Flashback 

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So the time Adobe cuts the cord on Flash support has finally come. Adobe will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player on December 31th, 2020.

I’ll be honest, I was never a supporter of Flash taking over entire web pages (aka “rich web applications”), or entire sites. I felt it as a coup against the open HTML/CSS web. Having learned most of what I know by looking at other people’s source code, I considered Flash as yet another black box. This said, it was a handy streaming audio and video player, at a time when the browser war was raging, it simplified embedding video in our pages. Beyond that, there was a bunch of cool games and animations.

Nevertheless, I did use this technology in a couple of projects. My good friend Sylvain Hugues was the Flash developer in both of them.

Back in 2004, I directed a project for the Musée d’Ethnographie in Geneva : «Sans objet – cent objets» “Totem N°41”. The museum was undergoing a massing inventory of its collections while moving them to a secure storage in order to have the building refurbished. Some 70’000 objects were being catalogued, described and photographed, and the museum led by Ninian Hubert van Blyenburgh needed a nearline solution to display them to the public while the museum was being refurbished.

I’ll insert a screenshot when I find my archived project.

Around the same time, I chose Flash to build an interactive map of Xstrata’s global operations. The world map was zoomable, and each operation displayed a popover window with its information. The data was managed through the app: new operations could be added or modified.

In both cases, Flash filled a gap and provided a level of interactivity and animations that was either unavailable or unsupported at the time.

Screenshot of Xstrata's operation map
Xstrata’s operation map was a Flash app.

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