I've been out of the game a long time. When I last used Flash, I think it was version 2.0, maybe 3, and it was under Macromedia. Dreamweaver had just come out for the PC a year earlier and for me, both programs were mind blowing. Dreamweaver only because it made html much more complicated than it was and I couldn't believe someone would actually prefer it to the simplicity of notepad. The only thing that really made Dreamweaver worthwhile was its FTP capabilities.
As for Flash, well, by the time I was involved with it animated intros were the quintessential requirement for a successful homepage and if you didn't implement Flash animation on your website then you were a mediocre web designer at best.
Some of the animations out there were pretty amazing and I remember going through the Macromedia awards page and viewing all the top animators with awe and admiration.
I made all kinds of heavily inspired but lame animations with Flash images…mostly banner ads and forum signatures, but there were a few Flash intros in my portfolio that I was proud to showcase.
The flaw with animating a website though, which soon became apparent, was that no one wanted to sit through your 30 second intro over and over, no matter how cleverly your squiggly lines morphed into logos. After the first go round, a visitor didn't give a fart about your ingenious creativity; the meat was all that mattered.
The same went for the client for whom the intro was created. You'd get the, "That's nice, but is it going to be there every time?" And soon webmasters across the webosphere were sublimated to implementing the dreaded and deprecating "skip intro" option. It wasn't long after that you'd land on a Flash page and see a button for the "html version" of a site.
That, for me, was the death blow.
It seemed as quickly as it had crescendoed, Flash was doomed.
Elaborate Flash projects were relegated to the world of ad banners and pop ups.
I didn't have a long stay in web design. I'd started a small company, Coffee & No Sleep, which consisted of me; but I lacked the patience for clients' indecisiveness and after a year of struggling to keep my creative sanity and pay rent I went back to bartending. So, in essence, I didn't explore Flash long enough to really see its potential.
Nonetheless, here I am ten years later, again incorporating Flash on websites. This time as an aid in creating video presentations and the like. It's more Flash's speed, in my opinion, to assist than be the bulwark. And it does a superb job as a firm accoutrement in your design armament.
One thing that I love about it is the program hasn't changed all that much. You still tween objects like you did ten years ago. There are a few more bells and whistles to give it more…well, flash, but that's to be expected to justify an expensive upgrade. After all, bidniz is bidniz.
One thing's for sure, animation with Flash is here to stay. Its history is too heavily entrenched in the web. In all regards, it has a strong foothold on standards, as much as standards exist. I mean, the majority of web apps are done in flash, right? Not to mention the games…
Even in the creeping nascent shadow of HTML5 (gasp), Flash is still relevant to the web, far more so, and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon.
But maybe that's just me and my battle with denial. Partly because I don't want to have to learn another animating platform. I will if necessary, but I'd rather stay with something that isn't broken in the meantime.
And certainly Flash has its flaws, but it's the best option out there and I'm guessing Adobe will adapt before it lets Flash die. In time, something may come along and dwarf its status as an animation powerhouse and provide some real competition in the development market, but it more than likely won't be an open source project that does it.
Mainly, because there are too many cooks in the kitchen of open source to get anything out in a timely fashion. Open source is a perpetual beta of bug fixes, updates and acknowledgements of covert genuflection so the project keeps moving forward.
More than likely, it'll take something proprietary to overcome Flash, something more with designers in mind and not developers. Designers don't code and developers seldom design and it seems like open source is trying to bridge that gap. Not that there's anything wrong with that but I honestly don't think either one has time for the other.
It might happen.
A designer/developer Utopia might bloom from the open source womb and the world of animation and platform development may polarize into a mass orgy of design code and clients will put their trust in mutant designopers to build their websites leaving the natives stumbling around Google plus WTF'ing their waning existence.
But until it does, I still have a job and Flash is still cool.