Flash has probably seen its heydays and facing hard times due to a number of reasons. But let’s wait with that and instead looking back what Flash use to be.

Macromedia Flash which was the name between 1996 and 2005 before Adobe acquired Macromedia was a revolution for the web and for designers. Flash came when internet was a few year old and the bulk of web pages contained just simple text and a few images. Don’t remember? Take a look at the film:

In the early nineties I was studying at the University College of Arts Craft and Design and I still remember the day I saw a Flash animation for the first time. I was amazed by the moving images, interactivity and sound. Remember at this time most people did not have internet at home and if they had, it probably was a dialup 32 Kbit or 64 Kbit modem connection. Always on was not invented get.

So what happened along the road? There have been many debates about Flash’s pros and cons since the launch in 1996. Jacob Nielsen was criticizing Flash heavily back in the days http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20001029.html and I agree there is usbility problems building websites using Flash. Personally have never preferred Flash when building full web sites. The strength of Flash has been more on interactive storytelling such as in interactive films, games campaign sites etc. Take a look at this example from HBO about voyeurism from 2007:

Obviously the HBO site is heavy, it contain lots of moving images, still images, sounds and scripts. Pingdom presented some stats on their blog last week comparing Gif, Jpeg, PNG, HTML, JS, CSS and Flash files average size per individual downloaded object, concluding and complaining the Flash files are far more heavier then rest of the file formats. Hmm. That is really to compare apples and pears. The Flash file does a little bit more than the other files.

So why does Flash facing hard times? One reason is of course that Apple don’t support Flash in iOS another is the new HTML5 standard with all new possibilities of building rich, dynamic and animated web sites without Flash. HTML5 with all API’s, JavaScript, CSS3, WebRTC and so on, will probably be the main building blocks in modern website and service design. But regardless what technology or format that will win there will be a need for an authoring tool similar to Flash. Maybe it will be Adobe Edge maybe something else.