Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flash rather than Processing?

I'm now wondering whether Processing was a bad choice for visualizing missing methods (though it's still better than the horribly slow Google Maps implementation). It results in Java applets, which can take quite some time to load on a page (see other general criticisms here). I had to do some hacky things (use Java code rather than stuff built into Processing) to get the applet to talk to Javascript on the page to find what items a user wants to examine, which might not be stable as Processing develops [and it probably prevents me from just converting to Processing.js or the like]. Also, on the stable site (http://www.treetapper.org, rather than http://treetapper.nescent.org), the existing Java applet I made doesn't work (to see a working version, go here). I've tried playing with the code (changing it to point to the stable site, of course, and looking at other potential issues) and it still doesn't work. Flash animations seem to work much faster and more stably across many browsers. Some versions (>4.0.5, <5.3.0) create Flash animations (the code's been moved into a separate install for later versions of PHP), so I could use that. I could just code it in ActionScript and somehow compile it. Either way, I don't know anything about coding Flash animations, how they can connect to the database and page elements, how to write them without depending on expensive software, etc., so it'd mean a bit of work to learn a new language. Any ideas?