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August 16th, 2000

I’m a Flasher!

I can’t help it. I just can’t. Every time I get the opportunity now, I want to… Flash people. Yes, I want to Flash them as much as possible. When appropriate of course… there’s a time and a place for all Flashing, and thinking otherwise is absurd. I wouldn’t dare Flash all the time… I mean, heck, there are people who don’t need or want to see that. For them, well, I just won’t Flash. No biggie.

But for people who like being Flashed at, and enjoy seeing Flashers… I’m one of them now.

I speak of, of course, Macromedia Flash. I bought it many moons ago but never got around to doing anything useful and/or creative with it. Thanks in part to my job – I’m currently doing a lot of development work in Flash – I’ve become very comfortable with it. While it’s not going to replace my HTML anytime soon, it’s useful in certain situations. The software is quite powerful, and version 5 will be even greater – this I’m convinced of.

The biggest thing I’ve discovered is that Flash isn’t something to be afraid of (Jakob Nielsen!) Yes, it’s true that not every browser has it and lots of folks just don’t use it. But the benefits are obvious. Reworking a navigation element for a personal site provided a fine example. The original was done in HTML with animated GIFs, and was roughly 18K or so. A Flash rework of it, which looked a lot snazzier and smoother, was just 6K. A very elaborate combination of sliced images, rollovers, and JavaScript resulted in a 52K page in HTML; the Flash rework will weigh in under 38K. Not shabby.

As I said, there are some instances in which Flash is overkill or just plain inappropriate. But it provides a really handy solution for lots of problems. Long live Flash.

[I heartily recommend visiting Flazoom and Flash Kit for your Flashy needs.] -pm

Posted in Technology

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