Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A List Apart: Articles: Flash Embedding Cage Match

A beautiful example of how f**ked up the web is, at a technical level, but we survive anyway.

Flash embedding is a ubiquitous feature of the "modern" web. Probably more important than Ajax.

Although many still associate Flash with its (apparent) original intended use for brochure-ware and subsequent horrible abuse in website ads, Flash has quietly become the de-facto way for various types (audio, video, animation) to seamlessly blend into a website.

Without flash there would be no YouTube, no Google video, no myspace band pages as we currently know them, no streaming podcasts in Bloglines.

And yet this high-tech castle is built on a foundation of sand. Quicksand even. Non-standard tags, competing implementations of the same tag in different browsers.

Cross-browser Flash embedding, much like cross-browser Ajax, is a technology that shouldn't work, given the competing standards arrayed against us.

And yet, here it is, a pillar of the Internet community.

This says something about the nature of rules, laws, and standards that I haven't completely wrapped my head around, but I believe when I do, it's gonna be a real mindbomb.