DHTML or Flash?
The last five years has seen an exponential growth in the use of shockwave and flash
animations in creating websites. The old tried and trusted techniques such as D/HTML
are slowly moving over to make room for this newer multimedia delivery vehicle.
Yet the people who advocate the use of flash/shockwave in creating multimedia-rich
sites are not asking the right question: Is all that glitters gold?
An important facet of flash / shockwave glossed over by most people is that
these technologies are a packaged scripting environment: In other words - most
of what you can do in flash, you can do in DHTML with a little effort.
A question that pops up at this stage is: Why would I want to go through all of
that? The answer is simple and is illustrated by way of practical example.
Pick a topic - any topic - and type the relevant search keywords into your
favorite search engine. Now try to find a flash site under the first thirty
results. You will be surprised to find that this "silver bullet" of web design
does not even feature.
The majority of search engines do not support the indexing of shockwave / flash
sites - this can have a detrimental effect on your Internet business if you rely
on search engine traffic to generate revenue. Remember one thing: Content is
king and the only recognized content is in HTML pages.
Bells and Whistles: Where, When and What
Deploying rich multimedia sites are becoming more and more a design requirement.
However, the objective of your site should be the determining factor between
using D/HTML or Flash for multimedia content. Exposure and the generation of
revenue solidly discounts the use of Flash as the major site component - search
placement is too important to sacrifice for a simple thing such shiny buttons.
D/HTML provides an attractive alternative to ensuring that your site is indexed
properly by search engines.
However, Flash should not be put out to pasture based on this: Limited Flash
content can still be an asset on your Internet presence if used judiciously.
Corporate Intranets are another matter entirely: Flash provides the perfect
delivery vehicle for rich business applications, where DHTML would be more of
a liability than an asset - e.g. training material, presentations and etcetera.
In conclusion, the objective of a site should determine which of the two technologies
are the preferred medium for multimedia delivery.
Riaan Pieterse is the CEO and founder of
Kerberos Internet Services CC,
South Africa. Having spent a number of years conducting various consulting
assignments in the Far East, Middle East, Africa and Europe to businesses and
governments alike, Riaan has a solid understanding of the business and technology
issues in today's market. For more information visit