Before they changed its name to “Flash” (I really need to take a look at the use of case on this site). I’ve followed the development of flash from its infancy and have been endlessly impressed by its capabilities. When futuresplash came out we had only just discovered how to assemble a multipart gif by leaving out the spaces in table - heady times - so when I first saw a demo by a uk developer I was hooked. There I was wishing there was some way to control the leading of web-page type and here comes this demo with a silver spaceship that crosses the whole screen - it was magic.
I’ve spent a considerable part of my waking hours since we all started building this beautiful mess trying to limit the number of layers between user and content - client and server. If reality is the information out there, then the pages describing it might be seen as some sort of meta layer. We interact with this layer to interact with the creators of (or perhaps with the info itself) all that lovely information.
So I guess I haven’t worked out any specific answers, but it seems to me increasingly crazy to add processes that live in the browser to the interactive experience. Or in other words, why add a window in a window? I’d like to think that most truly interactive experience could use whatever a devices main ‘window’ is.
Maybe I should put this another way… I like video and sound. I like what I can do with Java, I’m not saying we should stop adding these enhancements to our design. I guess my question is more to do with the amount of effort involved in squeezing more out of the existing object model. How can we move our clients towards truly intelligent universal pages that are beautiful fast and rich?
Just to finished this disjointed ramble on a positive note, the upside of all this effort is that our work should blossom with variety, the joy of discovery, the learning that comes from play. Flash has lured designers into a world where everyone uses the same effect, the same transition - no variety, no freedom, no learning (ok, I’m exaggerating). As object-model manipulators, we should fear this conformity and be pushing for something a little different.