Why I think Flash Developers get so defensive

March 2nd, 2011

A couple of days ago I came across this tweet by Keith Peters, who runs the great bit-101 blog. I think there are two reasons that some Flash developers reacted badly to him talking about JavaScript. First, Keith is well known guy in the Flash development community and a guy that many people, myself included, value his opinion. And if he’s giving the impression that he’s abandoned Flash for HTML5 and JS, then I bet some developers think they’re losing a leader. Although, this isn’t really true, as Keith and I share the same opinion about web technologies, if you marry yourself to one technology, then you’re going to be limiting yourself and your career.

The other reason could be imagine if a company that you really liked and used their products, like Apple, and all of a sudden they declared they didn’t like the technology you used to make your living. Then all of a sudden, people in the web community and outside of it, were saying that technology was dead. Imagine if you’re a FedEx delivery person and the post office declares that they have a technology that makes your job no longer needed, not only that, but other people are actively celebrating the end of FedEx. That would kinda suck. Although, really, any person that actually knows anything about Flash, HTML5 and web development knows that Flash isn’t done, it’s just moving on to other things.

I think there’s another reason for the animosity towards Flash. The earlier versions of ActionScript were easier to use and now it’s turned into a fullblown programming language. It went from a scripting language used to make simple effects and animations to a full development platform and some of the early users felt left behind. And now HTML5 and JavaScript is replacing Flash for those needs.

But it has to be funny for some Flash developers to see that HTML5 and JS are being used to create those types of things that Flash was ripped on for for so long, things like animated menus and intros. I’ve already said that I think HTML5 will get the same complaints that Flash got and it already is. Just like some sites are a blank page if you don’t have the Flash player installed, there’s more and more sites out there that don’t have even basic functionality if you have JavaScript turned off.

I’m not saying ones better than the other. I like working with Flash but it doesn’t come up much in my day job, so I’ve been focusing more on JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3. I just think I understand why some Flash developers can get so worked up over something as simple as Keith Peters posting on his blog about JavaScript.

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