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   RE: [xml-dev] Tim Bray on "Which Technologies Matter?"

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>I think Macromedia may be attempting to do the same with Flash:

Unfortunately, Flash suffers from the same maladies that afflict Authorware.
It's a syndrome I call Macromeditis and that those less kind call
half-@$$edness.  Some here have mentioned VB in reference to doing easy
things very easily and hard things hardly at all.  In that respect, Flash
and Authorware make VB look capable by comparison.  It's not that you
*can't* do very complex things in Flash or Authorware, only that you have to
overcome significant obstacles to do so and when you are finished your
program is likely to be extremely "unfriendly" to a multi-tasking

Yes Flash (and for that matter Authorware) have some truly amazing features
that enable a non-programmer to produce simple programs that work (they
don't work well in terms of resource usage but neither do most programs
written in other languages by beginners).  My problem with Macromedia
products is that that is where they stop.  If you want to do anything
remotely "programmer-like" in Flash or Authorware you will quickly find
yourself banging your head against the Macromedia wall.

My biggest reservations in regards to Flash come from my five years
experience using Authorware - historically Macromedia only improves their
products by adding highly visible (and marketable) bells and whistles - they
never go back and fill in the "holes" that drive experienced programmers
absolutely nuts.  (Of course, this has been good for me because my shop went
to Authorware before I arrived and now any time they need to make something
complex actually *work* they need me to write a DLL in C++...<g>)

I envision "Flash 22" as being able to play three-D movies directly in the
user's mind without special hardware -- but still having no means of
detecting text entry other than highly inefficient and
multi-tasking-unfriendly continuous polling...  What am I saying?  I'm
saying that unless Flash in it's present form meets *all* of your needs
avoid it like the plague.  You cannot assume "gee, this is such a great
product that they'll surely fix <insert your show-stopper here/> in the next
version."  In fact, historically, the more routine and common (in other
development tools) your show-stopping missing feature is the less likely it
is that Macromedia will ever implement it.

John Atchley
Senior Software Analyst
Engineering and Design, Courseware Support
FlightSafety International, Inc.


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