It’s On! : Ajax vs. Flash

You gotta love the whole blogging, “we’re all connected acrosst the World Wide Web” thing. Dotone, a neat little blog out of the United Arab Emirates, is the voice of Saleh, a web developer based there. He wrote a solid comparison of Ajax and Flash – pitting the two in a Battle Royale worthy of pay per view (or something like that).
My .02 on the whole thing: Ajax is useful and worthwhile – for now. It’s still a pain to implement and prime for abuse and misuse. It’s a hack job (despite some of the elegant wrappers/API’s people have written for it). The big advantage? You can take an existing web site and light it up with some of that dynamic goodness in just the right places. In other words, it’s a bolt-on that can happen pretty quickly.
Flash, on the other hand, is it’s own platform. The learning curve is arguably steeper. It’s a whole other world – a world that’s been dominated by a visual design mindset. But the possibilities are that much wider. You can do things with graphics, sound and video that you’re just not going to pull off with Ajax. Beyond the multimedia, the stuff just feels smoother in Flash. And let’s not forget platform compatibility. You go to Ajax, you’re asking for a world of hurt if you’re planning on deploying to a wide array of browsers. Even Google Maps didn’t support Safari at the outset. The Flash player is just about everywhere and runs things consistently.
More broadly speaking, these are just tools. They’re a means to an end. I think the general lesson learned is to deliver better experiences – however way you get there. A static website can prove to be a bad experience. Denying someone an application because of a particular browser is a bad experience. Applying Ajax or Flash in a contrived way without thinking about how it will benefit the user can result in a bad experience.
In the end, this isn’t about technology. It’s about people.

5 Comments It’s On! : Ajax vs. Flash

  1. Jamal Abdou Karim Bengeloun

    I’ve been wondering about that. Thing is when you haven’t got the flash plugin (or that the plugin detection is analy retentive – they want you to have that version not any other) you get a redirect at best. When javascript is deactivated you still get the content… I think one should use both, AJAX for text driven interface – Flash for any other kind (animations, video, images).

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  2. Rachel

    It’s a shame you’re not out here on the West – a couple of good initiatives going on – primarly NetSquared – who are trying to ensure that’s it’s about the people, not the technology. It’s not just Bay Area based, although a lot going on here that can help get the paradigm shift going. We can only hope it’s the start of literally ‘taking back the web’/technology/products from the companies that don’t really help their users.

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  3. diseño web

    Not why they compare AJAX with Flash, fodder that are not due to compare since both have great differences. Each of them has advantages marked according to the project to realise for that reason I insist on saying that they would not be due to compare.

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