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Python - Web Display Technology

I am trying to figure out why so little web development in Python uses
Flash as a display technology. It seems most Python applications
choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display technology, yet Flash is a far more
powerful and elegant display technology. On the other hand, HTML/JS
seems clunky and antiquated. I am a gardener, and not a coder by
trade, but Flash seems to integrate just fine with Python. Anyways,
what are the technical reasons for this?

http://SamFeltus.com

May 18 '06 #1
49 3019
Am Donnerstag 18 Mai 2006 08:51 schrieb SamFeltus:
I am trying to figure out why so little web development in Python uses
Flash as a display technology. It seems most Python applications
choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display technology, yet Flash is a far more
powerful and elegant display technology. On the other hand, HTML/JS
seems clunky and antiquated. I am a gardener, and not a coder by
trade, but Flash seems to integrate just fine with Python. Anyways,
what are the technical reasons for this?


There no Python specific reason, but I refrain from using Flash because it
requires more than just the usual browser (which is available everywhere).
Using HTML/CSS/JS, I can make it so that the information I want to give to
the user displays right on pretty much every computer that's available out
there (think PS3), when I resort to techniques such as Flash or Java, I limit
the number of people I can reach.

Take me for example: I'm running Linux on AMD64, and there's no proper Flash
implementation yet which I can plug into my Firefox. So, I'm out on any Flash
page. If you want to exclude me from viewing the information you want to
present, fine, use Flash. If you don't, don't use it.

And: the web is a platform to offer _information_. Not to offer shiny
graphics/sound, which is the only benefit Flash has to offer.

To sum it up: Flash/Java considered evil here.

But that's just my 5 cents.

--- Heiko.
May 18 '06 #2
SamFeltus enlightened us with:
I am trying to figure out why so little web development in Python
uses Flash as a display technology.
There are a couple of reasons:

- Flash is bad for websites that are 100% done inside the Flash
movie. In such a case the back-button doesn't work anymore,
which is a major usability issue.

- In the above case, bookmarking a page doesn't work either.

- You need an extra plugin. Even though it's available for the
major OSses and hardware systems, it's not available for every
platform that can run a browser.

- The plugin is closed-source.

- The format that is the "source" for the SWF files is a closed,
proprietary format.

- Many user-interface widgets are generally badly implemented in
Flash. For instance, on many scrolling thingies, the scrollwheel
doesn't work. Or, the regular scrollwheel works, but for
scrolling horizontally the tilt wheel isn't supported. Another
example: sometimes it's only clear what a link points to when
you hover over it (revealing a text behind an image, for
instance), which is impossible on some devices (think handhelds
with a touch-screen).

- Search engines don't understand Flash movies. They are also
unable to link directly to relevant pages.

- Many more reasons...
It seems most Python applications choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display
technology, yet Flash is a far more powerful and elegant display
technology.
Flash is indeed more powerful, but not elegant at all.
On the other hand, HTML/JS seems clunky and antiquated.
It's getting a lot better. Try using XHTML 1.1 and only up to date,
platform/browser-independent JavaScript, it'll be much better.
I am a gardener, and not a coder by trade, but Flash seems to
integrate just fine with Python.
It's absolute crap when it comes to coding. ActionScript stands almost
perpendicular to Python when it comes to the Python way of thinking.
In ActionScript there are many ways of doing the same thing, none of
which are obvious. Another thing is that when you call a function that
doesn't exist, that call is silently ignored. The same holds for
getting the value of a non-existing variable. This makes debugging
very difficult.
http://SamFeltus.com


Your site looks quite "unstyled" without flash... And I don't have
Flash player 8...

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 18 '06 #3
Heiko Wundram enlightened us with:
And: the web is a platform to offer _information_. Not to offer
shiny graphics/sound [...]


Many would disagree...

Not me, but I know a lot of people that would.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 18 '06 #4
SamFeltus wrote:
I am trying to figure out why so little web development in Python uses
Flash as a display technology. It seems most Python applications
choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display technology, yet Flash is a far more
powerful and elegant display technology. On the other hand, HTML/JS
seems clunky and antiquated. I am a gardener, and not a coder by
trade, but Flash seems to integrate just fine with Python. Anyways,
what are the technical reasons for this?


- Flash is a proprietary technology requiring a proprietary plugin.
- There aint actually no working Flash plugin for Mozilla on a 64bit
processor - I just *can't* read Flash anims on my computer
- Flash is meant to display animations, not web content
- Flash content is not indexed by search engines
- Flash content cannot be manipulated by normal text/HTML/XML tools

(x)html/css/js is neither 'clunky' nor 'antiquated' (and FWIW, Flash is
based on ActionScript, which is mostly javascript...).

--
bruno desthuilliers
python -c "print '@'.join(['.'.join([w[::-1] for w in p.split('.')]) for
p in 'o****@xiludom.gro'.split('@')])"
May 18 '06 #5
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
It seems most Python applications choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display
technology,
These are open, freely-implementable, non-proprietary standards
controlled by standards bodies.
yet Flash is a far more powerful and elegant display technology.


This is a proprietary, closed format controlled by a single
corporation.

--
\ "He who allows oppression, shares the crime." -- Erasmus |
`\ Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin |
_o__) |
Ben Finney

May 18 '06 #6
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable. Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even
get off their rear ends and bring some decent cross platform graphics
capabilities to the web one decade? Perhaps even bring some 90's style
graphics to the browser one decade?

WC3 at Work - Beware Falling Luddites

May 18 '06 #7
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable. Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even
get off their rear ends and bring some decent cross platform graphics
capabilities to the web one decade? Perhaps even bring some 90's style
graphics to the browser one decade?

WC3 at Work - Beware Falling Luddites

May 18 '06 #8
SamFeltus wrote:
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable.
1. artistic != animated.
2. the web has mostly been designed for text-based content.
Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even
get off their rear ends and bring some decent cross platform graphics
capabilities to the web one decade? Perhaps even bring some 90's style
graphics to the browser one decade?


Ever heard of SVG ?

FWIW, your site is maybe very artistic, but it's content doesn't show up
much in google :
http://www.google.com/search?q=site:samfeltus.com

Compare with:
http://www.google.com/search?q=site:python.org
--
bruno desthuilliers
python -c "print '@'.join(['.'.join([w[::-1] for w in p.split('.')]) for
p in 'o****@xiludom.gro'.split('@')])"
May 18 '06 #9
SamFeltus enlightened us with:
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic
possabilities, all that HTML stuff is acceptable.
You don't need Flash to be artistic.
Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even get off their rear ends and
bring some decent cross platform graphics capabilities to the web
one decade?
Perhaps you can get Mickeysoft to get SVG support in their browser.
WC3 at Work - Beware Falling Luddites


MSIE doesn't even properly support PNG files (at least last time I
looked), so you should start blaming the people that actually don't
implement all the goodies that are already there.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 18 '06 #10
SamFeltus wrote:
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable.


Personally, I always heave a big sigh of resignation when I'm on a site
that uses Flash, because I just feel so locked in to that technology
when it's running. It makes me feel very out of control when navigating
the site.
May 18 '06 #11
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable. Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even
get off their rear ends and bring some decent cross platform graphics
capabilities to the web one decade? Perhaps even bring some 90's style
graphics to the browser one decade?


If I want to watch movies, I'll go out and buy a TV set. For web
sites, stick with HTML. I don't have (and refuse to install) the
Flash plugin in my browser and it's a pain in the neck that many
business sites are impossible to even navigate, because there's no way
past the Flash entry screen. The sensible ones have a "skip intro"
link, but a lot of them don't.
May 18 '06 #12
SamFeltus wrote:
I guess there isn't much to understand. If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable. Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even
get off their rear ends and bring some decent cross platform graphics
capabilities to the web one decade? Perhaps even bring some 90's style
graphics to the browser one decade?
Well, various browsers do support SVG to differing extents, and some of
the best graphical systems of the 1990s were highly oriented around
vector graphics. Not that SVG is necessarily ready or suitable for
every kind of application, but it's probably the best hope for a
display technology that fits in with the general Web conceptual model,
unlike the messing around having canvas elements just so one can
program applet-like stuff in JavaScript, ultimately leading up to the
day when someone writes a Web browser to run in a canvas element.

But as for Flash: even if one suppresses the legitimate sentiment that
Flash is a "dirty", proprietary technology originating from a mindset
that can best be described as "we don't get this Web thing - let's just
dump some multimedia gadget into a Web page", there's almost nothing as
annoying on the Web as going to a site laden with Flash adverts, having
the browser stop in its tracks (like Michael Schumacher turning the
corner to find the track drenched in treacle), in order to fire up the
dancing, audio-infused animations of meaninglessness, sometimes
bringing the browser itself down with a misfiring interaction through
an interface designed for Netscape Communicator.

I haven't set up Flash on my computer - not even the open source,
reverse-engineered implementations of the technology - despite the
increased obsession with various services that want you to run Flash to
show movie clips instead of just providing standard video format files,
for example. If I visit a site that just has an empty page, because the
"user experience" is just one big Flash applet (usually giving textual
information anyway), then as far as I'm concerned, they might as well
have a big sign saying "we don't get the Web".
WC3 at Work - Beware Falling Luddites


I'm not saying that the W3C have moved swiftly and decisively to roll
out wonderful new technologies on a timely basis - perhaps because the
corporate posturing that forms part of any such standardisation
initiatives (possibly involving the beloved creators of Flash, whoever
owns them now) makes it fairly difficult to do so - but you should at
least read up a bit more before coming out with such nonsense.

Paul

May 18 '06 #13
Am Donnerstag 18 Mai 2006 16:09 schrieb SamFeltus:
I guess there isn't much to understand.
Sure, there's a lot to understand here. What I guess you can't come to terms
with is the fact that the web (hell, the whole Internet) isn't designed for
Windows personal computers only, but for a whole range of computer systems
which need to interoperate. For that, you need standards. And: Flash isn't
one, and will never become one. Simply, because it's full of bad design
decisions, and because the company that has the "power" over Flash doesn't
want to make it an open standard. At least I don't see that happen any time
soon.
If you are satisfied with a
text based, static image web, that is light on artistic possabilities,
all that HTML stuff is acceptable.
Are you actually familiar with what you can do with JavaScript and HTML/CSS?
CSS is pretty powerful. Hell, it's very powerful, even. And: why do I need
animated graphics to convey _information_ to a user? I don't surf the web to
have the feeling of walking through an art gallery, but rather surf the web
to gather information I need for my daily life. And: HTML is designed for
that explicitly. CSS too (as in proper presentation of the content you're
trying to convey to the user). And even JavaScript is designed to deal with
_content_, not with pretty but meaningless graphical imagery.

I'm not saying that graphics can't convey meaning. But: the tools to deal with
images are sufficiently advanced in HTML and CSS that I can display any kind
of graphic imagery I need to convey the information to the user.
Perhaps the HTML/JS group will even
get off their rear ends and bring some decent cross platform graphics
capabilities to the web one decade? Perhaps even bring some 90's style
graphics to the browser one decade?


Same as before: do you actually know what the HTML group (well, the W3C) is
doing? They are a very active group, have designed an open format for vector
graphics (SVG, which has been referenced here before), and actually have the
guts to stand up to MickeySoft and their lackeys to keep the format open, and
to keep development of further extensions open.

This is technological advancement at work. Not some company like Macromedia
trying to design a proprietary, insufficiently engineered format, that's just
there so that people who think they need to burry the information they are
trying to convey to the user in graphic imagery so that noone will notice
that there's no actual content in what they are trying to tell you.

--- Heiko.
May 18 '06 #14
bruno at modulix <on***@xiludom.gro> wrote:
SamFeltus wrote:
I am trying to figure out why so little web development in Python uses
Flash as a display technology. It seems most Python applications
choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display technology, yet Flash is a far more
powerful and elegant display technology. On the other hand, HTML/JS
seems clunky and antiquated. I am a gardener, and not a coder by
trade, but Flash seems to integrate just fine with Python. Anyways,
what are the technical reasons for this?


- Flash is a proprietary technology requiring a proprietary plugin.


There seem to be at least two free implementations:

Package: libswfdec0.3
Description: SWF (Macromedia Flash) decoder library
A decoder library for Macromedia Flash animations, which are often
found on web sites. This is the run-time portion of the library.

Package: libflash0c2
Description: GPL Flash (SWF) Library - shared library
The GPL Flash library is a set of functions that can be used by
applications to play Flash movies. The core of the library is a
portable graphic renderer that can be used to add SWF support to an
application.
May 19 '06 #15
Florian Diesch enlightened us with:
- Flash is a proprietary technology requiring a proprietary plugin.


There seem to be at least two free implementations:


But the website of OP together with the websites of many other people
are incompatible with those, since they require the latest and
greatest Macromedia Flash plugin; that's version 8, while the latest
version for Linux is version 7. I doubt that the Free implementations
are up to par with a version that hasn't even been released by
Macromedia.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 19 '06 #16
None of you seem to know what you are talking about.

Flash should be used where one needs to use Flash, and HTML/JS/CSS
(+XML+XSLT) likewise.

Flash can play video. That is not possible w/ HTML/CSS/JS.

Flash also behaves consistently cross-browser, cross/platform -- and
most features cannot be disabled by the user. (compare that to a user
being able to turn off JS, or Java -- something often mandated in a
corporate environment.) It's either "all on" or "all off."

Flash has such a large install base, that it could be argued it is the
most widely available platform for delivering media-rich "applications"
over the web. (And code does not involve anywhere near the same level
of attention to kludges and workarounds that one would have to use to
replicate similar feature -- where possible -- in different browsers
and browser *versions.*) -- Not to sound like I work for
MM/Adobe, but, here's what the Flash Player can do at *run time*:

Flash can load and play external MP3 audio.

Flash can render text -- w/ custom-defined and packaged fonts. (not
possible in a browser!) It can apply a limited set of CSS to the
rendered text, BTW.

Flash can load/parse/serialize/send XML.

Flash can POST and GET a variety of data (true, it may access browser
controls to manage this.)

Flash can access you webcam, allowing you to create your own video
chat/IM app.

Flash can programatically-build vector shapes, gradients, and fills.

Flash can load and render jpegs, gifs(v8), and pngs(v8) -- and in
version 8, composite all that w/ vector graphics (+video?) -- *and,*
sample the resulting display pixel by pixel. (passing that data back
to a server would allow dynamic creation of a jpeg or gif.)

Flash 8 has a new "file upload" ability that goes beyond what a browser
is capable of: You can *multi-select* files, filter files by type or
size, and have programatic access to the state of the upload. It
accesses an Operating System GUI control to do this -- and I have
tested that these features work in MSIE, Moz FF, and Safari on OSX. ***

Flash can #animate# stuff!!!

Flash is like a 2 MB download that works in almost *every* browser out
there. ...it's pretty phenomenal that all those features could have
been crammed into it. (like: a built-in interpreter for a
late-version-EcmaScript-compliant scripting language -- that, in many
ways, is far more capable than what is available w/ JavaScript in most
browsers!)

*** This feature can be used for a web-based CMS! It would blow-away
anything (non-Java) now available for managing and uploading assets.
- Show quoted text -

May 21 '06 #17
fo*****@gmail.com writes:
Flash is like a 2 MB download that works in almost *every* browser
out there.


Except all the browsers on platforms Macromedia have not chosen to
support. And no-one else can implement it on those platforms, except
by guessing about the closed implementation specification that
Macromedia have an interest in keeping a secret.

Whereas HTML, CSS and any other technologies standardised by standards
bodies have open specifications and multiple independent compatible
implementations, and anyone who finds their platform under-supported
can follow the open specifications and get a full working
implementation.

--
\ "From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I |
`\ was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it." -- |
_o__) Groucho Marx |
Ben Finney

May 21 '06 #18
I am in agreement that open standards are better. I also wish the open
standards bodies would work more creatively, to bring us the most
advanced standards, and not some echo of yesterdays technology. But,
too me, saying No Flash is saying No Source if not Open Source. But,
for me, it is better Closed Source over No Source.

Here is a visual argument, I would love to see a list of AJAX and SVG
sites that display excellent graphics.
http://bacardimojito.com/main.swf
http://tokyoplastic.com/LF.swf
http://coolbreathpower.com/
http://www.peterjoel.com/flash8previ...ndleFlame.html
http://shiroganeya.co.jp/main_en.html
http://samfeltus.com/swf/contact_globes.swf
http://justforthefofit.com/
http://mochiland.com/
http://obleek.com/iraq/index.html
http://www.flashbum.com/v4/
http://spaceinvaders.de/ (example of antiquated graphics simply handled
by Flash)

It is my opinion, certainly not fact, that Python is an extraordinary
language, that tends to be very ordinary when it comes to web display
technology, and that it shouldn't be this way.
http://samfeltus.com/swf/stamplicker.swf

May 21 '06 #19
fo*****@gmail.com enlightened us with:
None of you seem to know what you are talking about.
That's not a way to make friends. I very well know what I'm talking
about. None of the issues I've raised are negated by what you say, so
every single one still stands.
Flash also behaves consistently cross-browser, cross/platform
That's where you are wrong. Flash on Mac/MSIE behaves differently than
other platform/browser combinations.

There are also many browsers and platforms that can't use Flash. Even
though Flash is available for Linux, it isn't available for my Zaurus,
for instance.
-- and most features cannot be disabled by the user. (compare that
to a user being able to turn off JS, or Java -- something often
mandated in a corporate environment.) It's either "all on" or "all
off."
And in many corporate environments, it's off.
Flash has such a large install base, that it could be argued it is
the most widely available platform for delivering media-rich
"applications" over the web.
True, but 99.9% of all Flash usage is more an annoyance than truely
useful and "rich".
(And code does not involve anywhere near the same level of attention
to kludges and workarounds that one would have to use to replicate
similar feature -- where possible -- in different browsers and
browser *versions.*) --
ActionScript is a horrible klidge it itself. Don't try to portrait it
as something else.
Not to sound like I work for MM/Adobe, but, here's what the Flash
Player can do at *run time*:
When should it do that if not at run time? At compile time?
Flash can render text -- w/ custom-defined and packaged fonts. (not
possible in a browser!) It can apply a limited set of CSS to the
rendered text, BTW.
But when using my scrollwheel to scroll the page it is used on, my
browser stops scrolling when the mouse is over such a flash file. Very
annoying!
Flash can load/parse/serialize/send XML.
So can JavaScript.
Flash can POST and GET a variety of data (true, it may access
browser controls to manage this.)
So can HTML.
Flash can access you webcam, allowing you to create your own video
chat/IM app.
So can NetMeeting and many others.
Flash can load and render jpegs, gifs(v8), and pngs(v8) -- and in
version 8, composite all that w/ vector graphics (+video?) -- *and,*
sample the resulting display pixel by pixel. (passing that data
back to a server would allow dynamic creation of a jpeg or gif.)
But version 8 is not even available for Linux.
Flash 8 has a new "file upload" ability that goes beyond what a
browser is capable of: You can *multi-select* files, filter files
by type or size, and have programatic access to the state of the
upload. It accesses an Operating System GUI control to do this --
and I have tested that these features work in MSIE, Moz FF, and
Safari on OSX. ***
But version 8 is not even available for Linux.
Flash can #animate# stuff!!!
So can GIF and MNG.
Flash is like a 2 MB download that works in almost *every* browser
out there.
Not on Linux/x86, nor Liinux/ARM, nor Linux/MIPS, ....
(like: a built-in interpreter for a
late-version-EcmaScript-compliant scripting language -- that, in
many ways, is far more capable than what is available w/ JavaScript
in most browsers!)
But it is horrible to work with. I can know, I've had to develop quite
a few advanced Flash websites for my work. My work even went to the
high folks at Disney. I don't need to brag, but apparently I do need
to show you I *do* know what I'm talking about.
*** This feature can be used for a web-based CMS! It would
blow-away anything (non-Java) now available for managing and
uploading assets.


LOL I can write an application that runs circles around Flash. And it
would have the advantage it isn't web-based either - yes, I see that
as an advantage. Web-based is overrated.

I ask of you to take a look at the serious issues many people have
with Flash. It's not just geeks and nerds that are annoyed by
non-functioning scrollwheels, badly designed GUIs, and badly
searchable websites. People that are less familiar with the web are
even more annoyed, but are less capable of expressing that in a
structured and well-defined way, because they simply lack the jargon.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 21 '06 #20
SamFeltus schreef:
Here is a visual argument, I would love to see a list of AJAX and SVG
sites that display excellent graphics.
http://bacardimojito.com/main.swf
http://tokyoplastic.com/LF.swf
http://coolbreathpower.com/
http://www.peterjoel.com/flash8previ...ndleFlame.html
http://shiroganeya.co.jp/main_en.html
http://samfeltus.com/swf/contact_globes.swf
http://justforthefofit.com/
http://mochiland.com/
http://obleek.com/iraq/index.html
http://www.flashbum.com/v4/
http://spaceinvaders.de/ (example of antiquated graphics simply handled
by Flash)


In my humble opinion, those sites are an argument _against_ the use of
Flash on websites. They may look pretty (I don't think they do, but I
can imagine there are people out there who like the looks of those
sites), but they fail as websites: long load times and especially such
horrible navigation is a big no-no.

I guess there is a place for Flash, but it's certainly not appropriate
as an alternative for websites. I admit that they _can_ be useful as
objects on a pages, for example the games on the last site you mention.
But please don't use Flash to design the website itself.

--
If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood
on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

Roel Schroeven
May 21 '06 #21
fo*****@gmail.com wrote:
Flash also behaves consistently cross-browser, cross/platform -- and
features cannot be disabled by the user. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
And that's a good thing? Maybe for Macromedia, not for us. This smells
like astroturf.

Flash can load and play external MP3 audio.
Flash can render text...
Flash can load/parse/serialize/send XML.
Flash can access you webcam, allowing you to create your own video
chat/IM app.
Flash can programatically-build vector shapes, gradients, and fills.
It dices! It splices! Flash can heat your coffee, walk your dog, and
change your baby! It's the stupendous, miraculous, fantabulous app you
can't live without!

Flash can #animate# stuff!!!

Flash is like a 2 MB download that works in almost *every* browser out
there. ...it's pretty phenomenal that all those features could have
been crammed into it. (like: a built-in interpreter for a
late-version-EcmaScript-compliant scripting language -- that, in many
ways, is far more capable than what is available w/ JavaScript in most
browsers!)

*** This feature can be used for a web-based CMS! It would blow-away
anything (non-Java) now available for managing and uploading assets.
- Show quoted text -


Ugh, definitely astroturf.

--
Edward Elliott
UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
complangpython at eddeye dot net
May 21 '06 #22
Roel Schroeven wrote:
SamFeltus schreef:
Here is a visual argument, I would love to see a list of AJAX and SVG
sites that display excellent graphics.
[snip]
In my humble opinion, those sites are an argument _against_ the use of
Flash on websites. They may look pretty (I don't think they do, but I
can imagine there are people out there who like the looks of those
sites), but they fail as websites: long load times and especially such
horrible navigation is a big no-no.


A quote regarding web usability comes to mind:

"If you're website starts winning design awards, be afraid. Be very
afraid."

Unfortunately I can't locate proper attribution. It may have been Jakob
Nielsen.

--
Edward Elliott
UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
complangpython at eddeye dot net
May 21 '06 #23
Hmmm... It is interesting how something is terrible to one person, and
great to another, and vice versa.

I keep trying to understand why people like HTML/JS, I don't think I am
gonna understand. I guess for better or worse, Flash is a very
different mindset and approach to the web.

Oh well, I love the simplicity of Python on the server. I just won't
hold my breath waiting for anything cool and Flash-content related to
arise in the Python world. :)

May 21 '06 #24
IMHO, there's nothing more annoying that a website showing me a
progression bar, indicating how much time it will get to provide the
information I'm looking for...
And when the progression bar ends, I have to wait until the flashy
graphics and stupid presentation shows me the "go to html site"...

I use the web for working. I work in international trade and I'm all
the time looking for new products, searching for information, technical
specifications, etc, etc...
Flash, when using sparingly, could give an elegant touch to a web site.
But when abussed, it is very annoying. It makes me waist my time and my
patience....

And finding a website that uses Flash apropiately, is very unusual.
Most of the times, they are loaded with heavy animations (most of them
boring).
The more I see it, the more I like the old fashioned html style...

And now with "Vista", "Avalon", and all those new buzzwords coming
soon, I don't know where we are going...all I know is that we will need
1 GB of ram just to keep on seeing the same stupid animations that get
on my way when I'm working...

May 21 '06 #25
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
I keep trying to understand why people like HTML/JS, I don't think I
am gonna understand.
It's fairly simple: HTML, CSS and JavaScript have all been
standardised independent of any single corporation, and are freely
implementable, resulting in competing free software
implementations. We can choose or improve upon the implementation we
like, or make our own, and share the result with others.
I guess for better or worse, Flash is a very different mindset and
approach to the web.


One that shares none of the above qualities.

--
\ "If you ever teach a yodeling class, probably the hardest thing |
`\ is to keep the students from just trying to yodel right off. |
_o__) You see, we build to that." -- Jack Handey |
Ben Finney

May 21 '06 #26
As a final thought, seperate from the whole open source/search issue,
which has obvious merit, it does seem Flash has many excellent ideas as
a language/tool for creating/expressing non written ideas that are
lacking in the HTML world.

May 21 '06 #27
"I guess for better or worse, Flash is a very different mindset and
approach to the web."

I do find it interesting that Flash folks readily will acknowledge that
Flash has shortcomings, yet anti-Flash folks seem to have great
difficulty acknowledging Flash's positive features over HTML. Such
situations always make me suspicious Ludditism is at work.

May 22 '06 #28
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
I do find it interesting that Flash folks readily will acknowledge that
Flash has shortcomings, yet anti-Flash folks seem to have great
difficulty acknowledging Flash's positive features over HTML. Such
situations always make me suspicious Ludditism is at work.


Nobody doubts that Flash has positive features. The question is
whether the positives are worth the negatives. For many of us, the
answer is no.
May 22 '06 #29
SamFeltus enlightened us with:
I do find it interesting that Flash folks readily will acknowledge
that Flash has shortcomings yet anti-Flash folks seem to have great
difficulty acknowledging Flash's positive features over HTML.
I must say I've never seen a pro-Flash person acknowledging that 99.9%
of the Flash usage is done badly.

Google Video is a nice example of more or less good Flash usage,
although it's a shame they say "Download for Windows/Mac" instead of
"Download as AVI" - but that's got nothing to do with Flash ;-)
Such situations always make me suspicious Ludditism is at work.


If you suspect that, you didn't understand a single thing about the
usability drawbacks I told you about. Not being able to use a
scrollwheel, loss of the backbutton-functionality, and fonts that
don't scale along with the browser's font, are all too common practice
with Flash websites.

I love new technology, as long as it's good technology. I've had my
mouse with tiltwheel for a short time, and I'm completely hooked to
the new functionality.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 22 '06 #30
I don't agree with 99.9%, but the majority of Flash sites are done
poorly. Mine is certainly sub-optimal, :)

1. Loss of back button
Isn't this really a myth? A page with a time dimension, be it Flash,
HTML/JS or whatever, breaks the back button. A page without a time
dimension doesn't break the back button. Should we now and forever
more give up the time dimension to avoid breaking the back button.
Perhaps for non-text sites, the back button is an anachronism?

Fonts are problematic in Flash, this is a weakness of Flash. Scaling
Fonts is even more problematic, but, fonts are an issue in any precise
design on the web.

I wouldn't argue Flash is better for text sites at the moment, due to
Search Engine shortcomings.

As for the blind issue,that makes no sense to me. Is the suggestion
that we should give up using images in web sites since some people
can't see them. Might as well throw out the use of the img tag while
we are at it?

May 22 '06 #31
Perhaps the my question should be this, and don't get me wrong, I
REALLY like Python.

Perhaps Python is not a great language to focus on for someone with a
strong interest in Flash and little interest in HTML?

May 22 '06 #32
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
As for the blind issue,that makes no sense to me. Is the suggestion
that we should give up using images in web sites since some people
can't see them. Might as well throw out the use of the img tag while
we are at it?


Img tags should always have alt text describing the image, for those
unable or unwilling to view the image ("unwilling" might be because of
the download time). That bypasses the need to view the image. A heck
of a lot of flash sites have no way to bypass the flash.

Perhaps Python is not a great language to focus on for someone
with a strong interest in Flash and little interest in HTML?

Shrug, I don't see much relation, except that Python programmers tend
to be tasteful and not care about Flash much. Maybe if you stick
around here, you'll see the light ;-).
May 22 '06 #33

Sybren Stuvel wrote:
Heiko Wundram enlightened us with:
And: the web is a platform to offer _information_. Not to offer
shiny graphics/sound [...]


Many would disagree...

Not me, but I know a lot of people that would.


I would. Most people would, once they realize that shiny/flashy is
information too.

High "production values" affect value-determining centers of the brain,
bypassing the linguistic and logical centers. They make you understand
that the thing you're being presented is "worth something".

Most of the time, it's only worth a fat cash profit to the person doing
the presenting, who is giving you a piece of junk at an inflated price.
But your brain doesn't care. It's got a shortcut to your wallet, and
the information on the screen is accessing that.

--Blair

May 22 '06 #34

SamFeltus wrote:
Here is a visual argument,
http://samfeltus.com/swf/contact_globes.swf


Here's a text-based argument.

If I search Golge for "gardener, Athens, GA" then Google's spiders
won't have recorded your contact page. So I don't find you as a local
gardener, so I don't hire you for my mansion in Athens.

Your contact page is arguably pretty, but pretty just isn't selling for
that particular sort of page.

May 22 '06 #35
SamFeltus wrote:
1. Loss of back button
Isn't this really a myth? A page with a time dimension, be it Flash,
HTML/JS or whatever, breaks the back button. A page without a time
dimension doesn't break the back button. Should we now and forever
more give up the time dimension to avoid breaking the back button.
Perhaps for non-text sites, the back button is an anachronism?


A time-based push model of content delivery, that would be television. One
of the web's defining features is it lets you retrieve information in your
own order at your own pace. Pages with an unalterable 'time dimension' are
nothing more than interactive tv at best.

Flash is a fine technology, just not a good one for the web. It's
appropriate for games and video clips embedded in a page and that's about
it. Other content has no business being in Flash. Usability problems
aren't just an artifact of the implementation, they're part of Flash's
design.

--
Edward Elliott
UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
complangpython at eddeye dot net
May 22 '06 #36
This has all been very helpful. I've been struggling for awhile on
which direction to go with computer programming. I realize the problem
with HTML and the P language family is that although it makes sense to
me, it doesn't really resonate with my perspective. Flash definitely
does. I finally realize what it is that bothers me about
HTML/JS/Python/Perl/PHP...

I am uncomfortable with the seperating of the code from the visual/time
element, as well as the lack of emphasis on the visual/time element.

Perhaps that is related to years of being a gardener?

Anyways, this question no longer vexates me. HTML is for one
ecosystem, Flash is for another. There is room for both.

Next question... :)

I am not a big Perl/PHP fan, I find Python with SimpleJSON, SQLObject
and the included Python batteries pretty well does all I want to do
server side. Is it correct to think that is gonna be a solid, simple
solution for a Flash coder to use server side? Or, is there something
better and easier? (In advance, I find XML irritating compared to
JSON)

May 22 '06 #37
SamFeltus enlightened us with:
1. Loss of back button
Isn't this really a myth?
No, it isn't a myth. Pressing the back button is the action second
most performed in a browser, clicking a link being the first. People
want to go back from where they came.
A page with a time dimension, be it Flash, HTML/JS or whatever,
breaks the back button.
No it doesn't. If something is interactive and lets the user go
somewhere by performing an action, they expect to be able to go back
using the back button.

People want to be in control over their computer, their time, and
their attention. If they aren't, they go away.
Fonts are problematic in Flash, this is a weakness of Flash.
Scaling Fonts is even more problematic, but, fonts are an issue in
any precise design on the web.
Websites shouldn't be designed to be pixel-perfect. They should be
designed to scale and stretch, and to accommodate a user's wishes. If
you want something exactly like you envision it, go direct a movie.
I wouldn't argue Flash is better for text sites at the moment, due
to Search Engine shortcomings.
And due to being incompatible with the browser's own search
functionality.
As for the blind issue,that makes no sense to me. Is the suggestion
that we should give up using images in web sites since some people
can't see them. Might as well throw out the use of the img tag
while we are at it?


Go and read some usability studies, and get acquainted with the HTML
standards, before commenting on them. The 'alt' attribute is
mandatory, and should describe the image for those who can only
interpret text.

Sybren
--
The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
Frank Zappa
May 22 '06 #38
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
I am uncomfortable with the seperating of the code from the visual/time
element, as well as the lack of emphasis on the visual/time element.
Maybe you should buy a camcorder and make movies, instead of doing web
sites.
I am not a big Perl/PHP fan, I find Python with SimpleJSON, SQLObject
and the included Python batteries pretty well does all I want to do
server side. Is it correct to think that is gonna be a solid, simple
solution for a Flash coder to use server side? Or, is there something
better and easier? (In advance, I find XML irritating compared to
JSON)


Well, you won't find many Perl/PHP fans here, though PHP is (for now)
probably simpler than Python to get started and do basic dynamic Web
sites with. Python beats PHP once the backend logic gets complex
enough that PHP's language deficiencies outweigh its ease of
installation. I don't know if that applies to what you're doing.
May 22 '06 #39
Nah, the world needs more Flashy WebSites, :) But I do renounce my
uglier criticisms of HTML. I realize now it is just a completely
different mindset, not a bad technology.

Python is far easier than PHP IMO. Especially if there is minimal
HTML, I mostly just want to get at a database and manipulate symbols.
I know Python pretty well, PHP (or Ruby) would take some study.

May 22 '06 #40
Sybren Stuvel schreef:
SamFeltus enlightened us with:
1. Loss of back button
Isn't this really a myth?


No, it isn't a myth. Pressing the back button is the action second
most performed in a browser, clicking a link being the first. People
want to go back from where they came.


I don't even use the back button very much: if there's any chance that
I'm going to want to return to the current page, I open new links in new
tabs. That way I can be sure that I can return to the page exactly as it
is now. With Flash, that approach fails too. One more minus for Flash on
the web.

--
If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood
on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

Roel Schroeven
May 22 '06 #41
Don't worry, you won't have to look if it makes you feel dirty...

:)

May 22 '06 #42
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
I do find it interesting that Flash folks readily will acknowledge
that Flash has shortcomings, yet anti-Flash folks seem to have great
difficulty acknowledging Flash's positive features over HTML. Such
situations always make me suspicious Ludditism is at work.


I find it tiresome that Flash apologists believe technical advantages
can overcome a need for open, community-driven, vendor-independent
standards.

--
\ "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting |
`\ them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good |
_o__) reason." -- Jack Handey |
Ben Finney

May 22 '06 #43
"""I find it tiresome that Flash apologists believe technical
advantages
can overcome a need for open, community-driven, vendor-independent
standards. """

:)

May 22 '06 #44
Ben Finney wrote:
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:

I keep trying to understand why people like HTML/JS, I don't think I
am gonna understand.

It's fairly simple: HTML, CSS and JavaScript have all been
standardised independent of any single corporation, and are freely
implementable, resulting in competing free software
implementations. We can choose or improve upon the implementation we
like, or make our own, and share the result with others.


Also: HTML is an easy to parse text format. I can programatically grab
infos from HTML pages. Search engines can do it to.
I guess for better or worse, Flash is a very different mindset and
approach to the web.


One that shares none of the above qualities.

indeed.

--
bruno desthuilliers
python -c "print '@'.join(['.'.join([w[::-1] for w in p.split('.')]) for
p in 'o****@xiludom.gro'.split('@')])"
May 23 '06 #45
""""I would. Most people would, once they realize that shiny/flashy is

information too.
High "production values" affect value-determining centers of the brain,

bypassing the linguistic and logical centers. They make you understand

that the thing you're being presented is "worth something".

Most of the time, it's only worth a fat cash profit to the person doing

the presenting, who is giving you a piece of junk at an inflated price.

But your brain doesn't care. It's got a shortcut to your wallet, and
the information on the screen is accessing that.

--Blair """"

This was the most useful comment for me. I never fully considered that
Flash was aiming at a different part of the brain. HTML is resonant
with the mindset of Python, Flash is not. Perceptual match vs
perceptual mismatch.

May 23 '06 #46
"SamFeltus" <sa*@nuevageorgia.com> writes:
But your brain doesn't care. It's got a shortcut to your wallet, and
the information on the screen is accessing that.
This was the most useful comment for me. I never fully considered that
Flash was aiming at a different part of the brain. HTML is resonant
with the mindset of Python, Flash is not. Perceptual match vs
perceptual mismatch.


I'm reminded of a passage in "Cryptonomicon", about a guy trying to
gather info about how to organize a scuba dive to investigate a
150-meter-deep shipwreck. He gets hold of a bunch of diving books and
finds that the tables in them only go down to 1/3rd of that depth and
are useless:

Randy closes up all of the books and looks at them peevishly for a
while. They are all nice new books with color photographs on the
covers. He picked them off the shelf because (getting
introspective here) he is a computer guy, and in the computer
world any book printed more than two months ago is a campy
nostalgia item. Investigating a little more, he finds that all
three of these shiny new books have been personally autographed by
the authors, with long personal inscriptions: two addressed to
Doug, and one to Amy. The one to Amy has obviously been written by
a man who is desperately in love with her. Reading it is like
moisturizing with Tabasco.

He concludes that these are all consumer-grade diving books
written for rum-drenched tourists, and furthermore that the
publishers probably had teams of lawyers go over them one word at
a time to make sure there would not be liability trouble. That the
contents of these books, therefore, probably represent about one
percent of everything that the authors actually know about diving,
but that the lawyers have made sure that the authors don't even
-mention- that.

Randy does a sorting procedure on the diving books now: he ignores
anything that has color photographs, or that appears to have been
published within the last twenty years, or that has any quotes on
the back cover containing the words "stunning", "superb",
"user-friendly",or, worst of all, "easy-to-understand". He looks
for old, thick books with worn-out bindings and block-lettered
titles like DIVE MANUAL. Anything with angry marginal notes
written by Doug Shaftoe gets extra points.

The Python mindset?
May 23 '06 #47

di*****@codesmiths.com wrote:
SamFeltus wrote:
Here is a visual argument,
http://samfeltus.com/swf/contact_globes.swf


Here's a text-based argument.

If I search Golge for "gardener, Athens, GA" then Google's spiders
won't have recorded your contact page. So I don't find you as a local
gardener, so I don't hire you for my mansion in Athens.

Your contact page is arguably pretty, but pretty just isn't selling for
that particular sort of page.


That's why Flash often comes with a heapin' helpin' o' metadata.

--Blair

May 23 '06 #48
Edward Elliott wrote:
fo*****@gmail.com wrote:

Flash also behaves consistently cross-browser, cross/platform -- and
features cannot be disabled by the user.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
And that's a good thing? Maybe for Macromedia, not for us. This smells
like astroturf.
Flash can load and play external MP3 audio.
Flash can render text...
Flash can load/parse/serialize/send XML.
Flash can access you webcam, allowing you to create your own video
chat/IM app.
Flash can programatically-build vector shapes, gradients, and fills.

It dices! It splices! Flash can heat your coffee, walk your dog, and
change your baby! It's the stupendous, miraculous, fantabulous app you
can't live without!
Flash can #animate# stuff!!!

Flash is like a 2 MB download that works in almost *every* browser out
there. ...it's pretty phenomenal that all those features could have
been crammed into it. (like: a built-in interpreter for a
late-version-EcmaScript-compliant scripting language -- that, in many
ways, is far more capable than what is available w/ JavaScript in most
browsers!)

*** This feature can be used for a web-based CMS! It would blow-away
anything (non-Java) now available for managing and uploading assets.
- Show quoted text -

Ugh, definitely astroturf.

The most telling thing of all is that most of the web sites with a Flash
intro find it necessary to provide a "bypass intro" button. People
quickly tire of this stuff. It's just, well, flashy :-)

Unfortunately it's difficult to get someone who's in love with a
proprietary technology to admit that open standards are preferable.

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC/Ltd http://www.holdenweb.com
Love me, love my blog http://holdenweb.blogspot.com
Recent Ramblings http://del.icio.us/steve.holden

May 27 '06 #49
We don't need any proprietary junk to make a nice-look website:
http://www.csszengarden.com

You can navigate in this site with any kind of browser, even graphical
or text-based, like lynx.
May 27 '06 #50

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