Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adobe, Apple and the future of the Web

I've been developing websites for about ten years now, I have encountered people who love flash and those who hate it.  I have and still do develop things in Flash, Ajax, PHP/MySQL and other web technologies.  The issues that are being brought up by the "Adobe vs Apple" Flash Vs HTML5 is not new; it is how ever bring up issues that need to be addressed.  Flash is great for many things but doing full websites is not one of them.  Here is why.

Flash does not support SEO very well.  Yes Adobe came out with a change in the flash player that lets spider bots crawl the flash content but they still do not rank well on search engines compared to a HTML equivalent.  

The flash player is a resource hog and slows down a computer significantly.  Don't believe me then bring up your process manager and surf to websites that have flash elements or are completely flash and see what happens to your processor(s) and if your on a laptop your battery.

Flash has been pretty buggy over the last few years and support for 3rd party broswers such as Firefox, Chrome and Opera seem to be lacking.  Flash works just great in Internet Explorer but should be working well in other broswers and operating systems too.

Do I hate Flash? No. Then why did I just bash it there? Well eveything I said there was true but there are some things flash does do better then Ajax, CSS and other web technologies.  I highly endorce the use of flash to produce this content for the web.  HTML5, CSS, Ajax, and other web technologies are not great for doing things that flash is good for such as:

Banners and ads.  Creating a roating banner scheme that you can modify and change really can only be done with flash.  I've created a flash app that where companies can host their own banner ads and give websites they are hosting ads on a flash loader that then loads the banner ads from another server.  The webmaster can then add and remove banner ads at will without having to resend the banners to the webmaster.  A very handy use for flash.

Video content.  Before there was h.264 we had Quicktime, Windows Media and Real Player remember that one?  Loading video was painfully slow and the quality was pretty bad.  Flash offered a low bandwidth solution to this problem and has worked well.  For some enhanced video on the web I'm sure flash will be used but for your basic everyday just watching a video, I don't beleive flash is required.  I think you will see two types of video, regular video and enhanced video content what will have some sort of interactivity that HTML5, CSS and Ajax just won't be able to do.

Games and other interactive web utilites.  Like it or not flash is still the gaming platform on the web and computer based training.  To write a module in PHP/MySQL, for Moddle, or another type of platform would probably take more time then to do one in flash.  The flash traing modules can be easily intergrated in to Moddle, not to mention the benifits of games, video, audio that can all be integrated without having to write customized modules or plugins.

Flash is a good technology but I feel it's time on the web will soon be up (less required).  As things get better with Ajax, CSS, and server side technologies, and start to do more things that flash does, flash would be considered just another technology to support.  However having said that using flash for making Adobe Air apps (useful clients for cloud based applications) is an excellent niche for Flash and a growing market.  With the ability to store some data locally then sysc it with the clould represents a unique affordable option for many companies to take advantage of.  If Adobe really wanted flash to be openly adoped to full standardized web technology they would have to completely open source the flash player in my opinion as it is proprietary.  We will be having the same discussion soon about H.264 a (video codec that is used for the web) as it is an open license for now but will it be in the future only time will tell.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Podcast Now Available.

The OptionKey Webcast (Podcast) has relaunched.  We will cover everything from the latest in tech news, security, and the up and coming technologies to things to just keep your computer running great.  We are also avaialbe in iTunes.

The OptionKey May 9, 2010

This episode we cover the Canadian Copyright Law Rumors, 3D TV and breifly touch on the CS5 release and the new Nvidia graphics cards that were released.

Download Episode (MP3)

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Thursday, May 06, 2010

Steven Harper and his conservatives attack Canadians over digital rights.

Steven Harper and his conservatives attack Canadians over digital rights.

When bill C-61 died on the table of parliament and another election was called we the users and consumers of digital media won a small victory with the death of that bill. Now our Prime Minister and the conservative government are going to rush through Bill C-61 Part II*.  This has been expected but what was not expected was the rush to introduce the bill and possible try and pass it in six short weeks.  So if the Prime Minister wants to declare war on consumers and Regular Canadians then he better be ready for a fight.  Many privacy, security and technology enthusiast need to help spread the word and bring up enough support to force the opposition to bring down the government. This is an election issue if I ever heard one; this will affect every Canadian big and small, young and old.  It will change the way you use your iPod, computer, PVR, phone and what ever new technology comes along.

The things you need to know about the American DMCA that if we allow will happen here in Canada

Media and Music Companies will start suing Children and families.  The best example of this is the Jamie Thomas case where the record companies won a 1.92 million award against a mother of four for pirating 24 songs (which are available for around $30.00 on iTunes) - should have been the judgment in my opinion

As Canadians we pay a levy on Blank Media that is suppose to go to the music and media industries.  The Government probably will not retract this levy if the new copyright law passes so we will be essentially paying the music and media companies for any technology we want to use.  If the Government does pass this I will be writing my MP to get my money back from the CD and DVD Levy.

It will be technically illegal for you to transfer your "Media Content" from one form to another.  What do I mean well technically under the American DMCA and similarly with bill C-61 and I would guess with the new copyright bill it will be illegal for you to take your DVD and put it on your computer, iPod, ipad, phone what ever you want.  You will have to pay for each platform you want to put your media on.  We have seen this with the release of purchasing movies with "Digital Copies".  What most people don't know and what I am going to make extremely clear right now is to convert a DVD to a Video file playable by your computer is extremely easy and fast.  You are paying the media companies an Extra 5-10 dollars for about 10 minutes of their time it takes to do the conversion.  That is an awesome profit margin.  That would be the same as a web master being paid twice to produce a website once in HTML and using Adobe Acrobat to convert it to a pdf file.  Fair use you can say goodbye to that.  If your child wants to make any movies, parodies (which is technically illegal to do in Canada B.T.W), fan trailers, you better forget about it that would be illegal as well.

I know this sounds like it's all gloom and doom but we can stop it. We need to write our MP's, the Opposition MPs, and get everything in order where if the Harper Government doesn't back down from this Bad I would even say EVIL copyright law we can pressure the opposition to bring down then government and make them fight an election over this.  This is something we as Canadian's need to fight against. Don't let your digital rights disappear. Write, Call, Blog, twitter facebook and let our government know your not happy with these changes and that we will fight them tooth and nail if they try take away our digital rights.

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