Thoughts on "HTML5 does not replace the best parts of flash"

I agree wholeheartedly with this Tweet thread. I get all the issues with Flash but is there anything comparable to Flash? Is there any program or platform that a 13-year-old kid, such as myself back in the day, could start making dumb animations with trying to be the next Homestar Runner and sprinkle a little ActionScript in as needed to make play and pause buttons, all the way up to building professional games? It seems like the motion graphics world is using AfterEffects and the development world is using JavaScript but there is nothing that effectively marries these things the way Flash did. Am I missing out on some fantastic motion graphics program?
Is this something that I need to dedicate the next decade of my life to building as an open-source project :exploding_head: :laughing:

I’m curious too. Feels like Flash came from an era where “multimedia” was a plausible format. You could create vector & bitmap drawings, static animations, interactive animations, games, videos, websites, documents (Flash Paper), apps (AIR), and so on – all using the same editor and output format, more-or-less.

These days, formats seem to be a bit more purpose-built or domain-specific, which is great if that’s what you want. But it does seem like there’s less activity around exploring the gradients between all those specific tools, which makes it harder to learn or swap between them. (As an aside, the educational aspect has essentially been converted to be domain-specific too: you can find all sorts of quality resources for each narrow silo (Scratch and Minecraft come to mind), but fewer for the more mixed and flexible approach that Flash authoring was good at.)

The web meets most of the technical requirements for the output format, but fails to be a practical distribution approach for most output types other than what we’d call a typical web site. The web mostly fails on the authoring side as well, although I haven’t used tools other than text editors for the web in a long time, so there may be tools I don’t know about there.

Yeah, probably. There are a ton out there like saola animate that you just don’t know about because they’re not a boxed product released by a large or well known software company. Plus we live in an era where app stores and websites have flooded the market with products so it’s hard to know what’s out there. And if you do find something, who knows how long it will last or be supported. Of course you have that same problem with adobe :upside_down_face:

I seen some people on kongregate posted a visual article about how Flash games shaped the video game industry It gave me some nostalgia vibes and I was reminded of a place I used to go to for help understanding Actionscript and making flash games in general. I hope you don’t mind but I just though I should post it here for anyone interested. Thanks.


Thanks for sharing, Terry! Welcome to the forums :grinning:

I still think a lot of this phasing out has to do with Media/Marketing companies that specialize in cranking out CMS-based templates for customers that focus on “Speed” and “SEO”. Flash has vulnerabilities, but that wasn’t the real issue, not to these folks anyway. The issue was that the time it took to get a meaningful content paint was just “too long” resulting in fears of losing potential customers for their clients. I mean, who wants to wait 5 seconds for a site to load in 2021? Unfathomable!

There is no real replacement for Flash, but you can someone emulate what it did with other alternatives (JS, CSS, etc.), but it all goes back to what I said above. The era of custom, static sites, or fun animations is over. The height of animations on a site these days come from elements fading in as you scroll down, or sliding in from some direction, to give it just a hint of being “interactive!” and “alive!”.

Most animations I see now are video files, likely created using some other Adobe product, but nothing really interactive like the Flash games or presentations of the past.

No one wants to pay for a developer who specializes in animation to do all that anymore. Using JS and CSS to accomplish the same thing takes even longer compared to what you could due with AS3. They want instant gratification at the least amount of cost, so they’ll opt to forego things like Flash, and look for reasons to avoid implementing it (long page load times, security vulnerabilities, browser incompatibilities, etc.).

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There are quite a few high flying immersive sites out there rocking GSAP, WebGL, Canvas, SVG, 3D, Video, etc., that still look pretty Flash-y to me.

Now those are neat! But those definitely exceed the needs of the average customer.

I’m looking through all of their examples right now, and I’m loving it. They seem plenty fast, as well, for the average user. This kind of stuff is the only thing that keeps me remotely interesting in Web Development when it comes to competing with CMS-template companies.

I’m redoing a site for a client right now, and I’m being forced to use SnapPages. I’ve given solid advice on at least transitioning to just WP, but they want to keep it SnapPages for now… The last time I felt this stymied was when I had to work with something made via WIX…

There are tons of cool sites being built and many major brands across the world have immersive product specific micro-sites.

Other good places to get inspired is the FWA Awards - & - Awwwards. Many / most of those sites are found in the GSAP showcase and are very Flash-sque.

Creativity didn’t die with Flash, just ease of use. :wink:

Personally, I just lack creativity as it is :frowning: which has made web development for me far more difficult in today’s climate.

I can make a beautiful, simple website, but when we start talking animations, fancy transitions, and something that gives the end-user a feeling of going on an adventure, that I just can’t do. Ironically, give me an instrument and I’ll weave together a song, give me metal and a TIG welder and I’ll make metal art, give me some wood and I’ll make a nice piece of furniture.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that creativity is something you have or you don’t, I think I just lack because I haven’t really tried, even to emulate something someone else has done. Most of what I’ve learned has been done through emulating what others have done and expanding from there. GSAP definitely looks worth exploring, but I might start with Adobe Animate first, since I’ve got that already.

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I dont have any experience with Flash but I have dabbled with SVG SMIL. SMIL look promising for cartoon animations, especially if it could be done with an decent editor (I use Inkscape, theres probably something that does SMIL).
Its a shame that its taken so long for SMIL to be usable
(only since Edge went Chromium).

I agree with this. Also, most clients today demand faster load times and want to have their pages optimized for Google searches than having an interactive website.

Why does your site need a preloader then? :grin:

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Flash wasn’t slow. In fact I would say one of the reasons of its popularity was its quick load times. Java plugins were far more capable (and more performant) but it lost the war against Flash as the preferred internet multimedia plugin, in large part, I would say, because of the time it took to initialize a Java applet compared to Flash (Java slow, Flash fast).

Of course another reason for Flash’s popularity was the ease at which people could create content. The down side of this is that the people that did create content (anyone, really) didn’t always do so in a matter that allowed it to load quickly or in a performant manner. This then led itself to the perception that Flash itself was slow.

But you can see the same thing with HTML today. If people load up their <head> with a bunch of hefty <script> files, it could really bog down the page. With larger app-style web sites, you’re also seeing the return of the preloader. So we’ve just circled back to where we were with flash :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


hahahah. Touché. :smile: I guess not many people know the inner workings behind a website. I am one of those people. hahaha. Some things may need to be “un-learned”. :sweat_smile: