Top 10 Reasons Web Developers Should Avoid Flash

Subtitle:  Is Adobe Flash Still Relevant in Web 2.0?

I remember when I first saw Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) more than a decade ago.  I was blown away seeing smooth animation and vector-based graphics running in a web browser.  I thought to myself, “This is the future of the web.”  And it was…  for a while…

During the early years of the Web, Flash was the only good option for animation and “sprucing up” a website.  Your choice was to either “have a boring HTML website” or use Flash, so it became wildly popular.  But today, its popularity is diminishing.  I’ll tell you why.

Here are the top 10 reasons why Flash is becoming irrelevant:

  • Device Incompatibility
  • Poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Not an Open Web Standard
  • Better Alternatives Exist
  • Poor Maintainability
  • Complicated Client / Server Support
  • Poor Accessibility
  • Poor Usability
  • Poor Stability / Performance / Security
  • Apple Rejects Flash

Device Incompatibility

The Internet is no longer limited to desktops and laptops.  Today people access the web from mobile phones (iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Blackberry among others), gaming consoles (X-BOX 360, PS3, Wii), and various TV-based browsers (set-top boxes and even TV’s with built-in web browsers).  With most of these devices, Flash support is either nonexistent, or severely lacking.

Flash isn’t officially available for 64-bit browsers.  When you buy your brand-new Windows 7 laptop and open Internet Explorer (64-bit), go to the Adobe Flash Player download page. You’ll get a message saying “Flash Player 10.1 is not currently available for your 64-bit web browser.” You’re stuck either using a 32-bit browser, or using the Flash Player “Square” beta (which has been in beta for years).

Poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Flash is not fully readable by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.  It’s true that you can embed some meta information, but nothing comparable to real HTML content.  Search engines cannot infer the meaning, structure and relevance of a website built entirely using Flash.

Not an Open Web Standard

The Adobe Flash format is closed and proprietary.  It is not an open standard like HTML 5, CSS or JavaScript.  Adobe solely controls the future of the Flash format, its feature set and the Flash Player plug-in.  Adobe claims that 95% of website visitors have Flash Player, but third party studies show that it may be closer to 50% when factoring in all Internet-capable devices.

Better Alternatives Exist

Browsers have come a long way since Flash was introduced.  So have HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  Today, developers can take advantage of JavaScript frameworks like JQuery.  These libraries provide nice animation, effects and UI controls that facilitate a dynamic AJAX-driven Web 2.0 user experience.

Flash is not the only option for video.  HTML 5 supports embedding videos in a web browser without Flash.  The H264 video format has already been adopted by many websites, most notably YouTube.  H264 provides much better quality video than Flash (FLV format) at a smaller file size [yes, I know that Flash can play H264 videos; my point is that Flash Player won’t be required to watch H264 videos].  Many of the devices mentioned above (under “Device Incompatibility”) already support embedded video, or will support it soon.  Devices like the iPhone/iPod/iPad even have H264 decoders built into the hardware so you can watch high definition videos with minimal CPU / battery power.

Poor Maintainability

The only comprehensive tool for Flash development is Adobe Flash from (you guessed it) Adobe.  There are other shortcut tools for making Flash animations (like Swish) but only Adobe’s proprietary tools give you full control.  By comparison, there are many high-quality tools for editing HTML, CSS and JavaScript, including free and open-source options (heck, you could even use Notepad).

After you’ve released your Flash website, it’s also a hassle to maintain.  Changing a Flash animation can be complicated work, and it requires editing the original uncompiled .FLA file.  Then it has to be recompiled into a .SWF before being released back to the web server.

There are also human resource issues to consider.  Application development with Flash requires a very specific skill-set, and it’s rare to find a developer who is an expert at graphic design, animation, Action Script programming, data-driven client/server interaction, and server-side application architecture.   Even if you find a great Flash developer, this often leaves businesses stuck relying on a single person to handle all updates.  Pray that your Flash developer doesn’t leave or misplace the latest .FLA file.

Complicated Client / Server Support

Flash was created primarily for showing pretty animations in a web browser.  It was not intended to handle client/server scenarios where a database is involved.  Adobe has done a lot of work in this arena, and Flash can communicate with server-side data, but it’s a major hassle compared to other options.  Flash is generally not the best option for data-driven applications.

It is considerably faster, easier and more cost-effective to develop applications using a web language.  For example, ASP.NET and PHP can easily retrieve data from SQL Server and generate HTML for a web browser.  Flash introduces additional layers of complexity and more points of failure, making the application development process harder than it should be.

Poor Stability / Performance / Security

Flash is known to have issues in the areas of stability, performance and security.  It has been the cause of many browser crashes.  It requires a lot of CPU power, and can bring low-powered computers/devices to their knees.  I’ve seen mobile phones, netbooks and gaming consoles completely freeze simply because a user tried to watch a Flash video.  I’ll grant that Flash developers can influence performance, but it shouldn’t take an expert to make something that works well on all devices.

Poor Usability

Flash websites (i.e. the whole website is one big Flash object)  introduce several usability problems:

  1. Normal browser navigation doesn’t work. If you click on something inside the Flash animation, you can’t click the back button to return to the previous section.  This leaves users confused or frustrated.
  2. Bookmarks don’t work. You can’t bookmark a specific section of a Flash website.
  3. Touch devices aren’t fully supported. Many Flash applications rely on a mouse rollover for interaction.  This rules out most mobile phones, tablet devices and touch-screen PC’s.
  4. The “Find in page” feature doesn’t work. You can’t use the browser’s in-page search.
  5. Multilingual / localization support is complicated to implement. Any multilingual support must be built from scratch.  Automated translation tools (Google Translate, Yahoo BabelFish) do not work on Flash content.
  6. The user interface is often awkward. This is not the fault of Adobe, but of many Flash developers.  It’s common for Flash developers to add long intro animations (yawn) and special effects that look pretty but waste the user’s time.  Instead of a normal menu, a Flash developer may try to get fancy and create a spinning orb for navigation.  Simplicity = usability (look at CraigsList.com), and Flash was created to be “fancy” not “simple.”

Poor Accessibility

Because Flash .SWF files are compiled (binary, not text), screen readers cannot read them.  That is, text-based web browsers for the sight impaired do not work.  This is not a concern for some people, but large corporations and government websites care about accessibility.

Apple Rejects Flash

The most intriguing article I’ve read about the future of Adobe Flash came from Steve Jobs (founder of Apple).  His article “Thoughts on Flash” sums up the reasons why the iPhone, iPod and iPad do not (and never will) support Adobe Flash.  I’d think twice before building a website that leaves 90 million iPhones out in the cold.

Steve Jobs is not the first to reject Flash.  Industry experts have expressed concerns for many years.  Usability expert Jacob Nielson published an article in October 2000 titled “Flash: 99% Bad” stating that “99% of the time, the presence of Flash on a website constitutes a usability disease…  it encourages design abuse, it breaks with the Web’s fundamental interaction principles, and it distracts attention from the site’s core value.”

Most of the issues I’ve mentioned are also described in detail at Wikipedia’s Adobe Flash article.  Someone posted a statement on Wikipedia saying, “On Mar 8, 2011, it was announced that Flash support would be coming to the iPad, iPad 2 and iPhone.”  This is completely untrue.  The citation references an article about Wallaby, a tool for converting basic Flash animations to HTML 5.  In other words, this is actually an example of HTML 5 being used to replace Flash.

Conclusion

Flash was a cool technology, but it’s not the future of web development.  It’s time for web developers to move on.

I don’t hate Flash, and I’m not ignorant of its feature set.  I think Flash is an powerful technology with a lot of capabilities. It can be used in a lot of scenarios. I just don’t think it should be used in many of them. Flash use should be limited to instances where HTML/JavaScript/CSS can’t do the job.

I see three legitimate reasons to use Flash:

  • Display of video (until the HTML 5 standard has sufficient adoption)
  • Banner ads (because Flash sure beats GIF/JPG for advertisement)
  • Browser-based games (because Flash beats Java in this arena)

My argument is that Flash should not be used for things like:

  • Development of an entire website.
  • Development of complex data-driven applications.
  • UI components such as data grids, content rotators, tree views, input forms, etc.

Some of my readers have expressed that HTML/CSS/JavaScript/JQuery are not a substitute for all of the animation power of Flash.  I completely agree – Flash is pretty unbeatable in terms of fancy animation, transitions and effects.  My point is that users don’t care about a super-fancy interface.  They care about one that works on their device and is simple to use.

When Flash is used instead of HTML/CSS/JavaScript on a public-facing website, you are guaranteeing that some users will not be able to use it.  To me, device incompatibility is the most important reason to avoid Flash.  If you’re a web developer, you should aim to produce a site that everyone can use from any device.  Note:  This article is intended for web developers building public websites, not in-house applications (where your organization can control adoption and ensure each user has Flash).

I would rather invest my time developing a website that everyone can use, even if it’s not as fancy.  That’s my opinion, and my recommendation to my clients.  My readers are welcome to form their own opinions and make a different recommendation to their clients.

PS – Microsoft’s Silverlight has many of the same shortcomings.  My recommendation is the same:  use HTML, CSS and JavaScript instead.  Then use whichever server-side technology you like.

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8 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons Web Developers Should Avoid Flash

  1. Héctor says:

    No offence intended, but you are quite misinformed…

    Device incompatibility
    Well, while Flash is not available in most devices, it is supported on a lot of them, either officially or not: Android, TVs, XBox360, iPhone, PlayBook, etc. Of course, not all of them are officially supported, or allow playing latest Flash versions, but the same could be said about HTML 5.

    About 64-bit version, there is indeed a 64-bit version (a version behind the latest 32-bit one tho).

    No SEO
    Google is able to read a lot of Flash movies, and it has been for a lot of years, if you search for it, you’ll find a lot of official information from Google.

    Also, there are a lot of ways to index your Flash content with no problems (albeit harder than normal HTML). The same way, search engines have problems indexing some AJAX and dynamic sites.

    Not an open web standard
    SWF format is available to anyone, and based on it there are several open source players, like Lightspark.

    Better alternatives exist
    Flash has supported H264 encoded videos for several years…

    Also, when developing sites through HTML-JS people have to spend a lot of time because of cross-browser incompatibilities or lack of support for several features. Relying on HTML 5 when it’s not even a closed specification is a bit crazy.

    Poor maintainability
    There are several Flash development tools, some of them open source as well. And I’ve seen all of them giving full control, unless you are talking about a designing view, which I guess is the case.

    “Changing a Flash animation can be complicated work” well, that’s a subjective matter that depends of what you consider complicated…

    The last paragraph is also a bit misleading, there are web designers that do not know JS, PHP, or even HTML itself and only know how to use Dreamweaver, Expression Web or whatever other IDE. And someone that does know plain JS surely know how to program in AS (at least AS 2).

    Poor Client / Server Support
    There are a lot of RIAs out there that communicate with server side code with no problems and in a successful way. Also, there are several ways to get this done, so you can stick with the one you feel more comfortable.

    It also depends of how the client wants to show the data.

    Poor Stability / Performance / Security
    Well, in most cases this the fault of the developers themselves. And this situation has been greatly improved in these last years.

    Take a look at what is coming as an example: http://jpauclair.net/2011/03/01/zombietycoon-molehill-session-at-flashgamingsummit/

    Poor Usability
    1. This is also the fault of the developers, it can be done, and each day more and more Flash sites show it. There are several ways of doing so, for example, with the pushState API from HTML 5.
    2. Again, this can be done, but it’s up to the developer.
    3. That’s just wrong. Again, if a developer made some SWF so it depends on rollover for some functionality, it was up to the developer, but Flash itself don’t depend on it. There are several videos showing this, and Flash has supported multi-touch for some time.
    4. This is true. Some people adds their own search boxes, but I find it excessive unless it’s well justified.
    5. Well, you can do it, but from inside the app. Anyway, if you have the option of adding built-in multilangual support, better do so instead of using some automated tool, they still have a lot to desire.
    6. True, although experts say that once HTML 5 becomes widely implement we’ll again suffer from it.

    Poor Accessibility
    There are several ways of adding accesibility to Flash, some of them built-in by Adobe, but most people either overlook them, or just do not care. The same can be said about several of the new HTML 5 features, and some AJAX sites.

    Apple Rejects Flash
    What to say… Apple is not the be all and end all, and each new day, the more they are losing against Android based devices, which support Flash. Also, if you can jailbreak iOs, you can install Flash, although it’s not official and unsupported.

    Having said all of this, the future of Flash is in the cross-compiler world, being able to use the same business logic for PC, Android, Playbook, etc is great (the presentation layer can be reused as well, but it may not be well suited for all of the screens/devices). Also, there are already tools in the development to port some Flash code/animations over to HTML 5.

    I wouldn’t make a full website with Flash anyway, as people say, use the right tool for the right job.

    Flash use is not limited to plain websites, it allows for more than that. Right now HTML 5 is more like Flash 8 was, 6 years ago.

    Sorry for the long reply!

    • kevinlawry says:

      Hi Hector – I appreciate your reply. I understand your viewpoint as you are most likely a Flash developer. I don’t think that Flash is all-bad, and I do think Flash can be used for a lot of scenarios. I just don’t think that it should be used for many of them.

      To clarify, I think that Flash is still useful for 3 purposes:

      1. Display of video (until the HTML 5 standard has sufficient adoption)
      2. Banner ads (because Flash sure beats GIF/JPG for advertisement)
      3. Browser-based games (because Flash beats Java in this arena)

      No offence intended, but you are quite misinformed…

      My article is based on a combination of my reading on the subject, input from colleagues and my own experience (14 years of professional web/software development). Some items in my article are matters of opinion, but most are fact.

      Well, while Flash is not available in most devices, it is supported on a lot of them, either officially or not

      The average user doesn’t know how to install an unofficial knock-off of Flash Player (like Gnash). Mind you, I’ve done it, but I’m a developer. But even if you get something installed, it usually doesn’t work right (i.e. it’s not compatible with the latest version of Flash, and usually suffers from performance problems). Also, some devices come with Flash (like Sony’s PS3) but it works so poorly that it’s an unpleasant experience for the user.

      About 64-bit version, there is indeed a 64-bit version (a version behind the latest 32-bit one tho).

      It is true that Adobe has been working on a 64-bit version of Flash for several years, but it’s still not officially released. And as you noted, it’s not a current version. When I use 64-bit Internet Explorer to visit the Flash download page, I’m told “Flash Player 10.1 is not currently available for your 64-bit web browser.” They give links to instructions on how to use a 32-bit browser, and a link to the 64-bit beta.

      Google is able to read a lot of Flash movies, and it has been for a lot of years, if you search for it, you’ll find a lot of official information from Google.

      Google can read some information from Flash movies, but very little compared to an HTML document. You can find ways to stuff your Flash file with more text, but it doesn’t matter. As I already stated, “Search engines cannot infer the meaning, structure and relevance of a website built using Flash.”

      SWF format is available to anyone, and based on it there are several open source players, like Lightspark.

      I understand that there are unofficial “Flash-compatible” players but SWF is not an open-book web language. Adobe is the only company with any input on the standards and feature set. HTML/CSS/JavaScript standards are governed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) allowing input and participation from everyone.

      Flash has supported H264 encoded videos for several years

      Yes, Flash has worked as a video player for H264 for several years… my point being that soon Flash won’t be necessary to view those H264 videos. Many users haven’t upgraded to HTML 5 browsers, so I still recommend using Flash as a video player. But in time, Flash won’t be necessary for video playback on any device.

      There are several Flash development tools, some of them open source as well. And I’ve seen all of them giving full control, unless you are talking about a designing view, which I guess is the case.

      A design view is a pretty big reason why Adobe’s tool is the best development option for Flash.

      “Changing a Flash animation can be complicated work” well, that’s a subjective matter that depends of what you consider complicated…

      In general, I’ve found working with Flash to be much more complicated and time consuming than other web technologies. It also doesn’t “play nice” with source control repositories. It’s not like ASP.NET where different team members can work on the same file(s) at the same time and merge their changes.

      There are a lot of RIAs out there that communicate with server side code with no problems and in a successful way.

      Undoubtedly, Flash can communicate with a server-side application. However, the use of Flash for a data-driven application introduces additional complexity and more points of failure. It is inherently less cost effective than developing an equivalent application using ASP.NET or PHP to output HTML.

      Poor Stability / Performance / Security – Well, in most cases this the fault of the developers themselves.

      Stability and performance have been an issue on many devices, regardless of how well the developer designs their Flash app. Flash works great on new PC’s with powerful CPU’s, graphics cards and plenty of RAM. But it often chokes on slower computers and low-power devices.

      if a developer made some SWF so it depends on rollover for some functionality, it was up to the developer, but Flash itself don’t depend on it. There are several videos showing this, and Flash has supported multi-touch for some time

      With regard to touch support, touch devices (phones, tablets) don’t have mouse cursors and cannot support rollover events. Many Flash animations were built around mouse-over interactions. I’m not saying a touch device can’t be supported. I’m saying that many Flash apps need to be redesigned for touch support. For example, most video players hide/show controls based on mouse-over. Many Flash games interact with a cursor too. Those will need to be re-developed, or remain unsupported by certain devices.

      There are several ways of adding accesibility to Flash, some of them built-in by Adobe, but most people either overlook them, or just do not care.

      To me, accessibility implies that the user can read and navigate the whole website. This is not possible if your whole website is one big Flash object. Now if you limit Flash use as appropriate (video player, banner ads, games) then the rest of your site will be navigable… because the rest of your site is HTML.

      Apple is not the be all and end all, and each new day, the more they are losing against Android based devices, which support Flash.

      As a developer, I’m a fan of Android. But the average consumer will pick an iPhone over an Android phone if they have the choice (and now that Verizon has the iPhone, more consumers have that choice). Likewise, there are plenty of Android-based iPad clones, but nobody wants them.

      According to Wikipedia, Apple has sold almost 90 million iPhones worldwide. Even if Apple’s “ban on Flash” isn’t enough reason to avoid Flash, there are plenty of other reasons (as I’ve described). And there are plenty of other devices with no Flash support, or limited Flash support.

      I still stand by my recommendation, and I expect that many other technologists will agree with it.

  2. Héctor says:

    I appreciate your reply. I understand your viewpoint as you are most likely a Flash developer.

    I work on a lot of different things, I often use Flash, but most of my main orders are desktop apps using different .Net technology stacks, and when I’ve developed Flash, it’s not been for the common things seen on internet, although I have a lot of contact with people that do so.

    About the 64-bit version, you said “Flash isn’t even available on PC’s with 64-bit browsers. When you buy your brand-new Windows 7 laptop and open Internet Explorer (64-bit), you’ll find that Flash is unsupported”. It is, and it is supported, not officially released, but it doesn’t change the other two facts.

    Google can read some information from Flash movies, but very little compared to an HTML document. You can find ways to stuff your Flash file with more text, but it doesn’t matter. As I already stated, “Search engines cannot infer the meaning, structure and relevance of a website built using Flash.”

    Google can read most info from Flash movies, but depending of what you do inside them it will be able to read less or more, as I said, the same goes for some AJAX sites, or HTML 5/JS features. Of course, I’m not denying that fully enabling a Flash site for SEO requires more work, but again, I’m not denying either, that I wouldn’t make a site with Flash alone. But there are a lot of Flash-only sites around fully “SEOed”.

    Adobe is the only company with any input on the standards and feature set. HTML/CSS/JavaScript standards are governed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) allowing input and participation from everyone.

    Adobe allows the input and participation from everyone, it has a portal where people can request features, enhacements, fill bug reports, etc.

    Yes, Flash has worked as a video player for H264 for several years… my point being that soon Flash won’t be necessary to view those H264 videos. Many users haven’t upgraded to HTML 5 browsers, so I still recommend using Flash as a video player. But in time, Flash won’t be necessary for video playback on any device.

    Again, you said “H264 provides much better quality video than Flash (FLV format) at a smaller file size” which is not true, as Flash also allows encoding using H264.

    Also, you’ve got to remember that there is no official codec for the HTML5 video format yet. So in order to enable it, as of this writing, you’ve got to encode the same video at least in two different formats (or three if you count Flash as well for browsers with no video tag support). IE6 is still broadly used, and IE9 will not be available on Windows versions previous to Vista, so it will be a long time since a lot of sites will drop Flash support.

    Flash support was boosted by video playback, it’s true, but again, it can do more than that, and even if it’s replaced we’ll continue to see it in many more areas. Just my two cents.

    A design view is a pretty big reason why Adobe’s tool is the best development option for Flash.

    It depends of what you use Flash for. The same there are a lot of people out there that even if not targetting Flash they use Flash Professional for animation and their assets. People that works for WP7, HTML 5, etc have made and uploaded their own tools that allow this because they say Flash Professional is the best tool for some tasks.

    In general, I’ve found working with Flash to be much more complicated and time consuming than other web technologies.

    I’ve never found Flash difficult at all, but each person is different. Most people I know find it harder to make a complex site to work on all different browsers. Of course, server side technologies are better in this regard, but Flash is geared to the client side.

    It also doesn’t “play nice” with source control repositories. It’s not like ASP.NET where different team members can work on the same file(s) at the same time and merge their changes.

    It depends of several factors, if you, for example, use still Visual Source Safe, it’s not a nice experience, but it can be used with no problems (everyone should have dropped VSS by now anyway), the IDE and type of project you work for also matters: Flash Builder works pretty nice with source control repositories, there have been some ways to work nice with source control repositories with Flash Professional for some years as well, and with Flash CS5 and the new XFL format the situation improved even more. There are improvements that could be made on the setup stage of all this, but it can be done with no problems.

    Undoubtedly, Flash can communicate with a server-side application. However, the use of Flash for a data-driven application introduces additional complexity and more points of failure. It is inherently less cost effective than developing an equivalent application using ASP.NET or PHP to output HTML.

    That’s why I said it also depends of what the client wants. I don’t consider it introduces additional complexity, the sandboxed environment may be the root cause of it, but once you get familiar with it, you’ll know how to solve those problems. I don’t consider time a little constraint at all, I find it to be the main concern on every aspect in life.

    Stability and performance have been an issue on many devices, regardless of how well the developer designs their Flash app. Flash works great on new PC’s with powerful CPU’s, graphics cards and plenty of RAM. But it often chokes on slower computers and low-power devices.

    The developer is the main key in this, trust me. I’ve seen applications get up even to a x50-x100 speed-up when correctly designed and implemented. The content depends as well, is not the same a game using 3D displayed solely by software and pushing the limits of a modern desktop PC where there is little to optimize, or a Flash movie displaying just static text where there is nothing (or less) to optimize.

    Flash is not the old environment where a simple AS1 & 2 for loop where rather slow. Things like AS3, Alchemy-memory access, etc brought a lot of improvements. Also, a lot of designers do not know (or correctly know) about bitmap caching techniques which can be used without code behind and which improve dramatically the performance of apps, and with code behind you can improve even more the situation.

    With regard to touch support, touch devices (phones, tablets) don’t have mouse cursors and cannot support rollover events. Many Flash animations were built around mouse-over interactions. I’m not saying a touch device can’t be supported. I’m saying that many Flash apps need to be redesigned for touch support. For example, most video players hide/show controls based on mouse-over. Many Flash games interact with a cursor too. Those will need to be re-developed, or remain unsupported by certain devices.

    Maybe I’m taking the original post too literally, you said “Touch devices aren’t supported.”. There are videos showing Flash works flawlessly on touch devices, and that even most, if not all, Flashes that depend on roll over can be made to work as well without modifying the code.

    To me, accessibility implies that the user can read and navigate the whole website. This is not possible if your whole website is one big Flash object. Now if you limit Flash use as appropriate (video player, banner ads, games) then the rest of your site will be navigable… because the rest of your site is HTML.

    I had that in mind when replied. There are ways to make a whole Flash to be accesible. I’ve got a friend working in an UK company that’s made several things on this area. Of course, with HTML you get a lot of this accesibility for free while in Flash you’ve got to have it in mind. I also know of a software company that has a blind developer and makes a lot of different things.

    According to Wikipedia, Apple has sold almost 90 million iPhones worldwide

    There are articles from this year saying Android is already the most shipped smartphone worldwide tho, anyway, what right now reigns, may be forgotten in a year or so.

    I still stand by my recommendation, and I expect that many other technologists will agree with it.

    One last time, I’ll also say, if you are making your whole site Flash based, you are using it incorrectly.

    • Héctor says:

      Forgot to mention that I don’t think HTML 5 and Flash should be fully considered enemies, just because the first one appears one shouldn’t consider Flash dead.

      They can complement each other, and make the other to improve.

      For example, the EaselJS library which is gaining a lot of fame lately, is closely based in the AS3 API. There are some JS (to use with HTML 5) libraries that are ported from Flash, and similarly, some JS code can be easily ported to Flash.

      HTML 5 has the disadvantage of having a lot of “bureaucracy” to pass in order to being finished, and until that happens, Flash can improve in other areas or what already offer. As I said, HTML 5 is more similar to Flash 8, although it offers things like the geolocation API which were not available back then (but are now).

      Also, Flash can be used in more areas than just web development.

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