Flash: Best place to start, worst place to end up

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I know the web world cringes when the word Flash is mentioned, but I always sigh remembering the days when my ActionScript knowledge was relevant.  I still am not ashamed that I know and enjoyed working in Flash and ActionScript, yet I have no delusions that others may see Flash mentioned on my website and say something like; “Why would he advertise that?”

head shake

Here’s why I continue to note Flash when describing myself as a programmer; it’s part of what made me who I am professionally.

First thing to understand is that my degree, what I went to school for, was web design. Not programming, not web development, but web DESIGN. And anyone who works in our business knows, you never do just one aspect of the job, especially design. Not to mention the fact that design really is not my forte. But, yes I have a degree to create websites in Photoshop and hope someone else will take it from there.  Luckily my classes also introduced me to Flash. Not any real type of programming, but frames and animation for websites, and while others were learning how to use PhotoShop, a program I already knew how to use, I played around with Flash and ActionScript.

I was well out of school by the time anyone, including myself would refer to me as a programmer but as I became more fluent in PHP, HTML and CSS, I continued to play around with Flash and ActionScript. It wouldn’t be for another year or so, when when I was first introduced to Ruby, that I realized that I had been working in an Object Oriented language for almost 3 years. Granted, I had only been really good at it for a short time of that 3 years, but without knowing it, I had been laying down the ground work for truly understanding 00 programming.

As I learned Ruby and Ruby on Rails, I began to see the similarities between Ruby and ActionScript and began to truly understand how to think in terms of objects. I was now understanding the terms I saw; such as properties and methods, while searching for answers on how to do this or that in Flash. Classes and inheritance became words that had meanings instead of things I didn’t really need to know with what I was doing.

Another great thing about learning programming through ActionScript was that AS’s syntax and a lot of its functions are very similar or even exactly the same as JavaScript’s. This made learning JS a lot easier and in-turn, as I got better in JS, my ActionScript got better as well. To take it a step further, ActionScript and Flash are probably the reason I love working with JavaScript so much. Back in the day, Flash made webpages dynamic and come alive rather than just flat lifeless sheets of paper. These days that’s JavaScript’s job but we have Flash to thank, I believe, for making us see webpages more in that light.


What’s the point of this post? Am I trying to say that new developers should start with AS? Am I justifying the continued teaching of Flash in higher education for developers? Do I think that Flash and AS will come back around?

1. No
2. No
3. Shit no!

Mostly, I just want the web community to remember that 10 years ago Flash allowed us magical animations, sound/music and videos to an otherwise flat and static world. And hopefully then they won’t have the complete look of distain when Flash is mentioned or better yet understand why someone might still proudly describe themselves as a Flash developer amongst the rest of the web stack.

Of course we all know:
Haters Gonna Hate

Or maybe I really just wanted an excuse to use that animated GIF in a blog post. Who knows?

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