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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Kuler part II…the Wonderful World of Flash

    November 30th, 2006 by Russell Viers

    Let’s all head over to together and check out something that is rapidly changing the way we view websites. Go ahead…I’ll wait a minute.
    We’ve already discussed what The Kuler and does in a previous article. What I want to throw at you today is how The Kuler is constructed and how that same technology is changing the way we use the www.
    Historically, when you click on a button on a website to activate an action, you have a wait time for the button to send a signal to the site, the site has to figure out what the next action is, then the data is sent down to the user again over the network. Depending on network speed, this can become a frustrating experience…but one we’ve all grown accustomed to.
    So while you’re at The Kuler (that’s what I call it, we’re still talking about click on buttons and notice the reaction time of the site. When working in the Create area, moving the sliders to create different colors and choosing different rules is instantaneous.
    The only buttons with a lag time are the ones where the site needs to go to to get new data. For the most part, however, most of the information the site needs to work is downloaded to the user’s computer for quicker use of the site.
    If you like lingo, throw around the term “client side rendering” and you’ll impress your friends. Say something like “I sure prefer the new Flash sites, because they offer client side rendering and give me a faster, more pleasant surfing experience.”
    Or you could say “You’re so old fashioned browsing those server side sites where you have to wait forever to have the sites update from page to page.”
    You’ll sound so smart.
    The reality is this: Flash technology has allowed website programmers to push more of the site’s work onto the user’s machine (client side) so that it acts like a program running on the machine instead of just a workstation linked to the server. This is in sharp contrast to sites that rely on data stored on the server (server side) that gets downloaded to the local machine when an action takes place, like a button being pushed.
    After you play with The Kuler for a bit, venture over to and be amazed at what could never be done in the server side world. Move your mouse over the pencil and the site comes alive. Move the pencil over various areas and let it sit or click your mouse for different responses.
    After you’ve wasted about a half hour there, stroll over to, another great example of a client side Flash site which gives you, the visitor, an experience you couldn’t enjoy in the old days.
    Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite Flash sites? Share with us so we can all find new ways to waste time at work “working.”

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