Category / Flash


Adios Flash

When I first cut my teeth as a web designer in the late 1990s, the web industry was mired in the first round of the “browser wars”, with Netscape Navigator pitted against Internet Explorer for market dominance. Netscape and Microsoft tried to outdo each other by enhancing their web browser with proprietary features and HTML elements that were unavailable in their competitor’s product. For developers wanting to build complex DHTML websites that worked in both Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer the only option was to fork their code, maintaining an entirely separate code base for each browser, and essentially doubling their workload.

It was in this context that Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash, and before that FutureSplash) first came to prominence. The Flash plugin worked identically in all web browsers, offering a way free from the browser wars and liberating developers from the tit-for-tat power struggle between Netscape and Microsoft. Build once, view anywhere. Bliss! Not only that, Flash (along with its sibling Shockwave) brought rich interactive animations to the web, a temptation that was too great for web designers to ignore.

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Flash video bufferTime gotcha

I have recently been working on a website that contains a lot of video content, including some fairly short videos – less than 20 seconds in length. To ensure uninterrupted playback of these short clips I thought it would be smart to buffer the entire video stream before beginning playback.

In AS3 this can be achieved using the bufferTime property, which I set to 20 seconds:

var nc:NetConnection = new NetConnection();

var ns:NetStream = new NetStream(this.introVideoConnection);
ns.bufferTime = 20;

var video:Video = new Video(320, 240);

But when I tested the results on a remote server I discovered that Flash was waiting the entire 20 second duration before starting the video stream, despite the fact that the flv had fully downloaded in just a few seconds.

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Erase an image using your mouse in AS3

I recently had to create a simple Flash application that allowed the user to ‘erase’ an image using their mouse. I couldn’t find any examples of the exact effect I wanted, so I cobbled together my own. The effect I came up with is similar to using the eraser tool in Photoshop.


Click and drag your mouse on the image below to erase it. Press the reset button to start over.

Get Adobe Flash player

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FlashScaler now works with SWFObject 2

One of my readers, René, asked me if my FlashScaler JavaScript class works with SWFObject 2. I’m happy to say that yes, it does. The demo and download on my original FlashScaler post now include working examples using SWFObject 2.1.


Version targeting lessons from Flash

In my last post I outlined some of the problems that might arise from the proposed version targeting changes to Internet Explorer 8. My major concern was that by removing the motivation for web authors to update legacy sites, version targeting might hamper the adoption of modern web development techniques. During the week I have given some more thought to this issue, and it occurred to me that in Adobe Flash we have a fantastic real-world test case from which we might learn if version targeting is a viable strategy for a web browser.

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Papervision 3D

Papervision 3D logo

If you work with Flash at all, by now you will have heard of Papervision 3D, the open source project that has turned the Flash world on its head by introducing a 3rd dimension. I had a quick play with Papervision 3D a few months ago and found it surprising easy to pick up. It is now in public beta so I decided to dust off my old project and rewrite it in Actionscript 3.

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Safari 3 fixes Flash flicker bug

After a quick play with Safari 3 beta on a Mac, I am happy to report that the infamous Safari Flash “flicker” bug has been fixed. If you are a Safari user then I’m sure you have encountered this bug before – it occurs when HTML content containing hover effects appears over Flash, such as when a dropdown menu overlaps a Flash movie embedded further down the page.

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swfIR – a new twist for web images

You’re probably already familiar with sIFR, a technique that replaces boring HTML text with spiffy Flash text, without messing up your HTML markup. In the same vein comes swfIR, which uses Flash to perform a host of desirable modifications to images: borders, rounded corners, rotation and drop shadows.

swfIR example

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