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Thread: Fi says adios to Flash

  1. #1
    Perverse Futurist villain2's Avatar
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    Fi says adios to Flash

    It's even kind of weird posting this on FlashKit since the new Fantasy Interactive ... er, Fi ... website isn't in flash except for a few video players.

    Kind of sad that a company that was very innovative and pushed Flash onto some high profile sites and apps has apparently given up on the technology except for:

    "Fi was notorious for developing everything and anything in Flash, Today in Fi, you will only find Flash in places it needs to be and fits."

    Basically, they're not going to push the boundaries of Flash anymore, which is good for them as a company, bad for Flash developers who enjoyed having someone out there who did Flash at such a high and useful level.

    RIP Fantasy Interactive we'll miss ya
    Hello Fi, we look forward to seeing your mini-apps

  2. #2
    supervillain gerbick's Avatar
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    It's a natural progression, you think?

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  3. #3
    Moderator whispers's Avatar
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    I dont know?..Do they think Flash has nothing left to offer? have they "beat it"? LOL

    I dont rememebr seenig much AS3 stuff come from their camp? Dont get me wrong.. I was/am a huge fan.. the RR site was VERY cutting edge

    actually....

    '............alongside boundary-pushing Flash-based Micro-sites'

    so I guess they just have more in their arsenal, and really sometimes FLASH isnt always the way to go...

    Reminds me of an article I just read where some guy says Flash & Silverlight are bad for the 'web' because they are so proprietary..etc....and with the new HTML standards coming.. they wont be necessary

  4. #4
    Perverse Futurist villain2's Avatar
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    I think Fi is subject to the market trends now, it's a similar discussion I've had at my company, and in fact I've been in the process of re-desigining my Adobe Site of the Day site from an all flash site to a hybrid with flash components.

    I will have to finally agree though that doing 100% sites is a thing of the past ... never thought I'd say those words ... UNLESS you're doing something that's purely video, purely graphics or promotion. Even then, you should still be using swfaddress and swfobject to handle some SEO issues.

    Perhaps we'll never get to those cool virtual interfaces we saw in the movies (I'm referencing something David Martin said in an old Fi-Who_Are_We video). Seems like mankind could not handle moving, breathing web interfaces.

    So, this is the web from here on out ... kind of boring ... but at least it's compliant. Plus, we're stuck with a bunch of poorly made flash apps and one less company that actually did it right.

  5. #5
    Flashkit historian Frets's Avatar
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    Bah,

    Flip over, Flip back.

    It might be that they don't like as3. It might be that they were more gung-ho on the potential of flash and thought because something was attainable then it had to be done.

    It might be simply a media ploy.

  6. #6
    Total Universe Mod jAQUAN's Avatar
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    They are just realizing the same thing I did years ago.
    All interactive media features must pass a workload vs. payoff test.
    They had plenty of page rank, not because of their index-ablitiy, but because they had huge clients. So big bang flash was their model. Now big clients are getting wise to page performance and have less and less need for a presentation layer. Their average customer description fell under, "so big that they'll get traffic regardless." Could be an economy thing, but I think Ford and Nike want more bang for their buck now.

    Bottom line, just because you can make flash do it doesn't make it worth the investment when a less impressive looking piece of markup can do it and not hit you with surprise scenarios.

    I've been through the entire progression of...
    "I want to make a full screen flash site that feels like a movie instead of a book." to, "I think my sites should be the effective marketing tools they were intended to be."

    I've worked with a client through that whole process too and they only learn from experience (I only wish it were MY experience).

    boss- "I want a full screen wiz-bang flash site"
    me - "Fine but you wont rank on google"
    boss - "I don't care."

    (one week after launch)
    boss - "How do I get number one on google?"
    me - "You need lots of pages with real info that changes regularly which means you need to ditch flash."
    boss - "I want both."

    ($100,000 dollars after I find the flash holy grail)
    boss - "So you're saying google can't read flash?"
    me - "not yet"
    boss - "How long for an all html site with some flash?"

    Quote Originally Posted by whispers
    I was/am a huge fan.. the RR site was VERY cutting edge
    see, that's what the hype had me believing too. But how much of that site simply had to be done in flash? Have you seen thinkswedish? It's actually a pos.

    Quote Originally Posted by villain2
    Perhaps we'll never get to those cool virtual interfaces we saw in the movies (I'm referencing something David Martin said in an old Fi-Who_Are_We video). Seems like mankind could not handle moving, breathing web interfaces.
    Not so fast. David simply refused to admit to stark realities and again, with huge clients, who cares if your markup validates? Personally I'd love to be in that position. But all bets are not off however.

    The very first movie was a 20 minute silent grayscale flick about a train. Almost 100 years later, what writers actually saw in their head is finally showing up on screen. Atm, I liken the internet to a 20 minute train movie.

    There is a huge hurdle that needs to be covered in order to give us our presentation layers back and is only possible with a working agreement between Adobe and Google.

    I know google can interpret script because they've spit back flash banners of mine for using Math.random(). The problem is its worse than trying to index and i-frame. Google simply cannot apply its AI to flash yet since the results would not be "google-ish" in accuracy.

    All that's needed is a flash player with a spider buffer. If something close to the surface was providing meaning full flow, a spider could communicate with that as if it was crawling a real site.

    The catch to that is, how would google link you to the info if the flash movie itself is not deeplinkable?

    The solution is clearly not in a 3rd party deeplink manager. A flashplayer with a built in shell navigation socket and a screenreader like spider proxy would usher us into the talkies era.

  7. #7
    Perverse Futurist villain2's Avatar
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    Um, have you ever thought about having your content stored in a database or xml ... then feeding it to the flash movie and the flashcontent div with swfobject and swfaddress. You get everything ... back button, deep linking, bookmarking, customization and - if you use forethought - able to have usable content that is indexed by google.

    For instance, even though it's going through changes, if you do a search on live.com for "watch aerosmith music videos" my site comes up #1 ... an all flash site. It's possible, you have to plan it though.

  8. #8
    Hood Rich FlashLackey's Avatar
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    It's ironic that their link as found via google search yields a "Website can't be found." message.

    I don't think fi's decision on how to build their site or what technologies they recomend has any more significance to the industry than a bear having gas in the woods with no humans around. I don't know what their reasons are and could care less. But, I do know that flash is in as much or more demand than ever. It also looks to expand greatly under changes Adobe is implementing for the platform: http://www.adobe.com/openscreenproject/

    What is really happening is that internet communication and functionality is finding it's way into new areas of our lives (connected to cars, sites on phones, kiosks, being developed and deployed identically in multiple places via AIR, etc.) and Adobe is making moves to pioneer flash as the technology of choice in these new areas while standards freaks are still building Amazon.com catalogs and installable wiki systems.
    "We don't estimate speeches." - CBO Director Doug Elmendorf

  9. #9
    trace("AKA: Biro Barna");
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    Flash won't die in the near future ( maybe never ) but as FlashLackey said, there's a huge demand for flash on the market. Companies that change suddenly from Flash to HTML is mainly because they can't keep the pace, they can't find good developers on AS 3.0 ; AS 3.0 opened totally new door and not only in the "web pages domain" but especially in games... with PaperVision 3D and Sandy you can do stuff that you only dreamed doing in AS 2.0 ; IMHO, the main reason why companies change or go extinct is that they one hired a bunch of people who were both "designer and developer" but mostly with a NON IT background. Since AS 2.0 wasn't so strict, designers could easily hack code together and get jobs done without even knowing what they just did, they never planned for changes, weren't able to create dynamic applications and never considered application efficiency or speed. With AS 3.0 now we can have it all, and AS 3.0 clearly draws the line between Designer and Developer, if one has no programming knowledge, doesn't understand OOP principles then I'm 80% sure that he'll never manage in AS 3.0 and one more drawback is that you can't really find any documentation on AS 3.0, mainly because as I already mentioned, at least 70% of the "design world" is made of people who don't have an IT background and they can't keep up the pace with the new stuff.

    I'm not saying that, that's the case for all the companies that change, sure that some have different marketing plans and so on, but IMHO, most of the companies change because of this factor. They hired people whit an art degree years ago to do code, and now, they are facing new problems that their people can't solve because of the lack of knowledge... in AS 2.0 you can find almost anything with a bit of searching, any application for a few bucks but on AS 3.0 you'll be more then lucky to find even a simple button tutorial.

    Things change and IMHO it does not matter that other companies change plans or if they remain in the same field, the idea is to get profit, that's what business is all about. Nowa' days it's much harder to find someone on AS 3.0 then someone who can code in HTML + ASP + PHP or something... and if I'm not mistaking then in general, people doing HTML have lower salaries then the dudes programming in AS ( + exceptions ) so it might be more affordable for a company to start firing their old staff because they can't keep up and start hiring people who can do stuff ( in different approaches ) and for less money.

    I'm quite confident that the web game industry will benefit the most out of these changes, especially if they find good AS 3.0 programmers... we're at the new era of 3D browser games, in maybe 10 years we might be playing games like Oblivion in our browser ( at really high quality ).

    SEO wise, others already pointed out SwfAdress and SWFObject so the Optimization problems in Flash were solved years ago... the problem is that few people know this and that's not Flash's fault, it's a human error...

    The most important advantage of Flash is that it's reusable, if you have a developer who can do stuff OOP way then you could reuse Preloaders, ScrollBars, Forms and so on, just think what impact does this have on a project... instead of wasting maybe days rewriting the same piece of code, you could do all that in minutes... A company could start pumping out web pages really really fast... something you can't really do using HTML + other tools... But once again, why isn't this happening ? Because people who were creating poor web pages from hacked code aren't capable of producing clean and reusable code.

    I'm quite sure that there will always exist a demand for Flash on the web and if not on the web then Desktop applications and all kind of dynamic applications but it surely won't got extinct too soon...

    Bleh, long post :P Have fun reading.



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  10. #10
    Perverse Futurist villain2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlenaryCreation
    IMHO, the main reason why companies change or go extinct is that they one hired a bunch of people who were both "designer and developer" but mostly with a NON IT background. Since AS 2.0 wasn't so strict, designers could easily hack code together and get jobs done without even knowing what they just did, they never planned for changes, weren't able to create dynamic applications and never considered application efficiency or speed. With AS 3.0 now we can have it all, and AS 3.0 clearly draws the line between Designer and Developer
    Yeah, I'm one of those people who was a designer/developer and hated AS 3.0 because it was non-visual and mostly code. However, you can always LEARN stuff and be able to understand how it works. For a designer, it's not as fun to write out things instead of seeing them build piece by piece visually.

    Should be interesting to see how things pan out. I'm not sure that's why Fi chose to go the way they're going, but hey, it's all good in the end.

  11. #11
    Hood Rich FlashLackey's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that Fi still has the same talented flash guys on board that they had before. It looks more like a business strategy where someone there felt that they were getting too pigeon-holed as a "flash agency" and they wanted to get the big "portal" jobs where they think companies want to use something other than flash. Fair enough if they think that puts them ahead as a business. Their perogative. But, the whole making a point of the change thing seems a bit self-assuming to me. If they believe they have a good strategy, just recomend it to your clients. Don't boast about it as if everyone else is going to assume you're right or the leader on such matters.

    I suppose it's subjective. But, the switch away from flash, just like mtv.com, really makes them look antiquated to me. Both sites look like ass now. All garbled up with 15 fonts per page, formatted along strict, un-organic grid-lines like 2 million plus other web sites.
    "We don't estimate speeches." - CBO Director Doug Elmendorf

  12. #12
    trace("AKA: Biro Barna");
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    However, you can always LEARN stuff and be able to understand how it works. For a designer, it's not as fun to write out things instead of seeing them build piece by piece visually.
    Sure it's possible, I never said that designers can't learn the new stuff just that I don't really see many of them actually do something... Some like the challenge, others feel comfortable with what they know and don't like "wasting time" for learning the new stuff...

    But, the switch away from flash, just like mtv.com, really makes them look antiquated to me. Both sites look like ass now.
    Honestly, I like the old site more then the current one... this pink one looks way to gay for my style ( don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against gays, just that I really dislike the new site ).

    As you said, it's subjective.



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  13. #13
    Total Universe Mod jAQUAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by villain2
    Um, have you ever thought about having your content stored in a database or xml ... then feeding it to the flash movie and the flashcontent div with swfobject and swfaddress. You get everything ... back button, deep linking, bookmarking, customization and - if you use forethought - able to have usable content that is indexed by google.

    For instance, even though it's going through changes, if you do a search on live.com for "watch aerosmith music videos" my site comes up #1 ... an all flash site. It's possible, you have to plan it though.
    Been there done that. You might want to check who you're talking to. Is your site vh1?

    Competitively ranking flash sites is simply not that easy. Google takes an actual visual screen shot of your site. If your mark up does not match what you are showing the viewer your PR is hurt.

    If using swfaddress or statemanager, you will be including a /# at some point in your url. Google (the only search worth ranking on) sees that as an anchor and is going to try and follow it. Regardless of how many it finds, they are all recorded under the same page title. If you store an entire pages worth of data in a flashcontent <div>, you will not only rank less but again get hurt by incongruent display. Either way you have to build the site twice. Once in markup, once in flash. And after all that work, you still won't rank as reliably as with good ol xhtml.

    In addition to all those hurdles, we have what is left out of the conversation all too often. Page transitions. If your flash movie doesn't animate from one page to the next, why in the hell are you bothering with deep linking? You can much more easily pass url vars through swfobject and just make a flash movie that initializes itself based on those vars. FI knew that when they did their first big Ford site. They did a whole case study on how their flash movie loaded so fast, you almost didn't notice a page refresh.

    So if you are doing page transitions, how dynamic are they? 2advanced simply fades to black, then loads the requested page. Not very dynamic. I've built a site that in real time created an animated transition from ANY point on the site to ANY other point on the site. This is not something easily applied to just any flash movie. A lot of internal state management is required and for me if even took using undocumented actionscript commands. The site is not up anymore as the company it was built for has come to these same realizations. I will put a demo back up soon though.

    All of these catches defeat the purpose of a 3rd party work around due to the fact that at best, you can only plan on ranking better than other flash sites and not compete in the real search market.

    Hence my declaration of a real solution. Thanks for playing.

  14. #14
    Hood Rich FlashLackey's Avatar
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    Is the way that the google crawler works open now? I thought it was closed still?
    "We don't estimate speeches." - CBO Director Doug Elmendorf

  15. #15
    Hood Rich FlashLackey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jAQUAN
    All of these catches defeat the purpose of a 3rd party work around due to the fact that at best, you can only plan on ranking better than other flash sites and not compete in the real search market.
    While it's true that there are some limitations to the swfaddress/swfobject solution, I think this is a little misleading.

    Google does, in fact, crawl all of the pages, including the anchored pages for content. The limitation is in reading external links to the site. It doesn't recognize the anchors on links that are going to internal content. External links have an influence on page rank. But, those links that don't get read fully would still be applied to the rest of the url and the sites page rank. In other words, it would just bump the rank of the home page rather than for the sub-page.

    In some cases, like wiki pages and amazon.com catalogs, this is a significant problem. But, for 95% of the other businesses, I don't believe this limitation is problematic.
    "We don't estimate speeches." - CBO Director Doug Elmendorf

  16. #16
    Total Universe Mod jAQUAN's Avatar
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    No google will never tell the world how or why it does what it does. I'm going off of the latest popular data.

    And according to the score applied to using keywords in page titles, it's not misleading at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlashLackey
    In some cases, like wiki pages and amazon.com catalogs, this is a significant problem. But, for 95% of the other businesses, I don't believe this limitation is problematic.
    Google ranks addresses, not domains. Popularity only becomes a factor when your relevance is greater than or equal to similar pages. Spreading the info out helps and the keyword density of a single page would hurt.

  17. #17
    Hood Rich FlashLackey's Avatar
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    Right. Google ranks addresses. But, even minus the anchors, it's still logging an address, whether that is the home page or some other deeper page where the flash starts. While that may not be as good as spreading the data out, unless you're talking about a system that relies on that (amazon.com, wiki, etc.) the difference is marginal, imo. Certainly, a flash site using this strategy could easily out-perform a non-flash site in regard to SEO if they had the external links to support it. I don't believe it's true that SEO in flash only makes it better than other flash sites.
    "We don't estimate speeches." - CBO Director Doug Elmendorf

  18. #18
    Total Universe Mod jAQUAN's Avatar
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    I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying the ends don't justify the means.

  19. #19
    Hood Rich FlashLackey's Avatar
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    Hmm. It hasn't seemed too difficult to implement and takes care of the SEO needs of most clients, imo. But, I do agree with most of what you're saying that it isn't the "complete" solution as sometimes claimed to be.
    "We don't estimate speeches." - CBO Director Doug Elmendorf

  20. #20
    trace("AKA: Biro Barna");
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    Flash is definitely a cutting edge tool, even if it's not the best in all the areas but it definitely makes a stand. It is true that in certain situations most people like abusing Flash ( like myself ) instead of using a HTML page or something, but in the end, IMHO, that's totally up to everyone. Sometimes the clients make it harder when they refuse a solution although that would be the best way to do something, and since we are talking about business, personal feelings aren't something you should involve into the creation of a web page for a neutral client. Do the job, take the money and if they don't understand that what they want isn't that good and the page might suffer in certain fields like SEO, well, that's his problem.

    Flash will definitely still be around for a long time but I'm really curious if Silverlight will have a work on the market or not. Because I've heard a lot of positive stuff about it but I just don't see people using it, who knows...



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