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Tough Times for Ol’ Flash


Quell FlashStay in shape with these promising new options for Flash addicts

By Aron Lawrence

It’s been a tough decade for Adobe Flash animators.

When I was in high school 10 years ago, it was considered cutting edge and sophisticated to design an entire website in Flash. My personal portfolio was done in Flash, with every element on the page painstakingly animated. I thought it was really cool! Cool, yes, but not search-engine friendly, responsive to different browser sizes or compatible with mobile devices.

Flash was soon considered taboo and out-of-date, and there weren’t any other accessible options. Designers lost the ability to animate for the web entirely.

Thanks to new technology, that’s finally changed. Quell’s creative team recently tested three promising options for HTML5-compliant animation for your review.

Adobe Flash. The first, surprisingly, is Adobe Flash CC 2014.  For anyone who hasn’t opened Flash in a while, there’s now an “HTML Canvas’ option, which will allow you to work natively in HTML5. It still uses the same familiar tools unique to Flash. In past versions, Flash had an option to convert a SWF document to HTML and JavaScript, but there were a lot of compatibility issues. We’ve found that to no longer be a problem.

Adobe Edge. We next tried Adobe Edge CC 2014. This is a recent addition to the Adobe line-up, built from the ground up for HTML5-compatible animation. It’s a tougher transition for a former Flash designer, but it’s a great option. The only problem is that it outputs some really crazy code, which is nearly impossible to edit by hand.

CSS3. Speaking of editing by hand, we also tried animating with CSS3 transitions, complemented with jQuery. This is a fun and exciting new way to easily add some simple animation to a website without having to import from another program.

This option has a few issues: it has somewhat limited compatibility and is difficulty to visualize. Writing ‘.3s ease’ just isn’t the same as having a timeline to work with.

Despite a few hiccups and limitations, we’re glad to report that it’s finally safe for Flash animators to re-enter the design world. No longer is it in bad taste to Flash your creative team, they might even join.

For anyone still on the fence about transitioning away from Flash, be assured the software is finally ready. Give it a try. It might make you just as cool and sophisticated as you (thought you) were in 2004.