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Thank You, Flash, for Showing Us the Way!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/9/11 (6:56pm)

adobe flash logo

So the big news is that Adobe is ending Flash development for mobile devices.

Everyone's assuming, for this reason, that Flash's days are numbered. And well they may be, in which case, there's no better time to extol its virtues -- particularly the contribution it's made to our online world -- than now.

It's important to remember that before the Web, most communication online was largely through command line input. In fact, one of the great 'side' achievements of the WWW was that it liberated us from this tyranny, giving us a 'graphical user interface' instead. In the library world, this was the difference between DIALOG which only a consultant could make head or tail of and current versions of Ebsco or Proquest.

Flash (and its predecesso­r, Shockwave) took this a step further by introducing a far higher level of interactivity. It allowed us to click on things, enlarge them, drag them across the browser window. It allowed us to better coordinate various types of media -- images, audio and video -- into a unified user experience. In fact, it did this with video so well that many people nowadays think of Flash as primarily a video delivery system.

And maybe it is, or was. Things move on. What we used to do in Flash, we're slowly being able to accomplish using Javascript, CSS and eventually HTML5. That's the path -- but it was Flash that showed us the way.