Sam Buchanan's weblog.

Flash update

I'm holding off on working with Flash for a while, 'til I get some other things finished first and until I can buy a copy. I've worked with an evaluation copy enough to know that it will be fun and worthwhile to work with, so I do plan on buying it, but first I need to find a way to take advantage of some educational discounts that are available to me. I've also worked enough with Dreamweaver MX to know that it, too, is worth owning.

Why am I interested in developing with Flash? A few reasons:

  1. See what its new accessibility features really do, find out what it takes to use those features as a developer and as an end user. I've been doing a lot of work with accessibility lately, training college & university webmasters in how to improve the accessibility of their web sites. Flash is becoming increasingly interesting and important to them (and to me!), so I very much want to explore its possibilities.
  2. Explore ways in which content being delivered through Flash can be made available to those without the plugin. It's possible for Flash to read XML documents as data sources, so if the plugin's not available, how can I detect that and make the XML source doc available? I'm thinking of accessibility here, too, not only for the disabled but also for you Unix and anti-Flash users. I would like to come to a point where Flash is just one more means for delivering content. Take some data, generate output formatted as PNG, SVG, XHTML, PDF, RTF, and Flash. Why not?
  3. Embed video. This is job-related. A coworker's been doing a lot with RealVideo and SMIL, synchronizing video, a text transcript, and a series of GIFs (as a slide show). It's beena royal pain in the ass. I want to see how much easier it would be to work with Flash, and whether we'd get better results.
  4. Just play. As I believe that I wrote earlier, I've been entranced by the idea of writing a Jabber client in Flash. Just because I can. I know it's already been done, but this'd be a great way to dig into ActionScript and see what it can do.

All of this will wait a couple months, though, 'til I buy a copy. The evaluation copy has been just enough to whet my appetite. Too, I've promised myself that I'm going to take advantage of the summer weather this year, actually get outside and be active. I don't want to spend all my time in front of a computer. That's far too easy.