Flash and Javascript

by aoliveira on January 24th, 2012

Typically when a designer or a developer wish to have a website do something other than display images and text they must resort to either Javascript,  Flash, or both.

Flash is the tool of choice when considering media such as video or sound. This is because Flash can process dynamic media more effectively than Javascript. However, for the manipulation of static media, text and images, Javascript tends to be the better option. There are two reasons for this but both can be traced to the same thing. The code.

Flash requires a third party plug-in to be installed in your browser. While not necessarily a bad thing, it is one more thing which can and does go awry sometimes. A fine example of this was when a security hole in Adobe Flash Player in 2008 was exploited to introduce viruses to computer systems. Javascript is supported natively by all major browsers with no additional steps required to run it.

The second reason Javascript tends to be preferable over Flash is the fact that Flash is packaged into a file that is not easily read. This matters when search engines read your website and all they see is a call to a flash file. This is, in essence, telling them nothing useful about your site. If Google doesn’t know what your site is about, then it won’t direct people to it. If you rely on Javascript you have the double boon of allowing all of your text to be easily read as well as all your JavaScript, allowing search engines to know your site even more in-depth.

With this in mind, for most projects, ask yourself if you really need Flash. Most of the time the answer will be no and you are better off relying on Javascript.

So now that we’ve covered Flash vs Javascript, next time I’ll talk about using jQuery to even further your Javascript powers.

FIU Web Communications is a full service web team that provides support and consulting for departments at FIU. If you need help in implementing any of your web needs, please contact us.

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