Adobe Edge vs Adobe Flash

This week sees Adobe launching the preview of their new JavaScript animation and interactivity tool – Adobe Edge (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/) pitched as an alternative or maybe a future replacement for Flash. With a greater usage of HTML 5 springing up across the net and a want to produce true cross platform functionality without the need for a plug-in Edge seems a good prospect. Of course then coupling that with Apple ban on Flash on it's mobile products there is a need for a solution to bridge the gap. Lets have a quick comparison of the benefits and disadvantages of the two technological standard points rather for the specific Adobe Edge tool:

HTML 5

Pros:
  • Will work in all the latest browsers Firefox 5, IE 9 and Safari
  • Doesn't require a plug-in
  • All built in standards compliant html, css and JavaScript
  • The result is not confined to a "boxed" area but has the whole page to play with.
  • Generally more SEO friendly.

Cons:
  • Only latest browsers can run it
  • The HTML 5 standard is not completed and won't be for a while
  • Video playback and control not very flexible
  • Can be complex to do simple things.
  • I see it being less secure potentially in front end as code is in a readable format so would require back-end technology to handle secure elements.
  • Not sure how SEO and the Canvas tag will work.

Flash

Pros:
  • Highly adopted platform
  • Works in any browser with the Flash plug-in
  • Very advanced media control and manipulation
  • Can be compiled to secure data within it.
  • Comes into it's own for online games
  • Powerful scripting langage in ActionScript 3.0

Cons:
  • The biggest disadvantage for Flash is it requires a proprietary plug-in to work.
  • Limited in the way it reacts with the page as its generally confined to its box.
  • Not available on Apple mobile products.
  • SEO is either ineffective or impossible in full flash sites.
  • Printing can be an issue

To me it's quite evenly matched both have advantages in certain areas and weaknesses in others. As a developer the security of html 5 based application worries me slightly as I can't see how you would secure data passed between front end and back end code currently, but that may however just be because I have to yet fully understand the process.

Quite often I now find myself using jQuery and css more these days to do things I would previously done in Flash, fading banners for example. It's much simpler to produce a UL list of images and then use jQuery to hide and fade them in one at a time rather than writing a Flash app, feeding it the banner list as XML, writing AS code to process the XML and open the images etc. But in reverse there are large interactive applications I’ve built in Flash that would be far more complex, if at all possible, in HTML 5 technologies. I don't think Flash's day is done yet and I don't think HTML 5 will disappear by the wayside either so where do we put all our eggs as developers and designers?

Most likely there is probably going to be a medium ground for the moment where we use a hybrid of both technologies. I guess the other question is “Will I have a go at using it?”,  like most developers I have the kind of brain that craves new things to learn constantly and if it doesn't have anything to feed it new input (sudden image in my mind of Johnny 5 from Short circuit there) it gets bored quickly. Plus I like new shiny toys to play with and this definitely fits into that category, so yes I'll definately give it a go and keep an open mind.

Adobe Edge

Getting back to Adobe specific new tool Edge – this is the first step in the right direction, anyone who has attempted complex JavaScript animation will tell you it's hard. It's a case of tweak and watch tweak and watch, as there, until now, haven't be any proper visual animation tools for HTML5/JavaScript. At the first look it appears Edge has mainly been designed as an animation builder than a fully interactive application tool but as it is only first generation i'm sure it will expand. Still I'm excited to start playing with it and see what's possible. There is slight hint of worry in the purest portion of my brain that it will produce horribly bloated JavaScript, css and html mark up to create the animations (think of some of Dreamweavers auto generated code - yikes). Still it's worth a download later on when I'm less busy and have a play to see where it takes me. Hopefully I will pleasantly surprised and it will be the defacto tool of choice.

Posted: 01/08/2011 13:50:21 by d2x | with 0 comments
Filed under: Animation, Design, Edge, Flash, HTML5, JavaScript, Adobe