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Flash Applications That Can Be Used Online and Off

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the not-just-for-shockwave-anymore dept.

Programming 346

General Voltron writes "Macromedia, Inc., the same people that brought you Flash, have done it again with a new product called Central. Central will allow users to more easily interact with information on the internet by also allowing them to interact with it offline. It will also allow developers to create and sell their own applications. See the press release." I'm not a big fan of Flash myself, but I realize it has its niche. This looks like something that Flash authors have been clamoring for.

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Crap (1)

jbellis (142590) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608485)

"The people who brought you Flash have done it again."

Dammit, Macro! I told you to use the litterbox next time!

hrm. (0)

jesperht (650842) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608487)

Cant you already view .swf offline??

Re:hrm. (1)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608504)

Well, yeah. That's what the flash viewer EXE is for, or the 'Save as EXE' function. What the fup is this going to do differently?

Re:hrm. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608612)

Allow you to sell a standalone application written with flash, without your potential clients needing the flash viewer.

So far all flash is good for is give-away goodies. And it probably could turn out some pretty neat stuff with commercial applications. Some games for instance (like the ones at cartoonnetwork.com) are actually pretty well done, they remind me of SNES/Genesis titles.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608661)

I downloaded this .swf file of an interesting Flash animation showing the huge variation in Britney Spears breast size over time, and for some reason it doesn't work offline. Looks like Macromedia engineered some restrictions to be able to sell another product.

Re:hrm. (1)

ksyrium (593350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608736)

A .swf can be viewed offline if you have the Macromedia flash player installed and you open the swf with the web browser the player is installed to.

However, if any of the actionscript in the .swf is made use external files, web services, etc., it will most likely fail, depending on how its developer has written handlers for connection failures.

If it's well written, it'll tell you when it won't work.

Is it just me (1)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608491)

Or does anyone else think Flash should die a quick and painful death? I have never seen Flash used in an application that wouldn't be more effective using javascript or simple HTML.

Re:Is it just me (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608533)

You haven't seen any good Flash animation then. Happy Tree Friends, or a good pile of the stuff at www.newgrounds.com comes to mind.

The Entertainment Industry (3, Insightful)

KingAdrock (115014) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608544)

The entertainment industry likes their sites, for the lack of a better word, "flashy." Flash enables graphic designers and non developer types to create sites that look good and contain little code.

You can also create some decent little games with flash, which is hard to do using JScript and HTML.

Re:The Entertainment Industry (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608682)

HA!! Have you ever tried to write flash??

'contains little code', dude, flash has more code than you can shake a stick at to make it do anything cool....

It's just you. (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608553)

If you ever want an application that is web based that truly looks the same on all resolutions and systems, look to Flash.

Flash is excellent when it's implemented well. Or it's a freaking nightmare when it's implemented poorly. Guess you've never used an excellent implementation.

Re:Is it just me (1)

RighteousFunby (649763) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608562)

Does [madblast.com] This [newgrounds.com] answer [idleworm.com] your [markfiore.com] question [greenpeace.org] ?

Honestly, Flash kicks ass.

Re:Is it just me (1)

phutureboy (70690) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608639)

This isn't interactive but it's badass nonetheless:

http://www.preschoolprotocops.com/ [preschoolprotocops.com]

I don't like Flash much either, but..... (2, Interesting)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608574)

http://www.homestarrunner.com

That's some pretty impressive stuff, you have to admit. I couldn't see this getting done very well with DHTML. Animation work, especially interactive anaimation, is the definate niche for Flash. It can be developed so cheaply and so quickly, loaded in any browser with a free plugin, and effortlessly distributed to billions via the internet. Perfect format.

Re:I don't like Flash much either, but..... (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608678)

"loaded in any browser with a free plugin, and effortlessly distributed to billions via the internet. Perfect format."

but for a standalone application? sure, it's a nice feature, but will it be used? for what? games? real apps? there are better tools out there to make standalone games apps :)

Re:Is it just me (1)

nullard (541520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608600)

You try writing cross-browser dhtml, js, and css that works in 4.0 browsers for a while. Now try doing it in Flash. Which took less time?

I've taught both JavaScript and Flash at the local community collage. Flash does things simply that are a pain to accomplish in JavaScript. Of course, there is debate over wether these things should be done on a web page at all.

For people that look at web design from a graphic design point of view, Flash is a godsend. Elements stay where you put them and you don't have to worry about some new browser breaking compatibility, since the people who make the renderer also make the standard.

Re:Is it just me (1)

vasah20 (530238) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608699)

And let's not forget Flash will render things MUCH quicker. Flash is vector based, and we all know how much smaller vector based graphics are. Here at work, we created a fairly complex animation using all Flash, and it weighed in at under 12KB. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of hell that would be in DHTML... just the preloading of images alone would be enough to make any user click "stop".

Re:Is it just me (1)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608797)

You try writing cross-browser dhtml, js, and css that works in 4.0 browsers for a while. Now try doing it in Flash.

And then you miss those of us who refuse to install Flash because we hate waiting through annoying Flash animations that are the "gateway" to a website. One way or another, somebody is not going to get the "effect" that you're looking for. If you really want to publish something that looks the same to absolutely everybody, I suggest either using pdf or mailing out direct mail....

Re:Is it just me (4, Insightful)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608626)

Since Flash 5, you've been able to parse XML documents, ie. read complex data into your flash application. So basically you have the 'rich media' available as interface, the HTTP protocol for communication with the server, and the ability to read arbitrary data into your application. On top of that, the flash plugin is installed and works on more than 90% of all browsers, windows, mac, unix.

This could very well be the next big thing.

Online multiplayer games already exist, personally I have a background in heavy server side development, now I'm creating a communication module for flash/backend, which is to be used within a 3D visual model of a large building. Users can rotate the building, click a room on any floor, book it, retrieve info etc. Try and make that more "effective" in HTML/JavaScript. Point and click is easier and more intuitive to the average user than drop-down, drop-down, type type, check, whatnot, click.

Re:Is it just me (2, Interesting)

TonyZahn (534930) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608755)

Mod the parent up please. I think the reason a lot of /.ers knock flash is because they associate it with annoying banner ads.

The company I work for makes a fairly successful school-focused educational product (online and off), and we use Flash for our lessons because it's fairly easy to work with (a little limited at times, but getting better), and because you cen fit more content into less bytes with Flash than you can with just about anything else. Seriously, take a look at the .swf file format sometime, everything is oriented to producing the max amount of consitent content in the smallest bandwidth possible. And Flash 6 has native support for zlib compression, which really helps.

We just released a product that allows the user to fill out sample forms such as resume's, job applications and the like, with the data stored in XML format in a database to be retrived whenever the user wants, and even translated into HTML for printing.

Don't knock it as just a technology for annoying ads, it's actualy a very clever tool, and as the parent noted, it's available for just about every browser in existence.

Two words... (1)

H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608637)

Homestar Runner [homestarrunner.com] .

Re:Is it just me (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608638)

I have worked on large scale DHTML projects in the past, and I currently work at a company that does a lot of Flash work.

The problem is that you have a very limited mindset and knowledge of what Flash can do. Your statement is very much like the people that think Java is just those little applets you see on web pages.

The products we make are on CD and very complex - if you are going to make an argument that XYZ is better than Flash - then you should be arguing that Director is better than it - not DHTML.

It terms of random crap on web pages - it depends on what you are doing. Flash is designed to quickly animate and display vector graphics. If you are displaying bitmap grpahics in Flash, you are then not doing what it is good at, and should likely be using another tool - perhaps this is where DHTML falls into play.
Flash is very small and very fast if used correctly.
DHTML on the other hand can quickly bloat and can't do anything all that serious aside from visual cues.

There *is* a lot of overlap where you could argue either way that you should use either tool and be right.
But I find it annoying, having worked with both a lot and considering myself good with them - to then see people on here just mindlessly state that XYZ sucks when they don't know what the hell to do with it.
I also see far too many people on here saying that it crashes and sucks - which to me sounds more like a poor implementation of a client - likely on Linux.

Re:Is it just me (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608640)

Go play some of the games at CartoonNetwork.com, or others have pointed out homestarrunner.com.

The best thing about flash is how easy it is to work with. It's easily an order of magnitude less complicated than a java applet.

Re:Is it just me (1)

strick (49447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608663)

Use the flash app to enter picks in ESPN's sweet 16 pool [go.com]

Very slick.

We are using java for yet another web app at my current contract and I must say that after a few weeks of swing UI programming I'm dying to try something new.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608677)

Or does anyone else think Flash should die a quick and painful death? I have never seen Flash used in an application that wouldn't be more effective using javascript or simple HTML.

At work we have a full word processor that has template support, as well as drag'n'drop object support, and CVS support written in Flash.

Lets see ya do that. I'm all for Flash when it's used intelligently.

Re:Is it just me (1)

dogas (312359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608695)

Or does anyone else think Flash should die a quick and painful death? I have never seen Flash used in an application that wouldn't be more effective using javascript or simple HTML.

First off, I'd mod you as a troll if I had the points. Do your research before you bash. Flash alone is simply for glitz and glamour.. which may be appropriate as long as it doesn't go over the top and affect the usability of a site.

Developers (like myself) use Director to create web-based applications. A combination of director and perl (for example) can provide a prettier and much more intuitive interface, and it also allows the author to create a custom look and feel. IMHO, using Director + the Flash Communication Server is quickly becoming a viable alternative to java and javascript for web-based applications. The lingo scripting language isn't too hard to wrap your head around, and it's pretty powerful.

You do have a point, however. There are times where excessive flash gets in the way of productivity (long, stupid intros, wait times, etc), but the same is true for excessive use of *any* technology.

Re:Is it just me (1)

ksyrium (593350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608768)

Flash is similar to any other Web technology...a few people make really good use of it, and many people make very bad use of it. It's becoming a fairly powerful environment to develop Internet-based applications because it doesn't have the "page by page" or compatibility restraints of HTML/Javascript.

To sum up my opinion:

The ratio of bad HTML sites to good HTML sites probably isn't that different from the ratio of bad Flash sites to Good Flash sites. The difference is that you remember the flash because it's animated, shinier, and an easy target.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Snowdog668 (227784) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608779)

The reason I took Flash off of all my machines is that 99% of the Flash usage I've seen is for ads. I admit that I didn't comb the net for games and such so my percentage is probably a little high . Now, if the developers for Mozilla would put in a right-click and "Block Flash from this server" option like you can use to block banner ads I might put it back on. Right now I see it as an all or nothing thing and so took nothing. The cost of dealing with annoying ads and junk flying through my browser didn't make the occasional cool thing worthwhile.

Re:Is it just me (2, Insightful)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608807)

"I have never seen Flash used in an application that wouldn't be more effective using javascript or simple HTML."

I hate they way everybody generalizes.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608818)

really?

Ok go to Joecartoon [joecartoon.com]

now show me how to do that with javascript and HTML.

thanks :-)

Re:Is it just me (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608939)

A blank blue page? I don't get it. I do have Flash 6 installed.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608834)

Well, we can all hope it does. All flash has ever given us is: Browser incompability, Load-times, net-usage, CPU-usage, GPU-usage, plugin downloads and all sorts of other misery.

Something in Flash that's actually cool.... (1)

Futaba-chan (541818) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608849)

http://www.mult.ru -- it helps if you can speak (and read) Russian, but it's utterly hilarious even if you don't.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Precipitous (586992) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608855)

Nope, it's not just you.

I've got a long list of annoyances with Flash:

A lot of flash developed sites don't make it through the firewall at my workplace - not quite sure why (company security policy: when in doubt - block it). So, for example - I can't view one of our primary vendors websites at all from work. On top of this - flash can be extremely tedious when you have slow connections.

I don't know that I'd blame macromedia for this so much: It seems that Flash is used by web masters who want a pretty site and don't have a lot of time (or experience). Consequently, there are a lot of pretty flash sites that simply fail to take into account the technical considerations necessary for a good web page. E.G. Load time, accessibility, etc.

Re:Is it just me (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608875)

"Or does anyone else think Flash should die a quick and painful death?"

Nope. If anything, I think it's exactly the tool the internet needs. The graphics are (usually) vectorized resulting in smooth resizing. A properly programmed Flash interface can result in far fewer page hits, thus optimizing traffic. Audio can be added. Though that's a double edged sword, it's more than can be said for HTML. It's pretty compact as well.

As for it dying a quick and painful death, I think that's an ignorant point of view. Just because some people have used it to irritate you doesn't mean it should die. The authors of that content should perhaps, but not the plug-in itself.

You want an example of a good use for Flash? Well, I don't have the site handy, but somebody used Flash to create an interface for blind people. It was all black, but when you moved your mouse around you recieved audio clues on where to click. That was damn cool. This could likely be done in Java as well, but the difference is in development environment. You don't need to be a Java programmer to make an app like that in Flash.

So no, I don't agree with you. If anything, I don't think Flash has reached its potential yet. You might do a search for "Ninjai". It's a cartoon series done with Flash, and it's damn cool.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Peter_Pork (627313) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608887)

Among other things, web-based games need flash! (or something similar). Waronline.net [waronline.net] is a really cool web-based real-time strategy game that uses Flash very effectively. This wouldn't work in HTML! When you need some fast, complex local interaction, HTML is just not enough, so you either use Flash or Java applets (usually too heavy).

Does Flash have a niche? (1)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608507)

In a world of true open standards, where content authors have a choice of tools, including freely available ones, does Flash (TM) have any role?

Just wondering what you all think.

Re:Does Flash have a niche? (1)

RadioheadKid (461411) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608586)

Yes [homestarrunner.com]

This may be cool but... (1)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608851)

I hope you can help me address my concerns. For example, how costly were the tools that you bought in order to create those intersting graphics? Did you have to attend any training? If you need to maybe some simple changes to the text, how long would it take you. If you wanted to drive some information from a postgres database to your flash, how hard would that be?

I guess I am trying to figure out if any sort of Flash based tech has a role in real enterprise application development.

Re:Does Flash have a niche? (1)

Scaba (183684) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608604)

From a quick look at the site, it seems Macromedia is trying to create a browser that reads only Flash content. I wonder why anyone would use such a thing. Am I missing something?

Re:Does Flash have a niche? (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608729)

Actually, the swf format which Flash outputs to is open and freely available.
What you term "Flash" is just Macromedias way of outputting to that format - the UI of working with it.
You can generate swf on the fly with other code, even off of a live web server in real time with php if you want.

Flash allows you to do many things - most people on here are bitching about it because they have only ever seen it in annoying ads on webpages, or maybe in Homestarrunner.com - the latter being closer to cool things you can do with it.

Where I currently work, we use Flash to design content for learning tools on CDs - which can then be easily ported over to be on the web as well.
They are far more complicated than anything on the web, and Flash handles it just fine.

That said, Flash is just a front end - it could work with servers and be a mail client easily, but couldn't ever be a webserver.

How open is the swf format? (1)

jjn1056 (85209) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608778)

I tried to read the swf content license and could not figure it out. This is why I rejected an application someone wanted to write in Perl which would output swf files. I am concerned that Macromedia could just change the format and break all the code.

Any lawyers out there with the ability to address my concerns? Otherwise, I see no reason to not just use SVG instead...

Re:How open is the swf format? (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608857)

The work I do with it currently doesn't really matter at all to me if it is open or not. Our client buys over 20K laptops at the same time and configures them all the same way - so we always know what platform we are on, and we know that they will always have the Flash version of N.

I assume you have already looked at http://www.openswf.org/ ??

The Flash player is built into IE currently and works with the other browsers - if you want an SVG player (which is basically a stripped down Flash player) by anyone, that is going to run into similar issues if they break standards.

In the end, my main arguement is that people write something off entirely because it doesn't work for one thing that they focus on - "Flash sucks because I hate ads" is a it extreme - and there is a lot of that here.
If you would rather use SVG for your application, go for it.

Re:Does Flash have a niche? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608731)

In a world of true open standards . . . does Flash (TM) have any role?

Evil Nemesis? Counter example? I guess we already have Microsoft for that.

Re:Does Flash have a niche? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608931)

When you want a simple way to create a powerful GUI in a closed, proprietary system that runs on a limited set of browsers running on only 2 operating systems - choose flash.

NO BLOD FOR OIL!!! THIS IS A DIE-IN!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608511)

This is a DIE-IN!

EVERYBODY who doesn't support bush's imperialistaic policies and bloodlust for oil POST HERE and we'll clog the article!!!!

WE WILL BE HEARED!

Re:NO BLOD FOR OIL!!! THIS IS A DIE-IN!!! (0, Offtopic)

alta (1263) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608560)

Actually, I support Bush. I think they problem is you are only interested in saving your own blood and the blood of the dictators in charge. What about the blood of all the innocents he and his regime has killed since '79?

Re:NO BLOD FOR OIL!!! THIS IS A DIE-IN!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608758)

What about the blood of all the innocents he and his regime has killed since '79?

Who, Bush or Hussein?

Re:NO BLOD FOR OIL!!! THIS IS A DIE-IN!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608589)

Please die.

Finally! (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608513)

It will also allow developers to create and sell their own applications.

It's about time a technology company included this great feature in a product!

Cool (1)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608520)

I've always wanted to download, store, and interact with all of those awesome site Flash intros.

That's nice (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608536)

Now I can have Pop up ad's bother me when I'm offline now.

It's bad Enough I had to put up with that stupid Harry Potter Owl flying all over a webpage. Now it can fly all over my desktop too.

same as macromedia exchange (1)

alta (1263) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608538)

This is the same thing they impelmented the new macromedia exchange in about a month ago. It's kinda neat but they lost features over the web based, you can't book mark pages, it doesn't act like you'd expect and it responded slower than a webpage that had the same functionality.

Bubba... (1)

spotlight2k3 (652521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608546)

Quick power up the generator, so we can turn that new fangled puter on and play flash hunt'n...

Flash, blah. (1)

dracol1ch (628484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608551)

The only worth while application of flash I've ever seen [homestarrunner.com]

Re:Flash, blah. (1)

Farmer Jimbo (515393) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608889)

And a specific Strong Bad email on the subject of website design, still makes me laugh:

Strong Bad on website design [homestarrunner.com] .

(offtopic) - breaking news - chem weapons found! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608561)

I know this is offtopic, but CNN is reporting that a stash of casings found yesterday were, in fact, chemical weapons. The amount or type is not yet known.

A flash player that can disable features? (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608565)

Is there any kind of Flash player which will allow you to blaock features, or prevent the blocking of features?

A lot of the Flash ads out there will allow you to right-click and bring up a menu that you can use to turn off the animation. But apparently the app can disable that option so you can't stop the ad. Is there anything that allows you the kind of control that Mozilla does with Javascript and such?

Re:A flash player that can disable features? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608593)

Not exactly what you are asking for, but I just use Proxomitron [proxomitron.org] . It turns flash into a link, so I can look if I want, but I'm not force to.

How about a MUTE button? (1)

British (51765) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608605)

What's desperately needed in the Flash player context menu is a simple Mute option. I'm assuming Macromedia trusted authors to put in a mute widget, but apparently most flash authors of annoying banner ads cannot be bothered to put it in all the time. I don't like visiting Yahoo to have it blare out some noisy ad for a Honda Element when I'm listening to music.

TROG-DOR!!! (1)

.sig (180877) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608567)

Does this mean I can finally save all my favorite Homestar Runner [homestarrunner.com] cartoons for off-line enjoyment as well? Will wonders never cease?

Re:TROG-DOR!!! (1)

H0NGK0NGPH00EY (210370) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608673)

Actually you can do that already. It's not the easiest thing, but I have the entire site (~100MB) on my hard drive. You just need a list of links to the swf and html files. This [attbi.com] is a good place to start. It's a bit outdated, but from there I got most everything that's on the site.

Enjoy!

Phear Phlash (1)

Foxxz (106642) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608585)

I would have more respect for flash if it wasnt used in so many bad animations and evil clips. it has brought horror to my eyes time and time again. it allows the talentless to prove that they have no talent. I gouge my eyeballs now.

-Foxxz

Re:Phear Phlash (1)

dnahelix (598670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608788)

That's like saying you don't respect oil painting because someone painted a 'Matador on Black Velvet.' There are some 'Mona Lisa's' out there.

Re:Phear Phlash (1)

Foxxz (106642) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608929)

Yea, but when it rains, both the good and bad people get wet.

-Foxxz

Too bad (1)

Buskaatt (124333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608588)

I found no information at the link re: platform support, but I bet that, just like the plugin, they won't bother with Linux for the PPC. Unless, of course, they listen to this [wizdev.net] .

Flash is annoying enough on the web... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5608591)

I don't need my apps having flash intros! Splash screens are bad enough!

Wee (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608595)

Too bad I missed first-post, ah well:

Way of the Exploding Stick [beryllium.ca]

If you're careful, you can even play it offline! heheh :)

How ... (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608598)

How many times has my browser frozen when flash plugin loads ?
How many times have i been annoyed by those big flash ads on yahoo, cnet etc ?
After removing flash how many times have i been annoyed by "flash plug-in required" dialog box ?
Seriously the disadvantages of flash far out-weigh any advantages.
NO FLASH FOR ME..

Macromedia petition. (1)

dev_sda (533180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608621)

Petition Macromedia to port Flash to Linux/PPC [wizdev.net]

I refuse to install flash, or view any websites that use flash until Macromedia has provided a PPC linux plugin. You should too.

Re:Macromedia petition. (2, Insightful)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608783)

"I refuse to install flash, or view any websites that use flash until Macromedia has provided a PPC linux plugin. You should too. "

"I refuse to use your product until I can use it!"

Re:Macromedia petition. (1)

dev_sda (533180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608863)

Some of us have multiple systems. Flash is not installed on my x86 systems either. Including windows and linux boxen.

Re:Macromedia petition. (1)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608928)

"Some of us have multiple systems. Flash is not installed on my x86 systems either. Including windows and linux boxen."

Macromedia's not going to care because they get paid by the content providers, not the end user.

You're not boycotting Macromedia, you're boycotting individual websites, assuming they don't provide a non-flash alternative.

Sooner or later you're going to have to face facts. Not every OS gets everything the other OS's get. Linux isn't going to get ActiveX, for example. That's a result of competition. Frankly, as a Linux user, I'm surprised that this Macromedia thing bothers you. Are you going to boycott game companies that don't port to Linux?

Re:Macromedia petition. (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608877)

I refuse to use Flash webpages even if they do make a PPC plugin. Infact, i boycott all webpages which use flash no matter what.

Does this mean... (1)

SniperPuppy (443143) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608657)

...That I'll be able to get my Strong Bad Email [homestarrunner.com] fix when my ISP is down? If so, COOL!

Let me think... (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608716)

I can think of only three reasons to use flash for interractive web applications:
1. You only need to write it once.
2. You don't need to test it for each browser.
3. It automatically resolves differing resolution issues--if you have a high or low resolution screen the flash movie can automatically compensate.

Those three reasons save me at least half of my development time and headaches.

BTM

Re:Let me think... (1)

yelvington (8169) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608878)

OK, here are some more.

It supports streaming media (audio and video) in a smart, reliable, cross-platform way without hosing up anybody's system settings or trying to hijack anybody's computer (as do Microsoft, Apple, and Real). If you'll look closely you'll see that MSNBC.com is using Flash audio instead of Microsoft -native cruft.

Here's a surprise: It does a great job of separating content from presentation. I can create a highly complex basemap that needs to be downloaded only once, then add/update/plot new information by having Flash refer to a dynamically updated text file.

WTF??? - 500 Internal Server Error (0, Offtopic)

Znonymous Coward (615009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608759)

Internal Server Error
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, pater@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

Apache/1.3.26 Server at slashdot.org Port 80

Yay! (1)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608763)

Another proprietary file format that I can't view with my linux box! Hooray!

If only (1)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608766)

If only this was possible with a java applet. Imagine the cross platform power of it!

Re:If only (1)

louzerr (97449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608806)

Oh, but you can! Applets can do anything that Flash can do, but just don't have the slick environment for development ('slick' could also be replaced with 'awful', depending on your perspective).

So get out there and write a java app for building applets. One key work: introspection!

Re:If only (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608898)

What rock have you been living under? it IS possible with java apps.

Flash is wonderful, but misused (1)

louzerr (97449) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608770)

I've hated Flash, just like I've hated Java Applets. The problem is that too many times, people don't think through WHAT they want to accomplish, and HOW to accomplish it in the simplest fasion.

Flash can actually be very useful for data-driven applications. It can load XML from the server, where I've written apps in PHP and JSP to generate the XML. Very cool, very self-contained. I could do the same thing with an Applet, but with Flash, the framework is already there.

But then I also see people using flash just to mimic javascript roll-over behavior. Very Stupid!

It's not the technology guys - is the people who (mis)use it.

Offline apps for Flash -- dumb headline (1)

ianscot (591483) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608774)

There are lots of stand-alone Flash movies -- kiosks can use them, for one thing. Gliddon, the paint company, sells a little Flash application for helping you choose paint colors in a variety of different rooms. (Costs maybe five bucks at the Home Despot.)

Central isn't about "offline" use; it sounds more like a "distributed" Flash. You can use Flash on- or offline now, but it's set up to act like a discrete, enclosed app, and basically you can go to "external" sites, or other Flash apps, through urls. The press release:

Macromedia Central takes advantage of the Internet's evolution into a worldwide platform that provides distributed data storage, distributed computing, and real-time communication. Central delivers an application metaphor to tackle this new world of information by providing instant delivery of applications, a try/buy infrastructure, support for occasionally connected computing, cooperative applications, and open data formats.

1999 Deja Vu (1)

Bluejay42 (234007) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608775)

Just me, or is this scarily reminiscent of the 1999 talk of how web tech (Flash!?!) is going to save the world?

From the white paper:
It's 6am and time for Lisa to get up. The kids are still asleep and she opens her laptop. She immediately connects to her 802.11 network at home. Macromedia Central notices that she is online and updates information on movie listings, weather, and recipe of the day from Lisa's favorite cooking site. She checks out today's recipe to see what it's suggesting: a mushroom / scallion soup. She sends the recipe's ingredient list directly to her grocery store application, which immediately adds the ingredients with the appropriate amounts to the shopping cart. She adds a few additional items to the cart, specifies a delivery for that evening. Because applications in Central can be used together, and it already knows her preferences and her login, this takes just a moment.

Technology and Industry! (1)

alaric187 (633477) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608785)

Sweet! Now I can try to punch that damn monkey when I'm offline too! Maybe next they can just send people to my house to sell me things while I'm looking for pr0... I mean researching for my paper.

Flash authors? (1)

LinuxInDallas (73952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608789)

I know I have seen the term "authors" used before when talking about people that create Flash aps. Can someone educate me here? Is there a reason why these people aren't considered developers? Is it not a programming environment? I don't know anything about "authoring" with Flash so it would be interesting to hear.

this is Java's missed boat (4, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608802)

Sun originally promised a platform for delivering client apps over the web. AWT may have been limited, but it was way better than anything Macromedia is producing.

But today, Flash ships with just about every browser and there is far more dynamic web content in Flash than in Java. Why? Because Macromedia didn't unnecessarily taunt Microsoft ("we are going to make Windows irrelevant"), because they worked hard to get Flash shipped with everything, and because they focused on authoring tools. And, strangely enough, Macromedia graphics works on Linux, while Sun keeps complaining and changing their implementation.

Sun, in contrast, did everything they could to get into Microsoft's cross-hairs, they didn't fix their bugs, they kept changing their strategies, and they never produced decent authoring tools. Now, Java is mostly a server-side technology. But that's not a particularly secure niche, since Java-style sandboxing is needed much less on the server than for downloadable applications, and because there are lots of alternatives on the server.

I don't think Macromedia will be successful at turning Flash into an application platform. But they sure are trying, and they are a lot more successful with worse technology than Sun with Java.

Re:this is Java's missed boat (1)

mbbac (568880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608885)

There isn't any sandboxing with Java applications. Only the applets that run in an applet viewer (like a browser). Java on the server allows people to write secure code (see this article [securityfocus.com] ).

JAVA? (1)

oZZoZZ (627043) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608814)

Does anyone else see flash as possibly a competetor to Java? I mean it started as an vector-animation tool, and now it's already got scripting, database support, and now offline capabilities..

I wonder where MM decides to go with this..

Sherlock? (1)

mbbac (568880) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608822)

This looks [macromedia.com] like Macromedia's version of Sherlock [apple.com] (or Watson [karelia.com] ).

Flash Already offline capable (1)

DonkeyJimmy (599788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608825)

Ok, so I understand that this technology is more then just offline flash, but still- flash is capable of being executed offline.

The problem is usually in getting the flash files. If you know their names already, it's easy. If not, it's still not hard. Load up the file from the internet, then check your cache. The .swf file will be the one you want. In some cases it will be obvious which .swf you want (Strong bad email = sbemail##.swf), but in other cases, you can just clear you cache before you load the page. Then it will be the only one in the directory.

My computer doesn't know what to do with a .swf file once I get it, but once I tell it to load with browser-of-choice it works fine. Trogdor is now a perminate resident of my computer.

Flash Already offline capable -- MORE (1)

DonkeyJimmy (599788) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608870)

Oh I forgot to mention, once you have the .swf file on your computer, you have more control over it. You can resize it, use the playback commands, change the quality, and whatever else flash normally allows of you. It's a lot better then the reduced command set you have on some sites. Full screen trogdor [homestarrunner.com] is even better =).

I don't get it (1)

Visaris (553352) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608841)

I'm not sure if anyone said this or not, but flash will work when used offline. I download flash movies all the time and have no problem using them. I have to say, I don't quite get it...

Guh? (1)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608848)

My coworker (a Flash developer) said it best - "All it is is just Watson [karelia.com] ." This seems like a way to build small, single purpose apps that do small, single purpose things. Too bad they can't be chained together with | and > like Unix's small, single purpose apps.

SWAMPFLY!!! (1)

dnahelix (598670) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608860)

SWAMPFLY [oz.net]

Whos Fault? (1)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608903)

It's unfortunate that macromedia takes such crap from people for flash. I don't see people attacking Visual Studio for the existence of spyware, trojans and buggy applications.

The gripes with flash are completely the fault of the developers. Flash is an intelligent application with great potential for online games, audio and video, interactive forms, etc. If web developers decide to use its power in idiotic ways, blame the web site not Macromedia.

This new technology from Macromedia will make it easy for my band to make a little app that plays music and shows band pics, and I don't need a CS degree to build it. And it will work on a Mac, Windows and maybe even Linux. I can't see anything worng with this.

Other Alternatives (1)

TeachingMachines (519187) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608906)

Macromedia deserves some credit for staying in tune with the development world. But lets face it: Flash is for art majors. Even with its "standard" controls that are now available (e.g., scrolling text box), it is still a difficult environment to control; you always feel like "this could look so much better with this spinning, pulsing button." All those vector calculations in Flash still bring a PII to its knees. If people are interested in Web applications, they migh consider Runtime Revolution [runrev.com] , a cheap ($300) cross-platform (Mac, Win, Linux, etc.) alternative with native support for sockets and other amazing tools, including multimedia support, that really allow you to accomplish what needs to be done. I've spent a LOT of time trying to find the right rapid application developement tools for the job, and Runtime Revolution has yet to be beat. Python [python.org] with Boa Constructor (v .2) [sourceforge.net] and Mcmillan installers [mcmillan-inc.com] is certainly awesome, but the multimedia (i.e., Quicktime) just isn't there yet. In other words, there are a lot of very nice alternatives to Flash, which is really not much more than a glorified banner advertisement tool.

The only legitimate use of Flash I've seen... (1)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608916)

...are Animutations [animutation.com] . ;-)

Scuse me? (1)

silvakow (91320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5608925)

Other than annoying website navigation, some web games, and short movie clips, what's Flash used for? I don't think I'm the only one wondering what someone would use this for.
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