Rome Reborn as a Flash Movie

Mike Shaver's post about rich internet applications, with the great quote

If someone tells you that their platform is the web, only better, there is a very easy test that you can use:
http://sgillies.net/images/is-this-the-web.png

rippled around last month, and I was reminded of it again when I viewed the Rome Reborn 1.0 flash movie (via The Stoa Consortium). It's slick, no doubt, but you can't really call it a web site. This manifestation is practically unusable. Flash movies should complement -- never replace -- addressable, linkable, bookmarkable, and programmable web sites.

See also Daniel Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig in their book Digital History.

Comments

Re: Rome Reborn as a Flash Movie

Author: Bill Thorp

Is this really about Flash, or even web sites? Couldn't I render obtuse SVG in a browser? PDFs? AJAX? Applets? Would you really deep-link their content if you could? Should they want you to? (There are ways: http://www.unfocus.com/projects/)

Re: Rome Reborn as a Flash Movie

Author: Allan

Trouble is, Flash is considered the "easy" way towards cross-platform rich content delivery. There's only one Flash engine that gets ported by one company. Browser engines present a messier landscape to provide content for. Furthermore, Flash apps are probably being built by media design people who don't have a deep appreciation for the implications of non-URL-addressable content that gets buried in the process. I think the solution is not so much to rail against the people who do this but rather to provide examples of what you/we consider better practices. These people are earnestly doing their jobs and when they look around for "how do we build an interactive web site to showcase our stuff" they will have a greater likelihood of finding decent patterns.

Re: Rome Reborn as a Flash Movie

Author: Sean

Ross Scaife (from The Stoa Consortium) found himself unable to link to his favorite image on the Rome Reborn "site", something that we take for granted on the dull, plain old HTML web. I have no problem with Flash, the tool. A site implemented entirely in javascript with no links (no non-human UI) would be almost as bad. It might as well be a glossy paper brochure. Best practices are clearly laid out in Cohen and Rosenzweig's book. The authors were not as concerned about the programmable web as I am, but their advice about URIs and multimedia is as relevant to machine users as human users.

Re: Rome Reborn as a Flash Movie

Author: Bill Thorp

"Flash with Named Anchors" is an HTML publishing template in Flash. This is an awareness issue. The authors of Rome... don't know how to use it, and Mr. Scaife must be totally unaware of HTTP packet sniffing. http://www.romereborn.virginia.edu/imageG8.jpg

Re: Rome Reborn as a Flash Movie

Author: Sean

Good fodder for this weekend, yes?