Stop the Flash insanity

More and more it seems high-profile websites are using Flash as a mechanism to deliver essential content.  In extreme cases, such as mycokerewards, the entire site is built on Flash.  Ads in websites, which you used to be able to ignore, now use Flash to replace the entire screen contents, screaming at you to “GO SEE CLOVERFIELD!!!”.

My dev machine is a fairly hefty beast, but it still has a hard time processing Flash-only sites:

I’m not even doing anything in the Flash-only site except that I’m looking at it.  It’s doing some ridiculous, pointless animation of bubbles floating around, and that requires 40% of my dual-core machine’s resources.  When I look at this site on a single-core machine, I pretty much can’t use FireFox any more, as it’s completely consumed with those floating bubbles.

Sites that used to be relatively easy to get around are now just annoying, like ESPN.com, which are starting to rely heavily on Flash to deliver actual content.  Please don’t start playing some highlights video if I’m just going to your homepage, I really don’t like Stuart Scott screaming “BOOYAH” to me through my speakers.

If anything, Flash should be use to complement content, but not be the actual content.  To deal with normal annoyances, I go back and forth between these two FireFox add-ons:

  • Adblock Plus (blocks ad content, but not other Flash content)
  • Flashblock (blocks ALL Flash content, letting you opt-in to anything you want to see)

Flash for delivering ad content is perfectly fine, as long as it’s non-intrusive and non-resource intensive.  Flash for delivering site content is just plain heinous, and I hope Santa delivers coal in those perpetrators’ stockings next year.

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About Jimmy Bogard

I'm a technical architect with Headspring in Austin, TX. I focus on DDD, distributed systems, and any other acronym-centric design/architecture/methodology. I created AutoMapper and am a co-author of the ASP.NET MVC in Action books.
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  • Brad Mead

    Amen brother.

    Flash infatuation sucks. Went to Volkswagon site just playing around building a car (EOS) and the entire (flash) app froze at the last step (reproducible) that’s one of many and they are becoming more frequent at big brand sites where Flash has been sold to ad managers as advertising sugar.

    More and more I feel like… “No I don’t want to watch your intro. Get out of, may face with your cute crap and just get me to the info”

    I am abondoning these sites and their products and services more and more. The irony is that a good graphic design (90% percent of the eye-candy appeal IMO) can be executed in good ole HTML+CSS.

  • Spytalk

    Thanks to ever-obnoxious and buggy Adobe products, flashcr@p tools default to 30 FPS and most market-first test-later junior developers do not know a thing about bandwidth or cpu etiquette. Few people test outside the walls of their own cubicle running quad-core 3ghz machines with only one app running (their development app). Works over here. Real-world? Usability? What’s that, say flash developers. There’s a great on/off flash-blocker out there called turnflash.