protocol7 archive
2 April 2002

Macromedia and SVG has a article that raises some criticism about Flash being a closed format. I agree with almost all that is being said about limited accessibility in Flash because of the binary, closed format. Many Flash advocates argue that the SWF format is open because Macromedia published the spec on their site. Well, Macromedia is clever enough to only publish the format slightly after a new version is released (the Flash MX/6 format is still to be published), which keeps the competitors always being one version behind. And what developer wants to use a development tool (which is where Macromedia makes most of their money) that publishes the old format where you cannot do all the new cool things? I don’t. Also, how open is a format that no-one, except Macromedia, has any input into changing?

Also, I have to say that Macromedia is putting more and more dirty hacks into the Flash format to make it more accessible (searchable text being dumped in the HTML as a comment totally without meaning (remember, that why we use markup), named anchors and screen readers being dependent of specific browser technologies, telling search companies to re-build their search engines so that Flash can be indexed).

So Macromedia, you got one of the best IDE’s in the world. Why not join the new world of open standards? Hell, even Microsoft uses XML as their main data format now (not just read it so you can claim XML support). If you belive that you can sell Dreamweaver or Homesite that edits open standards (HTML), why couldn’t the Flash format be a subset of SVG?

tags: Uncategorized