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Author Topic: Website development - Flash or HTML?  (Read 18342 times)
Dinarius
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« on: June 02, 2010, 08:02:07 AM »
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I would be grateful for opinions regarding website development for photographers and whether or not it is kosher to use Flash now given the ubiquity of the iPhone and (more importantly) the iPad?

Put it another way, does the advent of the iPad shift the goalposts? Will it become an acceptable way of displaying one's images on the move? If so, should we accommodate it by not using Flash?

I am currently working with a web designer. My gut wants to go with Flash and all it can offer. My head is wondering if this is a smart move?

I would be grateful for any feedback.

Thanks.

D.
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JonathanBenoit
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 08:43:49 AM »
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Quote from: Dinarius
I would be grateful for opinions regarding website development for photographers and whether or not it is kosher to use Flash now given the ubiquity of the iPhone and (more importantly) the iPad?

Put it another way, does the advent of the iPad shift the goalposts? Will it become an acceptable way of displaying one's images on the move? If so, should we accommodate it by not using Flash?

I am currently working with a web designer. My gut wants to go with Flash and all it can offer. My head is wondering if this is a smart move?

I would be grateful for any feedback.

Thanks.

D.

I use livebooks. They have you site mirrored in html for computers and search engines that can view the information on the flash site. They have also recently added support for the iPhone. I'm sure if there are limitation with the iPad, Livebooks will solve it. I do have to say though, I had a bad experience with their customer service and nearly pulled the plug on it.
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JonRoemer
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 09:49:49 AM »
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APhotofolio, provides flash based sites that reformat themselves for the iPhone and for the iPad.  Additionally, the sites have a mirrored html component which aids in SEO.

More to your question though - Rob Haggart at aPhotofolio.com wrote a piece in APF's news section that clearly outlines the strengths of Flash and why it cannot be completely replaced by HTML5.

I have no stake in APF other than being a happy customer.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 09:50:53 AM by JonRoemer » Logged

fredjeang
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 10:08:01 AM »
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Hi.

This is an interesting topic.

I've been a webdesigner and a Flash guru (until AS3 where I stopped), worked for many advertising adgencies and big companies during about 6 years. Why do I say that? because I loved flash, it was my daily rutine.

When Adobe implemented the Action-script3, I understood that it was the beginning of the end.
For reasons that have nothing to do with AS3, I stopped my work as designer at that time, but I'm still very conected with both technology and designers.

My suggestions:
1) If you have a web site already designed in flash and you are satisfy, leave it like that, save money and just built an alternative html version (reduce).
2) If you have a web site already designed that you are not satisfy with, get rid off the flash at least for galleries and replace for html
3) if you do not have already a website: CHOOSE ONLY HTML.


-------my (quick) analysis in color of the article linked in the previous post: http://aphotofolio.com/is-flash-still-the-...build-websites/

1. Support for fonts – Art Directors love typography. It is important that our users can load high quality magazine and advertising fonts in their websites. In HTML5 you can only use a handful of web safe fonts
Wrong: in html you can display every unsafe and exotic font when you know how to, but it is a bit of an hassle to do it.
it is not that you can not, it is that it is not wysiwyg.


2. Scaling – The cornerstone of our design is the image scaling. It allows us to display images easily on monitors from 13″ – 30.” HTML5 does not support scaling.
Flash does support image scaling properly rendered under certain condition, so as html+java script. You can't dissociate html from scripts, like you can not dissociate Flash from action-script. Also, some java interventions in the html mother are required with certain flash effects, wich double the scripts.

3. Browser Independence – It’s important that our sites look the same in browsers built 10 years ago (IE7) and browser released today. HTML5 is not supported by most of the browsers people are using today.
Flash is browser-hassle-free (till they bloqued for reason or another the activeX), True, only if we are talking about the cousin's designer. But for a professional, Html is also hassle free because they are checked in every possible platform. I agree that it does require really serious guys, and they are not cheap.

4. Video Independence – It’s important that video on our sites displays correctly in every single browser. HTML5 requires that you encode your video in several different formats if you want it to show up in different browsers.
Yes but...What will html bring very soon, if Apple will play clean, is precisely an open platform for multimedias.
SWF can (must) not be the only possible way to integrate movies.


------------------------------------------------------------

Now, just check the wesites of Lu-La users that work under flash...in general all about the samekind of distractions and slowness (and crashes!).

Then, check the websites that use simple html. Way faster, clean, no crash, no hassle.

-Do you really miss the little thumbails that pop-up each time you pass the mouse on the back of the screen?
-Or do you really miss the arrows that are displayed OVER the pic (great design by the way...) to make you understand that you have to go next?
-Do you dramaticaly miss the fancy name that twinkle with a supermarket new-age music behind when you just want to watch the pics? (if at least the music had something to do with the work...)
-Can't you sleep because of the slowness to upload all the blooby pics, transitions, thumbs etc...? Great for your business when after a few pics the website crashes.(seen many many times here).
-Do you really need the flash features? (for an advertising campaign it is THE tool, but even there Apple demostrated recently that they can do great job without it)



I think that my asnwer is: NO FLASH except if you really will need it and uses properly.


Cheers.


Ps: Jon, your flash site actually is well implemented. Thanks the arrow key for navigation and the reasonable loading time. This is an example IMO of how, if you really need flash, things should be done. But there are many other ways of course.

Now, if you want to compare speeds, check this website: http://www.ampimage.com/. See what I mean? Flash AS3 can not do this as fast (AS2 yes).
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 11:43:22 AM by fredjeang » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 11:31:00 AM »
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Quote from: Yelhsa
Also important to know who your target market is and what will work best for them... because you may only have one chance and less than 30 seconds of their time.
Indeed !
I've seen many flash wesites displaying great work, but just gave up because of the all waiting circus. If I give up, no need to talk about art-ejecutives.
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CBarrett
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 11:42:17 AM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Indeed !
I've seen many flash wesites displaying great work, but just gave up because of the all waiting circus. If I give up, no need to talk about art-ejecutives.

I've had my designer researching De-Flashing the site since all this came up.  We're using SlideShowPro, however which depends fully on flash for the image galleries.  I expect it would require a rewrite to change things.  That said, I have never seen my site "crash".  It loads quite fast and I think it was designed pretty cleanly.  What it really needs, though are some animated gif Fairies sprinkling fairy dust over the images while a midi plays in the background.

-CB
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JonRoemer
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 11:43:26 AM »
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Fred - I'm a bit out of element but I can reply to a few of your points.

Quote from: fredjeang
1. Support for fonts – Art Directors love typography. It is important that our users can load high quality magazine and advertising fonts in their websites. In HTML5 you can only use a handful of web safe fonts
Wrong: in html you can display every unsafe and exotic font when you know how to, but it is a bit of an hassle to do it.
it is not that you can not, it is that it is not wysiwyg.

And that makes it a deal breaker.

Quote from: fredjeang
2. Scaling – The cornerstone of our design is the image scaling. It allows us to display images easily on monitors from 13″ – 30.” HTML5 does not support scaling.
Flash does support image scaling properly rendered under certain condition, so as html+java script. You can't dissociate html from scripts, like you can not dissociate Flash from action-script. Also, some java interventions in the html mother are required with certain flash effects, wich double the scripts.

Not sure what the latter part means in every day terms but I can tell you that image scaling does work on APF sites.

Quote from: fredjeang
3. Browser Independence – It’s important that our sites look the same in browsers built 10 years ago (IE7) and browser released today. HTML5 is not supported by most of the browsers people are using today.
Flash is browser-hassle-free (till they bloqued for reason or another the activeX), True, only if we are talking about the cousin's designer. But for a professional, Html is also hassle free because they are checked in every possible platform. I agree that it does require really serious guys, and they are not cheap.

Huh  Fred - something may be getting lost in translation but I'm trying to wrap my head around this reply.  

Quote from: fredjeang
4. Video Independence – It’s important that video on our sites displays correctly in every single browser. HTML5 requires that you encode your video in several different formats if you want it to show up in different browsers.
Yes but...What will html bring very soon, if Apple will play clean, is precisely an open platform for multimedias.
SWF can (must) not be the only possible way to integrate movies.

If it's not here yet for html, as you say above, then your reply is a moot point.  The real world is today, not something coming "very soon."  When very soon arrives then one can re-evaluate.

Quote from: fredjeang
Now, just check the wesites of Lu-La users that work under flash...in general all about the samekind of distractions and slowness (and crashes!).

Baloney!  A blanket statement like that is ridiculous.  Well designed flash works well, well designed html works well.  Poorly designed flash is crappy as is poorly designed html.

Quote from: fredjeang
[color="#4169E1"]-Do you really miss the little thumbails that pop-up each time you pass the mouse on the back of the screen?
-Or do you really miss the arrows that are displayed OVER the pic (great design by the way...) to make you understand that you have to go next?
-Do you dramaticaly miss the fancy name that twinkle with a supermarket new-age music behind when you just want to watch the pics? (if at least the music had something to do with the work...)
-Can't you sleep because of the slowness to upload all the blooby pics, transitions, thumbs etc...? Great for your business when after a few pics the website crashes.(seen many many times here).

Again, what you write above a generalizations.  Your thumbnail point is bad design not a Flash vs. _______ issue.  Your arrow point is similar though I'd put that more in the optional area.  Some may want that, some may not.  Music?  I agree completely but to assume all Flash sites have it is wrong.  To assume it can't be used well is wrong too.  Look at Sam Jones' site.  Finally, slowness is function of site design/coding and image sizes uploaded by the photographer.  It's not a given that every Flash site is slow just like it is not a given that every html site is "faster, cleaner, crash proof, and hassle free."

---------

Fred - just say your comment, "your flash site actually is well implemented. Thanks the arrow key for navigation and the reasonable loading time. This is an example IMO of how, if you really need flash, things should be done. But there are many other ways of course."

Agreed there are other ways but my post was more to, here's one way with Flash that does work and does allow for iPhone/Smart Phone/iPad viewing.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 11:48:47 AM by JonRoemer » Logged

fredjeang
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2010, 11:56:05 AM »
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Quote from: CBarrett
I've had my designer researching De-Flashing the site since all this came up.  We're using SlideShowPro, however which depends fully on flash for the image galleries.  I expect it would require a rewrite to change things.  That said, I have never seen my site "crash".  It loads quite fast and I think it was designed pretty cleanly.  What it really needs, though are some animated gif Fairies sprinkling fairy dust over the images while a midi plays in the background.

-CB
Hi chris,
I know your website, I visit it regularly.
It is not in the "crashed-series", yes, but see the thumbs for example? if I reach a point and then I move the mouse away, slides go up to beginning, and I've lost where I was so I have to redo the process.

See, these things are tipically flash effects. It is not a criticsm to you, I like your work and I think I expressed it several times, but a criticism to the flashmania that invaded the designers in the last decade.
Your site would run 3 times faster (I say 3 and it is really 3) even with bigger pics in an html environement.
Garantee 100%.

But your site is not a real flash site, it is an html with a flash gallery, that is why it does not crash.
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adammork
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2010, 12:07:17 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
[color="#4169E1"]-Do you really miss the little thumbails that pop-up each time you pass the mouse on the back of the screen?
-Or do you really miss the arrows that are displayed OVER the pic (great design by the way...) to make you understand that you have to go next?


.... if you have a good designer and programmer you can have that as well with html - check out the "selected works" section on my site - there is no flash on the entire site.....  

/adam
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fredjeang
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2010, 12:07:53 PM »
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Quote from: JonRoemer
---------

Fred - just say your comment, "your flash site actually is well implemented. Thanks the arrow key for navigation and the reasonable loading time. This is an example IMO of how, if you really need flash, things should be done. But there are many other ways of course."

Agreed there are other ways but my post was more to, here's one way with Flash that does work and does allow for iPhone/Smart Phone/iPad viewing.
Jon,
Flash is not the problem. If html5 is going to be abused the same way by designers with scripts, it will have exactly the same effect and what was supposed to be gained will be lost.
I'm fully aware that flash is NOT the problem, it is the How-to.

About video without Flash: it is not there today (more exactly not ready yet) but it will be very soon, and this is not speculation.

But if you are fine with Flash, then no need to change it.

Cheers.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 12:19:43 PM by fredjeang » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 12:15:05 PM »
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Quote from: adammork
.... if you have a good designer and programmer you can have that as well with html - check out the "selected works" section on my site - there is no flash on the entire site.....  

/adam
Exactly, that is all my point. I knew your site as well.

See? it looks like flash but it is not. Difference: the thumbs loaded instantanously, almost no waiting and pics are bigs.
I can make a pdf from your pics,
etc...
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feppe
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2010, 01:16:17 PM »
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Flash needs to die, and I'm all for Apple killing it. Whenever I get a "loading 23%" animation I quit in disgust - and I have fast broadband.

While many Flash sites look gorgeous, learning a new UI every single time I go to a site should be unnecessary. Most Flash designs have a UI which puts eye-candy over user experience, so you get nice-looking sites which are a pain to navigate. Flash also breaks many of the established UI conventions, such as back/forward buttons, right click to save images or bookmarks, and using audio is the worst (although that's admittedly rare). Finally, most Flash content is useless ads so many people like me have Flash blocked with NoScript or AdBlock Plus.

Oh and have you tried giving a link to someone of that nice picture you saw on a Flash site? You can't. What you have to do is say "go to www.crappyflashsite.com, wait for it to load, wait for the splash page to finish, wait for the UI to load, hover your mouse over the menu bar, wait for the gallery to show up, click on it, wait for the gallery to load, click on the tiny "3" for third page in the gallery, wait for the thumbnails to load, the picture I'm talking about is the second on third row. Just don't wave your mouse around too much or it will go to the next thumbnail page!"

Seriously.

Also, if you rely on google at all for your hits, SEO is very hard with Flash. I'm sure it can be done, but it much easier with HTML and you don't need a degree in IT to do it.

Finally, upcoming HTML5 will offer many of the benefits without the proprietary lockdown, limitations and expense of Flash.

/rant
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pschefz
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2010, 01:38:32 PM »
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this is not apple vs pc.....
but flash is a resource hog.....there is nothing worse then a flash only navigation website or the typical flash intro ( who ever needed that?)...I have been advising people to move away from that for years now....
 
I am with live book and really like what they do, I was a beta tester with their iphone/iPad site options but i would much prefer something non flash based at this point....

nobody with a clear mind would even think about designing a flash site today.....unless you really, really need it.....like some kind of advertising gimmick like those wrangler ads.....but i am sure that can all be done with something else anyway....

flash was great, it really helped advance the Internet but we are in the middle of a new aera which is drive by mobile computing and there are new needs and new technologies.....use them.....
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2010, 02:46:11 PM »
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Quote from: fredjeang
Indeed !
I've seen many flash wesites displaying great work, but just gave up because of the all waiting circus. If I give up, no need to talk about art-ejecutives.


So whats the good choice for creating a web gallery in html, one that a non programmer can use and insert into an html page?  In more precise terms what do I use to replace the flash galleries in my website with html that works hte same?
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2010, 03:30:12 PM »
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Quote from: infocusinc
So whats the good choice for creating a web gallery in html, one that a non programmer can use and insert into an html page?
I personally like all the "lightbox" java variants - my site (amateur only, sorry) uses shadowbox (not the last version IIRC), generated via the TTG shadowbox Lightroom gallery (couldn't be easier).
The 'arrow displayed over the pic' idiosyncretism is there though - but I really find it helpful to navigate, sorry.  

And BTW, does Flash finally support color management? FP10 should... but I didn't heard of such a thing in practice.
At the time of wide-gamut screens, that's a no-go for a color photographer, isn't it?
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feppe
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2010, 03:32:16 PM »
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Quote from: infocusinc
So whats the good choice for creating a web gallery in html, one that a non programmer can use and insert into an html page?  In more precise terms what do I use to replace the flash galleries in my website with html that works hte same?

There are several options. If you already have a hosting account and know how to use FTP, just google "html photo gallery template" or similar; there are numerous free and commercial options - I have no experience with any. Another option for photographers is a software, name of which escapes me now, which claims to turn your PS files into websites - no idea how functional it is and how easy it is to use.

There are also several options which offer hosting with various photo gallery templates, from smugmug to to godaddy exposuremanager (used them, recommended although with very limited customization options) to squarespace (highly customizable, I made the site for my Mother in my sig with them).

Finally, you could outsource the website design via a service like guru.com.
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fredjeang
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2010, 03:44:46 PM »
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I agree 100% with the points made by Feppe and Pschefz.

About the flash galleries replacement, there are many options available.

If you give the work to a pro, no problems, just ask what you want. Options are really extended,
see again the Adammork website as an example.

If you want to do an Homemade work, then you may need to know few things.

-If you want some "visual tricks" then I can recommend some Jquery solutions.
You need to investigate a little on the web. Some ressources here: http://jquery.com/
There are hundreds of develloppers on the web, just check. You'll find of course lots of garbadge but also good solutions.
If you take time to seach you'll find. As I only worked in integrated "sur-mesure", I'm not helpfull on the current web-links.

-for the lightroom users, the html galleries are working and can help you to understand the how.
Just create a fake web gallerie in LR and then studdy how it generates.

-Now, if what you want is real power, what you need is a CMS and knowledge in html, css, php (basic) to adapt it at your aims.
If you are there, you can do almost what you want.
That's of course sur-mesure.
To give you an idea, I'm doing actually my website platform and I'm using as a base a CMS.
I got an independant control panel for each gallery I create, so I can upload at the same time and from the same computer
the pics in different locations, galleries or where I want. I don't need to finish to upload pics in a section before uploading in another.
(very usefull for private galleries for example) Then I have a general board in my desktop (like a tree).
This board can be implemented in various computers and integrates all the direccions where I'm using the CMS.
When I upload a pic, a thumb is auto-generated. The time to wait for display all the thumb is less than a second. Zero wait to diplay pics
and I always save my pics for the web at quality 12.
All that is driven by an html master and different css for the sections.
Section can be located in any host I want and commanded by more than one computer.
I can upload videos without the need of flash in a second.
But the overall website is completly minimalist. Nothing flashy, but very powerfull in terms of workflow because the last thing I want
is loosing time and hassles.
When I will finish it, probably after the summer, I'll put a link.

As pointed, there are many ready-made solutions on the web. Few are free, a lot are not.
I quite like both Photoshelter and Livebooks. Livebooks works really well in html.

If you don't want to pay, and you are tech useless in this area or want something simple, totally intuitive
and reliable, I strongly recommend you look at the weebly platform. The features available for free are indeed worth a look.
But you will need at least css knowledge to do the skin as you want and not the templates.
Weebly is completly configurable.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 03:53:12 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Chris_Brown
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2010, 09:15:16 PM »
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Quote from: Dinarius
I would be grateful for opinions regarding website development for photographers and whether or not it is kosher to use Flash now given the ubiquity of the iPhone and (more importantly) the iPad?
Why is Flash necessary to show a gallery of images?
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2010, 04:35:01 AM »
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Since the introduction of the iPad I removed all flash from our websites.
It's been replaced with several other options and to be honest it works much faster and does the same.
So for me flash can be replaced.

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john beardsworth
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2010, 04:57:22 AM »
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Quote from: Chris_Brown
Why is Flash necessary to show a gallery of images?
I don't think it's ever been "necessary" - more that many photographers feel the need to follow the "I'm a photographer so I must have a Flash-based web site" and "I'm a photographer so I must have a Mac" herds. Until the last couple of years, Flash did provide the only reliable way to provide an identical experience (good and bad) with a range of graphic and transition effects that appear consistently on all browsers, while appearing to offer some protection of images etc etc. I'm sure we all know the arguments for and against Flash. But now Apple have decided they'll fail to support this part of the web, the herd's moving. At least this time the move is based on a better-founded assessment of needs - ie unless you want to throw money and effort at it, design for the lowest common denominator.

[!--quoteo(post=0:date=:name=fredjeang)--][div class=\'quotetop\']QUOTE (fredjeang)[div class=\'quotemain\'][!--quotec--]-for the lightroom users, the html galleries are working and can help you to understand the how.
Just create a fake web gallerie in LR and then studdy how it generates.

-Now, if what you want is real power, what you need is a CMS and knowledge in html, css, php (basic) to adapt it at your aims.
If you are there, you can do almost what you want.[/quote]
I agree and for Lightroom users thinking of real power, look at SlideShowPro's Director which is a great value CMS that comes with a Lightroom export plug-in. Using its PHP API, you can build all sorts of galleries such as my main WordPress site or this Google Map or this jquery demo or this Flash parallel site. Obviously there's no need to do so many alternatives (they're more demos) and the real point is that whatever the look and feel, the CMS based site means it takes a minute to get a new picture online. In this case it is a simple matter of exporting it from Lightroom and waiting for the upload to complete.

In other words, the question shouldn't be Flash or HTML, but static or CMS driven. Stay static and you'll end up paying a fluffy graphics type to design a site that you can't maintain and change as easily as you think, regardless of whether it's Flash or the newer HTML / Javascript / CSS options. Go down the CMS route (which LiveBooks does, at a price) and you can bolt any look and feel onto your site.

John
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 05:00:40 AM by johnbeardy » Logged

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