2010.11.22

A good Flash developer can’t replace a good HTML/JS developer

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about why the HTML5/JS community should respect the Flash community and it got way more attention than I expected, now I’m a little upset that I forgot to say some really important things and also because the way I wrote made some people think that Flash developers are “better” than other developers and that HTML5 is almost the same thing as Flash (both things aren’t true)

I stated that Flash developers are used to solve problems that the JS community is only starting to have, but I didn’t mentioned that the JS community is also solving issues that Flash developers never had to handle. Even though they share a few things, each technology requires a complete different set of knowledge and experience, that’s why companies usually hire different people for each position… - that’s another reason why the communities should respect each other.

Why?

It takes time to master each platform and it’s hard to keep up-to-date with all the new features/libraries/frameworks. You can be really good at both things but it is a hard task and not really common, writing clean/semantical markup is completely different than coding an interactive/visual experience. A small list of things that a Flash developer probably don’t know as much as a good HTML developer:

  • Accessibility, semantics and SEO.
  • How to structure markup and style to avoid cross-browser issues.
  • CSS (it is easy to learn but takes years to master).
  • Frameworks, libraries, workflows, IDEs.
  • Best practices.
  • Understand JavaScript (since it’s similar to ActionScript but has a lot of peculiarities).
  • How to build large applications using JavaScript.
  • How to increase page load performance.
  • Code websites/web-applications for mobile devices.
  • See cross-browser issues as a challenge and not an annoyance.
  • Newest technologies and what is coming next (specs, experimental APIs…).
  • Etc…

But it’s also important to understand that a good HTML/JS developer can’t replace a good Flash developer as well… There are so many domain-specific knowledge that one simply cannot replace another.

It is not a war

The main reason why I decided to write this post was because of Keith Petters comment, Paul Irish’s comment, an e-mail I sent to Flashcoders-NY and also Jamie Kosoy post at Big Spaceship blog.

Don’t be afraid of loosing your job because Flash developers are starting to experiment with HTML5 or because now Flash isn’t required for some tasks, if you are good at what you do you have nothing to fear… Use the tool that fits the project, not the opposite.

“The whole world turns upside down in ten years, but you turn upside down with it.” – Spider Robinson, 1977 (via Flash mob gone wrong)

Sorry for talking about HTML5 vs. Flash once again, I was just waiting things to calm down a little bit to start talking about it (so people could put emotions aside and think rationally), I will try to avoid it on the next posts since I already said most things I wanted to say and everyone is tired of it. Thanks.


Comments

Great article Miller! I don't see Flash and HTML developers as opponents, but as a team. Today it is possible. They have to discuss and decide the best way to solve a problem, such as a video player, something using BitmapData or a real time application.

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