A Flash in the Pan?

Adobe Flash Professional is one of my favourite software programs.  I find it incredibly versatile as it can create video, interactive resources, vector art, web applications, websites, etc.  Personally I find its biggest limitation is price.  Adobe Flash Professional is expensive and is updated every couple of years (CS5 has been released this year).  Flash Professional CS3 (released 2007) introduced the launch of ActionScript 3 (Flash’s specific programming language) which allows for greater flexibility and scope.  Unfortunately for me, due to the price of Flash, I’m still running Flash Professional CS2 (released 2005).

In order to view a Flash video, website, resource or application you need to download and install the Adobe Flash Player, which can be downloaded for free, and will plug into your browser. In fact Adobe Flash Player is installed on 99% of Internet-enabled desktops and with its latest release of Flash Player 10.1 it is aiming to provide browsing across all devices e.g. mobile phones, tablet-based hardware, desktops etc.

However one thorn in Flash’s side might be Apple. Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) recently wrote this piece about Apple and Adobe’s history:

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

What it basically boils down to is that you won’t be viewing anything Flash-based on an iPhone, iTouch or iPad. There appears to be an equal amount of people on either side of the fence when it comes to this argument and one question has been asked repeatedly: is this the end for Flash?

I hope not. For me Flash provides smaller file sizes, a range of formats, frame by frame animation, as well as interacting with other programming languages such as HTML, CSS and XML and it can be seen by a wide audience. For e-learning Flash can provide interaction, it can provide video that can be seen by the majority of users, it can be embedded into a VLE or a browser and while it does require technical knowledge to be used effectively there are commercial and open source authoring tools which allow for easier editing of Flash.

If Flash can adapt and evolve for mobile devices and with the Open Screen Project this looks likely, then I think, and hope, the only flash in the pan is the Adobe and Apple battle.

Emma Davies
Learning Technologist

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