Hey Adobe, Flash is about to get Hyped


No, no, not the way it sounds, but I do love the irony.

I’ll admit it.  I hate Flash.  I’ve hated it for years.  I hated it when it replaced Shockwave with a time-line based interface that bore every resemblance to every other time-line based interface, except that it didn’t behave like any other time-line based interface.  And not in a “wow, welcome to the future!” way either.  No more of a “uh… why doesn’t that just work intuitively?” way.  So we all had to start over and learn to fiddle with Adobe’s cryptic tool so we could create interactive pieces that were lighter than a .dcr.  Learning Flash was a pain.  You were especially challenged if you were already fluent with Director and After Effects – Flash looked like these apps but good luck finding any other similarity.   It was some screwed up parallel dimension.

So flash forward 12 years to iOS and the beginning of the end for Flash.  Career Flash developers understandably get their panties all bunched up about it, but those of us old enough to have been through this before knew Flash’s demise was inevitable. They all go poof eventually.  Naturally a suite of standardized, plug-in-free options arrived on the scene to replace the bulk of Flash’s output quite handily.  There is a delta of features still in Flash’s domain, but apart from the contentious promise of exporting iOS apps, they aren’t all that commonly required.

(Interactive Axiom #11: Never depend on a sole technology as the interface for your labor and source of your livelihood.)

The problem with the arrival of the new formats however, is that they are, well, still rather new.  There have been no development tools that allow us to create all the promised non-Flash interactive experiences without getting our hands all dirty with code.  That has limited development of rich HTML5 executions to only those which front-end developers are willing to bite off.

Enter Hype.  A frigging brilliant new tool that launched just last month from a fresh little start up called Tumult, Inc.

Hype is a no-coding-required GUI interface that allows you to create animated interactive experiences that may be saved as HTML5 web content (with CSS3 and Javascript) that will run not only on desktops, but smartphones (including Android and iPhone) and iPads too.  What’s more, the experiences take multiple browser conditions into account and gracefully adapt to the supported technologies.

Hype is a mere $29.99 in the Mac App Store (how much is Flash again?  Oh yeah, $699.00!)  And folks, it’s insanely easy.

After downloading Hype, naturally I did what I always do – I opened the app, didn’t read a word of the documentation, and started poking around.  In 3 minutes, by following intuition alone, I created graceful, looping animations that further changed based on mouse states.  I mean – literally in 3 minutes – a new user to the app.  Compare that to Flash – an opaque, lead-weight that a new user will beat his forehead flat with before he’ll get any intentional result on screen.

Honestly I’m humbled by what a great job the Tumult founders did with V1 of this app.  It is a well-thought out tool, the interfaces make sense, its features are richer than I have the patience to itemize here – but you can read about it on their site.

Ex-Flash developers may argue that Hype is light on extended features, but I think they will agree, based on the fit and finish of V1, that a year or two of further development will likely take care of that.

Yes, the near future of interactive web development just popped on the scene folks.  It’s called Hype, and in this case it’s a whole lot more than its name.

Check it out.