Updates. By Jeff Kreeftmeijer

I loved Flash. To celebrate the #Flashpocalypse, please indulge me for trip down memory lane. 🧵

Over fifteen years ago, my first programming gig was an internship at a company that built websites with Flash. A project I remember was the website for a large Dutch fashion chain.

The team of designers, animators and programmers worked together to make it a beautiful experience, while maintaining some form of accessibility and SEO.

To do that, the whole Flash app gracefully degraded to a separate pure-HTML version, essentially duplicating the project.

I helped to get data from MySQL through an API built in PHP, which was read through ActionScript in Flash.

It was a convoluted system, but that was required to get data into Flash. In many ways it’s akin to what frontend apps are doing now (but we had a 100% custom interface).

Almost everything was custom-built. No frameworks, no version control, no staging server, no local development environment.

Just Notepad++ connected over FTP to production, and an if-statement that matched on the office’s IP to work within (that, and server backups).

Although whatever we did back then is now possible through HTML in modern browsers, I haven’t seen very many animation-heavy websites like that since.

That might very well be because it’s simply a Bad Idea™, or it could be a browser compatibility problem.

If that’s the case, Flash had an edge on us now. Our website worked cross-browser, and we could do whatever we wanted within that <object> box.

That doesn’t mean it was a good idea. It wasn’t. It came with a lot of its own problems, as it was pretty much an interactive video.

In any case, aside from learning a lot about programming and debugging, that job proved to me that programming is fun and that passion, not skill or good tech choices, is the main requirement to make amazing things.

And it gave me a nostalgic appreciation for death metal. 🦇