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Flash Intro

I have just finished my first significant contracting project in a long time, an aquaintence of mine who is a designer landed a neat contract and needed me to do all of the back-end stuff. I hadn't done anything with php for a while, but I figured, what the heck. Now that its done I have a couple of questions for the folks out here wiser than I...

1. The client insists on having a huge flash intro. Right now its set to appear on a thirty day cookie, but he actually wants it too appear for every new session! Is this as crazy and bad as I think it is? (Check it out here: ) If it is the sin I think it is, how do I persuads the client to reconsider for his own sake? I know he can spend his money however he chooses, but I would like to help him make the right decision.

2. I make my living as a FTE doing .NET stuff. Php wasn't bad, but I ended up spending too much time building my own class libraries to do stuff. And I am not completely satisfied with the seperation between teirs. I may do more php work in the future... I know PEAR exists, but I don't know much about it. Is it worth learning and using, or do most experienced programmers default to home grown libraries?
Jeff Barton Send private email
Friday, March 11, 2005
Wow an 8MB flash intro.

Words fail me.
Dennis Forbes Send private email
Friday, March 11, 2005
PEAR sucks ass. An overengeneered underdocumented pile of crap that nobody understands or uses.
Friday, March 11, 2005
==> Wow an 8MB flash intro... Words fail me.


Just let 'em know that N% (for sufficient N -- I don't know the actual number) of their audience is still on dial-up. Plug 'em into a modem and demonstrate what an 8MB download can do on dialup. Impress the hell out of 'em.
Friday, March 11, 2005
And there are those who refuse to even install flash.
I don't need that crap on my computer
Friday, March 11, 2005
I have Flash on my PC, but it's set (like any other ActiveX control) to prompt before running.  I'm always amazed at the number of sites that simply don't work, that don't even allow you access, if you don't have Flash.

I don't know why I'm still amazed, because you'd think I'd've seen enough of them by now...
Kyralessa Send private email
Friday, March 11, 2005
Good news for those who have Flash off is that Google now indexes Flash. One click on Google toolbar and you have links to all internal pages, without clicking through the stupid intro.
Friday, March 11, 2005
" do I persuads the client to reconsider for his own sake? .."

1. 8 mb intro flash???? Jeezzz, I'm on cable modem and it was slow.

2. Might try making the [skip intro] button bigger.

3. Find out what # of browsers dont' have flash that'll run that.
SHOW him (don't tell him) what it looks like without flash (or on a slow connection, if you can simulate that).
Then tell him (X #, or y%) of your cusotmers are seeing THIS.  (use % or #, which ever is more impressive.

Find something the client cares about (# of visitors, usability, whatever)

Find some way to quantify Flash's impact on that metric.

Get his buy in on importance of the metric and the way you're measuring it.

Does the client care how many people make it past his intro screen?

Is there a way to measure how many people do NOT get beyond the intro screen?  (Compare # visitors to intro vs. to the next screen after that).
Would client agree to replacing flash intro with something static for a few weeks and comparing the above numbers.

If this doesn't work, then client is being irrational and it's not your job to make him rational. This is NOT a teachable moment.
Mr. Analogy {uISV owner} Send private email
Saturday, March 12, 2005
BTW, if the client is determined to be irrational, why worry about it?

Just because you KNOW you're right, doesn't mean you have to inflict that on him <g>.  From his perspective, it may not seem much different than a <insert dogmatic relgion here> that spouts off about how they KNOW your immortal soul is in danger.
Mr. Analogy {uISV owner} Send private email
Saturday, March 12, 2005
At least you can skip it. I always skip Flash.

Be very diplomatic, it's a client. C-L-I-E-N-T.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
Gee Egor, that is a very eloquent and constructive criticism of PEAR you make...

OP: the nice thing about PEAR is that you can pick and choose the things you want, without having to install the things you don't. I have found HTML_Quickforms and the SOAP library to be quite useful (and very well-documented). But yes it's true that some of the modules are not so well-documented or useful.

As for the issue of separating the tiers, I agree that php is not immediately conducive to this (this is both its strength and weakness as a tool -- it is really easy to get something quick and dirty going, but of course it is equally easy to wind up with a mess). However, if you do wish to continue php development, I can't recommend highly enough that you check out Smarty, which is a templating engine that is relatively easy to set up, relatively easy to use, and makes your code a zillion times more legible and easy to work with.
Jordan Lev Send private email
Saturday, March 12, 2005
make the "skip intro" link part of the html instead of making people start loading the flash before they get the skip intro link.
Zach M Send private email
Saturday, March 12, 2005
I'm not entirely sure about the diplomacy bit.  There's a mistaken belief that clients are always right, if they're clients then they're hiring you because you know something they don't and you have experience they don't; not pointing out the obvious (to you) to the client is a disservice to them.

Certainly, they can persist in their wrongness but sometimes you have to be brutally honest, this does not mean you can't do it with humour and a smile but at the same time it doesn't mean that sometimes you do have to bring out the gunboats.
Simon Lucy Send private email
Sunday, March 13, 2005
"And there are those who refuse to even install flash. I don't need that crap on my computer"

I second that.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Try to get the client to read this article:

My favorite quote**2 from it:

"When you go to a Wal-Mart, you aren't forced to stop and watch a movie before going in to buy something, so why would you put one on your Web site? People have already made the effort to find you," Mr. Flanders says.
Anony Coward
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Words fail me too.  I mean, wow….
And after that interminable wait, I’m rewarded with a bunch of *still* pictures.
John Senior
Monday, March 14, 2005
There's no reason for that animation to take up 7.5 Mb.  An equivalent animation could be done in 1/2Mb, unless I'm missing something near the end. 

It's possible that with some websites the flashy video is the reason for the site's existence.  Even in this case, load the banner, the sites name, and the contact links/etc first, and set a cookie so if they've seen it they don't ~have~ to watch it again.
Joel Coehoorn
Monday, March 14, 2005
My first thought was "what the hell!?" 8Mb for a bit of still pictures? But I see animations after a while. But anyway, I explicity waited to see what the fuss was about. No ordinary customer would. Ridiculous really.

Monday, March 14, 2005
Thanks for the advice. As to the size of the swf, I agree, it shouldn't be 8mb, but I didn't make it, a designer did. I think it's actually just a movie file imported into flash. I'm not going to touch it.

I have shared all my concerns with the designer, since he landed the original contract and he has the credit on the site's footer. He says it's what the client wants. I will leave it between them.
Jeff Barton Send private email
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Phil Greenspun's solution:

""Glad to hear that your company is so profitable," We responded. "Since you're able to hire 50 tech support people for your Web site then you must be raking in the bucks.""

- from

Friday, April 01, 2005

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