Sparkle Hype Thresher: Duty Bound Flasher

First, some updates. Skip to “Duty” if you’d prefer.

Personal Updates

Choosing your contractual future whilst capitalizing on your satisfactorely ability to communicate effectively in hopes of ensuring no bridges are torched in signing such binding agreements is… diffucult. I’m basically working on doing what I’ve always wanted to do; have a company ensure me a steady stream of Flex work without having to be an actual employee.

Problem is, there are a lot of players battling for my time, I hate saying no, and previous ventures into contracting were either a failure, or never provided enough incentive to go full time. If there’s a book on this stuff, I haven’t read it, so instead I depend on my smart networking contacts, both old and new, and heed their advice since this is new territory for me. The short: be honest, and know exactly what you want.

It’s still challenging though as these decisions must be taken with respect and given their due time to think them through. I just keep the beer I’ll savor Friday eve forefront in my mind.


So, amongst this barrage preliminary work & negotiations, I’ve been barely able to keep my head above water following the blogs. I’ve been trying to shed the “Flash Developer” moniker from my various titles since I don’t see my future in Flash, but rather Flex development where Flash merely plays backup.

…and yet, reading this update by Jon Meyer, I had disturbing recollections of Slashdot. Whilst many Flashers will agree, it’s pointless to do battle there anymore; there is no point. While spreading correct information is great, why waste your time on those who have no interest in listening? Frankly, if I were John Dowdell of Macromedia, sure, I’d still do it because it was my job.

At any rate, this hit a nerve, so whether this is an emotional response hidden under the guise of noble duty, or not… so be it. He’s just 1 blog, not the cacophony, patience trying of Slashdot.

Let’s dissect.

To clarify my position, yes, Jesse Warden wants to utilize Sparkle. It sounds cool as hell; please give me pre-alpha/beta copy, thank you much!

I’m no longer a professional designer, although I can still do some design work thrown my way. That is not what makes me yearn for Sparkle, however. It’s the easy ability to make Windows Applications look good. My background is doing applications that look cool; utilizing Director and Flash for Fat Clients. Like using Flash in Screenweaver/Zinc, or embedded into custom holders like Visual Basic and custom C apps. I’ve always loved the endless power that such situations give, as well as the ability to make them look damn good. That is what makes Sparkle appealing to me since Day 1 of Sparkle’s blog appearence.

This statement, however, is based on 1 example which does not support his point:

Macromedia Flash, in my opinion, is becoming less of a significant player as developers shift from Flash to using DHTML and “Ajax” to create applications like GMail and Google Maps. Today many developers view Flash as a tool best suited for web video and advertising, and not for the “heavy lifting” required in substantial applications. I see this trend continuing, unless Adope significantly enhances Flash, e.g. with 3D, more audio and video formats, access to native code, a revised security model, more sophisticated text, faster script execution speed, and an open runtime of the breadth and richness of .NET.

He cites Flickr’s changes to making their images being housed in Flash to instead be an image that has it’s URL dynamic via DHTML.

That wasn’t a decision to “use DHTML instead of Flash”, that was the right decision. Not being able to right click on an image was stupid, and it was trivial to get the image through view source. Case in point, this was a bad use of Flash, more importantly, a bad decision. …and they fixed it, go Flickr.

But this wasn’t a “choosing to use AJAX/DHTML instead” scenario he describes. If you read their reasoning, they changed it because of user feedback, and their AJAX offerings were additional pieces of functionality having nothing to do with the Flash change.

Next, homeskillet definately has the Avalon bug. Associating “3D” with “substantial applications”. Am I to concur that 3D helps make an application substantial?

Additionally any of these developers who “view Flash as a tool best suited for web video and advertising, and not for the ‘heavy lifting’ required in substantial applications” need to have a talk with me, and plenty of others who can give a different perspective than I. While I agree the current development paradigms for making applications suck, as soon as Zorn comes out and is cheap, problem solved. I’m a Rich Internet Application Architect; I do this for a living, and would love to discuss how Flash CAN solve those heavy lifing needs, and integrate well in your workflow.

I’m really confused on the request for a “revised security model”. The one we have currently works great, is very secure, and drives Flash & Flex Developers batty in that it’s so secure.

I’m also confused on the “more sophisticated text”. Huh? We can utilize system fonts installed on a user’s machine, we can embed fonts ensuring the user sees what the designer inteded even allowing them to be used in input/dynamic text fields, and also now having a font display engine rivaling PDF’s, called Saffron. What more do you want?

Everything else he asks for, I agree, I want to… but it’s easy as nuts for .NET; they are OS specific with a 60+ meg runtime vs. a cross platform, under 1 meg runtime.


It’s pretty apparent to me: We as Flash/Flex Developers are most definately a “significant player” if Microsoft makes an application to respond to Flash, but only a framework to respond to AJAX.

10 Replies to “Sparkle Hype Thresher: Duty Bound Flasher”

  1. >but it’s easy as nuts for .NET; they are OS specific with a
    >60+ meg runtime vs. a cross platform, under 1 meg runtime.

    Ummm, perhaps you missed the announcement of Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere?

    Go have yourself a look – you need to know about this.

  2. Ok, found this link, but it’s not… technical enough. I guess because these things are in beta, there may not be any info yet? Regardless, it sounds pimp if it’s a smaller runtime that does in fact run on all of those platforms!

  3. ‘At any rate, this hit a nerve….’

    I hear you. I ran across Jon’s op/ed the other night in a weblog trawl, and then saw the next morning that it was referenced in commercial press too.

    I had thought of leaving a comment there, but wasn’t sure how it might actually help. I might still do a weblog item on this and similar op/ed pieces, but that risks raising the profile on an otherwise-unnoteworthy opinion.

    If it’s of help, though, here’s how I managed to feel good about leaving it unaddressed last night: one way to assess the staffing & funding levels of a given project is to listen to what types of thinking styles are used by the team’s key players. If that writing was the considered analysis of a former program manager, well, then that tells me a little bit more about the program itself…. ;-)

  4. I think that while Flash and Flex are good enough for the time being, we have to be willing to recycle ourselves in a couple of years or so… Something else is coming. It may be XUL or XAML or anything-but-AJAX but it will come eventually. I think Nicolas Canasse hit it right on the nail on the osFlash list when he said to Mike Chambers that the only reason people are using Flash right now is because the player is installed everywhere; ActionScript in it’s current state is dog slow, doesn’t offer built-in 3d, and architecting Flash RIAs seems to be workaround over workaround over workaround. Either way Flash is a transition technology, and we have to accept that and be ready to pack our stuff and move to some other thing. The golden days of Director are over, and soon Flash’s will too; we have to accept that. I think the fact that Manuel Cl

  5. There is a video demonstration of Avalon right here.

    All I can say is; wow, just wow. I have not read enough into Avalon yet, but it appears you can build applications using XAML (for those comfy with HTML) or C#. Other features:
    1) Access to a 3D API
    2) Better drawing tools/more complex vector graphics
    3) Option to build a browser based app or desktop app at a whim of a dropdown menu
    4) Allows you to use Visual Studio as the IDE

    For once in a long time, I am actually excited, overwhelmed, and all around worried about an MS product. I think Flash will always be around for the cartoons and coffee break games. But I think as far as RIAs go, Flash is sunk. Why use such a limited language as AS2.0 when you have C# at your disposal? Why play around with positioning movieclips and keyframes when you can build a GUI with XAML? Why use a bug ridden and all around crude IDE like Flash when you have Visual Studio?

    And if this thing can interface with the new version of DirectX– including Direct3D (hardware accelerated 3D), DirectPlay (multiuser apps) and DirectInput (joysticks), I don’t see how Flash could even come close.

    Lets hope that with Adobe’s help, the next iteration of Flash will be much more groundbreaking than the current. Vista is still a ways off… there is time…. but as things are now, I’d be worried for Adobe/Macromedia.

    And man, is it just me, or does the timeline look exactly like Director’s?

  6. Heh, I love these technology religion wars, they get so..i dunno, ignorant after awhile.

    Flash Player by itself is fairly powerful and significant contender and its only going to get ‘more’ power behind it. You have to but look at FLASH 8 Player in its current form to hazard a guess as to whats coming up around the corner with say FLASH 9, more power and better focus on something else.

    Flash offers more then ‘just installed on everyones machine’ it also offers a uniform view accross multiple platforms without taking a technology case statement to deploy. That spells out gold for Enterprise then furthermore its also now got significant amount of traction in the mobile space so again, things can get hotter here.

    Sparkle is great and has got sex appeal, but in truth what we are saying is the first initial testing grounds of Microsoft, in that this is not the final draft. This would be more of the ‘daily’ rush build of what’s to come. So i think all orange and apple comparisons should be held back for atleast AVALON 2.0 or significant upgrade in the WPF/E.

    So now we have 3D Capability… hmm… Does anyone else think that Enterprise Market could give two hoots unless it fit a specific purpose? in that could you see ORACLE E-Business developers going ‘yay, 3D is here, finally, lets get some more funding budget wise and remake all our crap in 3D’… its got nice potential in concepts such as say… Mapping or Engineering but in mainstream application delivery its pretty much like saying that all applications around the world can now skin in a cool ‘Alien’ look… ‘great, take that under advisement but if its not going to do anything application specific, then faaaaaaaaaark off’

    Adobe and Macromedia merge is painfully slow and we at omniEffect cannot wait for this to go ahead, as this means more muscle power and more ‘hooks’ into bigger things.

    Jess has done yet another smart move, he’s seen the light in terms of ‘mainstream flash development’ and opted for ‘FLEX Architect’ role. Something I myself have done, and accumulating the rewards for my choice.

    FLEX has a shit load of power already and more to come with the expected FLEX 2.0 + ZORN .. and MM haven’t even talked about the upcoming ‘new components’ that go along with this new technology build.

    Don’t write Flash Player off yet, its not done and by no means is it getting more crappier in terms of perfomance.

Comments are closed.