This is for a consumer oriented web app (as opposed to B2B). A richly interactive UI is considered essential. It may well be that Flash is the only way to achieve what is being imagined, but I personally think AJAX could provide a very satisfactory experience. We also have the question of whether to support IE6.
I think the top arguments for Flash are:
Single platform to target (acknowledging performance differences between OSs)
Likely highest productivity (richer development tools, better testing frameworks, not having to worry as much about multiple browser versions)
Better integration with client OS for things like drag and drop, file uploads, etc
Am I wrong about any of these?
The thing is, I think these things have been true for quite a while, and yet Google chose AJAX for Gmail and Google Maps, Yahoo for their remade mail client & Flickr, which started out being mostly Flash has now converted most of it to AJAX.
The main downside I see for Flash could be equally true for AJAX:
bookmarkability/sharability is hindered since displayed URL likely doesn't recreate the current view.
The other issues are harder for me to quantify:
- Flash isn't "cool"
- Flash isn't open
What else should I be thinking about? How have you made your decisions? Real numbers would be appreciated (are adobe's estimates of Flash penetration
anything close to accurate?)
There is also the issue of IE6 support. Numbers aren't declining quickly enough, and it seems likely that the holdouts are computers in businesses. Our app isn't going to be "work related" for most people, but the reality is, people use such apps from work all the time. We don't want people to be unable to use our app from work. On the other hand, using Flash would help work around a lot of IE6 issues.