Musings from Mars Banner Image
For Software Addicts: Yes!MaybeNah!
Mars Report:

Seriously Twisted ZDNet Writer Wants Ajax To Stay Out of Flash’s Way

Published October 4th, 2006 » Don’t try to do interactive graphics with Ajax This guy Ryan Stewart is on a campaign to convince developers that Ajax is too limited to do really advanced graphical applications... that you should use Flash or---heaven forbid---Windows Application Foundation instead.  Heck, if that's what you want, why not just chuck the browser and build a desktop client?

Guys like Ryan Stewart don't understand that the web is built on open standards, and that the web browser is a client that understands how to interpret and display those standards.  The standards themselves have matured greatly since the early-to-mid 1990's, and more standards have been added to the web browser's repertoire.  But the fact is that Flash is not a native content type that the web browser understands... it does so only through plugins.  Folks who argue that the rich-interface web should be built with native standards like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are making the case for continued reliance on open standards in web application development.  Why?  I know the reason it matters to me is that I don't want to see the web fractured along proprietary-standard lines.


Although Flash is widely deployed, well respected, and powerful, it's not an open standard.  It's a legitimate foundation for application development, but it's not web-based development... web as in World Wide Web... as in Tim Berners-Lee and his NextStep HTML browser.  

At least Flash is cross-platform, however.  To talk about Windows Presentation Foundation in the same breath with talk of web application development is simply a commercial argument for Microsoft Windows.  Folks who think this way don't care about non-Windows platforms, and in fact would likely prefer that they just go away.  

Apollo and Flex are more likely to work cross-platform, but they are still commercial products from one company--Adobe.  To allow any one company to usurp the power of open standards on which the web is built is simply to argue against the web browser itself.  Ever since Microsoft engaged Netscape in battle 10 years ago, companies have tried to lay claim on the "standards" for web development, and I sincerely hope that web developers continue to resist those efforts.  

It may be that SVG and Canvas are too young to build fancy graphical apps with.  But they won't be young for long!  In the meantime, I have no objection to pulling in a flash object now and then as the need arises, just as I think it's fine to use java or QuickTime or other plugin objects.  But let's remember they are plugins.  HTML does not plug in to Flash, folks... it's the other way around, or it's no longer a web application.

  • Google
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • blogmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx

Show Comments
Just Say No To Flash