Flash -vs- Applets

Lonnie Olson fungus at aros.net
Wed Nov 15 14:36:44 MST 2006

Bryan Sant wrote:
> Now that Java is going GPL, does that change your opion about applets
> as an end user?  Would you prefer to see a rich web interface in
> OpenLaszlo (Flash-based) or a Java Applet? How about an applet or
> applets in a page instead of AJAX?

The term "rich web interface" scares me.

Do not use Flash, Java, or required JS for ordinary web pages,
navigation, or anything that you want an extremely wide audience to see/use.

AJAX, Flash, and Java were designed for web applets.  Examples include
gmail, Home Star Runner, web based chat, etc.  They should not be used
for non application like uses as it creates a huge barrier to entry.
Think accessibility, screen readers, other devices, and general global
usage.  HTML and CSS have strengths in these areas.  Use them appropriately.

That being considered, you want to create a specialized application that
fits these technologies.  Java going GPL should change your opinion
about applets.  Not by a lot, but there is definitely a change.  Before
GPL, both Flash and Java were "evil".  Now Java is no longer "evil", it
should be a more compelling choice.  However it doesn't yet excel with
animation, and video playback, so an "evil" choice might still be the
best one for these types, at least for now.

You still should pick the technology that fits your application best.

AJAX:  gmail, google maps, google suggest, etc.
Flash: homestarrunner, YouTube
Java:  web chat, other

Remember, stick to web standards, minimize javascript requirements, use
Flash and Java sparingly and only where appropriate.  Keep the web


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