It Done Broke.

Smokescreen Javascript Flash Player

I’m intrigued by this.  On my system, the Flash player plugin is 31MB of top-quality Adobe-compiled code.  How can it be that Smokescreen, a Javascript implementation of a Flash player that weighs in at 175.1kB (minified) can fully replicate the functionality of the Adobe player?  Either (a) it doesn’t (perhaps a work-in-progress, but still…), or (b) Adobe’s plugin is a steaming pile?

More Adobe Hilarity

Choice quotes from Adobe’s CEO in this article:

“Considering the amount of content on the Web that uses Flash — not allowing your consumers to access that content isn’t showing off the Web in all its glory.”


“Apple’s business model is more trying to maintain a proprietary lock.”


“the 10.1 version will do what Jobs wants it to do.”

I can hear the canned laugh-track as I read it.

Adobe: Too Little Too Late?

I’m not particularly fond of Steve Jobs’ accusations that Adobe devs are lazy.  It sounds a bit peevish and personal and just because he thinks he’s Superman doesn’t mean he gets to be a dick.  I did like him calling BS on Google, though, there are a lot of things that Apple’s done under his command I think were questionable (“evil” even).

I’m also not saying that Adobe is a shining star when it comes to some of the choices they’ve made but overall, I’d say they’ve done a pretty good job at holding up the bar in the design world (even if they’re responsible for making drop-shadowed text ubiquitous).

It takes a lot of guts for Emmy Huang, the Project Manager for Flash Player, to write this post.  It displays a humanity, although I’m sure Jobs wasn’t implying they’re lazy robots.  It also highlights problems in their process.  But I do wonder about this:

“I want to reiterate that it is our policy that crashes are serious “A” priority bugs, and it is a tenet of the Flash Player team that ActionScript developers should never be able to crash Flash Player. If a crash occurs, it is by definition a bug, and one that Adobe takes very seriously. When they happen, it can be the result of something going on purely within Flash Player, something in the browser, or even at the OS level. Depending on where an issue occurs we work to resolve the crash internally or with our partners.”

She then goes on to outline the timeline of how the wheels fell off the wagon.

Some points:

  • crashing bugs should be fixed and released immediately, i.e. the day they fixed it.  Telling me that it was fixed 3 months ago and we’re only going to see it with the next release which is…when?…only makes me froth.
  • it’s not as if Flash 10 is the first version where the player has had serious issues and caused crashing.  It’s almost a defining characteristic of the platform since version 1.

No amount of denials from upper management is going to make the existence of problems untrue and no amount of apologies from the developer level is going to change the fact that if it’s not in our hands, it’s not fixed.

Adobe needs to fix their process, like a decade ago.  I know it’s complicated, and I know the software’s a crazy rat’s nest.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Flash will ever completely go away.  Flash as a video delivery vehicle always kind of bother me as over-engineered and overkill.  But as a platform for other things I think it will still have a place, albeit with a much lesser presence.  Nonetheless, Adobe, I don’t think it had to be this way.

Adobe Grips

I found this Adobe Gripes Tumblr blog via Create Digital Motion.  It’s your basic public rant forum about expensive software that’s failing; filled with rage and expletives.  I can’t decide if it’s hilarious or depressing.

Dreamweaver And Drupal Are Not In Competition

A little discussion over at Slashdot about this daft blog posting which claims that Dreamweaver is dying.  While the claims of the changing nature of the web (2.0, AJAX, RSS) are valid, they don’t negate the usefulness of a tool like Dreamweaver.

I haven’t used Dreamweaver in years which is testament to absolutely nothing.  But the claim that a CMS like Drupal or CMS-cum-blogware, WordPress, are killing Dreamweaver ignores the fact that if you’re not a coder or simply want to hack a page together quickly Dreamweaver is quite a decent WYSIWYG tool.  It’s clunky at times but it has made improvements over the years.  Will it be able to keep up to the web?  Well…does it have to in order to be useful?  In fact, both Drupal and WordPress have been designed to allow their front ends to be templated/skinned/themed – whatever you want to call it – and the basis of that is initially going to be HTML & CSS.  If you’re a bona fide designer, layout and typography are going to be on top of your list.  Even if you’re not a designer, you’ll just want to see how things will look.  I’m not saying Dreamweaver is the perfect or only tool for this, but it’s one of them.

In my experience, designers will typically fire up Photoshop or Illustrator and start their mock-ups in the graphics program they’re most comfortable with instead of Dreamweaver.  However, the integration that Adobe has been building in over the years with Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and (shudder) Flash has been getting tighter and more and more useful.  You can do a good 80% of a page in Photoshop and export it in slices to HTML in a format that Dreamweaver can handily import and start adding bells & whistles if you want (or if you prefer, just clean up code and add a bit of CSS).  Of course, one hilarious commenter at Slashdot jokingly (or not) says that Gimp, Vim and Firebug are a great combo and then, “How do Dreamweaver compare to Vim? Is it advanced enough to not fool users to use css styled text for strong expressions?”

Well, at least one person on Slashdot gets it:

“…Dreamweaver is a website design tool, Drupal is a website management tool. A smart person would use both…”

Twitter: crankietech

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