Javascript vs. Flash

Ask any web designer today and they will most likely say that Flash is a relic; the truth is that until the availability of JavaScript libraries such as Jquery and MooTools, developing websites with animation/ interaction was out of reach for most web developers. It originally rose to prominence due to the duration and difficulty of javascript development cycles, cross browser compatibility issues and the inherent requirement of an extensive knowledge of javascript to tackle even the simplest tasks.

The introduction of libraries that support cross browser compatibility are trivialising said development constraints, and in doing so continue to mould the learning curve into a more manageable gradient for web developers today. Using a combination of libraries can give you control over AJAX routines, on-the-fly form validation, search functionality and various content consolidation methods – even some animation; which ultimately covers a large majority of interactive functionality requirements.

Javascript Pros Javascript Cons
Small file size Features are far less extensive than flash
Large number of libraries to suppress the very high learning curve 3D features are limited
Far more cross browser and mobile compatibility More demanding features are processor intensive and therefore slow on most browsers
Can add animation to elements/tags on your webpage Users can disable javascript

These are but a few of the pros and cons to consolidate an understanding of what JavaScript can and can’t offer at the most basic level. There are still however a number of advantages that Flash brings to the table despite most technologies branching out to avoid it…

Flash Pros Flash Cons
3D capabilities Lack of mobile compatibility
Consistent appearence on browsers that do support it Cost of purchasing flash software
Networks of free/ commercial tools Large file size
Supports vector art Requires flash plugin to work
Built in UI Users can disable flash
Changes require the file to be recompiled and therefore is more time consuming
Relatively high learning curve

Javascript libraries happily roam between most formats but are still at home on websites that have more of an interactive design feel vs. strictly informative content, whereas Flash is ultimately still the go-to-guy for video embedding until an iteration of Javascript can rival it. Taking into consideration everything above, it is only fair to say that they are currently two separate entities all together, and conclusively BOTH best… in their respected arenas.

Related posts:

  1. HTML5 vs Flash
  2. Best Flash Resources
  3. Create an Animated Flash button
  4. Quicktip 16 – WP Easy Flash Embed
  5. A Simple HTML5 Template Tutorial

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