- Single-file deployment. Once you’ve made a Flash file it’s one file
whatever.swf. That’s highly easy to deploy. It will be possible to make single-file deployments of a scripting+SVG+HTML+images bundle, but it’s harder; images are a particular problem if you intend to support Internet Explorer.
- An IDE. This is what Otte calls for, above, noting that animations require coding in an HTML+SVG+JS environment and they don’t in Flash, and that “the best Free authoring tool is either vim or emacs”; not what he’s suggesting that we do use, but a wry comment on the lack of authoring tools for standards-compliant rich web apps. An IDE is fairly critical to get this sort of technology out to the masses.
Ignoring the elephant in the corner of multimedia support for the moment
(but it’s a big elephant, and mustn’t be forgotten), everything else is
pretty much doable. Creating an IDE would be possible; SVG is available
most places now (and is emulable in IE, and there’s always the
<canvas> element, which is also emulable in IE);
single-file-deployment isn’t critical, really (instead of a complicated
<object> tag to embed a Flash file, it’s
with your JS/HTML/SVG widget in a folder). It’d be supported everywhere,
you wouldn’t have to worry about the direction being solely controlled
by one vendor, and it uses technologies we already know rather than
trying to supplant the open web as Microsoft’s Silverlight is doing.
Those of you who doubt that HTML is capable of this sort of thing, take
a look at Apple’s Dashboard widgets, which do many cool things and are
<canvas>. You might even be able to convert
existing Flash movies to it using flasm, which would get the project
up and running pretty quickly. Of course, the idea needs a name. It
would be nice to have it not be named after toilet cleaner, like
Flash or Ajax. Whoever writes the IDE gets to think of the
catchy name and be immortalised for ever. If you need a name, call it
“April”. No catchy acronym, it’s just a nice word, and it’s when my
daughter was born. Currently desperately trying to not start writing this.