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Re: [PanoToolsNG] Re: Flash on iPad discussion...

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  • Roger Howard
    I ve got a lot of conflicting thoughts and experiences on these questions.... Flash on Mac OSX is definitely inferior to Flash on Windows (on the exact same
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 28, 2010
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      I've got a lot of conflicting thoughts and experiences on these
      questions....

      Flash on Mac OSX is definitely inferior to Flash on Windows (on the exact
      same hardware), both in stability and performance terms. Apple hates this
      (and has cited Flash as one of, if not THE, largest sources of crashes on
      OSX); Adobe points the finger at Apple, particularly on the performance
      issue, due to the fact that Apple doesn't expose hardware acceleration APIs
      needed to make Flash perform better. Regardless, Flash works, and in general
      works well. I have built a number of corporate application interfaces in
      Flex over the past few years that have been trouble-free, and I enjoyed the
      process and tools available. Flash provides a consistent, nearly identical
      runtime on Windows and OSX (and, I assume, Linux though I've never used
      Flash there), which is a lot more than can be said for the
      browser-as-application-platform concept. So in the near-term, practical
      considerations generally made me favor Flash as a consistent,
      well-supported, platform for complex UI's and interactivity. For mobile
      applications, however, if you're not thinking about how your
      service/content/whatever works on the iPhone (and, perhaps in a year, iPad)
      then you're missing out - whether you can deliver the best application via
      MobileSafari, or you need to build a CocoaTouch app, is the real question.

      Longer-term, I'm torn. On the one hand, I favor the open web - the past 18
      months I've begun doing a lot more pure browser-based application
      development, without Flash - primarily jQuery, with other frameworks thrown
      in as-needed. The JavaScript runtime has gotten spectacularly faster in the
      last few years thanks to WebKit and Firefox efforts, but the APIs are still
      weak and rough around the edges in many cases - but many times they are more
      than adequate, and have their real benefits. I'm also beginning to favor
      native code again for many apps - the iPhone has been an excellent example
      of what can be accomplished with a robust, device-native framework coupled
      with backend ("cloud") infrastructure serving up data over open protocol.

      The real difference between the two approaches - Flash (and native apps) vs.
      pure-browser apps - is really one of timing... Adobe (Flash) and Apple
      (CocoaToach) can rapidly evolve their APIs to suit new needs, and can more
      tightly integrate their runtimes with hardware capabilities (it's much
      easier to get at accelerometer data from CocoaTouch than from HTML!), they
      can rapidly revise and adapt to changing markets and user expectations. The
      browser crowd, being far more tied down by "standards" and by having to
      support multiple runtimes (IE, WebKit, Gecko, Opera), and by having to reach
      some kind of concensus between competing companies, can't keep up with the
      proprietary crowd - but they do offer some softer benefits by being less
      tied to one vendor's strategy (and there's a single word that sums up why
      everyone considers this a good thing: Microsoft).

      I'm all for pragmatism. Right now Flash is far and away the best approach
      for publishing panoramas... but that doesn't mean things can't and won't
      change. Keep your content and data in neutral formats, and be ready to
      embrace new runtimes/platforms... we're seeing a lot more innovation on the
      Web right now (and for the past 1-2 years) than we had in the previous
      decade of relative stagnation. And, above all else, don't get caught up in
      platform ideology unless you can really afford to put that first - we're not
      talking about human rights, poverty, or war, it's a question of reaching the
      audience you want while earning the best possible living.


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