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

  • Gophero

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

    No that isn’t a risk with just any technology. Particularly less so with technology of this sort where the lack of compatibility isn’t necessary to force improvement.

    Asking for Flash isn’t asking for backward compatibility or legacy support. It’s asking for support for a current, widely used medium.

    When Apple brought out the iMac with no floppy drive (which is Steve Jobs’ own analogy to dropping Flash), the floppy drive was a nearly dead technology that had no real avenue for improvement and dwindling demand. Flash, being software, doesn’t have these limitations and still continues to grow in its online presence so this is a very poor comparison.

  • dallasmay
  • brainspin

    Mouseover, nice, but should that be the only (major) way? What happened to accessibility…This looks like the same arguments around single mouse button vs two mouse buttons(with l/r), no proper answers just usability preferences galore.

  • miloh


    “… 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 …”

    Why is it their responsibility? Why can’t they choose to do something different? Why are they obligated to follow the herd?

  • miloh


    “No that isn’t a risk with just any technology. Particularly less so with technology of this sort where the lack of compatibility isn’t necessary to force improvement.”

    When adopting any technology, there’s always a risk that it will one day cease to be as useful as it once was. If one ignores this risk and does not plan for it, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

  • http://twitter.com/NateTehGreat nat

    @ SteveBaumann

    An easy way to remedy the mouse-over / hover problem would be to include a cursor button

    From a software engineering standpoint, that’s an easy solution. From an end-user standpoint, it’s clumsy and antithetical to what the user is accustomed to in the rest of the system, which is direct multi-touch manipulation.

    Mouse-over has no relevance in an environment designed for direct touch. The closest analog is clicking on a JavaScript menu element that pops up info or expands into a menu/list.

    Maybe one day Apple will provide mouse support, but I guarantee you it won’t work like it does in a windowed desktop environment of today. At the very most it would simply replicate a finger hovering millimeters above the display’s surface.

    That or touch screens with proximity sensors that detect the user’s fingers hovering over the display will be invented, in which case: problem solved, without an awkward visible onscreen cursor.

    Devices like the iPhone and the iPad are mobile, personal devices that you operate primarily while holding them in your hand(s). If you just have to have mouse-over, there are netbooks, laptops, desktops or those same old tablet PCs that never took off in any major capacity. For large scale computing of the future, things like this will probably become the norm:

    it seems that if there is a substantial amount of content and applications out there that require this type of interaction

    If that were true for mobile touch-based devices, how do you explain the runaway success of the iPhone (and lesser but increasing success of Android phones and Palm’s webOS devices), which doesn’t run existing Windows, Mac or Linux mouse/keyboard-based software?

  • Pingback: So Long, Flash « Asymco()

  • http://wanderbook.com eddieclay

    @screaser – Your the only one here with a clue and has some knowledge
    @nat – your the only other one with a clue

    All this is very solvable, and has been, with proximity. Its technology from the 1990’s and Apple actually has additional patents on multitouch for this…they originally believed touch devices HAD to have proximity for usability issues (i.e. provide hints/indication back to user before touch). A major lawsuit was won over Microsoft over this area of technology. It could be why Apple is waiting. The core invention of using a stylus (whether its a finger or not) with a rich interface for direct manipulation and gesturing using proximity was patented and is own by Lucent (from the GO/PenPoint days). Microsoft has lost millions and millions on this…that patent should expire next year.

  • http://wanderbook.com eddieclay

    I should add though, the other problems with Flash that Jobs outlined are still valid.

  • wizard288

    So I wonder how this will be handled on, say, the HP Slate, which has full Windows 7 and thus can run Flash, play hulu video, etc.

    [Once sales of the HP Slate explode into the stratosphere, we can all contemplate how the company innovated by bring the Flash platform to tablet devices that are thick as a laptop. – Dan]

  • Silver

    “missing banner ads”

    Users don’t hate missing banner ads. They love them! That’s why people install FlashBlock and ClickToFlash in their browsers!

  • Silver

    I mean users don’t hate the gaps. They love gaps instead of ads.

  • dom

    The mouseover could be easily simulated with a two fingers touch…

    [Try explaining to your mother that not clicking while moving the mouse pointer in a Flash game is represented by touching with two fingers.

    What’s up with people’s fervent interest in promoting Flash as if it were something other than a mistake on the web? – Dan]

  • http://fwdmovement.com.au stevesydney

    This just highlights that Flash isn’t the problem, it’s design.

    [Actually, the problem is the design of Flash, and that, as is the case with any software platform that runs across multiple vendor’s devices, proprietary binaries are not better than open web standards. The same applies to Silverlight. – Dan]

  • snood

    Now that the screen is much bigger – couldn’t you just designate a part of the screen as a trackpad with buttons below it and drive a visible mouse pointer that way? Anyone with a laptop is used to that.

    [Are you seriously wondering why Apple isn’t trying to emulate a laptop trackpad with half the multitouch display in order to get the iPad to run Flash in some quirky hack way? Because that is mind-boggling. – Dan]

  • Bjartr

    Actually, my laptop’s touchscreen differentiates between a press and a motion, so I can e.g. touch the close button of a window and immediately drag away from it and it won’t close. Same thing with flash video and games, swipe=drag.

    [Oh come on you people, a drag is not the same as a mouseover. – Dan]

  • mhodges

    someone was saying how having a mouse cursor is antithetical to multitouch, but there are mobile phones here in Japan with touch screens that implement a mouse cursor style pointer. A friend of mine has one. I could shoot a video clip of it in action if anyone is curious. I believe you select by pressing a button instead of tapping.

  • Brandon

    The Nokia N900 has a hover mode for its mouse cursor and it works perfect for flash elements and games.It should not be too hard to implement for other devices.

    [Why isn’t anyone buying it? Perhaps a mobile device running X11 isn’t the thing most consumers are looking for? – Dan ]

  • Gophero

    “When adopting any technology, there’s always a risk that it will one day cease to be as useful as it once was. If one ignores this risk and does not plan for it, they have nobody to blame but themselves.”

    That doesn’t apply here as Flash hasn’t ceased to be useful, unlike other technologies that have been superseded such as floppy drives or parallel ports. HTML5, SVG, CSS, WebGL and Javascript all fall well short of providing the rich experience that Flash is capable of supplying. They can replace video players and website navigation that is used on many sites but not everything.

    Apple just wants to keep Flash content off of the iPad so it can sell more apps. This is fine, it wants to protect its income and benefit the developers of the apps but they won’t say this and instead come up with these other hazy arguments to make it look like they’re doing something purely righteous. The blind Apple faithful will always just regurgitate whatever Steve Jobs says, or what anyone says in his defence without much thought.

    There are good reasons Apple makes all the decisions it makes. Most of them relate to making their devices as successful and profitable as possible. They just have a habit of sugar coating the reasoning behind many things to make people think they’re not getting tricked out of their hard earned money. It’s simply good, effective marketing and business practice.

  • Silver

    The whole argument that Apple bans Flash in order to protect revenue is absolutely ridiculous.
    Hello, people, App Store is full of free apps, for which Apple doesn’t get any dime! How are Flash games on the web? Free. How would be their ports in App Store (if the developers don’t change their minds)? Free. How much money Apple would make off them? Not a dime!

  • Gophero

    Apple doesn’t get any money from free apps but it gets to control them. If anything would compete with something of theirs, they simply deny it access to the App Store.

  • http://www.mikechambers.com mchamber@adobe.com

    I think there are some pretty fundamental problems with both the assumptions that the article is based on, as well as its conclusions.

    Basically, hover events do work in Flash content on devices. I have put together a post which has a more extensive discussion of which mouse events are available to Flash content running on a device with touch input:


    mike chambers


    [Thanks for the reply Mike, but you gloss over the reality that existing Flash content does not work well in a mobile environment for a number of reasons, including the fact that mouseovers don’t exist on the iPhone. As Morgan clearly pointed out, Flash games and other content makes extensive use of mouseovers in a way that can’t be missing if you want the content to work. – Dan]

  • miloh


    “That doesn’t apply here as Flash hasn’t ceased to be useful, unlike other technologies that have been superseded such as floppy drives or parallel ports. HTML5, SVG, CSS, WebGL and Javascript all fall well short of providing the rich experience that Flash is capable of supplying. They can replace video players and website navigation that is used on many sites but not everything.”

    My apologies, I assumed you understood that I was speaking from a business standpoint as the content developer, not from a consumer standpoint as the end-user. That was, after all, the original context you submitted.

    All companies face the ever present risk that as times change so will their customers’ wishes. If a company has positioned themselves such that they cannot adapt to these changes, they have nobody to blame but themselves. To be more specific, if a content developer selects Flash technology because it’s what their customers want, there is a chance that down the road their customers won’t want it anymore. If that happens, Flash will cease to be as useful to the developer (i.e. less profitable) as it once was. If they cannot change with the times, they will lose customers and die.

    It may suck, but that’s business.

  • Gophero


    Flash won’t cease to be useful to developers until there is something that can replace it. HTML5 et al cannot replace the full functionality of Flash. It is as simple as that.

    As a developer of websites with rich, interactive media content the only options are Flash and Silverlight.

    HTML5 can replace plenty of basic page navigation, video players and non-media rich web applications. It cannot, for example, achieve something like this http://lux.lookbookhd.com/

    I fully support using HTML5 and others where appropriate – I would even prefer it used where Flash has been somewhat of a stopgap solution.

    HTML5 will not kill flash.

    The iPad will not kill flash.

    Web developers will still want to deliver rich media content to desktop/laptop users. The iPad will never dominate the browser space as there will always be more fully fledged PC/iMac/netbook/etc users.

  • miloh


    “Flash won’t cease to be useful to developers until there is something that can replace it.”

    I don’t recall ever stating that it was going anywhere.

  • anonym

    I wholeheartedly agree that Flash is terrible software which should disappear as quickly as possible. Sadly, h.264 and mpeg4 aren’t open formats. They’re free for another few years to increase adoption, but then you’re out of luck. Theora ftw.

    And if you want to talk about ways Apple is limiting consumer choice, how about the exclusive app distribution channel for the iPhone and iPad? Apple specifically prohibits apps which duplicate any of the built-in functions, even if they do things better. There’s no legitimate way to distribute GPL software for the iPhone. Apple is easily the most consumer-unfriendly technology company around these days.

    [So your fear of licensing issues means the world should embrace Theora, a third rate old codec based on technology that may have serious patent issues already (and any development upon its existing foundation would undoubtedly run into new patent issues), despite the fact that there’s no hardware acceleration available for mobile devices? That’s ridiculous.

    As is your definition of “consumer unfriendly.” Nobody gives a rat’s ass about GPL ideology outside of a small minority of free software advocates. – Dan ]

  • olahaye74

    Flash MUST DISAPEAR. This technology is bloated.

    After more than a year of 64bits beta testing under linux, there is still no 64 bit support available while all CPUs on the market ARE 64bits.
    This technology is memory hungry, CPU power hungry. IT MUST DISAPEAR. There are far better standard today and I hope that Flash will never run on iPhone like devices.
    My Core 2 Duo P8400 uses 100% CPU where a few (1 to 3) sites using flash are running. A SHAME.

    IMHO, removing flash from the surface of the earth could lead to stop 10th of power plants….

    As for the hover/click problem, the solution already exists on the iphone. for videos, 1st click brings a GUI, then you can play/stop/rewind.
    for menus:
    one click sends an hover (menu popup or drop down) second click on the same object sends a click. Second click on another object sends an hover. And so-one.
    another solution (more compatible) could be to handle that just like the Amiga: press screen: hover, release screen click. (that would require to reduce the scroll areas on the screen borders (just like on modern laptops touch pads)

    There are plenty of solutions for replacing flash (like sylverlight, html5 and so that runs on 64bits BTW), but right now, the best one is to refuse flash.

  • Gartalgar

    I don’t see how HTML 5 will solve this issue, except that it will force people to code anew their sites, at which time they could redesign them to take into account the touchscreen functionality. So it’s just like the “potential solution” A, but with a new language.

    The mouseover problem does not come from Flash itself, the problem comes from the fact that current content has mostly been designed for PC, mouse and keyboard interfaces and not for touchscreen. If you don’t design your content for touchscreen, it won’t work with HTML 5 either.

    [No, the mouseover problem for Flash has two aspects: it negates Adobe’s marketing line that Flash content is ubiquitous and runs everywhere (it does not) and secondly, it shows why open web standards that can be implemented on mobile devices by any vendor are better than proprietary binaries like Flash that require Adobe to develop the runtime and the mobile strategy for them, because Adobe has proven that it can’t do either one. – Dan]

  • Gophero

    “I don’t recall ever stating that it was going anywhere.”

    Sorry, I should have noted where I stopped addressing you in particular and meant to return to the general discussion but the point I make still stands.

    @everyone now :P

    Flash wish continue to coexist with other technologies both in competition and in complementing them. Steve Jobs ego is far too engorged if he thinks otherwise.

    The point of the article is that the current popular interface design is incompatible with touch screen interfacing. To a large degree this is true but this is a design issue, not a technology issue.

    It would be less work to modify a Flash utilising website to not use ‘mouseover’ in Flash than to have to start from scratch using different technology. (That said, I would personally prefer using HTML5 where possible for things such as menus and site navigation).

    Using HTML5 also leaves the problem of having to code for two versions for people with old computers who for some unfathomable reason don’t update their browsers (yes, I’m looking at you, 20% of Internet users still using IE6!).

    It’s going to remain a challenge to ensure that a media rich website offers the same experience to all users including iPad, full function browsers and idiots who don’t update their software but the majority of users are going to remain in the full function browser segment.

  • http://flashopen.nl @flashopen

    To have it in short:
    Why is the competition not having any problems with the Flash Player in their mobile devices?
    Are they doing better then Apple? And everything else are only ‘desperates excuses’ not to have it implemented?

    [Adobe’s entire Flash 10.1 mobile strategy is a belated response to the iPhone. Too late, the iPhone already demonstrated that it can browse the real web without Flash, and that it can provide a native mobile development environment far better than Flash.

    What you’re seeing with Flash 10.1 is an effort to run lowest common denominator, proprietary binary content designed for the desktop on a mobile. What’s cool about that? You can’t use it to target the mobile platform that matters. – Dan]

  • http://nettakeaway.com/tp/ mwexler

    Mike Chambers, the PM at Adobe for Flash, has a nice response to this, worth reading.


  • pf

    “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.”

    This is just nonsense. Some sites might not work well, but most will. I have created flash apps for touchscreens long before there was an iphone and it always amazes me that people always assume that because there is no mouse pointer, it’s inherently different. It’s not.
    There are only two things to keep in mind when creating something for touchscreens: clickable area’s shouln’t be too small because finger input isn’t as accurate. And don’t rely on the hover state for actual functionality. So if a button only changes color for example when you hover over it, but needs to be pressed to actually do something, it will work fine on a touchscreen. They just won’t see the color change, but it won’t hinder for example the user from playing a video. And this is how most hovers are used: an indication that something is clickable.

    [No, the point isn’t that you can’t create Flash content that works with touch panels, but that the majority of the existing installed base of Flash content was developed for the PC desktop and therefore is not optimized in any way for mobile devices. So Adobe’s claim that Flash is ubiquitous and pervasive is simply irrelevant. If you’re starting from zero, why target a proprietary binary distribution rather than open web standards that already work, and already work on the 75+ million iPhone OS devices? – Dan ]

    If you do want to add functionality on a hover for desktops, add the same functionality when you click on it so it will also work on touchscreens.

    What would pose a problem is dual functionality. Ex. if a button is made to fold out with extra info on a hover, and a click to take you somewhere else. In this scenario, touchscreens won’t see that extra info.

    But this isn’t inherent to Flash, this problem exists in HTML too. Web 2.0 sites may suffer the same problems too. Facebook for example uses hovers that aren’t accessible on a touchscreen. According to your logic, that would also mean not including javascript on browsers installed on touchscreen devices because some sites might not work as intended.

    The best solution for touchscreens is to use proximity detection in much the same way that Wacom tablets work.

    So on the one hand, it’s a developers problem, much in the same way that anyone incorporating scroll wheel support in their apps: always make sure there is an alternative for input devices that don’t support it.

    On the other hand, it’s also technological problem. Touchscreens still need to improve. There is a reason why the mouse has managed to survive for so long. It has some inherent advantages that any input device that plans to replace it must be able to do better.
    And touchscreens have two major flaws: the hover state and the size problem: The larger the screen, the more tiring they become to use , even after short periods of use. It’s for the same reason one is always advised to get the smallest Wacom tablet they can get away with.

    [So you want to reinvent multitouch hardware devices so that they are appropriate for running legacy Flash apps? How ruthlessly absurd.]

  • timkindberg

    Wow Great article!

    You make a lot of good points on why the iPad is a horrible device that doesn’t support a very large portion of the web. I’m now completely convinced that I shouldn’t buy it. Your insights were very helpful.

    [Expose yourself to some reality. The “very large portion” of the web you are talking about is animated ads, video that can easily be delivered via better technology, and full page websites implemented in Flash, which is a terrible idea. Everything the iPad does to weaken the proprietary binary grip Flash has on the web is a good thing for everyone (apart from Adobe and its blinded followers – Dan]

    I know that the iPad isn’t horrible, it’s probably very fun to use, just like the iPhone. But seriously, most of your reasons that Flash wouldn’t be a good match for the iPad can easily apply to lots of web content, not JUST Flash. It boggles my mind that you have the tenacity and took the time to write up such slander towards your own developing environment.

    It truly pisses me off.

    [If that’s the case, maybe you should chill out. We’re discussing a proprietary software trap that limits the task of optimizing the web to one company. Flash is toxic, not a cause you need to promote so rabidly that you lose sight of what is important or your ability to talk rationally.]

    Mac Dude: “You’re just mad because you’re a flash dev and you know it’s dying. Just let it go man. HTML5 ftw!”

    Me: “No you fool, I’m mad because no one give Adobe any credit. You don’t look at what they are working on to bring developers and designers together. You don’t see that they truly care about their end-users experience and work to speed up Flash Player all the time. You are all just blood thirsty idiots bent on destroying Adobe. All of a sudden, OUT OF THE BLUE, you want them dead.”

    [Adobe only recently bought Flash from Macromedia. Prior to that, it was offering open alternatives and doing fine without having a proprietary software trap to peddle. Nobody is trying to kill anyone, apart from Flashtards who have it in for the iPad.]

    Flash Hater: “Yeah that’s because Flash player hogs all my resources. I just block it anyway, haha, with my flashhaterplus plugin. Best plugin EVER.”

    Me: “Ok, block it. I don’t care. You realize that after Flash is dead, people are going to start making annoying animations in CSS or Javascript? They are going to hog your resources just like Flash did. Flash doesn’t hog your resources, the crazy shit it’s trying to does.”

    [It certainly can be bad content, but in the case of Flash, there’s also Adobe’s notoriously bad plugin. When content is in Flash, only Adobe can optimize its playback. When content is open, then anyone can work to optimize JavaScript and other web technologies, because they are open standards.]

    Flash Hater: “Just give it up already. Flash is dead.”

    Me: *Round house kick* *Finishing move!*
    Me: “Don’t you say it… don’t you dare say it”

    Flash Hater: “uuuugggggg… you can’t stop it…. uugg”
    Flash Hater: *passes out*

    I hope that the iPad fails big time.

  • timkindberg

    Check out some content on the Nexus One with Flash Player 10.1.


    iPad users would LOVE this stuff. This is some awesome stuff. Get real you flash haters. Seriously just take a minute to give credit where it’s due.

    [That’s a great video for demonstrating what kind of crap Flash games are. If that is an important part of Google’s Android platform, then we have to worry that Apple isn’t really facing sufficient competition. And if Google encourages Flash lowest common denominator development, it can only hurt native Android development – Dan]

  • http://matthewfabb.com/ Matthew Fabb

    Mike Chambers, from Adobe, points out that roll overs on Flash work for touch screens.
    What will be is just the following mouse inputs, which isn’t essential for too many applications:
    * MouseEvent.MIDDLE_CLICK
    * MouseEvent.MIDDLE_MOUSE_DOWN
    * MouseEvent.MIDDLE_MOUSE_UP
    * MouseEvent.MOUSE_WHEEL
    * MouseEvent.RIGHT_CLICK
    * MouseEvent.RIGHT_CLICK_DOWN
    * MouseEvent.RIGHT_MOUSE_UP

    We will see shortly how well Flash works on mobile devices when it’s released to Android and other mobile devices.

  • http://www.darryljonckheere.com/blog Djonckheere

    The sheer number of passionate responses to this debate here is quite amazing. Yet once again, as with everything Web culture related, conversations invariably focus on technology ‘X’ or standard ‘Y’; Apple is doing ‘A’, Adobe is doing ‘B’; device ‘Z’ doesn’t support thing ‘C’, …and so on.
    C’mon, these debates are healthy but getting a bit monotonous. Maybe it’s just easier to contribute to the prevailing cynicism out there rather than finding creative ways to move forward.

  • kenkopin

    Hold on now. What exactly *IS* wrong with the “virtual track-pad” idea? It would be a simple (and when I say simple, I don’t mean that *I* could do it, but that a company like Apple looking to solve this problem would find it simple) addition to the Flash interpreter, which could allow the user to turn it off entirely, have it always on, or have a Right Click option to invoke it as needed. The experience would be exactly what people have now – no, it wouldn’t be the full iPad experience, but it’s a compromise that makes everyones Flash content work. If THIS truly is the major problem, then it’s not a problem unless Apple wants it to be.

    [The problem is that it’s not a problem that the iPad does not run Flash. It is an intentional design decision. – Dan ]

  • olahaye74

    Something funny:
    – People are complaining about lack of Flash support for the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, but they are not alone with lack of support.
    – Indeed, windows64bits is Not supported (either XP, or vista or seven). (and nobody complains)
    Because of that (AND ONLY BECAUSE OF THAT) 64bits computers are still shipped with 32bit windows. THIS IS A SHAME. (the same applies to contivity vpn: not supported on win64 and iphone)

  • Bjartr


    What in the world are you talking about? Flash works fine on both Vista and 7 x64, I can’t speak for XP though.

  • olahaye74

    These is no stable flash for 64bits platforms. The only 64bits flash available is a beta version for linux.
    You’re running flash 32bits on IE8 32bits installed aside your ie8-64bits that has NO FLASH SUPPORT at all.

  • http://dasflash.com Dorian

    There is no 64-bit Flash Player for any OS. That’s one of the reasons why Apple runs Plugins as a separate process in Safari on Snow Leopard (which is 64-Bit). On Win7 64-Bit you have to use the 32-Bit IE8 and install the 32-Bit Flash Player version (strangely enough, it’s not pre-installed in the 64-Bit distribution of Win 7).

  • Bjartr


    Actually I’m using Chrome, which, yes, is 32bit. However, support, however limited, for running 32bit apps and plugins within the x64 environment is different from your claim of no support at all. Though, to your credit, it is also not the same as native support.

    You are right to criticize Adobe for not providing a native version for x64. You are wrong to imply that Flash cannot be used on these systems.

  • Gophero


    That’s because the benefit of the native 64bit browser is approximately zero. More importantly the number of users using the native 64bit browsers is approximately zero.

  • Gophero

    Note that I’m talking about the browsers – not the OS. Plenty of people using 64 OS, just not the 64bit versions of internet browsers.

  • timkindberg

    I can GUARANTEE that if they allowed flash on the iPhone OR iPad, that you would see tons of very useful applications. Flash developers are just as creative and innovative as HTML5 developers. I would put money on it, that at least 1 flash application would become so popular that at least 50% of iPad users would install it and use it on a regular basis. And that is really the main point here.

  • timkindberg
  • timkindberg

    Sorry two posts up, I didn’t mean the user would “install” the app, but just use it on the web.

  • Lars

    “Video players where the controls appear on mouseover and hide otherwise.”. The SublimeVideo player, http://jilion.com/sublime/video, that is often used as a showcase for HTML5 video, also hides and shows the control based on mouseover/mouseout. So I guess HTML5 video content isn’t suitable for touch devices ;)

    [Lars, the issue isn’t whether *one can create content that doesn’t work* on an iPad or other multitouch device, but that *most existing Flash content* does not work well anywhere outside of the Windows PC desktop, and particularly not on a multitouch device like the iPad.

    That provides very little reason for pushing any new development into a proprietary binary that only Adobe has any way to optimize the playback of. And recall that Adobe has a terrible track record for supporting acceptable Flash playback on anything other than Windows.

    Given this, it would be irresponsible for Apple to support Flash on the iPad – Dan]

  • Nerd Uno

    Simple answer to Flash problem is a Nexus One. That’s what the trackball is for. :-)

    [One might also say that’s why Windows was originally built on top of DOS, so PC users wouldn’t have to be pushed into graphical computing in one step as they were with the Mac. They could spend another ten years dependent upon a text based environment from the 70s. Or as with the Nexus One, users can remain fixed in a world dependent upon the mouse cursor rather than embracing touch – Dan]

  • http://ObamaPacman.com ObamaPacman


    iPhone & iPod touch does not use flash. Somehow it’s highly successful, and now it’s the benchmark of the industry.

    Original iMac does not have floppy drive. Somehow that’s successful too.