What is Flash actually?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by DrHouse, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. DrHouse
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    DrHouse iPad Junkie

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    Flash is surely one of the biggest issue in the iPad community. But after reading so many posts about flash on the forum, I realized that a lot of people just don't understand what flash is...

    Flash is a framework allowing you to do more on the web than what HTML was able to do a few years ago. With it, you can create games, applications, good looking UI, etc... Overall, it's another Java style applet with a lot more power!

    There is no such thing as a flash video. It is not s format by itself (yes, I know, there is the flv format which is just another encoding format like mpeg or divx). The idea in the first place of using Flash to play videos was not to create the ultimate video player for the web, but to prevent the download of those movies files. That's how major content provider turned to flash to avoid people leeching their content and force them to visit their website when you wanted to watch their content. This way, they would ensure ad revenue and avoid users to profit from their content on other website. That's why DownloadHelper for Firefox was born to overcome that restriction. If that was not the case, then you would have a direct link to the video file on the website for those not using the flash player so you could use your own media player to watch the content...

    One of the great thing about Flash is that it can deliver online games or applications without having to install anything on your computer. As Java was able to do so, but Flash pushed the limit to an awesome framework delivering and awesome rich experience over the web.

    The problem is that devs started using Flash for all kinds of stuff just because it was so much easier to do than in plain HTML/JavaScript. They started using Flash as a de facto technology for things as simple as displaying ads...

    So you have a browser supporting a "universal" technology for accessing information, but it serves as a plugin player, leaving the third party plugin do the job. It's like having a browser in a browser... The major issue is that there is only one provider for the development tools and the player by itself: Adobe! Try to create flash content with your notepad, or another IDE... You'll be out of luck! You will have to use Adobe products! In the open world of Internet, having such a limitation is really not a good thing.

    Remember when you had to have RealPlayer to play RealMedia files? Or now with Silverlight trying to to the same thing as flash? And what about those MS Word files that could only be open using Office? How often did you cursed a website for using Java to upload a file? Oh yeah, my favorite: IE mandatory websites!

    Everything is going the open format now: document files, information access, VoIP, media encoding, etc... People and business got tired of being provider dependent and locked in a world where they could not have a choice of how they would manage data. And flash is going the opposite way...

    VicoPad addict!
  2. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    In my past life as a web designer I used to create a lot of Flash content and even fully Flash based websites for my clients. (I'm embarrassed to acknowledge that some still exist!) It was nice while it lasted but Flash is now a bloated, aging slug of a content delivery system compared to more recent technology. It uses an inordinate amount of power (actual electrical power) to run by comparison as well and Apple was very wise IMO to skip it on the iPad.

    Flash is a dying technology just like the floppy disc, USB 1.0, DOS, boxed software and the buggy whip. It too will pass.

    My new Macbook Air didn't come with Flash and I've never installed it. Of course my iPad doesn't have it either and, kind of like black and white TV and bell bottom pants...I really don't miss it. ;)
  3. riverrat15
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    riverrat15 iPF Noob

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    You are right about Flash.

    You seem to miss the important part of Flash, just like Apple. As a consumer I want access to any site, not just Apple or any other companies controlled site. I like my woodworking and hone improvement sites that are still in Flash.

    I have a cabinet full of VHS Movies. I'm not ready to throw them out for BlueRay.

    My cabinet saw is a old Iron Rockwell from the 50's. I do not need a new saw.

    New may be better but may not be needed or wanted by all.

    Change will happen, but choice should be up to the consumer.
  4. Catfiend
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    Catfiend iPad Fan

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    Good analogy! You wouldn't expect a new VHS player to give you all of the features of a geewhiz BlueRay player, right? So why would you expect a new geewhiz tech toy to support old technology?

    Thankfully the choice is yours. Just like you have the choice to replace your VHS player with a backward compatible one or you can bite the bullet and go new tech. I'm fine with a VHS player myself but I'm happy to have gone new tech with my tablet. Still, for those who want backward compatibility I'm sure that someone will eventually come out with a decent tablet that runs Flash without crashing too often ;)
  5. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    Another definition of Flash:

    Flash occurs when a thin layer of material is forced out of the mold cavity at the parting line or ejector pins location. This excess material remains attached to the molded article, and normally has to be manually removed. Typically caused by worn or poorly fitting cavity/mold plates
    including mold plate deformations and obstructions (grease, dirt, debris).

    In other words: it's an excessive defect that needs to be removed.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad 2 using iPF

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  6. DrHouse
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    DrHouse iPad Junkie

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    Huh? Have you read what you wrote? You don't want any site controlled by a company? This is exactly my point! I don't want only one company to control my access to information and Adobe is exactly doing that with Flash... They are forcing you to use their product to visit some sites. And that's what Apple is trying to avoid. Websites should be universal and you should be able to use whatever browser that you wish. Could you name one site that is company dependent? Is there any site only available to Apple products? Some time ago, there was some sites that were accessible only using Microsoft products (IE) and people were angry with that... Haven't we learned something?

    VicoPad addict!
  7. the_john
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    the_john iPad Fan

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    Buggy whips can be used for other things.

    Sent from my iPad2 A1396 using iPF
  8. Mtnmedic
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    Mtnmedic iPad Junkie

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    Gee, I dunno...whippin' bugs flying throughout he air is kinda hard. But if Bruce Lee can pick 'em outta the air with a pair of chopsticks, I guess it can be done.

    Michael "Spam, spam, bacon, eggs and spam. Hold the bacon and eggs." Sent from my iPad 2 using iPF
  9. Taylork1
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    Taylork1 iPF Novice

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    True. But expect my VHS player to play all of my VHS tapes.
  10. snoitan
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    snoitan iPF Novice

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    Flash should be used as little as possible. Not only is it a dying technology, it also won't show up in search results. When a company hides information in Flash, it makes it harder for customers to find it.

    Flash should be used as its name implies, to make a website look a little flashy. It shouldn't be used as a substitute development platform except in the obvious situations (flash games, etc.)

    Now that HTML 5 elements are making their way into the popular browsers, designers should opt for an AJAX/HTML 5 solution whenever possible.
  11. DrHouse
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    DrHouse iPad Junkie

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    Quite happy to see that the thread has not become another flash war :)

    VicoPad addict!
  12. snoitan
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    snoitan iPF Novice

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    Grr, Flash Baad, Hulk Gooood...

    BTW, I think Adobe will migrate Flash to become a development platform for HTML 5 as it becomes more sophisticated. They've already started this with a converter that will take simple Flash files and convert them to be HTML 5 compatible.

    With the advances we may see in the next 10 years as HTML 5 elements become standardized and work themselves into the browsers, the need for a web development platform will increase.
  13. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Naturally...but you wouldn't expect your Blu-ray player to play your VHS tapes correct?
  14. Thphilli
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    Thphilli iPad Enthusiast

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    The whole Blu-ray/VHS comparison is ridiculous. There is no "Bluray" with regards to online video yet. The HTML5 standard isn't going to be finished for YEARS. By the time its finished, what happens if Apple supported HTML5 encode, h.264, isn't the one that is the standard? Only SOME HTML5 videos will work with apple products. That is ridiculous.
  15. DrHouse
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    DrHouse iPad Junkie

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    Maybe HTML 5 is not finished, but that does not make flash issues irrelevant. Flash issues are a current matter. But you are assuming that there will be HTML 5 video format issues... I'm pretty sure that those issues won't happen as they will find the solution.

    As for the video encoding, there are several scenarios possible:

    - everybody will agree on one format (I doubt it...)
    - there will be 3-4 format to support, which all browsers will support anyway
    - websites will have 3-4 formats for each media to support all kind of browsers... (YouTube is already doing that)

    Also, you have to keep in mind that a flash player is not running in native mode but in byte code, which makes it slower than a true native player... Since a lot of content is going HD, we will need that power to decode the video stream...

    VicoPad addict!
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  16. snoitan
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  17. Seadog
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    Seadog Super Moderator Staff Member

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    At the pace of change today, if you wait for the final implemented standard, you will be forever waiting. There are already people working on the next standard after HTML5. And maybe past that. The way they work, the basics of the standards are laid out first, and then they work on the fine tuning. It can be years before they get the tuning down pat. In the meantime, the information is there to create devices that will be compatible. The only thing they require is tweaking the programming when more of the code is completed. There is a lot of this going on, and it can be years before the standard is finished, but that does not mean it cannot be used now.
  18. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    I don't think there's any real VHS/Blu-ray "comparisons". The OP stated that he naturally expected his VHS tapes to play in his VHS player. I simply asked if the OP expected one (antiquated) format (VHS tapes) to work with newer technology.

    Apple has never had a problem abandoning dying technology for something better. I actually do wish they had embraced Blu-ray but that's their choice and there are alternatives. I don't hold a grudge against Apple for not including a floppy disk drive...or any drive for that matter...in my new Macbook Air. Just because something still exists doesn't mean it will be backward compatible for eternity. My iPad's battery life would not be as stellar as it is if it were to have to run Flash. I'm glad they made that decision. YMMV.

    I get that Flash is still prevalent and that many folks would like their iPad's to play it out of the box (as there are apps for a work around) but it doesn't. However, again, that's Apple's choice and it's been that way from day one. You can disagree with their choice and you can also buy something else that does what you'd like.

    The theory about the future/timeline of HTML 5 and other tech is interesting. Only time will tell. However the "what if they have problems with some other technology in the future" is a straw man argument. If you're looking for a "silver bullet" [insert CE product here] that will (ostensibly) work with everything out there, let us know how that goes. :)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
  19. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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  20. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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