Watch the Use of the “F” Bomb

While visiting with vendors at the recent mLearnCon conference in San Jose, I had two vendors that in advertently put me on the defensive. This isn’t something you want to do if you are trying to sell a product or service. Both the vendors spoke despairingly about Flash and one person was even outright wrong in their assessment of Flash. Vendors, please don’t bash Flash with false information to a person who teaches Flash to other developers. Granted the vendor doesn’t know my background but a quick question or two would REALLY help you know about my background. I know Flash well and I know its short comings. I left the vendors feeling as if Flash had become the new “F” bomb.

While I recognize there are some limitations with Flash, I honestly feel that it is being beat up on by people who only have a little bit of knowledge and don’t fully understand the technology. Flash is NOT the be-all end-all tool. There are times when Flash is a technology that you want to stay away from. However, in many cases it is a great tool.

Let me share an experience I had with you regarding Flash vs. HTML5. I read an article from an author who was one of the people preaching that Flash is dead. He then showed an animation that he made using HTML5, CSS3 and some JavaScript. He spent close to a week making this animation. When I watched it, it didn’t work because I wasn’t viewing it in Google Chrome. So I loaded it up in Google Chrome and it ran very choppy. The second time I watched it, the animation was better but “mechanical”. After watching this 30 second animation, I know that I could reproduce the same animation in Flash in about 3 hours if I had the assets at my finger tips. The animation would also be very smooth, run smoothly the first time and would work in all major browsers. So one week with HTML5 or 3 hours in Flash. I will point out though that as HTML5 development tools get better, the work flow will be reduced.

If someone tells you that Flash is dead or treats the word Flash like you said the “F” bomb, please know they are speaking from a very bias point of view. Likewise if someone says Flash is the answer to all your needs, please nod politely and back away. This person may be taking you for a ride. Personally, I feel Flash is a good tool but it is only one in my arsenal that I use when developing eLearning/mLearning.

(you can follow Phil on Twitter @CanadianPacMan)

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