Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Not Use Flash?

My last post was a bit whiny, but I'd like to expound on the usage of flash in Google Music, and why it gives choppy music on many of my machines.  This is something of a study in why you should avoid flash at all costs...

And really, an oft-quoted reason, the lack of flash support on iOS is not all that good a reason by itself unless the website is targeting mobile platforms.  iOS accounts for about two percent of web traffic, so it is entirely possible to ignore them.

I can give you a much better reason.  Just read this.  That's the reason flash is choppy on some of my machines (and there's a workaround I have been too lazy to use everywhere).  The gist is that there is a bug in the 64-bit flash plugin having to do with playing audio (uncovered because other things became less lenient), and resulting in choppy audio.  Even though this is a closed product, some very smart people figured out exactly what the problem was, created a workaround, and reported the problem to Adobe.  The true fix is literally is as simple as replacing one function call with another similar one.

That was in November 2010.  Adobe still has not fixed it.  What does that say to website developers?  Yes, you are presenting what is at best an irritating experience to people unfortunate enough to come to your site.  And yes, someone else already did the work to figure out why.  And yes, we can fix it easily.  But we won't.

On a more positive note, the workaround does fix it completely.  :)