When we’re not spinning gold for you we talk about this and that behind your back. I’ve wanted to do an experiment, sharing some of our casual interactions with you to see if it serves as good content. Maybe it won’t but if it does, I may have discovered a way to produce a lot more content with virtually no effort (thanks to my platform’s copy and paste technology).

In this instance, resident Microsoft fanatic slash apologist David K asked in the subject field, “Does flash content matter?” and starts talking about some WP7 software thing which he’ll probably write about later on. Skim through the exchange and if you’ve got anything, substantive or otherwise, to add to this, do chime in and keep this rolling.

On Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 9:14 AM, David K wrote:
I hope that company SWFLight is going to have a browser method on WP7 to watch
Flash videos on WP7. It's pretty smart - it converts Flash to Silverlight on
the fly so you can watch video and it's happening locally, not on a
That gets video but not flash content, like graphs and stuff. Would
anyone really miss that stuff if you could play video? Personally, I think most
of flash is the ability to stream the videos. Flash games never work on
phones cause of the controls. So that leaves flash content. You guys
know more than I do - is it a big deal to not have that on a phone?
Doug Smith:
I think it is, especially for larger devices and tablets since they will all be
using the Mobile OS.
Chris Leiter:
Having frash on my iPhone, I have to say that flash doesn't matter.  Bring on html5
Matt Anderson:
With all the ads that load when you have flash, the ability to do just
video would be f@cking sweet. And wp7 needs a tweak to include
profanity in the auto correct.
David K:
So iDoug, how do you explain that shit in your hands? iOS lacks all Flash
of all types and the more I hear about the power drain that is flash
(along with stability, vulnerability, etc) the more I don't care for it as
lnog as I can get my content somehow. I mean, a PC is one thing, but a
phone or tablet...not too sure.
Doug Smith:

a) I have Skyfire. I have Flash

b) I have never had power drain issues like others whine about. I always have an AC Plug around me so my shit stays plugged in ever since my Power Ass Kicking Windows Mobile Days. And second I always have a battery backup option with me. External in the iPhone case. I have the Lil Charger 2200 external battery for a few years now. It always does the trick.

c) Stability? shit always works for me.

d) Vulnerability? WTF? Who gets hacked on a mobile????

I really don’t care how I get video on my device either, but since 75% of the net has video in Flash, it needs to be some provision for it. And it goes back to other people dictating to us what we can and cannot do with our devices….

Chris Leiter:

The argument about not visiting sites with flash pretty much stands
true for me.  One of the sites I run will be converted to html5
compatible video from divx very soon
Ramon Trotman:
F@ck Apple!
Doug Simmons:

I’m no loud proponent of Flash and I appreciate Apple just saying no to it on their mobile products in order to help usher in HTML5 at least for Flash’s most common purposes. But in defense of Flash versus Apple, Flash is from what I’ve read at a hardware or OS-related disadvantage on Apple, requiring the CPU to be tied up to do basic stuff instead of the work being offloaded to something else (GPU?) as it is on a PC. It’s possible that it’s not simply a bad programming language to accomplish what the programmer/designer wants accomplished, but it’s bad because it’s just too easy for anyone to come in and make a dumb banner ad for their gambling website.

Converting one video format to another requires a whole lot of computing juice on top of the juice required to play the final product simultaneously. Decode, re-encode, decode again and display. Unless there’s some magic math behind that, it’s tough to believe that’s done locally on a phone on the fly or that they haven’t managed to essentially sneak a native flash player onto a platform that wants to keep its distance from competing formats to Siverlight. Perhaps Microsoft will cave on Flash and WP7? I wasn’t even aware that they kept it off. But the only advantage to doing this locally versus something like Skyfire, I believe, is that you don’t have to wait for the Skyfire server to get it first and crunch it down to something else and then send it to you. But what you’re describing, not making sense.

The iPhone’s success from the beginning answers your question quite clearly, that no, it is not a big deal not to have Flash on a phone. I have the option to have Flash on my phone and I leave it off and I don’t use something like Skyfire either to get my web experience. Over time the web is getting pressured to at least offer alternative segments of their website to their Flash version if not completely displacing the Flash with something else. iPhones and iPads and iPods are just too damn popular. You look at your logs and see that >5% of your traffic is from devices that don’t do Flash and among the mobile devices that do visit your site most of them don’t do Flash and you have a site that is 90% Flash, you rethink things quick.

Meanwhile however, Adobe has been regrouping real fast not just to make Flash more phone-friendly in terms of people being able to interact with things as they would on a computer and not eat as much resources, like letting people drag a Google Finance timeline bar to the left or whatever, but to bring in their answer to Java, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), which from what I understand is intended to be cross-platform friendly in order to get developers who want to develop for multiple platforms without having to learn multiple languages to be able to do that, though it does integrate Flash into it among other things. Don’t think it will take over the world though. And by the way, don’t try testing the timeline bar on Microsoft because even if you stretch it a decade it won’t look like it’s affecting the price climb. That’s just Microsoft just relaxing too much.

The smart money’s on HTML5. Glad to hear that Microsoft is smartening up on that. A little grandiose coming in as if they’re Apple but snubbing HTML5 as if it would make a dent in Silverlight adoption let alone leverage an entire market away from such a commonly used and widely-adopted thing like Flash.

Ramon Trotman:
F@ck Android.
David K:
So it turns out SWF is a video player. So you play flash content locally (no conversion). It's
like magic man!
Chris Leiter: 
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
Ramon Trotman:
F@ck RIM

Just want to stress again that this was just us shooting the shit. Not necessarily how we speak before the WordPress podium and there’s probably not as much fact checking taking place here, but I think you’ll find that refreshing. Normally this is where I sign my name but I don’t want to put a coda on this exchange, especially now that you’re included if you’re inclined.

By the way, we don’t do anything with emails people put into the comment thing. I suppose the only reason we still have it, other than not wanting to spend time trying to get rid of it, is so that when I write an especially offensive or otherwise bad article and people declare that they’re abandoning us as a result, bossman Doug Smith can, after telling me to cool it, chase them down with an apology email and a plea for them to reconsider, then subsequently he comes at me asking for “a favor,” that he needs me to write extensively on some soft topic, like the cloud, what it is, who offers it and a step-by-step guide on how to use the cloud along with an analysis of whether it’s right for various types of people. Sure thing, Smith; I’m on it.

[poll id=”58″]


  1. Well someone has to assume the roll of cleanup man around here. If it isn’t off-color comment damage control or the fixing article titles, thumbnail pictures, tags, categories, or what ever mahem happens around here, that’s my roll. A case could in fact be made that I have a tendancy to lean heavily towards the PG-13 side of things, I beleive worse things could could be said about me.
    As for Flash, there is no arguement from me that HTML5 is the prefered method of embedded video content by mobile device OS developers. However the fact remains that there is still an overwhelming amount of Flash content besides ads lurking about on the web. I think as a device owner, I should have the choice to view Flash content regardless of battery drain.

  2. Considering most mobile browsers are trying to replicate the “desktop” experience on your phone, then it does matter.

  3. A case could in fact be made that I have a tendancy to lean heavily towards the PG-13 side of things

    PG-13? So if it’s PG-13 I can do it without even asking you? Nice. I can do a lot with PG-13. Stay tuned everybody!

    I beleive worse things could could be said about me.

    That’s true. For example, you can’t spell worth a damn.

    BennyJ: The thing is, the mobile browsers are significantly influencing web production for the mobile and desktop experience.

    How many iPhone and iPad users do you know who’ve said to you “Yeah my phone’s slick and fast, does everything my computer does to the point that I’m using my computer much less, but on so many websites I go to there are these big mysterious blank spots that are ruining my experience, making me wonder what I’m missing, then I go on my desktop for the desktop experience and I realize ‘Damn, I could have punched the monkey for the prize!'”

    None. You’ve never heard that. You’ve never heard that because it doesn’t matter, not anymore if it ever did at all.

  4. I have to say that this article was quite the eye opener. First, I realized Mr. Trotman is my new favorite here on mobilitydigest.com. Second, I realized I must be the only pc / ipad / wp7 user that goes to sites that use flash, realize it and hate my ipad because of it (yes, my ipad and apple specifically cause they started this whole mess. Oh, that and my ipad was free and I just hate apple, jobs specifically. Google too for that matter. Gosh, my parenthesised explanation of my hate is longer than my actual reason for hating).

  5. I work with a company that delivers a lot of training, both online and printed. Everything we do online is Flash based, to the point that we don’t even let the user in without it being detected. There’s just no other way to deliver the kind of interactivity we need without using Flash. It’s great for building animations quickly, clean, and basic programming. ActionScript has come a long way, but it’s still not a “full” language IMO. It does make our translation work a lot easier though.
    We’ve also talked about what mobile deployment of our content would look like. We’d have to completely rewrite every piece of content we put out to be just text and images, due to widespread lack of Flash. Instead, we opt to just tell people that we don’t support mobile (until mobile supports Flash).
    For video, who cares? But for the other 8 million animated things that Flash allows you to build, I don’t think Flash is going anywhere soon.

  6. JohnS: Ramon Trotman has a way with words, a strong command of the Language with a less-is-more style. I write a lofty five paragraph tl;dr response yet he can convey more … more emotion and insight with just two words. I was saddened yesterday when a senior writer redacted the U in some of his more poignant language, but that was a choose your battles situation for me so I let go and protected people from the F-bomb who both cannot handle and cannot figure out what the @ in f@ck represents. My apologies to Ramon for selling out like that at his expense.

    You are the first one I’ve heard to weigh in with that Flash position. What tend to be the Flash things you discover you missed and get most irritated over? Are you a web designer? I am (at least in my own head), and because of these phones I’ll never again make a Flash-mandatory site, offer no flash versions of whatever or just ditch the whole damn thing and either use alternatives like HTML5 or some javascript or come up with something else to create if there is no alternative, or just have less sizzle on my steak.

    Eddie: Anything with a 99% desktop presence isn’t going anywhere. I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically bad or lacking with it (other than the expensive software I suppose). One pleasant thing about it is that it adds more than anything I’ve ever tried to mess with drag-and-drop-like easiness to figure out how to make something look expensive, and for someone like you who knows how to drive Flash in stick shift with actionscript, have pragmatic utility to it and for whatever reason you need that you can’t get elsewhere. And I don’t know how the array of things that could be done client-side and, I’ve heard, server-side too could be accomplished with the big ball of things that Flash has become.

    But maybe that’s why it’s balls get broken by so many people, because the competence and commitment entry barrier to get into Flash programming is relatively low and because among the things you can do with it are animations which not everyone likes either and associates with annoying ad banners making (Flash-removing browser extensions popular), low caliber video games or with CPU and battery drain. If given the option of running applications made by people in a certain language who incidentally also either now (but didn’t use for these applications I’d use) Flash or Python inside out, I think I’d go with the Python guy.

    Also you have unique leverage, a captive audience who has no choice but to comply with your Flash persuasion in order to get their training. Like a company in some IE6 situation, but not as ugly.

    I am not heavily vested into Flash as you are. So once I started seeing my clients begin to move on from just iphones to flashing around their iPads when going over work I did over lunch, I’m now pretty uncomfortable making a Flash-only site and if I can make a site look the way I want it to without needing SWFObject alternatives everywhere, I’ll do it, starting the next time I have nothing else to do where i will install Icecast (like FMS for streaming) and redo one client’s movie trailer in HTML.Then I’ll move on to Googling for how I can do this or that with things that will render properly on their device, whether it’s a WP7 device, an iPad, a PC or a Macbook Air, when they look at the thing they paid me to make for them. And there are a lot of people in my boat. I don’t see Flash being phased out, I just see HTML5 and friends phasing in with greater and greater speed.

    Sounds like my first move should be to download the CS5 HTML5 pack. Bam, downloaded, meanwhile installed Icecast.

    We did a poll on this back in September, the winner being Flash is very important to me. Think I’ll slap on a poll right now and see if those numbers have shifted.

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