Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Perl Programming

Flash For The Rest Of Us 144

Posted by Hemos
from the like-festivus dept.
antiher0 writes "The first beta of Perl::Flash is done! You can now use Perl to generate flash animations, etc. I've been waiting for something like this to come along :) BTW, be sure to check out the demo page. You can also check out the project breakdown here."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Flash For The Rest Of Us

Comments Filter:
  • I have noticed that the folks on /. have been very hostile lately, and not just the "trolls". If you (and many others) insist on being that way, try not to stick your foot in your mouth -- it will sound much better that way.

    On the same line, some people seem to be awfully defensive lately. While I certainly agree since nearly every reply I've gotten in the past few weeks has been a rant against my personal character it seems, I think the original poster was attempting to correct you, nothing else. Of course I could be wrong, but that's just the way I read it.

  • yerricde was attempting to correct Galois, the original poster.
  • A little off topic, but JPEGs (and others) are indexable by comments (built into the actual JPEG). Of course I'm not sure which (if any) search engines scan image comments, but it is possible. Obviously, this feature requires users to actually prepare comments for their JPEGs, but we can't expect the search engines to compensate for our shitty sites, can we? :)

    other than that, I completely agree with you. I, too, try to get friends and associates to look at the "big picture" as well, but I am often unsuccessful. If you look at ALL the big sites, what makes them good is obviously comprehensive back-end programming served up by an intuitive front-end, not goofy animations and graphics. In fact, from my experience, the only "big" companies who intensively depend on graphics and animations are Fortune 500 companies who don't even need web business.
  • Fact is, if people didn't want a pretty or graphical site, then the tag would never have been invented, and everyone would still be using lynx.
    The word 'people' as used here conflates two utterly opposed groups: web site owners, and web users. I've worked on building web sites, and I've listened to the complaints of users ranging from very technical to non-technical. The people behind web sites - investors and advertising and marketing folks - have a huge appetite for bandwidth-wasting crap. That's mainly because they don't really use the web. Users, on the other hand, always complain about how slow a site is and never ask for more complexity or decorations.
    And CSS was developed defensively as an attempt to defang rotten commercial web sites. CSS represents a meeting ground between the 'decorators' and the users - the decorators can pour their heart into creating the perfect 'style sheet', and the users can opt not to use it. Everyone's satisfied.
  • "People don't surf the web because they want a Rich Immersive Experience. They surf because they want to find solutions to their problems or find products and services that meet their needs and wants. Flash just gets in the way. So, do yourself a favor and learn what makes the Web work well -- HTML, XHTML, CSS, and their W3C-recommended friends."

    CSS and dhtml were developed to provide just that "Rich Immersive Experience" you deride, without the plugin download. Fact is, if people didn't want a pretty or graphical site, then the tag would never have been invented, and everyone would still be using lynx.

  • i believe he was refering to the fact that it fell so soon. saying that most machines fall to the /. effect is pretty pointless. there is a difference between jumping up and down on a cockroach and a rabid ferret. the ferret will put up a fight and will probably loose in the end, the cockroach will loose pretty quickly. what he was suggesting is that the scripting engine turned the ferret into a cockroach.

    since we dont know the server specks we cannot make any comments too quickly, but this one went down pretty fast, and his question is an important one. the server is still serving the static pages-it's just the dynamic ones it is failing on.

    fwiw: i dont think he was trying to _prove_ any thing (including SHIT)

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • by drsoran (979)
    I guess I'm just an old fogey, but why on earth do you need flash at all? If a site can't be view with lynx properly then something is wrong. Adding all these flashy (no pun intended) graphics and sounds is just annoying and really doesn't add any functionality over a well laid out site using simple text hyperlinks.. like slashdot for example.
  • You state that using Flash means you don't care about your customers. Now for me, someone who wanted to provide a nice, well-designed visual and aural site for the common user...
    I think you may be like the husband who buys his wife a power drill. You care about your customers, but do you care about what they want? Do you think the common user wants a nice, well-designed visual and aural site? The numbers say otherwise - the common user wants yahoo, google, ebay - the sites with strong databases and simple front ends.
    ...or ignore a site altogether for the less-motivated users.
    That about sums things up. The only time I'm 'motivated' is when a site has a monopoly on something. So if I'm looking to buy a widget, and widget vendor 1 has a useless web site, I skip them. If I need Oracle docs, I have to dig through Oracles web site no matter how hard they make it. So before you put up a barrier of flash, make sure you have a monopoly on whatever you're selling.
    I want to point out that even if plugin and bandwidth issues are solved, you will still piss off and disorient a lot of users with unnecessary flash. People like the 'normal' interface of the web browser and don't want weird, invasive stuff happening. The less experienced the user, the more likely to feel threatened and confused by your flash extravaganza.
    Having said that, if you use flash for art, more power to you - I wouldn't dream of criticizing it. Just don't put it between me and the information I'm seeking.
  • Yes. Yes, some of the non-standard capabilities of certain browsers implementations of JS are supported. Bundling. AS is a prototype-based language (rather than a class-based one) and these languages tend not really deal with data hiding since most are interpreted languages in the first place.
  • Great, just what we need: another overblown client with its own "full OOP language, XML, and socket connections". Another set of security holes in the client. Another reason to buy nothing but Microsoft and Apple because that's the only place Macromedia will bother to support this stuff fully. More duplication of functionality and code bloat. More content that's entertaining and distracting rather than informative. And all defined at the convenience of a single vendor who wants to use their market position to do an end-run around open standards. And another chance for people like you to sell lots of books and training on repackaged old technology.

    Sorry, I am most unimpressed. Macromedia has a legal right to do this sort of thing, but for users, it's a good idea to turn this sort of thing off and complain to any web master whose site it is an important component of.

  • you will have to ask him to send you the cgi's. you wont be able to get them with wget or whatever. the webserver processes them then spits out the output-it doesnt send you the code.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • your replying to a troll's racist comment? that was pretty fsck'ed up.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • Icebox [icebox.com], the creators of Starship Regulars, only has 4 of the episodes online their site. However, they have a flash based game - Starship Shag Shack [icebox.com] - Play the game of skill, luck and intergalactic promiscuity.
  • by Mr804 (12397)
    This is pretty cool. I hope someone will do a python port so we can get some real work done.. :)

  • by Chagrin (128939) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:58AM (#1418480) Homepage
    The article wouldn't be complete without mention of openswf.org [openswf.org]. This is where Perl::Flash gets it's backend from. There are also a number of useful Flash tools here as well.
  • Heh. Yes. But now those splash pages can give way to extremly well designed and thought out sites which have just as much power as a normal dynamic site.

    IMHO, part of the reason that, up until now, flash has only been used for those useless splash pages is that that is all the functionality really allowed for. You couldn't very well build a site in flash when it had a joke as a scripting language and only tenuous, at best, ties to external functions on the site. With PERL and php allowing inroads however, it allows developers like little ol' me to program a site exactly as we would with HTML, only allow for the nice little graphic implementation that my designers are always yelling at me about.

    When flash first came out, I thought it was truly going to be revolutionary, until I used it in more of a live (instead of experimental) environment and understood its shortcomings. Even up through flash 5 (which has, in its credit, added a lot of functionality, a better designed internal scripting language, and XML support) it had apparent weaknesses which would prevent it from being used for what is was supposed to do, which was allow you to build a fully programmable and extensible site such as you would in Director, yet allow for small file sizes, quick downloads, and better animation resolution.

  • Flash 5 now uses JavaScript-like syntax, and has a HUGE important addition: arrays.
  • Yeah but just try to view flash5 on Linux. Oh wait, YOU CANT!

    siri

  • Actually, if you read up on Flash's capabilities to load data you will find that Flash can only load data from the 2nd level domain on which it lives.With the original version of the F4 plugin, this was not the case, but MM quickly recognized the problem and fixed it.
  • I wish there was more documentation period. I am waiting for SVG for dummies as I have a hard time working off of the spec. It has been fun though.
  • Excuse me for being sceptical, but, I will believe it when I see it. Remember, Microsoft's idea of cross platform is supporting win 3.1, 95, 98 and NT. I do not trust anything that comes from Microsoft.
  • It sounds like you want to say to hell with the new web multimedia formats and for everyone to be surfing in Lynx.
  • Wow. 5 degrees of Slashdot. Kinda cool :)
  • If you want proof that Flash is wonderful, check out WhirlGirl [sho.com] , the baddest superhero in all of SoCal!
  • Heh, can anyone mirror this on an Internet web site?

    " We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States."

    Oh well..

  • I tried to go to the URL, but got this unbelievable nonsense:

    We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States.
    It boggles the mind that they appear to have gone out of their way to make their site incredibly inconvenient to use (but at least we're back on topic! :). I guess I could always hop in the car and drive to an internet cafe in Seattle, but it hardly seems worth it.

    I tried the anonymizer but it didn't seem to work. Anyone with a US IP feel like setting up a public proxy just for sho.com?

  • by syrupMatt (248267) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:34AM (#1418492) Homepage Journal
    Perl has always been good on supporting and integrating with oncoming web technologies. Since i work with both flash 5 and perl, I can say that this is a happy day for me personally, and a happy day for all grahpical inclined web producers everywhere.

    better question, now that this is out, does this mean we might see some sort of GPL attached to the flash/shockwave players? IMHO that has been holding back alot of Linux users from being able to experience a great number of excellent looking and functional sites, since they are only capabale of using a beta (and god-awful buggy) player.

  • CSS and dhtml were developed to provide just that "Rich Immersive Experience" you deride, without the plugin download. Fact is, if people didn't want a pretty or graphical site, then the tag would never have been invented, and everyone would still be using lynx.

    Baloney.

    CSS and more-recent flavors of HTML, especially XHTML Basic, were designed to provide greater degrees of separation between content and presentation -- not to further mix the two, as your response suggests! This intertwining of content and presentation is the primary reason that Flash is so destructive when used to express content that could have been expressed in "native" web formats.

    Flash prevents the content from being used in its own right. It prevents the use of text-to-speech technologies for sight-impared users, prevents the use of intelligent indexing systems, makes automated classification and compilation next to impossible, and generally flies in the face just about everything sensible that has happened in the last decade to make information more accessible and usable.

    For example, the W3C's recently recommended XHTML Basic "allows content to be be shared across desktop computers, TVs, PDAs, pagers, and mobile phones." It makes content more accessible, more usable.

    Flash does exactly the opposite. It obfuscates content by hiding it inside of a particular form of presentation.

    Once again, Don't use Flash!

  • Not quite forever, but for a while. It is really not something perl or php or asp or the like should be doing, but if you gotta pick something for the web, you might just as well pich php - faster and more friendly, and has had flash for a long time. Better overall. IMHO, of course.
    ----------------------------------------- --------
  • by DrWiggy (143807) on Saturday December 30, 2000 @03:12AM (#1418495)
    OK, let's take this one sentence at a time...

    Great, just what we need: another overblown client with its own "full OOP language, XML, and socket connections".

    Another? No, please do share, I'd be interested to see the others. I think you'll find that Flash was the original and is still the only one with a reasonable user base. If you had read the documentation off of that page, you would have noticed statements in his project report (it appears to be a final year project at Imperial), like "a recent study showed that over x% of browsers have flash players installed" and "there is even a flash player written in java", etc. Show me the other languages, please do.

    Another set of security holes in the client.

    Now this I am interested in. If you have some exploit code, please feel free to let BUGTRAQ know. If you only have an inkling of an idea, get over to VULN-DEV. Don't assume that because you don't understand something it must inherently be unsecure.

    Another reason to buy nothing but Microsoft and Apple because that's the only place Macromedia will bother to support this stuff fully.

    As others have pointed out, what this module actually does is allow for the creation of SWF files which Flash merely "plays". SWF has been opened up by Macromedia for some time now, there are players available for a variety of platforms, and you're now evidently justr trying to troll.

    More duplication of functionality and code bloat.

    Yeah, I've heard about these crazy kids who are trying to duplicate the Unix functionality of OSes like Solaris and HP-UX into this thing for PCs called "Linux" or something. Those crazy kids, eh? Hasn't anybody told them how brain dead it is to duplicate like that...

    More content that's entertaining and distracting rather than informative.

    I bet that if you live in the US you only ever watch PBS and if you live in the UK you only ever watch Panorama. I used to agree that Flash stuff just cluttered the page and was slow and ugly. Now that people have got the hang of making functional flash and have started to grasp design concepts to ensure information is presented in the best manner, I'm quite happy about it. Oh, and the fact that either in the last 2 years they've made the files smaller, or I haven't really noticed that I've gone from 28.8 modem to 2Mbps DSL. :-)

    And all defined at the convenience of a single vendor who wants to use their market position to do an end-run around open standards.

    I'll say this again - Macromedia have opened up SWF to the world. It might not be truly open, but it is in the Sun/Solaris 8 sense of the word "open", but perhaps even more so. Cynical bastard.

    And another chance for people like you to sell lots of books and training on repackaged old technology.

    Yeah, because the huge amounts of documentation and sample code out there for this project and others like it really does suck, eh? I bet you think that Linus get a check from O'Reilly every year for several million dollars with a note saying "thanks for getting interest back in this old crock of shit Unix again!" don't you?

    Sorry, I am most unimpressed.

    That much was obvious. What wasn't obvious is as to why you are so unimpressed when your arguments against Flash are unfounded in the real world.

    Macromedia has a legal right to do this sort of thing, but for users, it's a good idea to turn this sort of thing off and complain to any web master whose site it is an important component of.

    Using your arguments, I could turn around and say "Television is bad! Turn it off and complain to the manufacturers!" or "NASA? Are you MAD?!?! What a huge waste of money! Why on earth should we care about our Universe? Stop all that messing around and let's all go back to throwing rocks at each other, because that's what *I'm* comfortable with!"

    Never mind... some people just never see it...
  • There used to be a similar set of java-based tools here [anotherbigidea.com] for decompiling swf to xml, but apparently the project has moved to this contentless place holder site [tekadence.net]. Will be interesting to see if it takes off again, and also how much cross polination there is between all the swf projects.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Finally slashdot posts a Perl related story. I never thought I'd see the day.
  • It isn't IE or Windows crashing. It is flash, which is running in the same process as IE.
  • by IronChef (164482) on Friday December 29, 2000 @01:49PM (#1418499) Homepage

    If you are planning on constructing a Flash site, please DON'T.

    Call me old-fashioned, but even with my cable modem I have no patience for goofy animations to download. It slows things down and contributes to Web Bloat.

    I've never seen a Flash site that wasn't an abomination. I prefer web sites that are text and static images. Give me the ability to download animations -- don't attack me with them.

    I know my crusade is a futile one. I work in the web biz, enterprise level software, and it's sick how many of our clients insist on larding up their sites with useless crap. Especially when you consider how few people have fast connections. The analog modem is still the way of the world...
  • by RareHeintz (244414) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:38AM (#1418500) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know where this Perl-based Flash project stands relative to some of the PHP-based Flash generators? I've been messing with Flash 4 for some time, and have long wanted the power of a real programming language in Flash (serious conditional branching, etc.), and am curious to hear what /.ers think of these tools, and which is better for what task.

    Thanks,
    - B
    --

  • This gives flash a much higher level of interactivity than it had befor.

    You were able to generate flash movies with the "Generator Studio [macromedia.com]" from Macromeda which costs ~1100$, now one can do similar stuff with perl - for free.

    This could mean a great revenue loss for Macromedia, can they do anything to put this off air, after releasing the swf format?

    Anyhow, I'm looking forward to play with this.

    cheers
    mike
  • by JimDabell (42870) on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:05AM (#1418502) Homepage

    SMIL [w3.org] would probably be a more appropriate replacement for Flash. It's also XML-based, and SMIL 1.0 has been a W3C recommendation for over two years.

  • Squeak Smalltalk also has the ability to work with Flash. You can even play flash animations within the Smalltalk environment. See link below.
  • Heh -- guess not. Not that ours seems to matter all that much at this point....



  • 4. Finally, using Flash cheats yourself. You're kidding yourself if you think that you need to use Flash. I can't think of one instance of where Flash has made a site better. Just about every use I've seen has been gratuitous. People don't surf the web because they want a Rich Immersive Experience. They surf because they want to find solutions to their problems or find products and services that meet their needs and wants. Flash just gets in the way. So, do yourself a favor and learn what makes the Web work well -- HTML, XHTML, CSS, and their W3C-recommended friends. Then you can toss Flash in the trash. Do it. You'll be a better human for it. Well, the very first thing that comes to mind is www.joecartoon.com [joecartoon.com] If you can think of a better way than flash to do that, please tell me. And contrary to popular belief, 9 out of 10 people i know (ranging from your average "adult", to college students) surf the web for the experience, for laughs from finding new hilarious things, for meeting up with friends that they otherwise couldn't. Most of these people LIKE flash, and thats why it exists. Because your average non-elitist web user(the ones that the web works for now, even if it wasn't designed for it) likes the "Rich Immersive Experience" Journey-
  • we've stopped being a constitutional republic and are now a constitutional monarchy

    If you find the Dubya event amusing... wait until Hillary Clinton runs for President.

    How the hell is it possible that the wife of a dead man is appointed Senator when he 'wins' the election... how do dead people qualify for elections?? Didnt everyone who voted for this dead person invalidate their ballot...?

    Babbage, you Yanks need to do something serious about your 'democracy'.

    (Im Canadian FYI)

  • I would really disagree with you on php making perl obsolete ;)

    First of all perl is much older then php and is by far better tested and supported. The minimum php has to do is to port/support most of the CPAN (http://www.cpan.org [cpan.org]) modules, which really help to provide fast and easy application development.

    Secondly, why should one learn two different languages to do two different things? ;) Take for a example, standalone (data/system-maintainence scripts) and a web application. Why should I do web part in php and, say, db-to-files-dumping-from-cron in perl? Why should not I use perl for both? You may say that one can use php for those "standalone" scripts, but how convinient that is?

    Thirdly, I have not seen any particular advantage of php that is not present in perl. Niether did I see anything which is easier in php. But that is subjective imho ;)

    Perl is also easily run in both CGI mode and HTML embedded (http://perl.apache.org [apache.org]). Perl is installed on lot's of systems and it comes with the distributions of most UNIXes. There is even a popular perl interpreter for Windows (http://www.activestate.com/Products/ActivePerl/ [activestate.com]).

    Anyway, php has no chances to make perl obsolete, since perl has million of other appliences except the web. And even to make perl obsolete for web development, php has a long road to go, though I am following the development a bit, and I like just having another alternative in the future ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "full OOP language"? ActionScript? That's just an implementation of ECMA-262. That is, it's essentially Javascript, with the meager support for OOP that that implies (compared to other widely used languages that support OOP). Also, is there support for "socket connections" beyond the handful of XMLSocket methods?
  • by Cacophony (16125) <ajd@ajdtech.net> on Friday December 29, 2000 @02:10PM (#1418509) Homepage
    "Rather than express your content in the Web's native, open, standardized formats, you've hidden you content inside of a non-native, non-indexable, non-searchable format that a good many surfers can't view."

    And your average .jpg is indexable? Well you can index the alt tag...so then a web designer would make sure the text from his/her flash movie would be included in a html tag in the page that brings it up. In fact I've used Flash 4 a bit and when you hit publish the .htm file it outputs does exactly that.

    "Forcing them to download the most-recent Flash plugin just for the privelige of viewing your site is presumptious and unrealistic -- many people will just surf to another site, perhaps one of your competitors."

    When designing a site you have to assume that the average hit is gonna come from a newer, faster machine. You can't expect the site designer to continue and continue to make site backwards compatible. I know i wouldn't be trying to get a site to look as good in Netscape 1.0 as it does in IE 5. When I design a page I assume that my average visitor is running win98 which happens to include a flash plugin in the install. I figure I'll also get a decent amount of requests from a Win 95 machine and Linux machines. Most of these though would have probably already downloaded the plugin to view other sites in the past but just in case I'll provide a convienient link to tell them where to get it. It is not designers problem if a user can't keep up with technology, he has to go with the majority. As long as the technology is excepted as the norm (which flash seems to be) go ahead and use it.

    "Most companies would kill for a few percentage points of market share. But, by using Flash for a client's web site, you'll exclude people with older browsers and unsupported platforms from using your site. These people represent a sizable market share. Do you think your clients don't want these people as customers? Content hidden inside of Flash can't be indexed by search engines. Do you think that you clients don't want people to find their products and services easily?"

    See the above solution for the search engine problem. Plus you can't make every user happy it don't happen. And if your service is technology related such as and ISP or Software company, you see customer with out of date equipment as a big Support Hassle.

    "I can't think of one instance of where Flash has made a site better. Just about every use I've seen has been gratuitous. People don't surf the web because they want a Rich Immersive Experience."

    Image is everything. It's not how great your product is it's how well you can market, display, and how cute it is. Everybody judges a book by it's cover whether they admit it or not. You also forget sites out there that get tremendous amounts of hits for there flash cartoons or games or what not. Heck with out flash we could have that great Napster Bad movie that made me laugh my ass off. There are other good uses to, I generally dislike the intro's but the other stuff it can do is pretty cool.

    Just my thoughts,
    -Al-
  • Here are some awesome flash movies [smashingpumpkins.com] which are a credit to what flash can do (albeit not to a web interface)


  • Browser plug-ins will never provide a consistent and reliable browsing experience. Especially proprietary plug-ins like Flash. The only openness that Flash has achieved at this point is due to Macromedia's fright over having seen SVG.

    I urge everyone to support the prospect of built in SVG support in browsers. Mozilla currently has a MathML-SVG build that does very limited SVG with NO PLUG-INS.

    If we could just get limited built in SVG support in both the official version of Netscape and IE, then most of the ugly graphics and font hacks that are necessary for website design would disappear.
  • They created the series for Showtime.

    Icebox [icebox.com] currently only has 4 of the 6 episodes that the Showtime site has(probably contract agreement or something). Note - you'll need JAVA enabled to use Icebox's site.

  • As for Macromedia Generator, its still by far the leader in this area as it does more than output Flash

    Generator is also expensive and only runs on Solaris and Windows (last time I checked).

    - Scott
    ------
    Scott Stevenson
  • maybe you're right...sorry for jumping ahead there, however i think that php has a lot of promise for a lot of different things, and will continue to at least be regarded as a perl-alternative...

    i myself even use it for a bit of server scripting...and have had much success doing so!

    :)

  • I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned Flashdot [swift-tools.com], a demo at Swift-Tools' site. According to the blurb, it "...displays headlines of Slashdot (famous techies news site). It uses Perl, LoadMovie, image replacements, dynamic GotoLabel, ..."

    The Slashdot of the future? I hope not.

    Jobby

  • I agree with you, actually. It would be good if all browsers had GPL'ed Flash/Shockwave plugins. I suppose I am a little jaundiced just now because of my poxy dial up connection. But you are quite right, IMO, to say that pure text is not the final word in Web Page content (sorry about the pun). It would be nice if every browser had the latest in Graphical Plugins, and every site used said plugins, provided I had the bandwidth. It would certainly improve the presentation of information, and even the sheer fun to be had from browsing the web. But I think that just now would be too soon for that.

    Anyway, what I wanted to say most was, thank you for your kind and informative reply! It really is very interesting.

  • I totally, disagree.

    There's a big difference between putting something up on the web for debate (as Simon did when he wanted the people on the london.pm mailing list to go over this.) And saying that something is up for the hostile viewing of the slashdot mob.

    We *know* the html doesn't work for I.E. - Infact Simon was going to have a look at it as soon as he got back from his snowboarding holiday.

    Oh - the load on the machine is now at 30. Darn!
  • by Verteiron (224042) on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:10AM (#1418518) Homepage
    I wrote to Macromedia a short time back, asking about the existence/development of a Flash5 player for Linux (could be very important to a project I'm working on) and got back two e-mails...

    "At this time, we have not made any public announcements on that."

    And this one...

    "The following is a link to a third party site that has developer versions of the player for systems such as WindowsCE, UP-UX, BeOS, Amiga, freeBSD & Linux: http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Labyrinth/508 4/flash/download.html [geocities.com] For a list of supported platforms, please visit: http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/alter nates/" [macromedia.com]

    Hard to say whether this is encouraging, but at least they didn't say "No, we're not gonna make one."
  • by Tairan (167707) on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:11AM (#1418519) Homepage
    over at my site- JohnCGlass.com/mirror/flash/index.html [johncglass.com] Check it out!

  • by waldoj (8229) <waldo.jaquith@org> on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:12AM (#1418520) Homepage Journal
    For those who want to find out more about this, see the SWF info [php.net] on PHP's site, or grab a copy of libswf [sgi.com] (aka Flash Synthisesizer.)

    -Waldo
  • Don't ask me, I'm half Irish and 1/4 German, 1/4 Spanish. I just thought I'd whip out a Seinfeld reference. Got you to reply didn't I?


    .
  • actually... the swf format is completely open...

    it's the fla that is proprietary.. but i would expect that from any company...

  • Perl is the language
    perl is the program

    PERL is no more correct than PYTHON or LINUX

    just ask anyone on #perl

    ...now that Unix/UNIX thing I'm still not sure of...

    --
  • How the hell is it possible that the wife of a dead man is appointed Senator when he 'wins' the election...


    There was a U.S. state court ruling some years ago that a vote for a dead candidate is an affirmative vote for someone other than the living candidates. In other words, if more people had supported John Ashcroft in Missouri then he would have won. A vote for the dead candidate was a vote for "Anybody but John Ashcroft."

    Didnt everyone who voted for this dead person invalidate their ballot...?


    Only in Palm Beach.

  • C is less OO (I'll leave the issue of GNOME alone), C++ is more OO, but none of the three could be called "fully" OO.

    While I wouldn't use a language like ActionScript for a production application, it's still pretty cool to find anything like it in an application of its nature. It's pretty cool to do the bulk of your work in an external text editor instead of some contrived, dumbed down "builder" interface.

    (end comment) */ }

  • So should the new icon for Perl now be an overflowing sink instead of the camel? (Or has someone re-written emacs in Perl instead of Lisp?)
  • Sigh. Okay, let's take 'em one by one...

    And your average .jpg is indexable? Well you can index the alt tag...so then a web designer would make sure the text from his/her flash movie would be included in a html tag in the page that brings it up.

    You're right, JPEG images are not indexable. And that's why I wouldn't take a block of text (or other useful content), render it into a JPEG image, post it on a site instead of the text itself, and try to cover up my stupidity by stuffing the text in the image's ALT attribute. Yet that's exactly what a bunch of folks who use Flash do. They convert useful information, sometimes entire site hierarchies, into a less accessible, less useful form (Flash), and substitute that weakened content for the real thing.

    When designing a site you have to assume that the average hit is gonna come from a newer, faster machine.
    No you don't.The fact is, most people don't have the latest-and-greatest hardware and software. Making this assumption is not only contrary to fact, it's cheating yourself, your customers, and your clients. Rather than figuring out how to solve problems in terms of standard, web-native technologies that almost everybody on the Internet can use, you've chosen to make an assumption that makes your life easier at great cost to everybody else.
    You can't expect the site designer to continue and continue to make site backwards compatible. [...] It is not designers problem if a user can't keep up with technology, he has to go with the majority. As long as the technology is excepted as the norm (which flash seems to be) go ahead and use it.

    You're right about one thing. If a designer designs sites under the assumption that users will "keep up with technology," it's not his problem -- it's his users' problem and his client's problem. They're the ones that will suffer for his laziness.

    And good designers do ensure that their sites are backwards compatible. For example, Amazon's designers made sure that you can buy books via Lynx if you want. They get it: Their content matters, and their designers make sure that the content rules, not the presentation (or their own egos).

    Image is everything. It's not how great your product is it's how well you can market, display, and how cute it is.

    Image is not everything. If you look at the companies that live or die based on their web presence, the ones that must truly "get" the web in order to survive, you'll see that they almost universally avoid Flash. Do you need Flash to buy a book from Amazon? Or post to Slashdot? Or participate in projects on Sourceforge? Or trade stocks on E*Trade? Nope. Are you seeing the big picture yet?

    Remember: It's the content that counts! Everything that gets in the way, including Flash, is damaging to your users and your clients.

  • Read

    http://www.2shortplanks.com/Flash/stuff/Writeup/ fi nal_project.html#_Toc486319426

    for a history

    Simon
  • Actually this project was started before Ming.

    Which I link from my page.

    I started this project about a year ago and the current version has been sitting around for about 6 months doing nothing whilst I went travelling.

  • It sounds like you want to say to hell with the new web multimedia formats and for everyone to be surfing in Lynx.

    Not at all. I think that new web multimedia formats are great, just as long as they are reserved for content that is inherently multimedia in essence. The reason I'm urging people to avoid Flash is because most designers seem to think that non-multimedia content somehow becomes "better" when forced into a multimedia format like Flash. It ain't so. Content is best expressed in terms of the minimum presentation sufficient to capture the nature of the content. Anything else just gets in the way.

    So, Flash is fine for animated cartoons. But it makes a lousy tool for general web site construction.

  • by twoshortplanks (124523) on Friday December 29, 2000 @03:31PM (#1418531) Homepage
    First, Let me tell you who I am. I'm the owner/runner of 2shortplanks.com. This summer I gave the talk on Perl and Flash at YAPC::Europe. I've read and used the code.

    Secondly, to all those people trying to see the demos. The machine load is currently at 30 - you may have to wait a bit ;-) Good job we got that unlimmited bandwidth option from mailbox.

    Thirdly, Simon (the authour of this code) is on holiday, snowboarding - So he can't speak to you lot, but I'll have a go at talking about where we were in the project before he left.

    Simon did this code for his final year project based on an idea that I came up with but I was too lame to implement. Up to this point we are at a stage where we can sucessfully break apart a Flash movie with pure perl, and hold it as a data structure of vector graphics objects (well as SWF tags such as Rect, Shape, Text) that can be altered by access via attributes.

    This has been a hard struggle for many reasons. Macromedia's open spec (which is linked elsewhere in this discussion) has many bugs in it that Simon had to work around. The other main difficulty is that Flash is a bit based file format, rather than a byte based format - read the spec and you'll see what I mean. (In other words you have 'tags' that take up less than a whole byte so you have to parse very slowly...) Simon had to write File::Binary (on CPAN) before he could start.

    Simon has half done the creating perl code bit in pure perl. At this point the code is written, but isn't debugged. I don't think Simon or I am going to even attempt to do this as we've reached the point where it's logical to throw the code away and start from fresh (look mom, the evolutionary design model!) There's lots of changes we'd like to make - processing unparsed data - moving away from Class::Struct - rewriting the File::Binary to work better - template toolkit scripting ability.

    One of the really cool things that Simon has done is wrap a binary library to spit out simple flash files. Unfortunatly this module is free as in beer, not as in speech (read: we don't have the C source code.) It has bugs that we can't fix, but this works in most cases - I prepared the slides for my talk at YAPC::Europe with it, as well as the demos that you, well, will be able to see the slashdot effect dies down.

    Simon has been doing all this work in his spare time of late - which is very demanding. Sure, if someone was to offer him to work on it fulltime (*hint*) then a lot more could be done. At this time I'd like to thank Simon for all the hard work, often largely thankless, that he's done on this and other projects (YAPC::Europe, Acmemail, and countless help on other modules)

    Now for a little news on the server itself. It wasn't ready to be slashdotted. The load is at 30 for goodness sake! Hooray for Linux not falling over! The code wasn't set up to be put under any kind of load - it's just beta code for discussion that has *no* respect for what it's running on. It should be running under mod-perl. It's not. It should not be using file-based temporary files. It is. It's a work in progress, what do you expect? ;-)

    In closing I'd just like to say it's a shame that we haven't had a chance to get this into some kind of workable form before the whole world decided to have a look and judge it. The site was thrown up in a rush (arn't they always) for discussion on the list. It would have been set up a lot better if we'd known the traffic we were about to get) and we'd love to have shown you a lot more.

    Are you slashdot editors willing to let us have another go on the slashdot rollercoaster ride of server death in three months when we've got everything up to scratch? Go on, I dares you ;-)

    Hope that's been informative.

    If you need any info on this then feel free to email me on mark@twoshortplanks.com and I'll be more than willing to talk over any issues. Though I'm in the UK and it's 12:30 in the morning on a Friday night atm, so don't expect a prompt reply!

    Later.

    Mark.

  • No it hasn't. If you're talking about Ming this (my) project's been around for longer.

    I haven't even touched it since June 'cos I went off travelling round the world.

  • SWF is akin to PDF -- it's (generally) a derivative of another format, in this case the Macromedia Flash APPLICATION format (FLA). Like PDF, SWF is pretty much a play/read-only format, band it is difficult to extract data out of it and put it into an editable file.

    OT:
    I have noticed that the folks on /. have been very hostile lately, and not just the "trolls". If you (and many others) insist on being that way, try not to stick your foot in your mouth -- it will sound much better that way.

    (end comment) */ }

  • by spage (73271)
    The world's ultimate completely useless splash page is at http://www.skipintro.com [skipintro.com]

    And it's made in Flash
    --

  • password

    if he didnt want the rest of the world to see it he should have password protected it. i agree it would be nice if the folks at /. would at least warn people before posting their site. i wouldnt balme the person who submitted it, but rather the editor who posted it. i can understand that the editors didnt expect the result of /. posting a url the first few times, but hell we have a name for it now (/. effect). so hemos cannot claim ignorace.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • Cool. One of the major things that this Flash project needs (apart from a *lot* more time to work on it) is some idea of where to go from here. Comments really, really welcome!

    Currently Simon has written the wrap for the libswf that you've mentioned. But he's also written the parsing Tag routines for Flash 3. As you can understand, it really shouldn't be that hard to add a few more tags for Flash 4 and Flash 5 files if you've read and understood the spec.

    I'd agree with your comments that there's a lot to Flash that what you can get with Flash 3. Flash 3 is only just Turning compatible for goodness sake! Flash 5 is really interesting and I'd love to get working on some of the more entertaining stuff.

    One of the more challenging problems is that the interface we currently have is way too low level - the kind of people that need to use the tools aren't going to be interested in pushing and popping transformation matrices - they just want the text to scroll across the screen. And good on them...

    How we do this, and what Flash 4 and Flash 5 tags we use to do this (and templates) is a *big* question.

    Will subscribe!
  • by babbage (61057) <cdevers@nOsPaM.cis.usouthal.edu> on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:14AM (#1418537) Homepage Journal
    Wow cool, Perl::Flash is ready for Slashdot. Simon has been working on this project for a while now (six months or a year?) and is looking for someone to sponsor him, Damian Conway-esque, so that he can work on it full time and come up with a way to hack Flash with open source tools like Perl.

    The idea is that Flash is a really interesting technology -- vector graphics, lighweight complex animations, yadda yadda yadda -- but you need proprietary tools to work with it, and the integration with the web browsers is spotty at best -- e.g. they aren't searchable, they don't really support all the standard features like the back button, etc.

    That's where Perl::Flash comes in. First & foremost, it's an authoring tool for generating (either one-at-a-time or dynamically-on-the-fly) Flash animations, but I would suspect that it can also be used -- perhaps in Mozilla? -- for other types of manipulation of the Flash file. Cool stuff.

    I've just learned that this hasn't been officially released yet -- Simon's on vacation -- so those of you that can get to the twoshortplanks site are seeing experimental code that wasn't yet meant for public review like this. Keep that in mind as you review this stuff -- beta isn't even nearly the word for the code here, so don't be hard on Simon and don't be cruel in pointing out flaws in the code or the ideas: everything is a work in progress at this point.

    Whoever this 'antiher0' person is, s|he has revealed this project perhaps a bit too soon....



  • Agreed. I am using SVG now to develop a web based process control application. SVG does rock. I just wish they would get SVG support for Mozilla finished so I could stop using Windows again.
  • That has to do with the size of the comment, not the "length" on screen. Size in bytes not screen space

    Jeremy

  • If this bothers you can always filter you view. Probably easier then complaining about it.
  • dude, how about some links??
  • The Flash traceroute demo they have on thier pade would be impressive if it actualy worked. *Sigh* Now if only someone would port SWiSH [swishzone.com] to linux and open source it the world would be perfect. Flash is rarely good for anything other then cool-but-usless-and-bloated interfaces, and cheesy games and animations. This [stickdeath.com] has some interesting animations and games. Lets hope some troll dosent come up with a flash version of goatse.cx, and if they do at least it will be slow loading. Alrighty then I'm off to find some hetro flash p0rn games.

  • One thing about Flash has always bothered me (well, actually a whole lot about Flash bothers me but this is one issue I've never seen mentioned). At this point it's almost a full fledged p-code based language like Java (I've seen mention here that Flash 5 is even able to open sockets!).

    I wonder if anyone's really thought about its security? Is there even any? Now that's it's becoming easier to dynamically create, can Flash exploits be far behind?

  • by johnathan (44958) on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:59AM (#1418544) Homepage
    Now with links! (Thanks to google.)

    --

  • by tmoertel (38456) on Friday December 29, 2000 @12:01PM (#1418545) Homepage Journal

    First, I want to make it clear that I have nothing against the fine hackerly work that is Perl::Flash.

    But Flash, itself, is just plain evil. Don't use Flash. Ever.

    Why?

    1. Well, for starters, using Flash announces to the world that you don't have a clue about how the Web works. Rather than express your content in the Web's native, open, standardized formats, you've hidden you content inside of a non-native, non-indexable, non-searchable format that a good many surfers can't view.
    2. Using Flash announces to your web-surfing customers that you don't care about them. Forcing them to download the most-recent Flash plugin just for the privelige of viewing your site is presumptious and unrealistic -- many people will just surf to another site, perhaps one of your competitors'.
    3. Using Flash cheats your clients. Most companies would kill for a few percentage points of market share. But, by using Flash for a client's web site, you'll exclude people with older browsers and unsupported platforms from using your site. These people represent a sizable market share. Do you think your clients don't want these people as customers? Content hidden inside of Flash can't be indexed by search engines. Do you think that you clients don't want people to find their products and services easily?
    4. Finally, using Flash cheats yourself. You're kidding yourself if you think that you need to use Flash. I can't think of one instance of where Flash has made a site better. Just about every use I've seen has been gratuitous. People don't surf the web because they want a Rich Immersive Experience. They surf because they want to find solutions to their problems or find products and services that meet their needs and wants. Flash just gets in the way. So, do yourself a favor and learn what makes the Web work well -- HTML, XHTML, CSS, and their W3C-recommended friends. Then you can toss Flash in the trash. Do it. You'll be a better human for it.

    So, just in case you didn't get the point: Don't use Flash!

  • by oGMo (379) on Friday December 29, 2000 @03:45PM (#1418547)

    Sorry bub, you've got a few problems in your assumptions and reasoning there.

    1. You say in your first point that flash is not "native, open, [or] standardized". Let's address these one-by-one. First, what do you mean "native"? Native to what? The web browser? Your operating system? Native to a web browser is silly, since they support plugins for the most part (lynx people could define external viewers). Native to your operating system is even sillier, unless you want a kernel module for browsing the web. Most of us run separate programs for doing such mundane tasks, and there are a good number of flash players available for Linux (and other operating systems, of course). Including GPL'd ones.

      Which brings us to the "open" part. Since Macromedia released the Flash specification as an open format, I don't know know what the problem is here. A number of libraries and players (GPL'd either way) have been made. The specification is freely available (I'll leave it up to the lawyers, one of which I am not, to determine all the ins and outs of the SDK licensing agreement, but I don't see anything that requires you keep hush-hush about the file format) for download [macromedia.com] from Macromedia. (The spec might be available separately as well, but I'll leave the digging up to you.)

      Since we have an open, portable, ported format that seems to have players on major platforms, including GPL'd players, and a Free(tm) tools for developing the format, and since players seem to come default with most installations (MacOS, Win*, Linux), we seem to have something of a standard. Those of you who use text browsers know enough to set an external player to take care of it for you, or ignore a site altogether for the less-motivated users. :-)

      So I fail to see any reality behind your first point.

    2. You state that using Flash means you don't care about your customers. Now for me, someone who wanted to provide a nice, well-designed visual and aural site for the common user, and cared, would use something open and standardized, so that everyone could view it. Point one established that Flash qualifies for this. Really caring would find a way to minimize the bandwidth usage, since most people still probably don't have a lot of bandwidth. Since Flash provides nice vector art and a compact format, it qualifies for this as well. So it seems that wanted to design a nice multimedia site and really cared would take the time to do it with Flash, because we all know how buggy JavaScript support is.

      So I fail to see any reality behind your second point, either.

    3. Thirdly, you state that using Flash cheats clients, who can't search or use unsupported platforms to visit your site. Since the majority of people are using Win*, MacOS, Linux, or one of the other supported platforms, for the official viewer or for the GPL'd ones, platform support doesn't seem to be an issue. As many people have pointed out, there is no problem with searching, through various methods, so take your pick. There isn't any problem doing forms in Flash, and since you have a Perl module to generate it, there's no reason you can't do it directly either. You think databases are indexable? How much of your site is static and how much is dynamic content? Create an index and submit it to search engines if this is a concern.

      There isn't a problem designing a non-flash site to go along with the flash site as well, for those who for some reason can't upgrade their browser. I'd love to know any reasons why people are stuck below something that can't handle Flash. Resource usage of the viewer is fairly minimal.

      So, well, basically, I can't find any reality behind your third point, either.

    4. Finally, you state that using Flash cheats yourself. You can't think of any times that Flash is non-gratuitous. What's wrong with wanting to make a cool-looking site that uses minimal resources and runs on the majority of machines for the vast majority of users?

      XHTML and CSS? The number of platforms and browsers that correctly support these (or even completely support plain HTML) is far fewer than those that support Flash. You'll continue to be plagued by the problems that have always plagued HTML and multiple incompatible browsers. You can't have any client-side dynamicity. JavaScript? Unless you're a complete newbie, which I know you aren't, you know very well that the resources it takes to do in JS what Flash can do, as well as maintain multiple versions of the code for multiple browsers, just isn't worth the time. So, I fail to see how HTML, XHTML, and CSS work better than Flash.

      Now perhaps you'll come back and say that we don't need all that fancy multimedia crap, that back in the day you toggled in bootloaders in octal on the front panel and considered "?" to be a meaningful error message, so what's the point. So why even bother with HTML, XHTML, and CSS? Plain text. FTP those JPEGS or PNG's. Gopher.

      The point is not always to convey raw information. Sometimes, mood and experience are just as important. Sometimes, just having fun is more important. Sometimes those gratuitous graphics and sound aren't really gratuitous at all.

      So, I don't really see any reality behind your fourth point either.

    Fact is, Flash works for what it does quite well, better than the alternatives (which are basically JavaScript and Java). It's open, and making it open was the best thing Macromedia could have done for it. If they'd opened it sooner, perhaps thrown in a portable, free authoring tool, it might be even more pervasive and widely-used.

    It could be overused, misused, and abused, but so can everything else. I see much less abusive Flash than I do JavaScript and animated GIFs. The point is that it can be well-used, and for some things, it really is the most attractive solution.

  • Whoever this 'antiher0' person is, s|he has revealed this project perhaps a bit too soon....

    Yup. Blame the person who publicized your WORLD-WIDE web site. It's their fault for telling everyone that you have a WORLD-WIDE web site. Heaven knows, if the link isn't publicized, it's impossible for anyone to get to your WORLD-WIDE web site.

    If you don't want the whole world to see it, don't put it on the web...
  • First of all a large majority of the people here talking about Flash really don't have any clue what they are talking about. I am currently working on a number of Flash 5 related books, and let me tell you, there is a HELL of a lot more to Flash than most people know... full OOP language, XML, socket connections... the list goes on.

    This perl lib is nice and all, but its based on the same library that the basic PHP library is, and really isn't that big of a deal... it outputs Flash 3 files!

    If you want cutting edge open source tech for Flash go check out Ming [opaque.net]

    Ming is a library for PHP, Python and Ruby that really kicks some serious ass!

    As for Macromedia Generator, its still by far the leader in this area as it does more than output Flash... it also spits out JPG, GIF, QT, PNG, and Mac/PC exe's. It's more than a dynamic Flash solution, it is a dynamic graphics solution. Think PHP for images. It also has a very powerful plugin architecture based on Java.

    Also, I run a mailing list for people who program inside of Flash 5: FlashCoders [figleaf.com]

  • by Tony Shepps (333) on Friday December 29, 2000 @11:28AM (#1418564) Homepage
    Before you go off building sites with Flash, please do a litle light reading first.
    • Read Macromedia's own Top 10 Usability Tips for Flash Web Sites to quickly learn how to make your Flash site at least ten times better than the average Flash website.
    • Read WebWord's Flash Usability Challenge , co-sponsored by myself, in which a ransom is offered to find a Flash site that is suitable enough for e-commerce to actually make money.
    • Read Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox column Flash: 99% Bad for an expert opinion on how Flash makes websites unusable for the average user.
    Finally, whatever you do, remember there's a reason why words and characters are so rarely "animated" in the real world. And please don't forget the "Skip Intro" button.
    --
  • Pfft. Putting your little project on your personal server is one thing, publicizing it on Slashdot is another matter entirely.

    This is like saying that taking out a classified ad is the same thing as being plastered all over the front cover of USAToday or the New York Times.

    Just because something is in the paper or on the web doesn't mean it's being thrown out for public scrutiny....



  • by twisty (179219) on Friday December 29, 2000 @04:46PM (#1418571) Homepage Journal
    With the format for .SWF opened up, I could easily imagine Flash becoming the next HTML so to speak... It gives the kind of presentation you'd expect in a TV commercial, yet transports and scales very efficiently.

    PERL is practically evolving into an operating system in itself, supporting ::Telnet, ::Ping, and loads of other file-and-network functions available through CPAN. It only seems natural that .SWF is moving into PERL, considering the growing support its obtaining in other platforms. (I just which the sounds-syncing features in the Linux driver I use would sync correctly in the Mondo Mini-shows [netscape.com] I catch each week. Instead, they play like chipmunks on speed.)

    Perhaps a standard for the platform will come about, similar to PC2001 specs. The current generation of Palms would likely not make the cut, but the next likely would.

  • by Bonker (243350) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:43AM (#1418572)
    Seven Comments, and this site is already Slashdotted to the point of non-functionality. While this code is in beta, it brings about the point of server overhead.

    Is this going to be like any of the various servlet engine that can bring a good, hard server to its knees? Is it going to eat all my RAM and CPU cycles like a pothead at TacoBell?

    This *looks* like a damn neat thingy, but I'm scared to run it now.
  • by Sharkey [BAMF] (139571) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:43AM (#1418574) Homepage
    Now thousands of PERL users can program Flash to generate completely useless splash pages.

    Dammit. Sharkey
    www.badassmofo.com [badassmofo.com]
  • SVG is the shit. If you look at the spec, there's MANY differet ways of minimizing code, and yes, there is sound support(I haven't goofed off with it though).

    I just wish there was more documentation on SMIL animation. I don't think that part of the spec is complete, but right now the canidate recommendation for SVG as it stands is very usable(november spec).

    I'm just waiting for someone to take the SVG spec to the limit by making a first person shooter using the filter effects and such to its max. Of course, that might overwhelm the Adobe SVG viewer.
  • Showtime's Starship Regulars [sho.com] is done using Flash. It's a pretty funny Trek parody. You'll want to watch them in order - it defaults to the most current episode so click on the 1 first.

    Michael Dorn (Worf in Star Trek) and Diedrich Bader(Oswald on the Drew Cary show) do some of the voices.

    Works great using the OS/2 flash plugin [innotek.de] too.

  • And don't forget this [penny-arcade.com] contribution to the literature on flash intefaces. It's a tad dated, but still as good as ever.
  • A gpl'ed version would be great. I'm fed up of being sent links by friends that I can't follow because the webpage on the other end has endless Flash/Shockwave type nonsense on it.

    How could these two systems be GPL'ed though? I would guess (I am not an expert;) that these systems are copyrighted. So could they be reverse engineered or simulated somehow without violating copyrights, and the result be GPL'ed? I would hope so, but looking at DeCSS and whatnot you never know.

    I have a nasty feeling that proprietry plugins are going to become ever more insidious. The main thing that holds them back just now is the extra bandwidth that they consume. When ADSL and the like become much more common, these restrictions will be gone, and I would expect to see plugins become lots more popular among websites.

    If Linux is not to be isolated or left with second best solutions, we will need to look carefully at these issues, I should think. I hope I'm wrong though! :o)

  • by Galois (37155) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:46AM (#1418589) Homepage
    This really isn't Flash, but .swf files. Macromedia opened the .swf file format quite some time ago.

    http://www.php.net/manual/ref.swf.php [php.net].

    also check out swift-generator [swift-tools.com] - also perl based. Quite possibly the coolest .swf based tool of all.


    - daniel

  • Its pretty obvious to me youve never tried to publish vector-based multimedia presentations to a large proportion of the public.

    If you had, you would have realised by now that Flash is really your only choice.

    SVG sounds nice, but wheres the support for it? A proprietary Windows-only plugin? Mozilla won't supoprt SVG properly for months, and your only other option is a Java-based viewer that requires a 7MB Java Plugin to run.

    So saying 'don't use Flash' is like saying 'don't publish vector-based multimedia presentations on the web'

    And thats just about the dumbest thing i've heard on Slashdot for a while.
  • You say in your first point that flash is not "native, open, [or] standardized"

    No, that's not what I said. Please go back and read what I wrote.

    First, what do you mean "native"? Native to what? The web browser? Your operating system?

    Again, please read what I wrote. I wrote that content ought to be expressed in the Web's native, open, standardized formats. You know, the Web -- that crazy combination of a particular transport (HTTP) and a collection of standardized, well-defined content types (HTML/XHTML/CSS/...), all lovingling guided in public view by the friendly folks at the World Wide Web Consortium.

    See, the point here is that Flash isn't like HTTP or HTML or CSS. It's one company's way of trying to pull an end-run on the standards process and sneak itself into a de-facto standard position by coaxing the ever-presuadable design community into using its products: Oh, you'll be cool! Your site will be the hippest! Just Generate your site using Flash! And don't worry about that tricky HTML and CSS stuff, just let us do the heavy lifting for you. That will leave you free to express your wonderful visions to the fullest!

    Run, boy! It's the Sirens calling you to the rocks. Turn away while you still can!

    Which brings us to the "open" part. Since Macromedia released the Flash specification as an open format ...

    Yeah, riiiiiiight. Have you actually read the licensing terms for that "open" code for which you provided a link? How about this spiffy licensing term: "You agree that your Product must output SWF files that can be opened without Errors in the latest version of the Macromedia Flash authoring software..." Gee, my Product has ensure that Macromedia's software sits in the cat-bird's seat? Now that's open!

    Now for me, someone who wanted to provide a nice, well-designed visual and aural site for the common user...

    Now, here's where most designers drive the buggy into the ditch. They leap to the conclusion that their users want a "nice, well-designed visual and aural site" without ever considering if that's really what their users want. When I hit E*Trade, I'm not wondering what visual and aural treats the boys at E*Trade Central have in store for me today. I'm wondering what's happening to my portfolio. I'm not sure why this point eludes so many design folk.

    I'll let you in on what's apparently a big secret around here: Most users don't care Jack Squat about the visual and (gasp!) aural qualities of a site. All they care about is that the site solves their problems or satisfies their needs and wants as quickly and as transparently as possible. (Note that this does not mean that hideous, ugly sites are okay. Hideousness and ugliness get in the way of solving problems and satisfying needs and wants, and that violates the Prime Directive.)

    So, if the best way to give your users what they want is with spiffy visual and aural stuff, then by all means have at it. On the other hand, if your site is like most web sites, where the primary objective is to deliver information or sell a good or product, please stay at least seven meters away from Flash! It's not what your users want; it just gets in the way.

  • Neither of its first two demos ran in my IE5 browser, even though I have the most recent version of Flash installed and can view other Flash sites.

    Well, like I say, it's under development and needs support at this point in order for Simon to finish it. It's a lot of work to do in one's spare time, and what's really needed is for someone to step forward and offer resources to further the development of it -- presumably by supporting Simon so he can work on it full time, unless he finds some other arrangement. (I just know the guy -- I certainly don't speak for him.)

    Babbage, I also want to commend you for the "Dubya is not my President" message on your posting. [snip] What a fraud!

    Heh. Thanks. Not that that really changes fact that with this decision, we've stopped being a constitutional republic and are now a constitutional monarchy, just like the British we fought to be free of.

    Not that this has anything to do with Perl::Flash, aside from the slight British connection...



  • Actually, I spoke fairly too soon. There is another comment in the thread that talks about a gpl site for shockwave/flash. Apparently, Macromedia has opened up to some degree the plugin for O.S. development.

    I dont think plugins are neccessarily a bad thing. Obviously, theres only so much a browser can do, and companies have pretty much been writing addons for them since their inception. The problem arises, however, that plugin downloads and proprietary usage have either pretty much destroyed their usage or have held them back from gaining widespread acceptance (remember VRML?).

    Flash/Shockwave has been a nice example of good technology been picked up by the public. It allows for good looking sites and the evolution of the web from a simple straight information only medium to, at least on some level, a distribution point for multimedia content.

    There are battles over this, obviously. I saw the comment about sites arent good unless they look good in lynx. That, IMHO, is bollocks. Its been pretty much proven that human beings understand and retain information better when they have at least some degree of visual image correlation to what they are reading. Now, this extends beyond rollovers and site intros. Site navigation and entire architecture can be restudied and revamped in order to provide a more interactive feel, and better grahpical representation to the data that users see. The exact method of going about this is still in its infancy, in reference to the web, because the technology to do this is still fairly new and specific design impacts are not really studied (other than the "its sucks" or "it rocks" type thing).

    It is going to be an exciting time when the flash player becomes ubiqutous in browser installs (as it pretty much is for all non *nix OS browsers). *nix is the only system left lacking. However, this might not be so devious as it can be made out to be. Only recently have statistics shown that linux (and other *nix's) are gaining desktop system usage in amounts large enough to allow these companies to feel justified in porting the player over (you dont exactly need browser plugins on a console server). Although we wish that it wasn't so, this wonderful technology is a proprietary product from a large corporation. Even if they bill themselves as a "cutting edge" technology company, they still operate on one principal...their bottom line. For my part, I am content to wait a little bit longer and see if Macromedia (or any other graphical representation plugin company) seriously gets with the program and GPL's their plugin so that it can be accuratly used on *nix desktops.

    This does not mean that the community should begin work on its own porting of these technologies. To ignore something this functional and widespread would be fairly ludicrous. Imagine the impact if everyone had said "people are happy with my black and white. why should we broadcast in color?". It is time to face up to the reality that the web can, and does, carry multimedia content, and it is desired by a large group of end users. Therefore, if we can make plans now, while it is still a fairly emerging technology, the O.S./*nix community will be in much better shape than if it is ignored until it is so ubiquotous and wide spread that we are stuck in the cold, and playing catchup.

    Basically, F/S is a great technology. The fact that is relies on a currently (and i do stress that word) proprietary plugin is unfortunate, but that doesn't mean it is evil or should be shunned. Facing the future sometimes means going against what you might feel at the time is better judgement. The worst thing that can happen is that the plugin falls out of favor, and no one uses it.

  • by tobyjaffey (132850) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:53AM (#1418608)
    \begin{rant}

    Flash is a binary coded, obfuscated, proprietary format owned and controlled by Macromedia. It's difficult to program for, supported only on select platforms, only with non-free plugins and utilities etc.

    Use SVG, an open standard which aims for wide support, based on XML with a very strong underlying rendering model. It rocks.

    \end{rant}
  • by Cmdr. Marille (189584) on Friday December 29, 2000 @10:55AM (#1418609)
    quick, delete the post.
    Taco's gonna see this, well actually just the word PERL and we are all done.
    No more "Standards are important for the web" Articles, just rotating logos all over slashdot. And an fscking intro, NOOOOOOO

    Oh the humanity.
    Well, it's probably to late allready.

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?

Working...