The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

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My objection to Flash and Javascript.

Mainly it's those damn ads. I hate them. I'll rip out Flash and Javascript just so I don't have to look at intrusive blinking ads and popups.

Also there's the security risk angle that comes from the complexity. All these diffrent technologies are bound to introduce more security holes.

But then what about Web applications? I try to make them work without Flash or Javascript if I possibly can. This means the look and feel is kind of mediocre but at least it's solid. Were HTTP and HTML ever meant to support distributed applications? Having a choice of kluges is no choice at all.

But things are what they are. So how to cope? It seems to me a properly designed Flash player plugin should NOT play automatically but only when the user clicks on the location to start it. Give the user a choice!

Javascript is messier because it's not confined to some part of the page where you can click to start it. I think Konqueror has the ability to disable it selectively on a per site basis. But they can defeat that just by using thousands of host names.

Am I the only one who's thought of this? Is there a solution out there that actually works without introducing new problems?

Two more questions to ponder:

1. Why AJAX instead of Flash?
2. Why Flash instead of Java applets?
Rowland
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
An interesting link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Internet_Application#Methods

Compares the various methods for Web apps.
Rowland
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
"1. Why AJAX instead of Flash?"

I'm a developer who has worked with HTML and Javascript for a few years. Just before Christmas I did my first mjour AJAX enabled page and it was easy using the skills I have without the need to learn anything new.

While you can turn off Javascript most people don't bother and all decent browsers support it without having to download something as you do with Flash. Generally the AJAX code would also be much more efficient, getting what it needs when it needs it. I remember a few years ago waiting literally 5 minutes for Flash based sites to download before you saw anything (not such a problem these days with broadband connections).

Also you can develop without having to pay Macromedia for the development software.

2. Why Flash instead of Java applets?

I think the development tools for Flash (animation etc) are better and it's more design orientated, as far as I know applets need Java programming skills. In other words, a designer could do the bulk of a work in Flash themselves.
Andrew Gilfrin Send private email
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
"Were HTTP and HTML ever meant to support distributed applications?"

No.
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
"It seems to me a properly designed Flash player plugin should NOT play automatically"

Yes.
Art Wilkins
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
"Were HTTP and HTML ever meant to support distributed applications?"

Actually, it was. Guess where this quote comes from?

"HTTP is an application-level protocol with the lightness and speed necessary for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. It is a generic, stateless, object-oriented protocol which can be used for many tasks,  such as name servers and distributed object management systems, through extension of its request methods (commands)."

If the DNS isn't an example of a distributed application, I don't know what is.
R. C. James Harlow Send private email
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
DNS has nothing to do with HTTP and HTML.

Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
Regarding "flashy" adds:
When reading articles online I instinctively search for the "print" view option for two reasons. 1) the online print view is ussualy free of distractive adds and 2) I can scan the whole article at once. Unfortunately, some sites require a login to use the print view and some sites have a stupid javascript that sends output to the printer.
Nonymous
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
He was referring to Microsoft's DNS (Distributed Network System) Architecture, rather than DNS (Domain Naming System/Service).

Too many TLAs...
EPiddy
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
I agree, R. C. James -- I was focussing on the HTML part of the question.

That being said, I don't think DNS is based on HTTP.
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
"He was referring to Microsoft's DNS (Distributed Network System)"

Ah. Which is (IIRC) XML, not HTML, and the fact that it is based on HTTP doesn't prove that the latter was designed to support applications. It's just a new way to use it.
Berislav Lopac Send private email
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
Ever since HTML added form elements, it was 'designed for' distributed applications.  As for HTTP, it's just a stateless protocol -- it's neither here nor there on that issue.
Almost H. Anonymous Send private email
Monday, March 06, 2006
 
 
The quote is from the HTTP RFC abstract (shame on anyone who didn't google it).

http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc1945/rfc1945
R. C. James Harlow Send private email
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
 
 
And I was referring to the domain name system, working from the use of the phrase "name servers" in the quote.
R. C. James Harlow Send private email
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
 
 

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