Over the releases of new versions of Flash CS4, Adobe has made Flash more and more controllable via programming, where they have it positioned as a competitor to HTML to build interactive web sites and applications such as an e-commerce store. Adobe argues that Flash is the way to go instead of HTML because of the following reasons:
- Flash movies load faster and save on download time because Flash is vector based whereas HTML is not.
- Flash intelligently caches its movies so they don't have to be reloaded.
- Flash gives the user (the person viewing/using the Flash movie) a more responsive rich-client like experience.
- Due to its vector based it is developing itself more and more in online designing tool too.
- It is developing more and more in RIA.
All of these points are true, but they can be true for HTML pages as
Flash pages can be made to load faster, but most of the time, the way they are designed in the real world, they do not. That is not a Flash problem; it is more an issue of the Flash developers going nuts with fancy and heavy Flash movies.
HTML caches pages as well, once images are downloaded they are held in your browser's cache. The cached images are then used instead of downloading them from the server again.
With new technology like ASP.net and Java Server Faces, HTML now can react just like a rich-client application. Even without these new tools, properly designed HTML for most dynamic sites can provide a good user experience.
What DO I have against Flash?
Before I start trashing Flash, I have to first say that I think it is a great tool, but not in all things and certainly not in the all-encompassing way that Adobe would suggest. Here's why:
Flash development usually takes much longer than the HTML equivalent. This has been helped to a great degree starting with the release of FLASH CS4 where they essential provided HTML form components, but it is still slower to create a Flash site than an HTML site.
Its player version issue, this might not be the problem of flash but since it's user are not updating the player time to time it makes things goes very mad in many cases.
What I like about Flash development?
You can do some really nice work in Flash that would be difficult and sometimes impossible in HTML alone. Things like complex animations and playing video spring to mind.
2. Practically no browser issues: For the most part, Flash movies will work the same if the user is on Netscape or IE, on Mac or PC. The browser issues (where people coming to your site have different browsers that can break your pages) are quickly becoming a thing of the past since most people (thank the web gods) are using IE. But even today, I still have to deal with people who may be using some old browser that can break all but the simplest of HTML code.
So when should you use Flash?
In my humble opinion, I would use Flash to create a presentation that is similar to a television commercial. This type of presentation is something where the user sits back and enjoys the show as the Flash movie delivers the message to the client with animation, sound, and possibly video. Please do not get this confused with those ubiquitous intro animations that still plague many Flash sites. Rather I am talking about informative movies that the user can decide to view to learn about something like a product or a service.
I can also see Flash being used in straight animations, like what your kids watch Saturday morning. One last use where I find Flash handy is with so called rich-UI components like calendars or fancy navigational systems. The only danger here is that if the user doesn't have the proper Flash plug-in, they won't be able to use those components and as such in many cases (like with a Flash based navigation bar) the user will not be able to use your web site!
I internet applications, it is very useful and easy alternate to Ajax or any other such tools for online data update and data streaming and is the perfect solution if you want to manage you application in internet.
Flash and Actionscript
With the development in the flash and its animation there is more and more requirement for the some type of script to manage the animation where Actionscript plays a great role. Actionscript was started with the flash, In the recent year there are many development in it too. Actionscript 2 and Actionscript 3 are the current version we are using looking at the method of use and its development process we can clearly identify the progress in this.
There is a huge change in the user range and its use of flash in last few years which made a flash to develop special tools like Flex for further extension of flash and to manage the limitation of flash use. I think there a great future for flash and its use in Internet world.