July 02, 2010

SlideShowPro does HTML5, Flash

Todd Dominey & co., the makers of the excellent Flash-based SlideShowPro, have created a visually rich alternative version that uses HTML5 instead of Flash.

This is a good thing.

Why?  Because it’s putting customers ahead of technologies, and it’s using both Flash & HTML to maximize viewers’ ability to see rich content, including on i-devices.  As the site explains:

SlideShowPro Mobile is an entirely new media player built using HTML5 that doesn’t require the Flash Player plugin and can serve as a fallback for users accessing your web sites using these devices. But it’s not just any fallback — it’s specially designed for touch interfaces and smaller screen sizes. So it looks nothing like the SlideShowPro player and more like a native application that’s intuitive, easy to use, and just feels right. [Demo]

I’d love to see this support added to the Lightroom version of SlideShowPro, as I rely on it for all our family shots.  I want to generate two presentation layers (one Flash, one HTML) that both provide a rich, beautiful presentation of the same image files, and I want the gallery to auto-select the correct presentation layer based on viewers’ devices.  Make the whole tedious Flash-vs.-HTML thing a non-issue for customers.

2:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

“CSS is the new Photoshop” (?)

Shawn Blanc hit on a great, if perhaps deliberately overstated, phrase on Monday that pegs an important trend: Cascading Style Sheets can create a great deal of artwork now, without reliance on bitmap graphics.  He points to impressive iOS icons from Louis Harboe among other examples.

He’s not alone: Håkon Wium Lie from Opera predicts that CSS3 could eliminate half the images used on the Web.  You can use various graphical tools to generate things like CSS gradients and rounded corners.  As people can do more and more in code, it makes sense to ask whether even to use Photoshop in designing Web content.

I think Adobe should be freaking out a bit, but in a constructive way.

HTML’s new graphical richness means great opportunities to generate efficient, visually expressive content.  “What is missing today,” says Michael Slade, “is the modern day equivalent of Illustrator and PageMaker for CSS, HTML5 and JavaScript.”

Of course, this is far easier said than done.  As I noted the other day, “Almost no one would look inside, say, an EPS file and harrumph, ‘Well, that’s not how I’d write PostScript’–but they absolutely do that with HTML.”  Over the last 15 years, innumerable smart people have tried and failed to make WYSIWYG HTML design tools whose output got respect. And yet it strikes me as unreasonable to say, “Spend a bunch of time perfecting your design in PS/AI, then throw it all away and start again!”

As for Photoshop, we could either teach the app to speak HTML natively (via live HTML layers), or we could translate Photoshop-native artwork into HTML (e.g. “copy this button/text as HTML/CSS”).  It’s not yet clear to me, however, how such code would smoothly integrate into one’s projects.

At the moment I have more questions than answers.  If you have ideas on the subject, please lay ’em on us.

[Note: Ideas need not include, “Put your heads in the sand and say that people simply have to switch from Photoshop/Illustrator to Fireworks.”  FW is a great app, but that suggestion is a non-starter.]

7:48 AM | Permalink | Comments [51]
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