Python - Web Display Technology

Sybren Stuvel sybrenUSE at
Thu May 18 09:15:26 CEST 2006

SamFeltus enlightened us with:
> I am trying to figure out why so little web development in Python
> uses Flash as a display technology.

There are a couple of reasons:

    - Flash is bad for websites that are 100% done inside the Flash
      movie. In such a case the back-button doesn't work anymore,
      which is a major usability issue.

    - In the above case, bookmarking a page doesn't work either.

    - You need an extra plugin. Even though it's available for the
      major OSses and hardware systems, it's not available for every
      platform that can run a browser.

    - The plugin is closed-source.

    - The format that is the "source" for the SWF files is a closed,
      proprietary format.

    - Many user-interface widgets are generally badly implemented in
      Flash. For instance, on many scrolling thingies, the scrollwheel
      doesn't work. Or, the regular scrollwheel works, but for
      scrolling horizontally the tilt wheel isn't supported. Another
      example: sometimes it's only clear what a link points to when
      you hover over it (revealing a text behind an image, for
      instance), which is impossible on some devices (think handhelds
      with a touch-screen).

    - Search engines don't understand Flash movies. They are also
      unable to link directly to relevant pages.

    - Many more reasons...

> It seems most Python applications choose HTML/CSS/JS as the display
> technology, yet Flash is a far more powerful and elegant display
> technology.

Flash is indeed more powerful, but not elegant at all.

> On the other hand, HTML/JS seems clunky and antiquated.

It's getting a lot better. Try using XHTML 1.1 and only up to date,
platform/browser-independent JavaScript, it'll be much better.

> I am a gardener, and not a coder by trade, but Flash seems to
> integrate just fine with Python.

It's absolute crap when it comes to coding. ActionScript stands almost
perpendicular to Python when it comes to the Python way of thinking.
In ActionScript there are many ways of doing the same thing, none of
which are obvious. Another thing is that when you call a function that
doesn't exist, that call is silently ignored. The same holds for
getting the value of a non-existing variable. This makes debugging
very difficult.


Your site looks quite "unstyled" without flash... And I don't have
Flash player 8...

The problem with the world is stupidity. Not saying there should be a
capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the
safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself? 
                                             Frank Zappa

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