Flash or Javascript?

Here’s a post about the pros and cons of each. The comments below are interesting.


Many of the discussions I’ve read on this subject always bring up requirement that the Plugin must be installed for Flash to work. I always think, does anyone not have the Flash plugin these days? It seems like it comes with every browser, anyone that wants to watch a video on Youtube is required to upgrade to the latest version of Flash. Who isn’t watching youtube?

I’m sure someone doesn’t have the plugin, or doesn’t have the latest version. Hmmm… they may be hard to find.

Adobe suggests about 80% to 99% market penetration. Of course their numbers may be a little rosy, they have a stake in the issue.


Wikipedia suggests about 95% Did Adobe write that article?


Here’s a link to an article that makes a strong argument for Javascript over Flash. Though, their example site, The Official Ringo Star web site is so weak it counters their argument. The motion is terrible and the rollovers made with Javascript are nothing worth even mentioning.

Of course then it’s off the TheFWA to see what they have on display these days. Looks like every site on display used Flash. After looking at all of these sites it reminded me of the point made in the articles above that, Flash is for complex and 3d animation. I don’t think that quite covers it. I’m seeing sites that are drawing things and mixing video and images with motion in ways that aren’t quite done justice by “3d” or even “complex animation”. Of course all of these sites could be described as complex animation.

Of course for the majority of sites Flash is usually overkill. The difficulty of mixing Flash with a server side framework or CMS is a big downer. So making modern everyday use web sites is also firmly in the Flash camp.

Another con, usually attribute to Flash is the steep learning curve. I’m not 100% behind this argument. It seems to me that HTML and CSS is a pretty hard, mix that with Javascript and I think reaches the same difficulty as Flash and Actioscript. Of course maybe the people writing the articles are think that they already know HTML, CSS and Javascript so it must be easier than learning Flash?

I think for myself I would have to say, when it comes to experimental and cutting edge Flash is out in front. That said I’ve seen some really cool Javascript sites. Here’s a list of good ones (sorry Ringo your site didn’t make this list).


The real idea is to make the right decision Flash or Javascript. Knowing when to choose one or the other is the real skill.

I don’t think I’ll be dumping Flash any time soon, but I will have to brush up on Javascript skills, especially with all of those new CSS3 HTML5 goodies.

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