Embrace the timeline….

On creating rich, flashy and immersive advertising experiences online by Owen van Dijk

The Golden Age of Flash.

with 7 comments

I saw the posting of Eric Dolecki where he talks about the “Golden Age of Flash” and bringing up fond memories of Flash 5 and Flash MX. He reminisces about FlashKit, FlashForward and Praystation. Although i agree with him, what he really talks about is what i call the 2nd age of Flash. There was a time before Flashkit was one of the biggest bulletinboards around, there was a time before ChattyFig and there was a time before Jacob talked about Flash being bad…

Let’s start our little MX Traveler Time Machine© and go back 5 years to the years 1998-1999. Macromedia released Flash version 3 early 1998 and opened up the specs a few months later, allowing 3rd-party developers to work with the SWF format. At the time there was only one major bulletin board, called FlashPad, and you would see people with names like Aquaman, Wooozle, Pablo and Moock writing about Flash. With the release of Flash 4, things got a little bigger. Numerous other boards popped up on the scene, A guy called Mark Fennel started FlashKit, there were Aaron and Jessica with Were-Here, an english guy named Tom posted the first dynamic SWF Perl guestbook on theHome, which would later turn into ~Flashwave. David Emberton from Down Under wrote weekly articles about Flash for Builder.com and we saw the first 3D engine in Flash, written by Branden Hall. At the same time, the first dynamic bulletin board was written in Flash called ShockFusion. It only went bigger from there on…Yugop released his site, Joshua started opening up his sourcefiles at Praystation, new Flash Resources were started, old ones faded away. A bold guy was mumbling about ‘bad’ flash, got his 15 (long) minutes of Fame and is now hired by MM…how ironic.

The second age started with the release of Flash 5 (and later Flash MX) in 2000. Macromedia added radical chances to the application: A new User-Interface, a revamped language called Actionscript was added, an Actionscript editor and Smart Clips ( which would later on evolve into Components ). Branden took his own computer to Figleaf and started ChattyFig, now _the_ place to be for all your Actionscript questions. Many unknown features have been discussed to death over here. New books came out on Actionscript and the websites that were created moved on beyond the “skip intro” phase, making the technology interesting and more acceptable. Again, more and more people started using Flash and loved it. Events such as FlashForward, MXDU and Flash in the Can allowed people to put faces to names and meet up with eachother in San Francisco, New York, Sydney, Toronto, London and Amsterdam.

And here we are, on the forefront of the 3rd generation of Flash. The MX2004 productline has been released, and with Flash Remoting, Flash Communication Server, Macromedia Central and 3rd party applications such as Laszlo, this platform is here to stay. The community is becoming bigger and wiser, attracting people coming from a background totally different from Flash and putting in fresh ideas. While i stopped visiting and posting on the forums and mailinglists on a regular basis, i now have a place on my own and be part of it. I think we have an amazing time ahead of us…

( yes…i am back in business again, after almost 4 weeks of rest because of my ankle. )


Written by ohwhen

October 28, 2003 at 1:58 am

Posted in Web/Tech

7 Responses

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  1. there was a period in early 99 when todd purgusen [juxt] and josh ulm [remedi quoka] were gods and dot com dollars were everywhere…thats when I started using flash …exciting times

    then flash 4 came out and by early 2000 the first flash forward happened and flash had really arrived …. brenan dawes psycho studio… the praystation experiments …yugo…the flash kit arcade…amazing
    I can recall staying up very late [Im in australia] reading posts about about the flash 5 launch at flash forward in ny, it seemed like the greatest time to be working with flash

    now..its all rather dull..I cant think of the last flash site that amazed me…the creative people seem to be being replaced with system developers

    the last great flash site I saw was gmodler and thats a f@cking uml modelling tool

    David Doull

    October 28, 2003 at 4:44 pm

  2. heh, i had a similar comment over at the waxpraxis blog. man, i remember those times… eek, having to do trig lookup tables or line drawing by scaling. as for truly creative works, they do seem to be slowing down to all the app and ria talk lately. to tname a few other past great works…adries odendaal, globz, illogicz, levitated, rocketsnail, oh and certainly the smallblueprinter project 🙂 but in the past year, yea gmodeler, and fast froot. oh and deng but thats another app type thing.


    October 28, 2003 at 10:35 pm

  3. The first 3d Engine was written by Chris Glaubitz in the days of Flash 4, Brandens didnt come along until later on. Wooozle, AKA Samuel Wan didnt appear until Were-Here arrived and became popular, doing alot of Math stuff originally i remember.

    Those were the days of Matinee, Rayoflight and Balthaser.

    Ahhh… the good ol days.

    Guy Watson

    October 29, 2003 at 12:24 am

  4. Those were the days! In the end Flash is what we – the community – make of it.

    There was some amazing stuff being brought out with Flash versions 3 and 4 (yes newbies you better believe it). If you look at what those guys did with an absolute minimum of features I’m sure Flash has a bright future ahead.

    I think the key is not letting technology determine what you’re able to do but have it inspire you to break out of the box.

    Peter Elst

    October 30, 2003 at 7:28 pm

  5. Micromediasoft?

    A “Flash Killer” discussion (read John Dowdell view) was unleashed with the Microsoft’s Avalon and Sparkles announcements (products that will be available in 2008). So far, the best discussion place is Matt Voerman’s article on Sparkle and Avalon Vs…

    ActionScript Hero

    November 19, 2003 at 5:35 pm

  6. iPod Bible Player (Do you remember FlashPad?)

    Back in 1998-99 Flasher.net/flashpad.html hosted the best resource site for Flash (admitedly there were only few). FlashPad was the first Flash community forum -an award winning site. Pablo Mendigochea (aka Paul) was the architect. I remember discussio…


    April 4, 2005 at 9:32 pm

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