What I took away from FITC Toronto

I’ve just returned from the premiere Canadian new media trade show known as Flash in the Can. My head is now full of hope and inspiration for the future of rich media, and dynamic desktop applications.

There were so many wonderful things worth mentioning, and I fear I’ll only be able to only scratch the surface in a single article, so consider this a brief overview.

AirLet me start by discussing the potential for Adobe’s new product Air, which is a platform allowing flash developers to create dedicated desktop applications using all the same scripting and abilities of Flash CS3.

Before attending FITC I didn’t really appreciate the usefulness of a new platform to host Flash based applications. But now that I’m aware of its easy-to-use built-in SQL database, and the potential to access dynamic data both locally, online, and the possibility of syncing the offline with the online I’m eager to dive far deeper into this new dev platform. I’m thinking this would make an excellent platform for an Intranet, among other incredibly useful apps.

A few major websites such as PayPal, EBay, Google Analytics, FaceBook, and others have already built or are developing desktop versions of their huge and complicated sites to allow users a faster and more feature-rich experience then was ever possible before. In many cases it will allow their sites to operate offline which is a pretty major ability both for the company and their users.

Here is Adobe’s current Air app showcase site.

One other thing I took away from FITC was the incredible work being done by a few people in the realm of code generated artwork.

Flash has long been a favorite tool among groundbreaking designers to avoid the limitations of old-fashioned HTML/CSS styles, allowing the sites to be presented in ways that are near-impossible in most other traditional ways.

I strongly recommend viewing the work being done by Joshua Davis, Erik Natzke, and my personal favorite Grant Skinner. Skinner has managed to create some beautiful, natural looking trees and grass, entirely with code. It would take many pages to get into the details of how this is possible, but it essentially amounts to porn for Flash coders.

Anywho, it was a fantastic conference that will forever influence the way I approach my work.


  1. Flash may be a great tool for designers to avoid the limitations of 'old-fashioned' HTML, however is anything being done to surmount the SEO drawbacks of it? If no one can find your website, what's the point of making it 'flashy'?

  2. Julie, there are several ways to make a Flash site Search Engine friendly... Have a look at www.marsworks.com with JavaScript turned on, then with it turned off. The site is basically the same, and is completely SEO!