I just got back from the annual Feweb event, this year I was scheduled in the Rich Internet Applications track to do a Flash versus Javascript battle with none other than Peter-Paul Koch, moderated by Gijs Van Essche. Despite our sincere efforts it was difficult to find fault with the two technologies since they complement eachother so well. I had a few opening slides listing some of the top reasons to use Flash and features that are now or soon will be available in the Flash Player.



The slides above are in Dutch but I'm pretty sure they won't be too difficult to understand ;)

Further discussion points raised by the moderator included:

  • Flex and AJAX are identical
  • Flex is sexier
  • Flex is cross browser
  • AJAX is a team rather than a single company
  • Flex = Ajax < Silverlight

In the end it came down to use cases for each of the technologies, with Javascript and AJAX you've got more fine-grained control over the browser DOM while Flash/Flex gives you the advantage of cross platform deployment and a whole stack of data and multimedia features.

Where both Peter-Paul and myself seemed to converge was the last question on Silverlight where we both had our concerns particularly about the way it is being marketed. I think we were pretty fair in our assessment though was pleased to have a little chat with Luc Van de Velde, Director Developer & Platform Group for Microsoft afterwards.

I would like to call for a RIA think tank to be set up to get a technology-agnostic look at the challenges we face and how to most effectively move forward. Nobody benefits from a "browser war" between rich client technologies. Anyone interested to help kick start this project feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly!