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What to Do in a World Without Flash?

by Stephen Haskin

March 21, 2016


by Stephen Haskin

March 21, 2016

“eLearning developers really do create complex lessons with lots of interactions and movement, if they have the time to create a high level of interactivity in their work. It’s always a matter of time vs. available dollars, so you do what you can. While you can continue to develop your lessons in Animate CC, which is still Flash CC, you now have a real variety to choose from and that you can drop into a canvas document. It could be a great thing for eLearning developers.”

On February 11, 2016, Flash CC was replaced by Animate CC. Of course, Flash isn’t really gone, it’s just been renamed Animate CC. It’s a different name, but under the skin, it’s almost exactly the same as Flash. I’m not going to compare this to putting lip gloss on a porcine mammal, but Animate CC is still Flash CC.

Animate CC can still be used to make Flash files and the program saves files in the FLA format as the default. It also can save in the XFL format, which is called an “Animate Uncompressed Document.” It’s still an FLA file. If you want to create a SWF from your work, you export. Publish creates an HTML5 <canvas> document: a JavaScript file, an html file, and a media folder.

This name change raises the question: Why would you continue to make Flash files? In this article, I hope to help you answer that question for your own situation, and to give you some alternatives that in my opinion are better than continuing to make Flash files.

Sidebar 1: A word about HTML5

I want to note something. HTML5 is exactly the same as HTML4 and HTML3 and so on; you get the idea. The difference is there are 21 more commands that came available when browsers became HTML5-compliant. Mostly HTML5 became an environment where you could create things and put them directly into the browser. When you can create video, animation, and motion graphics output to a <canvas> container for your web, you export your project as HTML. The program you’re using writes an HTML file along with a CSS file and a file with your assets (images) and a custom JavaScript file for your media. You then go over to Dreamweaver (or code it yourself if you like pain) and insert the media on the page you are building for a browser. Or go to Captivate or Presenter or whatever you have that can make its own HTML5 pages, embed what you’ve done into your Captivate (or whatever) file, and then put everything else around it. Voila! The index.html or whatever page will read everything. Maybe hard to understand the first time around, but it’s very easy to do.

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As a long time Flash developer, I have switched to using Hype Pro 3.5 from Tumult (Mac only). It requires some coding, like Flash, but outputs pure HTML5. Rapid eLearning development tools like Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline can output HTML5, but they have limited customization.
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