Learning Paths

Are you sure Flash is dead?

Flash has a beautiful, intuitive drawing engine. Ever since I first opened it (as Splash Animator) back in 1995 and experienced it’s simple yet elegant and fast way to create and modify – essential in frame-by-frame animation – I’ve loved it.

Acquisition by Macromedia added a host of new features quite rapidly, and the advent of ActionScript suddenly changed the landscape of the web at the time. AS evolved fairly quickly, and the decision to adopt ECMA 262 as the basis for the language suddenly turned this humble animation tool with interactive features into a giant – applications were possible, and the Flash community grew at a phenominal rate. At the time, it was almost impossible to meet the demand for training – Flash for Academy Class was our biggest product and as we had some of the best Flash and AS instructors in the UK we could fill courses without even thinking about it.

Then along came the iPad.

Apple had decided not to support Flash on its great new tablet device – their commitment to a solid user experience meant that they couldn’t be beholden to a third party in the event of problems, and some Flash coding left it open to all sorts of issues. If the player had been open-sourced then it may well have been a different picture but Apple decided to instead lead the way with the new emerging web standards of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript and frameworks like jQuery.

Flash demand dropped almost instantly, and almost everyone I speak to is of the opinion that Flash is dead, or dying, or in a “niche” (lol) market like gaming. Edge Animate is rapidly filling our Flash vacuum but is Flash really dead? If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber you have Flash as part of your membership – here are a couple of (big) reasons why it’s still worth the install…

Sprite Animations

Animation you create can be exported – automatically – into a sprite sheet animation which can then be animated in a range of frameworks (and Flash can even export the necessary code too for some of those, including easel.js). There’s a nifty tutorial (ok, so a bit game-ish) on the DevNet: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/articles/using-sprite-sheet-generator.html


Flash introduced support for <canvas> export last year and it’s really good – most of your existing Flash skills translate as is and there’s a lot of help available for migrating AS3 projects here: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash/using/creating-publishing-html5-canvas-document.html.

If you’re not up with all the new fangled (ok, so only six years old) Motion Tweens and prefer “Classic Tweens” then you’re also quids-in as it’s the preferred method – “Motion Tweens” get converted to frame-by-frame animations.

Adobe Evangelist, Paul Trani hosts a nice video tutorial on the Flash team blog.

And there’s more…

With support for createJS, and handy new JS code snippets in the code samples panel, as well as integration with the Adobe Media Encoder (no longer limited on exporting movies to .mov on the Mac) there’s still a pulse – fetch me the paddles!

For the list of enhancements visit the Adobe website.

Now, if only the <canvas> element were accessible…