The convergence of Ajax and Flash


smooth gallery

While reading a couple of posts in Ajaxian about hacking the canvas tag with a flickr stream and a mootools-based image gallery stream it struck me just how sophisticated some Ajax-based UIs have become, so much so that it has become harder to tell what is and is not flash.

That is, not so long ago, flash was the only viable option for a variety of interactivity including drag and drop and sophisticated animation. However, over the last year a slew of Ajax libraries have been released such as dojo, Yahoo! UI, canvas tag has spread, especially with the release of excanvas that hacks this SVG type functionality for internet explorer. Now one can draw and animate curves in DHTML.

Now don’t get me wrong, flash is a great innovative, product (sometimes abused where the whole website is flash and you cannot link to anything) has a very thin client, and most importantly looks and feels the same on different browsers (without all those frustrating conditional CSS IE hacks). For this reason it will hold a strong position for a while to come yet, but I do feel that we will continue to see increasing innovation in Ajax libraries and a convergence of DHTML websites to have a flash-like look and feel.