Camen Design Forum

Article: A List of Things That Plugins Don’t Work With

append delete Nicholas

“There is no job that plugins are the right tool for. Saying that plugins ‘have their place’ is ignorant and complacent. ”

We respect your outspokenness, but you do come out with some very-handed statements sometimes. I hope that do not mean that currently browsers can natively do anything that plugins can. Perhaps you hope that browsers will eventually be able to do the things which currently have to be added on with plugins, but if so you would have to admit that plugins have their place if only as a temporary holdover until the security and compatibility concerns can be addressed.

All of the following should arguably be done without plugins, given browser support, but that is not there yet for many cutting-edge uses of flash. For example:

Webcam interaction, full-screen, microphone interaction, streaming video (live, not from static files), video with alpha, P2P

In many of these contexts, the plugin is being used in place of what would eventually be one native element, so most of your objections to plugins, in these specific cases, vanish (no text to select, no cookies, no passwords, printing and zooming and context menus not meaningful, and so on).

Long live transitioning technologies to deliver good things to users now and in the more vague future.

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append delete #1. Kroc

you do come out with some very-handed statements sometimes.

’Tis my personal website; what else would you expect, or visit for? :) I aim not to be “Yet Another Blog (R)".

I hope that do not mean that currently browsers can natively do anything that plugins can.

No. You are quite right. I would not claim that HTML5 can replace Flash or Silverlight, it can’t.

All of the reasons I listed are real problems that real people come up against on real content every day.

Accepting all of these real problems is ignoring the user and therefore a plugin has no place breaking so much for the sake of what? Eye candy. Let us not confuse what Flash is capable of, versus why someone would use it to replace HTML. HTML cannot replace Flash, but Flash should *never* be used to replace HTML. If I wanted to use a web cam in a web page, then I would use Flash only for the square area where the webcam picture is, and then do everything aroundabout in HTML/JS. Flash should never be used for anything more than a glorified <img> element. It is the use of Flash for textual and navigational content that has no place on the web in my eyes. These uses of Flash *only* get in the way of the user in all the ways I have listed.

How many uses of Flash have you seen that have had proper fallback content instead of "Install the latest Adobe Flash Player"? Having not had Flash installed for a couple of years now, I can tell you. F•ck all. Flash is completely abhorrent to HTML good practices, like providing fallback and accessibility. These come for free in HTML, but with Flash the developer has to forcibly insert these themselves, increasing time, effort and duplicating content--so they don’t, and the web is left with a craptonne of broken lego squares.

What functionality it offers is misused, badly implemented, teaches terrible design / code habits and fails completely to adapt transparently to new browsers and OSes.

Plugins can never solve the problems I provided in my list, therefore have no future. Microsoft woke up to this and have declared HTML5 as the future instead of Silverlight.

append delete #2. Nicholas

Thanks. That does recognise some of the reasons for using Flash. In general though, I abhor it too.

append delete #3. SpeedoJoe

I have Flash installed because I use a lot of sites which use Flash.

append delete #4. Kroc

And website developers make sites that use Flash because you have Flash installed. Quid Pro Quo.

append delete #5. SpeedoJoe

Not enough people care, unfortunately (I partially care regarding this). There will never be enough people to uninstall Flash to make a big enough impact. It'll literally never happen.

append delete #6. Kroc

But what if it's not installed in the first place?

It's not installed on iPhone / iPad. Apple are no longer pre-installing it on new Macs.

#7. SpeedoJoe

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append delete #8. SpeedoJoe

Good point about the iPhone/iPad, but that annoys enough people to buy Android phones and install the plugin on their Macs. I've considered it in the past, but I still don't own a smartphone.

Also, I think average Joe Macs users are still a small demographic. I may be wrong about this.

append delete #9. Jaime Gomez

I don't think condoning Apple's practices is a good idea (even for the "greater good"), that's another problem by itself, and one you've covered before.

One thing is not having it installed by default, but not allowing it would be like blocking access to your site to ie6 users, think we agree that's not the right thing to do.

I think this problem can be solved by education, and setting a good example to aspiring designers out there, but that's our job. You're doing a great work in this front, keep it up :)

append delete #10. Kroc

but that annoys enough people to buy Android phones and install the plugin on their Macs.

Yes, because iPads are only the best selling tablet right now and Apple can’t manufacture them quickly enough.

Flash is just a medium. The sheet weight of pressure that the iPad and iPhone represent to web developers right now will ensure that Flash is slowly whittled away and replaced with HTML/JS as new features come available.

Right now, if you make a site that cannot be navigated without Flash, you are shooting yourself in the feet just as much as people who make sites that don’t work with Firefox right now.

Games are one major area where Flash has purpose (everything else is worthless ads and text that could just as easily be communicated in HTML) and even that is seeing great threat from Apple’s App Store and in the long term HTML5/JS/WebGL.

If you have Firefox 4, check out…

#11. albertpaul68

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#12. amazonkindle34

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#13. amazonkindle34

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append delete #14. Kroc

Nuisance spam. I’ll add an interstitial spam feature for mods only that will completely remove the comment, and void the username.


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