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Master_Scythe

A lament for Flash

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So I was showing a friend some old flash animations the other day.

You know, things we 'grew up with' being internet nerds.

From Badger Badger Badger, to StarWarz Gangsta Rap, to Shibby.swf, all the way to HomeStarRunner! you name it.

 

And it occurred to me (and I'll be writing a piece for this, for my upcoming blog), but we keep losing features, for the purpose of.... well absolutely-fucking-nothing.

(and I'm not going to miss the chance to bash on Apple as usual and point out their reservations to signing with Macromedia\Adobe on the portables is key here...).

 

There is nothing that can replace the fluid frame by frame line drawn flash.

Try watching a Flash you used to like on youtube, even at 1080p it's not even close. 1080p60 is close, but still not there.

Nothing else can offer clickable elements for 'eastereggs' in the same way.

Nothing I know can compress high quality animation to such low file sizes.

And nothing allows content creators as simple a way to create videos than Action Script.

 

Sure, there were vulnerabilities introduced because flash ket trying to "get bigger" and I can understand the need to lock it down a bit, but really, we gave up on Flash animations, without anything else offering anywhere near the feature set.

 

Could you imagine watching Strongbad and NOT looking for easter eggs?

Or trying to animate a wicked 'stick death' scene without Flash's Tweens?

 

I mean, It only occurred to me the other night. Nothing actually took its place, big brands just slowly hurt it more and more to the point that my pile of SWF's I used to enjoy on my Nokia's wont run on iOS or Android anymore.

 

Thoughts?

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yeah, I thought Flash animations were vector-based, so you could scale them very easily.

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It seemed to be fine for the most part until Adobe got their hands on it.

 

Didn't MS have their hat in the ring to take them over too, then bring out Silverlight when they failed?

The problem though is that despite having hardware perfectly capable of it and OSes that are almost capable of it, system application designers seem to have little clue as to producing their products with proper sandboxing environments.

 

Then again, the WWF or whoever the frig does internet browsing standards dragged the chain - the HTML5 stuff came about 10 years later than it should have.

In the meantime, every man and his dog went their own way, so we get an even worse bunch of bandaided together proprietary standards and methods rather than one cohesive one.

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HTML5 is great at showing the same sort of content if it's in a finalized container, I knew the HTML5 thing would be mentioned.

 

But there's still no motion tween, WYSIWYG animation package, Action Script, and even proper 'Easter Egg Popups' which ive seen used on HTML5 and video content for information snippets, causes problems depending on the browser (especially now that Chromium takes away CPU cycles from non-active tabs).

 

There are things that can do the same thing.

But it's like saying "Why should we ever program in .Net, Assembly exists!

 

And the biggest thing, no matter how you encode an animated video, you can't fit an hours of unlimited resolution (vectors!) video into 50mb. Not even close.

 

Anyone ever sit through 'The Demented Cartoon Movie?' as a kid\teen? It was about 15mb, and half an hour long, and arguably at well over 8k resolution, thanks to unlimited vector scaling..

Edited by Master_Scythe

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I know HTML5 doesn't do everything, it can't. I think the way things are going, you use HTML5 web sites or an Android/iOS/Windows10UWP app.

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​​

​remember that moment when you realised you were no longer doing builds with optical drives?

 

thats where i am at with Flash. that bug-ridden security hole that was foisted on everyone for years is no longer necessary. i dont even have it installed. the sooner it dies the better.

 

I know HTML5 doesn't do everything, it can't. I think the way things are going, you use HTML5 web sites or an Android/iOS/Windows10UWP app.

mobile HTML5 apps can also be made to behave as if native.

Edited by @~thehung
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Yes, well FireFox OS (discontinued phone OS) had "apps" like that - except they were just like web sites and pretty unoptimised compared to compiled apps.

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no doubt, i mean its a lot of layers. whereas with native apps you can even use call backs to C. thats a huge difference that isnt going away.

 

then again, phones are getting crazy fast too. and HTML5 is always evolving.

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​​

​remember that moment when you realised you were no longer doing builds with optical drives?

 

 

 

 

No? Bluray is still relevant to most people.

And while flash may not useful on a professional level, there's still nothing close from a content delivery solution.

 

Seriously, how do I do an animation as easily? and with as many interactive elements?

 

Actually, lets simplify the requirement....

Without knowing a programming language, how do I make a cartoon with ANY interactive element?

 

Nothing has come close yet....

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Actually, lets simplify the requirement....

Without knowing a programming language, how do I make a cartoon with ANY interactive element?

I know nothing about Flash, save that a lot of people made "about time" noises when Google decided they were going to kill it. Something about it being unfixably insecure. Games seem to use QT events an awful lot for firing off decision animation chains - would that suit your requirement, MS?

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Actually, lets simplify the requirement....

Without knowing a programming language, how do I make a cartoon with ANY interactive element?

I know nothing about Flash, save that a lot of people made "about time" noises when Google decided they were going to kill it. Something about it being unfixably insecure. Games seem to use QT events an awful lot for firing off decision animation chains - would that suit your requirement, MS?

 

 

I have no idea.

If it's like a Vector MS paint which lets me drag and drop animations, then cool.

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oh gawd, we're finally looking to replace our last app that requires Java, we've almost eliminated it completely.

 

and then we can look at getting rid of Silverlight and maybe Adobe Air

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oh gawd, we're finally looking to replace our last app that requires Java, we've almost eliminated it completely.

 

and then we can look at getting rid of Silverlight and maybe Adobe Air

 

Java has a very obvious advantage. Cross platform with almost no exceptions.

My Nokia from 2004 can run a 'modern' Java applet, but it has no idea what HTML5 is.

 

Its about the only reason I like java, oddball widespread compatibility.

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In the modern sense, Java requires signed certificates to prove it is up to date before code can execute, which is fine for security, but the "phone-home" aspect of that is quite distasteful for many people.

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So... you want flash back because of it's ability to be a vector animation package? Surely there are heaps of those. I mean, I was playing around with them back in the 90s. Pre-flash.

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And while flash may not useful on a professional level, there's still nothing close from a content delivery solution.

youre exaggerating. most 'content delivery' is in the form of motion video — which HTML5 is adept at. cross browser compatibility is achievable with few exceptions using WebM/MP4 + H.264 + AAC.

 

and of course many simple 2D animations can be delivered as videos.

 

 

Seriously, how do I do an animation as easily? and with as many interactive elements?

 

Actually, lets simplify the requirement....

Without knowing a programming language, how do I make a cartoon with ANY interactive element?

 

Nothing has come close yet....

well, i wouldnt say i am fully across that, but i doubt you are either.

 

you could start with Adobe Edge, a suite of web development tools which began life in 2011/12 as a multimedia authoring tool for browser delivered content specifically designed to succeed Flash - based on HTML5/JavaScript/jQuery/CSS3 — now rolled into Adobe Animate CC: their flagship vector animation tool which was "rewritten from the ground up ... to natively support HTML5 Canvas and WebGL" and can be "used to create a variety of animated content such as animated cartoons, advertisements, games, and other interactive content to publish on platforms such as HTML5 Canvas, Flash Player & Air, WebGL, or custom platforms such as Snap SVG."

 

that probably comes close. but its not like there arent other tools

 

you can use Digital Workshop's Opus Creator to create interactive web content using "enhanced HTML5 to provide all the features you enjoyed in Flash, including animation and graphic effects" "but without any need for Actionscript" or indeed any scripting at all.

jEfrKmZm.jpg

and then theres RealIllusion's Crazy Talk animator, which can export SWF animations to HTML5, like this (noisy) one. that method still has a number limitations and bugs — but then again, its based on SWF...

​etc, etc,

yes, HTML5 still has many issues — the most glaring of which imo is no access to cameras and mics — but Flash? good riddance!

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Access to cameras and input devices kinda gets to accessing OS specific permissions so that's understandable why it's not there.

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And while flash may not useful on a professional level, there's still nothing close from a content delivery solution.

youre exaggerating. most 'content delivery' is in the form of motion video — which HTML5 is adept at. cross browser compatibility is achievable with few exceptions using WebM/MP4 + H.264 + AAC.

 

and of course many simple 2D animations can be delivered as videos.

 

 

But all my above examples are anything but Simple 2D videos aren't they?

I mean, I can't possibly present a better use case, and proof, than homestarrunner.

 

Can you imagine how much more boring SBEmails would have been without the interactive element?

I can, I own the DVD's (somewhere.....) and I dont watch them, choosing instead to load the flash, because all the interactive elements are gone! That was a good 50% of the jokes!

 

I think something glaring stands out to me, with the decline of Flash, If it had a replacement, all the websites that rely on all their income through hosting it, would be pushing it.

Newgrounds? Still Flash.

AlbinoBlackSheep? Still Flash.

Miniclip? Still primarily flash. (sometimes in an EXE wrapper)

Stickdeath? Flash.

 

Business example?

Hewlett Packard professional training - Direct SWF links.

 

Sure, delivering video, audio, images, they can all be done through HTML5 and direct encoding.

 

But interactive media, imo, is yet to have a replacement.

 

Unlimited loops also have that problem!

Things like Weebls Stuff, while it's on youtube, it doesn't forever seamlessly loop, and its not vectorized.

You want to have one of his catchy jingles playing for a few hours, you better be ready for 3 minute stupid youtube 'jitters' every time it loops. Quite jarring if you're trying to use the repetitive loop as a 'white nosie' study aide.

 

 

Sure, there's workaround for all of these things, but none are as elegant.

Falls in the same boat as Apple and (reportedly) samsung abandoning the headphone jack, sure, you CAN dongle through USB-C, but...... why?

Just because a Workaround exists, doesn't make the inconvenience OK.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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But all my above examples are anything but Simple 2D videos aren't they?

I mean, I can't possibly present a better use case, and proof, than homestarrunner.

You're being melodramatic. There is nothing stopping the Brothers Chaps from using Flash to do their animations forever. If you're bent on watching them, Chrome ships with a PPAPI Flash player, which is updated whenever the browser is updated (so about every 20 minutes haha), or there are gobs of offline open- and closed-source players available.

 

The world doesn't owe you vector-based cartoons on the Internet. Adobe has no obligation to continue the development of a platform that has, irrespective of what Apple and Google do, been in decline since the late 00's.

 

Flash was never "killed off" by anybody, it died of its own accord because HTML5 replaced the functionality that most of Macromedia/Adobe's customers used it for.

 

Your cartoons are collateral damage, and I'm not saying that doesn't suck, but jesus christ, perspective.

 

 

Flash can die in a fire.

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But all my above examples are anything but Simple 2D videos aren't they?

I mean, I can't possibly present a better use case, and proof, than homestarrunner.

You're being melodramatic. There is nothing stopping the Brothers Chaps from using Flash to do their animations forever. If you're bent on watching them, Chrome ships with a PPAPI Flash player, which is updated whenever the browser is updated (so about every 20 minutes haha), or there are gobs of offline open- and closed-source players available.

 

The world doesn't owe you vector-based cartoons on the Internet. Adobe has no obligation to continue the development of a platform that has, irrespective of what Apple and Google do, been in decline since the late 00's.

 

Flash was never "killed off" by anybody, it died of its own accord because HTML5 replaced the functionality that most of Macromedia/Adobe's customers used it for.

 

Your cartoons are collateral damage, and I'm not saying that doesn't suck, but jesus christ, perspective.

 

 

Flash can die in a fire.

 

 

To be fair, when the hell am I not being melodramatic according to others? I'm just Enthusiastic regardless of the topic, positive or negative.

 

And come on man, you always accuse me of melodrama, but your responses are just as over the top.

It's not about what the world "owes me", it already gave it to me, it's about what's being taken away for 0 reason.

It's about what we, the internet culture, are losing.

 

You're missing my angle completely, we already had vector based cartoons on the internet.

There is 0 argument to be made that Vector based graphics are best, so that's not even a discussion.

 

My point was that we had a very good technology for delivering exactly that content. Nothing surpassed it, nothing even matched it, and while you're welcome to disagree, IMO the defining blow was when Apple refused to partner.

Apple is a monolith of computing power, no matter how much I hate that fact. And (until they killed the headphone jack) people just blindly went along with the 'Yep, they told me it's better, so it is' mentality.

Diversity is dying, and I'll always feel a need to speak out when I notice it.

 

It was a mature, fully featured tool, which, while it had vulnerabilities toward the end (imo trying to grow bigger than its own shoes; Flash shouldn't have userspace\kernel access in ANY way), there was little to dislike. Overhead was low, productivity was high.

 

Am I really the only user in this thread who never had a negative Flash experience?

For me, it provided hours of perfect animated entertainment, quizzes, music, and in the end youtube.

 

Maybe I was just one of the few lucky ones who never had it cryptolock my HDD or whatever else it's done to you guys to make you hate it so.

Edited by Master_Scythe

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i noticed you totally ignored the fully-fledged interactive content tools i mentioned. the first two in particular are not "work arounds". what they are is modernity. if theyre work arounds then theyre analogous to the way that doctors around the world used to communicate in Latin, but now they use English instead — as a "work around" LOL. oh won't somebody bring back the good old days, when you could exchange sophomoric humour with doctors via a dead language!

the vector based multimedia youre hung up on had maximum currency pre-youtube, when even heavily compressed QT and realplayer videos would choke the average persons dial up to death. now, video does 99% of people just fine. i instantly found a wealth of video that played just fine on newgrounds, albinoblacksheep, stickdeath...

but HTML has issues with seemless looping, yes. maybe you should contact the WC3. once they know MS wants to seemlessly loop Weebls Stuff jingles they might fast track a solution.

as for the specifically interactive stuff, as mentioned, capable HTML5 tools exist right now, but i'd wager many content creators are dragging their heels for a number of reasons:

 

- video is fine​
- flash works okay for now
- creators are disorganised/lazy and/or fear change
- creators and large audiences alike have moved the fuck on

and although ive never heard of homestarrunner, even in jest, they see the writing on the wall:

Edited by @~thehung
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It isn't like that at all. Nothing is being "taken away" from you. That's the melodrama I'm talking about.

 

It's more the case that something is atrophying and dying, than it actively being killed off. Apple might have accelerated the death of Flash, but HTML5 was on the way, it would have happened anyway.

 

I'm not denying Flash's place in Internet culture "history". Not at all. Flash solved a problem, it serviced a need for functionality at a time when alternatives didn't exist.

 

But now?

Video playback? HTML5/*264

Interactive elements on websites? HTML5/CANVAS.

Games? HTML5/CANVAS + JS.

 

Standards-based frameworks now exist to do /most/ of what Flash did. Not all of it, I'm not making that claim. But clearly enough of it that the product is no longer commercially viable for Adobe.

 

You're ascribing malice to what's pretty much a perfect demonstration of how things naturally die in the IT world.

 

 

High quality vector-based web cartoons are, as I said, collateral damage, and that's a sad thing for sure, no argument from me.

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It isn't like that at all. Nothing is being "taken away" from you. That's the melodrama I'm talking about.

 

It's more the case that something is atrophying and dying, than it actively being killed off. Apple might have accelerated the death of Flash, but HTML5 was on the way, it would have happened anyway.

 

I'm not denying Flash's place in Internet culture "history". Not at all. Flash solved a problem, it serviced a need for functionality at a time when alternatives didn't exist.

 

But now?

Video playback? HTML5/*264

Interactive elements on websites? HTML5/CANVAS.

Games? HTML5/CANVAS + JS.

 

Standards-based frameworks now exist to do /most/ of what Flash did. Not all of it, I'm not making that claim. But clearly enough of it that the product is no longer commercially viable for Adobe.

 

You're ascribing malice to what's pretty much a perfect demonstration of how things naturally die in the IT world.

 

 

High quality vector-based web cartoons are, as I said, collateral damage, and that's a sad thing for sure, no argument from me.

 

We actually agree on all points then, no drama.

 

The real people who lose out then seem to be the novice content creators.

I had a quick peek at ~@thehung' suggestions, and they're nowhere near as 'primary school friendly'.

 

Plus..... Vectors.....

Edited by Master_Scythe

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​​

​maybe there are tools that are more noob-friendly out there? in any case, "anyone" is free to create one if/when the demand arises.

i think there are simple game development platforms that focus on 2D and can publish to HTML5. probably dont use vectors, but it doesnt necessarily matter. plenty of flash content ran at fixed sizes and used rasterised versions of vector-style art.

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