Daniel Eran Dilger
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An Adobe Flash developer on why the iPad can’t use Flash

Daniel Eran Dilger

Morgan Adams, an interactive content developer who knows a lot about building Flash, wrote in with an interesting perspective on Flash and the iPad. The remainder of this piece is his comments on the subject.

Inside Apple’s iPad: Adobe Flash
.
I’m biased. I’m a full-time Flash developer and I’d love to get paid to make Flash sites for iPad. I want that to make sense—but it doesn’t. Flash on the iPad will not (and should not) happen—and the main reason, as I see it, is one that never gets talked about:

Current Flash sites could never be made work well on any touchscreen device, and this cannot be solved by Apple, Adobe, or magical new hardware.

That’s not because of slow mobile performance, battery drain or crashes. It’s because of the hover or mouseover problem.

Many (if not most) current Flash games, menus, and even video players require a visible mouse pointer. They are coded to rely on the difference between hovering over something (mouseover) vs. actually clicking. This distinction is not rare. It’s pervasive, fundamental to interactive design, and vital to the basic use of Flash content. New Flash content designed just for touchscreens can be done, but people want existing Flash sites to work. All of them—not just some here and there—and in a usable manner. That’s impossible no matter what.

All that Apple and Adobe could ever do is make current Flash content visible. It would be seen, but very often would not work. Users would hate that broken promise much more than they hate gaps in pages, missing banner ads, and the need to download a game once from the App Store instead of re-downloading it every time they visit a Flash game page.

Mouseover examples:

* Video players where the controls appear on mouseover and hide otherwise. (This seems to be the norm, in fact. Whereas a click on the same video does something different: usually Pause. Try Hulu for instance.)

* Games where you steer with the mouse without clicking (extremely common).

* Menus that popup up subpage links when you mouse over a main button, vs. going directly to a main category page when you click.

* Buttons that have important explanations/summaries on mouseover, which you need to understand before deciding what to click.

* Functions that use mouseover to preview and click to commit; such as choosing hair colors for an avatar: you mouse over the colors until your character looks the way you like, and then you click to commit.

* Maps and diagrams that don’t use click at all, but pop up info as you mouse around.

* Numerous other custom mouseover functions that “just work” with a mouse and need no explanation.

None of these things can work right with a finger (or traditional stylus) because on a touchscreen, pointing at something without clicking isn’t a mouseover: it’s just holding your finger vaguely in the air. The device doesn’t even know it’s happening.

In addition, some Flash sites rely on right-clicks (such as for security settings), and many rely on a physical keyboard. Especially games, which are the main kind of content people want from Flash. (I’d say video, except video can easily be done without Flash, and sites are increasingly doing so. Much of the video missing from your favorite Flash site is probably easily found on YouTube anyway.) Games often use realtime key control, requiring a distinction between a single press and a long hold, and including the need for chording. For instance: holding right arrow continuously to walk, while simultaneously hitting the space bar to fire, and either hitting up-arrow once to jump or holding up-arrow longer to jump higher. A touchscreen keyboard can’t handle these kinds of rapid, precise combinations well. And the keyboard would block the game view, too. Games on a touchscreen need controls suitable for a touchscreen (and/or tilt).

The only potential “solutions” to the mouseover problem are terrible ones:

A) The best case: every Flash app on every site is re-thought by its designers and re-coded by its programmers (if they’re even still available), just for touchscreens. They wouldn’t use mouseovers any more—or else they’d have dual versions of all Flash content, so that mouse users could still benefit from the mouseovers they are used to. That’s a ton of work across the Web, for thousands of parties, and just isn’t going to happen. Plus, with many sites, mouseovers are so fundamental that the very concept of the site would be altered, creating a whole different experience that would annoy and confuse the site’s existing users. (And would this be any easier than simply re-designing without Flash at all? Not always.)

B) Gestures, finger gymnastics or extra physical buttons are created that simulate mouseover—which is absurd since mouseovers, by their nature, are meant to be simpler than a click/tap, not more complex. And meant to be natural, not something new to learn. Not a whole set of habits that violates our desktop habits. And any additional complexity is unworkable when it comes to games: you need to react quickly and simply, not remember when to hold the Simulate Mouseover button, or use three fingers, or whatever. The game itself is enough to deal with. Anything on top of that takes away fun.

C) Make clicking itself—the fundamental, constantly-used action—MORE complex. Such as requiring a double-tap or two-finger tap before anything is registered. (Two taps is how Mobile Safari does JavaScript popup menus: the first tap pops it up, the second selects.) But many Flash apps and games already use double-click (or rapid-fire clicking) for other things. Extra taps only make sense for certain limited situations (like menu popups). And it’s not just clicking: you have to allow for movement: dragging vs. a moving mouseover. And even if a system could be created that was quick and simple enough to do all this in the middle of a game, how would the user know which parts of a web page played by these special rules? One part of a page (the Flash elements) would do fundamental things like scrolling or link-clicking differently from the rest of the page! (Not to mention the rest of your touch-based apps.)

D) Have a visible mouse pointer near your finger, and not interact with things directly. Use Apple track-pad style tap-and-drag gestures, as seen in some VNC clients. This kind of indirect control violates the very principle of direct touch manipulation. This is making the touchscreen be something “like a laptop but worse” and has little reason to exist. And again, you’d have to keep remembering whether you were in direct touch mode or “drag the arrow” mode, and which parts of the page behaved in which way.

E) Require extra force for a “real” tap. So you’d have to learn habits for a light tap vs. a hard tap. This extra complexity is non-intuitive, cramp-inducing, and easy for the user to get wrong (even with click feedback, as in RIM’s failed BlackBerry SurePress experiment). This complicates the whole device just for the sake of one browser plugin, and makes it more expensive to build.

So it’s not just that Apple has refused to support Flash. It cannot, logically, be done. A finger is not a mouse, and Flash sites are designed to require a mouse pointer (and keyboard) in fundamental ways. Someday that may change, and every Flash site could be redesigned with touch-friendly Flash. But that doesn’t make Flash sites work now.

Even if slow performance, battery drain and crashes weren’t problems with Flash (and they truly are), nothing can give users of any touchscreen, from any company, an acceptable experience with today’s Flash sites. The thing so many complainers want is simply an impossibility.

By the way, imagine my embarrassment as a Flash developer when my own animated site wouldn’t work on the newfangled iPhone! So I sat down and made new animations using WebKit’s CSS animation abilities. Now desktop users still see Flash at adamsi.com, but iPhone users see animations too. It can be done.

Morgan Adams, adamsimmersive
interactive design and games

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  • jomi

    What about the most obvious solution: A single tap means a “click” while holding the finger down for a moment means “hover”.

    The same principle is already used in many ways in Mac OS X (e.g. on the current MBP, when pressing F4, Dashboard pops up and disappears when pressing F4 a second time. However, if you press and hold F4 for a short time, Dashboard pops up, stays on screen while F4 is pressed and disappears when F4 is released…)

    “* Functions that use mouseover to preview and click to commit; such as choosing hair colors for an avatar: you mouse over the colors until your character looks the way you like, and then you click to commit.”

    Well, guess what? The iPhone OS has used the principle explained above in exactly such a situation: In the keyboard. Just tap and hold the letter a…

    So, although partly true, some arguments in this post don’t sound very knowledgeable…

  • bartfat

    Actually, tapping and holding a website is already used in Mobile Safari. It scrolls the page. So that wouldn’t work, because you can’t assign two different functions to the same control. So in reality, Flash sites will have to be rethought from the ground up to be built using touchscreen principles. If you’re rebuilding the whole site anyway, why not just use CSS animations instead of relying on a proprietary plugin?

    Great article Dan, got me thinking on why Flash isn’t practical on a touchscreen.

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    Actually, tapping and holding a website is already used in Mobile Safari. It scrolls the page.

    And if we want to get even more technical, scrolling the page is done by vertical swiping.

    Tapping-and-holding in MobileSafari is used for magnifying/selecting text and/or choosing other contextual options, e.g. tapping-and-holding a link to copy it or open it in another browser window.

    So, when interacting with Flash on an iPhoneOS device like the iPad, the user would be expecting to select text or pictures and instead would get some weird onscreen cursor.

    Morgan’s email further demonstrates that even if Apple allowed Flash on the iPhone or iPad, most of Flash’s unique applications that can’t yet be replicated with things like JavaScript simply would not make sense on a multitouch device.

    Fortunately, those unique Flash applications are 1) in the minority, 2) may be largely duplicable with HTML5 canvas, 3) ported to iPad using Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, or 4) rewritten from the ground up as native apps. The most common uses of Flash on the web—video, ads, and relatively simple menus—can be done in JavaScript and H.264 video.

    Here are two examples of what Packager for iPhone can do:

    Simple Metronome (if you don’t want iTunes to launch, copy/paste this link into the address bar and hit Return):
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/simple-metronome/id350401073?mt=8

    Wired-Adobe’s digital version of Wired (the text of the article even mentions the iPad by name, twice):
    http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalpublishing/2010/02/adobe_wired.html

    Thanks for posting this, Dan.

  • lmasanti

    Flash could become the “new IE6,” as there are lots of sites that uses it and will break if Flash disappears, people do not move away from Flash.

    Maybe, in no so time , we’ll forget of Flash as we already forgot of diskettes… But it took the guts from Apple to build a diskette-less iMac first!

  • davesmall

    So how are they handling these issues on the Nexus One and other touch screen iPhone knock-offs that are supporting Flash?

  • t0m

    Holding a finger down currently (over a picture ) brings up the save option. Moving your finger around once it’s held down cues the copy blue box to work. Apple’s not going to let Flash muddy the UI waters on this one.

  • ianf

    Morgan Adams’ objections are so insurmountably valid, that one has to ask why hasn’t Adobe, present owners of Flash, seen it coming and/or done something about it. After all, it’s not like they were entirely unaware of –from their point of view– limitations of touchscreen interfaces prior to launch of the iPhone (2007). If transition [to a potential touchscreen-aware Flash] handled right, the triggering functions of present MouseOver and similar could probably be assigned to other events and common gestures. ActionScript would have to be extended to recognize multitouch patterns and the Flash as a whole “learn” to accept input from e.g. device tilting, shaking, compass-alignment, and other tactile entry methods. Adobe KNEW the premises, yet they didn’t lift a finger[sic!], and kept schtum. Why? What did they hope(d) to accomplish by making Apple shoulder the blame for Flash’s absence on iPhone when they already knew the score?

  • ianf

    @davesmall : badly. And then mainly for presentational, chiefly ad use, where the sole permitted interaction is of the MouseDown = SingleFingerTap type.

  • David Dennis

    Jomi, the problem with this is that the hover is truly a casual gesture. You move your mouse over an object and something changes, usually immediately. So in web pages that use this, when you hover over a link it changes color, indicating that it can be clicked. To require a press for any kind of hover action clearly does not make sense.

    You will note that iPhone simply does not support the a:hover construct in CSS.

    It’s true that you could tap and hold something. But generally the amount of time it takes to register a tap and hold is very long compared to the amount of time you would want to wait for a “hovered” element to pop up. Apple has done this in lieu of right clicks for a long time, and it drove me nuts when I still used a one-button mouse. Much easier to Option-Click on the Mac than to hold a key down that long.

    D

  • carlo.98

    This article reminded me of this: http://counternotions.com/2008/06/17/flash-iphone/

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Thanks, I had not thought of these deeper UI issues, just the hoggy nature of it. Oh that and I block all flash on desktop anyway, why pay for data to be shown ads.

  • WebManWalking

    Morgan Adams, do you, by any chance, live in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC?

    Just curious.

  • http://www.markjhayden.net markhayden

    I think everyone has some good insights but realistically if Apple wanted to support flash they could easily integrate a touch pad that slides up on the screen similar to the keyboard. It would not be optimal but it would be sufficient to give users the ability to view flash content. I think its a very bold and daring move to exclude flash since a majority of the web utilizes it in some way, shape or form. Its clear that things are moving from flash but in my opinion viewers are not quite ready to cut it out completely. Long story short I think it will kill the iPad. You can’t have “the best” web experience without flash as of now.

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  • beanie

    Flash 10.1 (next version) will have multi-touch, gesture, accelerometer support and run on mobile phones. Seems like almost every major phone manufacture has agreed to support it except Apple. Seems like a killer app to me.

    Most active Flash sites force you to install the latest runtime. When Flash 10.1 is released, watch how active Flash sites will probably be updated to support new features such as screen rotation, accelerometer, and mult-touch.

    So what Hulu’s current video player uses hover. Obviously, they will update their video player to support Flash on mobiles when 10.1 comes out. As will most other active Flash video sites.

    Anyway, the iPhone/iPad user should decide to use Flash or not instead of Apple deciding for everyone. Apple just wants total control of the content. So if the user do not like Flash then do not use it. Apple lets a bunch of crap in the App Store and lets users decide to use it or not.

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  • ianf

    OK, you’re the man, beanie. Let’s say Apple lets Flash loose on the iPhone, ‘Touch and iPad (and potential future devices). Day 1 we get to read how millions of end-users’ fav. games, written but not updated for the new version, open but do not run properly. All that works are splash screens and animated banner ads. Day 2 is more of the same. Day 3 the search for the guilty party begins. Day 4 various self-styled pundits all over the blogosphere explain how Apple is to be blamed for not having equipped the iPhone with even the tiniest of mouses. So that existing stock of trashy shoot-em-ups could run on users’ new pricy iPhones. All 40 minutes of it on full battery, but, hey! it’s their CHOICE, innit?

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  • nothingGrinder

    1. Building an overlay controller for your game solves all of the problems you discuss.

    2. Use of proper OOP practices should allow you to port your Flash projects to new screens without the need to modify the existing code.

    3. Anything older than AS2 should be reprogrammed anyway. Event AS2 should be reported or reprogrammed for AS3 and Flash Player 10. If you are still trying to make money on games created years ago then you have lost sight of Adobe’s vision for Flash.

    There are so many excuses for being a lazy programmer. We are Flash developers and we should be trying to prove to the world that Flash is worth the struggle of its learning curve. Adobe has gone to great lengths to bring Flash back to the top of the web game over the years. They fought through all the “Flash is crap” hype in the 90s and they will continue their fight against all the “Flash is dead” rumors happening today.

    Flash is the future of the internet. Adobe’s partnerships with Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and everyone in the Open Screen Project is proof. The only one left out of the entire deal is Apple.

    Open hardware is the way of the future. Google has proven this by giving away free Nexus One phones to thousands of people all over the world. Apple needs to realize that Flash is now the leading web technology and as Flash developers, we need to knuckle down and start porting our old projects for touch devices.

  • http://berendschotanus.com Berend Schotanus

    Great post! I didn’t think of it. It makes so perfectly sense.

    Yet the problem is not just a Flash problem, it is there in HTML as well (be it to a lesser extent). Fundamentally it means that content must be designed with regard to interface. We can distinguish:
    – “Classical” GUI desktop metaphor with keyboard and mouse.
    – Portable touch device with motion sensor, GPS, compass, …
    – TV + remote with DVD-type interface where iTunes LP/extra seems to be targeted at.

    and of course we also still have the non-interactive interfaces like print and cinema.

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  • http://dasflash.com Dorian

    Good point! I agree that the experience of Flash content in the iPad browser would probably be very unsatisfying with most of the existing content. So even as a Flash/Flex developer I think it is not too bad to be forced to switch to HTML5 for interactive apps on websites. It makes a lot of sense on the long run.
    The real problem in my eyes is that as of now there are no professional tools for interactive developers to create the same stuff in HTML5/Javascript that they used to make in Flash. I wrote down my thoughts about this here:
    http://dasflash.com/2010/01/we-dont-need-flash-on-the-ipad-we-need-better-tools-to-build-html5-sites/

  • FreeRange

    @Beanie – Yes beanie, we can read adobe’s vaporware statements as well. The reality is that even with the new version of flash (10.1) there will be a ridiculous amount of overhead that is going to drastically impede performance and suck the life out of batteries. What needs to happen is for flash to die a quick death while better, more efficient open standards take hold. What Apple needs to do is not give the consumer “choice” but to hold their ground to force this pig out of the market. If people will stop building sites with this bloated crap, we’d all be better off.

  • screaser

    Excellent points.

    Might be a tiny hole in the logic behind “no tablet, ever” — there are several companies working on proximity sensing tablets (including Apple, according to one patent filing).

    It’s conceivable that a proximity sensing tablet could let you “mouseover” by moving around within say an inch of the screen, with intelligent software to detect the difference between mouseover-type activity and coming in to tap.

  • mhodges

    Is this a good argument? Basically, it says: flash should not be allowed on iPad/iPhone because some sites–those sites not properly designed for multi-touch, won’t work. But what’s a better experience: to prevent access to ALL flash sites? Or allow flash so we can at least access the sites that DO work?

    It seems like flash image galleries, like Autoviewer (which I use on tokyorealtime.com), could work on iPhone/iPad without any of the problems he talking about which affect games. Or am I wrong? There are other kinds of flash content, like animations and banner ads, which are not interactive at all. Who knows what kind of dynamic content the marketplace would create specifically for the iPhone if Flash were allowed.

    I think the real reason is very simply: allow Flash on the iPhone and apps could be created in flash and sold through some 3rd-party, cutting Apple out of the vertically integrated monopoly they create with these devices as platforms for official App store software….

  • http://www.ianfogg.com if

    I agree the interface to flash is a problem. Hover isn’t the only major problem and is likely to be easier to fix that the other one (press to hover, release to click, like the iPhone/iPad keyboard).

    The bigger problem I see for mobile devices esp smartphones and Flash is the small screen size results in small touch targets, and that a finger held to a screen obscures what is underneath — unlike a mouse pointer — and this becomes much more the smaller the screen size. Last major issue I see is processing power. Phones and tablets are becoming smarter and faster, but so are computers, and the gap will remain. So, any Flash app or game built for a computer that uses all that power will deliver an uneven experience, or flat not work, on a mobile device. Flash is nice, but the UI should have “flashblock-style” click to activate, should suspend if a window/tab is not foreground, and needs to have some clever zoom controls to make touch point interaction easier. There’s a lot to do to make Flash usable.

    Last thought – have a look at the HTC Hero and Nokia n900 is you want evidence for the difficulties of putting Flash on mobile devices. I have tested both. My thoughts here are based on that testing!!!

  • Donald

    Mouse-over-activated pop-ups are becoming too common as annoying occurrences in content sections of websites (i.e., sections apart from overt advertisements, graphic hyperlinks, and games). In the past, we could have a fairly reasonable expectation that pop-ups or menus only appeared when the mouse was moved over a graphic or word that was clearly identified as being a menu or hyperlink. (You moved your mouse to point at something that was either pre-identified as a hotspot or became highlighted in some way when hovered above.) Not anymore. Nowadays you can hardly move your mouse anywhere without something popping up! I would love to see that change.

  • stefn

    The HTML5 train is leaving the station; I don’t want Apple to stand there waving goodbye. Leadership is the ability to get folks to places they would not go otherwise simply out of fear of change. Apple has often led (GUI, USB, iTunes, Multitouch) the way out of dead-ended technologies. Flash is one more example.

  • tfk

    Regardless of the platform used, Flash. HTML5, isn’t there a problem if there’s isn’t an agreed upon convention of what touch signals translate to what action across Apple’s, Android’s, Nokia’s, Samsung’s, etc. operating systems developers will have a major problem. They’ll have to develop different version of heir apps for every different OS. It will be difficult unless the companies can agree on a common convention which will involve these companies giving away or cross licensing a lot of touch IP. Then you have the the problem of transitioning to the next generation “Majority Report” input mode.

  • http://www.betobeto.com/ Beto

    This must be the most compelling, rock-solid reason on why the iPad won’t do Flash. Flash, as a developing platform, is too invested on the mouse as interface paradigm. And as we’re headed towards a mouseless UI paradigm (touch), Flash development will increasingly make less sense. Could the millions of Flash sites out there be rebuilt to embrace touch conventions and standards? Theorically, yes. But will it ever be realistically done? No way. Not even if that translated into a new business opportunity. Developing for Flash will eventually become as backwards as developing for IE6 nowadays.

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  • al2o3cr

    @mhodges: the gallery you’ve linked to is a perfect example. There’s absolutely no reason that you couldn’t get the exact same functionality with standard JS. As for banner ads, the less time Apple spends helping advertisers puke annoying garbage onto my phone the better…

  • Gophero

    So… let me get this straight… instead of recoding or redesigning some of the Flash content that won’t work with touchscreens like the iPad, we should redesign all of the Flash content to use something else so it can be seen on the iPad.
    Hey, sounds like more jobs to me. Yay, it’s economic stimulus!

    [Yes, you got it. Instead of completely redeveloping tons of legacy content created in Flash, developers should move to open web standards moving forward. And that way, the 70-something million iPhone/iPod touch users will be able to see their work. – Dan]

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  • Gophero

    Saying that you shouldn’t have Flash because some of the content won’t work right is like saying you shouldn’t have an Internet browser because some of the pages contain Flash.
    I fully support developers moving to other standards but the conversion of all content is not going to happen rapidly.
    The only reason the lack of Flash support is such a big deal is that Steve Jobs claimed that the iPad would be the “ultimate browsing experience.” Clearly this isn’t the case when Flash has such a significant penetration in TODAY’s Internet. Even the first promo video demonstrating the iPad contained a website that had Flash content on it.
    The big difference between the iPod touch/iPhone and the iPad is that most people use the former for a little browsing and a lot of apps, whereas people are likely to want to do a lot more browsing on the iPad and expect a more desktop-like experience.

  • bananaboy

    @nothingGrinder:
    I suspect you may not fully comprehend the meaning of the word “proof”.

    “Flash is the future of the internet. Adobe’s partnerships with Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and everyone in the Open Screen Project is proof.”

    The Open Screen Project is neither open, nor the prove that Flash is the future of the Internet. In fact it looks to me like the big proprietary (not open) technology holders trying to bribe more devs into hanging around their sinking ship.

    And yes, I said it. Sinking. It’s been that way for years, and the biggest smartphone and tablet platform to hit the market in years forsaking it merely seals its fate.

    “Open hardware is the way of the future. Google has proven this by giving away free Nexus One phones to thousands of people all over the world.”

    And should I even be asking why you think Google handing out free phones establishes open hardware as the way of the future? And by the way, which part of the Nexus One’s hardware currently are you referring to as “open”?

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    @ mhodges

    It seems like flash image galleries, like Autoviewer (which I use on tokyorealtime.com), could work on iPhone/iPad without any of the problems he talking about which affect games. Or am I wrong? There are other kinds of flash content, like animations and banner ads, which are not interactive at all.

    The instances you list where Flash would work on touch-based devices like the iPad—non-interactive ads, videos, simple navigational menus and galleries—can be done just as well or better using JavaScript/CSS and H.264 video.

    @ nothingGrinder

    Adobe has gone to great lengths to bring Flash back to the top of the web game over the years.

    Adobe hasn’t been the scrappy underdog since the ’90s.

    Flash is the future of the internet. Adobe’s partnerships with Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and everyone in the Open Screen Project is proof. The only one left out of the entire deal is Apple.

    Actually, no. Flash is the de facto way to deliver video and ads on the desktop Web, yes, but it has no such grasp on mobiles. Flash Lite != Desktop Flash.

    And there’s a big difference between Google, Palm and RIM saying they’ll support Flash 10.1 and actually doing it and an even more crucial difference between allowing users to install Flash 10.1 and actually shipping it on their phones/with their OSs. Then there’s the fact the smartphone platform with the lion’s share of the mobile web share pie—iPhoneOS—does not and very likely will never allow Flash.

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  • mhodges

    nat wrote, “The instances you list where Flash would work on touch-based devices like the iPad—non-interactive ads, videos, simple navigational menus and galleries—can be done just as well or better using JavaScript/CSS and H.264 video.”

    OK, but what’s your point? My website uses a flash slideshow (autoviewer: http://www.tokyorealtime.com). You have any idea how I can use JavaScript/CSS and video to get the same functionality and performance?Both from the user experience and from my point of view as someone who can edit this slideshow by uploading an image and modifying the xml? Don’t you think it sucks that countless people need to hire programmers and spend countless hours to re-design and write new code to get existing content to work on these new devices?

  • stefn

    HTML5 equals mouseless, mobile, open standards. I get it. So does Apple.

  • Gophero

    stefn wrote “HTML5 equals mouseless, mobile, open standards. I get it. So does Apple.”

    Well, one out of three aint bad, right? At least it’s the good one – open source. Oh wait, it’s only developers who get excited about that, isn’t it?

    I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned yet, but HTML5 supports mouseover as well so you can just as easily create new websites without flash that still don’t work well with the iPad. In fact, if you check out YouTube’s HTML5 beta, it uses mouseover.

  • mhodges

    well, this is what you get when you buy devices that limit your experience of the web by only allowing access to bits and parts of it.

    The iPhone also doesn’t let you install another browser right? It doesn’t let you download any software not sold by Apple, nor does it allow you to download audio or video into your device’s library.

    The iPhone, Kindle and XBOX stifle innovation, in that there may be new and better ways of delivering content–be it dynamic website content, games, videos, or music–but those new technologies and services are denied access to the marketplace. The computers and the internet were built on open standards, but these new devices threaten the kind of innovation that’s gotten us to this point.

  • dallasmay
  • fmlogue

    nothingGrinder, Adobe didn’t own Flash in the 90’s. Get your facts straight if you want your comments to be taken seriously.

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    @ mhodges

    I was too brief and you bring up an understandable point but it’s a point only web developers will recognize. Users simply see a blue square with a “?” on it or, in the case of your site, nothing:
    http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g318/fergusonnathanf/Pastebot2010-02-21131638PM.png

    Did you code the non-Flash image galleries that are also on the front page? If Adobe Dreamweaver or some similar program was used to create those, then I think that’s the answer.

    As someone said, “[Adobe] isn’t in the Photoshop business, or the Acrobat business, or the [take-your-pick product name] business, either.

    It’s in the helping people communicate business.”
    http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/02/02/nack-flash

    Right now, Adobe isn’t offering tools for creating HTML5 sites. Right now. In a couple years from now (I would bet less) and Apple still hasn’t allowed Flash on the iPhone and iPad, I think Adobe will adapt.

  • miloh

    @mhodges:

    “Don’t you think it sucks that countless people need to hire programmers and spend countless hours to re-design and write new code to get existing content to work on these new devices?”

    Yes, it does suck, but it’s a risk one takes when adopting any technology.

  • http://www.hd1080i.com hd1080i

    Keep up the good work, finally someone with functional braincells is speaking out.
    However i would like to adjust your knowlege a bit, i own several touch screens, code flash and am in the CS5 preview using packager. I suspect you are not in the adobe preview program and therefore dont know a couple things that will help you do what you are doing very well.

    1) touch strokes and mouse emulations are in fact all available in 10.1 ( a real 10.1 – with the authoring and compiling to use it )
    NDA prevents me from saying more, but i did make a demo you should see
    http://www.lookbookhd.com = a focus group test flash magazine
    from http://ctndigital.com/ctnd/video/
    touchscreen video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKllsUmagck same book but its win7 HP and a bit different than apple. ( sorry about the quality, was cramped for time )

    The Apple SDK is supported in the Packager part of CS5 flash pro, and 10.1 which you cant really see because its not released or IMHO ready enough anyhow, will multitouch.

    Most all of your observations are quite good, especially since neither you or i have an iPad yet to really wring this stuff out, relying only on info available right now is very hard to do well.

    I wil help in any way i can so you can nail this stuff, code a test or make a video of real actions for you, i think it matters and honestly i think we all need you to keep doing what you do.

    thanks
    — jeff johnson ctndigital

  • http://www.mybrothersteve.com SteveBaumann

    It seems that Flash (or CSS, or [insert favorite web technology here] ) is not what needs to be rethought, but how device makers with touchscreens implement sufficient UI controls for users. An easy way to remedy the mouse-over / hover problem would be to include a cursor button (say, next to the text entry button that brings up the on-screen keyboard) as part of the UI. When you click this UI element, a cursor appears, which you can drag around with your finger, like on a touchpad. Perhaps it could even be programmed to appear by default when the device observes appropriate content on the screen, giving the user the ability to go back to ‘normal’ non-cursor mode if they chose to. Although this may not be considered the most elegant way to go about it, it seems that if there is a substantial amount of content and applications out there that require this type of interaction, then it is the responsibility of device makers to enable their users to interact with it, just as no PC maker would sell a PC without USB ports (or formerly ps/2) ports for plugging in a mouse and keyboard. No one would buy the damn thing, but more importantly, it makes the content that could be accessed by that device less valuable as a whole, just a giving users MORE ways to interact with content makes the content more valuable as a whole.