs to take these into account when designing interface that works with all kinds of input devices.

Um, No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219532)

Different capabilities and limitations means you need to code differently. This is the same with every language/platform under the sun. Some of the coolest HTML5 examples I've seen wouldn't work well on a touchscreen tablet because it requires hover (which is an HTML term, not usually a flash term). Does that mean that HTML 5 is fundamentally incompatible with touchscreens?

But ummm.... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219536)

One is tempted to divide the flash world in two -- the majority of the flash apps are advertising plug-ins, while a minority are useful applications like games and such.

The former should simply not be used on mobile devices. Most web pages are too filled with crud as it is, flashing ads that I don't ever look at are nothing more than a waste of space, time and power. On a mobile device this moves from annoying to a real problem.

The games, on the other hand, I'd love to have. Sadly, in this case I agree fully with Jobs - Flash is a buggy pile of shod. Something close to 100% of the crashes I have on my Macs are Flash related.

Adobe has a long history of doing nothing and then complaining when someone else gets fed up and does it for them -- TrueType, Color PS, PDF and other examples come to mind. When this happens, they get scared and fix whatever the problems were. So the good news is that I expect Flash will get a whole lot better in the near future. The bad news is that I still don't want it in most cases.

Maury

Flash rethink? (1)

Orlando (12257) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219538)

Whatever reason Apple has for not liking Flash (I have yet to see a definitive explanation) all this negative press about Flash, coupled with the Flash/HTML5 debate can only be a good thing. In my view, Flash has way more things wrong with it (breaking the semantic web) than the benefits it brings to the table. If all this discussion either prompts Adobe to fix all that, or something better is suggested instead (HTML5?), it can only be a good thing.

Re:Flash rethink? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219834)

You know what else breaks the semantic web?

Liars.

So once all the easy technical problems are solved, the only problem left is an intractable social problem.

The App Store (5, Insightful)

jrap (614351) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219576)

The real reason why Apple would never allow Flash to work on one of it's mobile devices is simple. The App Store. Most of the available apps could easily be mimicked using Flash, and made easily available. This would not be a good thing for Apple's bottom line.

Re:The App Store (1)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219722)

Not really. The AppStore makes a fair amount of money, but for Apple, it's just above break-even once they've taken bandwidth, marketing etc.
What the AppStore is add value to the product; it sells hardware, much like iTunes does for iPods.

So yeah, it would affect the bottom line somewhat, but that'd probably be bolstered by the fact a lot of good apps would be in the AppStore without any of the trivial crap-apps (iFart etc.).

In addition they'd also be able to talk abut excepting Flash, which some people think is good.

Apple don't think Flash is good. They think it's superflous and gash. Probably because, for the most part, it's superflous and gash. The very notion of having a plugin to do your video, or display a fecking menu is wrong
It's the reason HTML5 is coming. Flash is wrong and should, and pretty soon, will die.
The only people who want it not to die are Adobe.

Re:The App Store (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219812)

Most of the available apps could easily be mimicked using Flash

Indeed. I'm shocked at how frequently Slashdotters will offer technical reasons as to why Flash isn't on the iPhone, without realizing this. It makes me wonder if there was ever an article posted here on this.

n900 microb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219624)

http://maemo.nokia.com/features/maemo-browser/gestures/

does hover and mouseover just fine.

Adobe has already addressed the issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219628)

I guess the author didn't see this video:

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents/flash-player-101-on-google-nexus-one/

Multiple Interfaces? (1)

cyrus0101 (1750660) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219652)

So as site developers we have to:
- build a flash site for those who have flash.
- an html site for those who don't.
- and an alternate flash site for people with touch screen UI.

Excuse me while a find a bucket into which I can vomit.

It just takes a properly designed tablet PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219676)

Like my old Fujitsu Stylistic LT C-500 (about 8-9 years old I believe). It has a touch button on the frame to put the pointer in hover mode. If they figured it out that far back, it would just seem to be a matter of proper hardware design for a function that has been needed in windowing environments for a long time.

RO

I don't understand the hate. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219686)

I don't understand the massive criticisms Apple gets for not including Flash on the iPhone/iPad. These are not desktop computers; they are mobile devices with limited resources for limited purposes. If the iPhone came with Flash support, people would be complaining to the hills about their web surfing being SO SLOW and their batteries getting drained to the max.

Many people (I'd even bet on saying most people) use Flash for viewing video, and HTML5 + H.264 take care of that quite well and much more efficiently.

Ummmm ... Flash 10.1???? (1)

Favorite Android (1750662) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219732)

Flash player is open source, companies can make it work with their devices ... and have been doing so. Flash on Apple won't cost them money, but will take away from their app store when people can play games online. http://www.cultofmac.com/adobe-theres-no-flash-on-ipad-because-apple-is-protecting-content-revenue/28564 [cultofmac.com] Also Flash CS5 can export to iPhone app, so I guess there will be Flash running on the iPad. http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/mobile_demos_fp10.1.html [adobe.com] Research your topic before you post ...

That's not why iDevices don't support flash (2, Interesting)

Spykk (823586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219780)

Apple does not allow any software on these devices that could be used to develop an application. They would not even allow a basic interpreter. If flash worked people would be able to develop applications for the iPhone without Apple's blessing. Chances are they won't support things like the Canvas element in HTML5 either. Expect your browsing experience to become more limited in the future.

Re:That's not why iDevices don't support flash (3, Informative)

Spykk (823586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219848)

Well, I foolishly decided to do some fact checking after submitting my post and it turns out canvas is already supported on the iPhone. Excuse me while I pull my foot out of my mouth.

Article is fundamentally flawed (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219794)

The article boils down to one argument: Many current Flash applications expect mouse hover, and since mouse hover is not supported on the iPad, all Flash applications will not work. Let me tear this down quite simply.

1) This problem has nothing to do with Flash. It applies to all development tools. By his reasoning, no programming tools should be ported to the iPad.
2) This problem has nothing to do with the iPad. It applies to almost all hand-held, portable, or touch-screen devices. By his reasoning, no one should ever program for these devices.
3) It assumes Flash apps will not be modified for touch screen devices. They have been, and continue to be.
4) It assumes there is no way to do mouseover. Lots of touch devices actually do support mouseover. (Ex: Drawing tablets)
5) It overinflates the problem to make it seem like a big deal:

This distinction is not rare. It’s pervasive, fundamental to interactive design, and vital to the basic use of Flash content.

No - it's actually rare. And it is not fundamental to interactive design. There's touch screens in most Point-of-sale systems. It's on medical devices. It's on the Nintendo DS. It's on almost every mobile phone out there now. And yet somehow -- they manage to get around this vital thing. Again, the author seems to think that the programming language has something to do with it.

I have written code for touch-screen devices, and sometimes I design a screen or a control then go *darnit* No mouseover! It's not a huge change most of the time. If the article wasn't so "OMG!" over the top, it might have actually been insightful.

That’s a stupid idea, and you’re a stu (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219810)

At the risk of sounding like flamebait... allow me to explain.

There is absolutely nothing unique about Flash that makes it “fundamentally flawed” on a touchscreen. You have the same “problem” with ANY application on such a device, whether it be native code, Java, javascript/ajax, or Flash.

It’s only a “problem” when you INSIST on using mousover effects, which are usually redundant and annoying anyway... and you’re an idiot if you design an application which can’t work without them! then you have the audacity to whine that it won’t work on a system that doesn’t support them...

Not to mention that they’re developing touch-screens with finger proximity sensors that can detect a “hover” anyway. The problem is all in your head.

Isn't Flash Supposed to Come to Android Soon? (1)

ezdude (885983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31219830)

Seems to me we just need to wait for 10.1 to see if the touchscreen is really the issue. Of course, if it is, then the wait for Flash to come to Android might be indefinite.

Can easily be fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31219836)

You choose to run flash content by clicking on it. This sets the iPhone browser in "running Flash" mode. In this mode, an icon appears in the bottom corner of the screen. The icon acts like a mouse button. Touch the screen normally with one hand to act like a pointer, for mouseover and click and drag. Touch or hold the click button for mouseclick. Zooming with two fingers can be done when the click button isn't held.

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