Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

logoars.GIFI was interviewed yesterday by NHK to talk about the Net category winners and the jury process this year. I talked about how in the early days, we approached the category from a media theory perspective. Derrick deKerkhove and Mitsuhiro Takemura were both on the first jury and they are both very media theory oriented. The jury, over the last seven years has swung around a bit, but we had always tried to look beyond the interface to find the "webness" or the community beyond. We always used to look at flashFlash animation sites as superficial and thin.

At this year's jury meeting, I said something about flashFlash being superficial, Joshua got really mad and argued that flash could do everything Java could do but better. He said that flash talked xml and could be used to do just about everything. He said that it got a bad rap because people thought it was a design tool developed by Macromedia. He said that he hated "old school" guys like me that kept the Net from moving on and getting to the next level. I have to admit, I underestimated flash, but Joshua's religious ferver was also pretty interesting. Joshua won last year with his site, Praystation, which is an amazing flashFlash site that makes flashFlash examples available and has lots and lots of great examples of how to make flashFlash do cool things.

Later, at the ORF studios, I saw Joshua "the first guy to ever call Joi Ito 'old school'" Davis. He was nice and acted almost like he felt sorry about being mean to me. Maybe it's because he's coming to Tokyo next month. ;-p Anyway, I like Joshua and he really opened my eyes to flash so now I'm anxious to learn flash. I told him that I was having difficulty figuring out how to get started with flash and that I wanted to have someone help me build a flash interface to blogs. He said he would help. Cool.

So, to get back to the NHK interview. I told them that we are now seeing artists drawn into the expressive flexibility of flashFlash, finding that they can dig into content using xml and other tools and that there is a meeting of the political, "old school" Internet and design people causing greats sites like They Rule and projects like Carnivore to be born.


There are several Flash out there - run by both Macromedia employees and developers.

It's Flash BTW not flash.

And in general - welcome to my world. When you're ready to move beyond Flash - let me know :-)

I haven't learned Flash, but recently my Japanese teacher Yasuhiro Omoto, an "old-school" web nut, has taken up flash to teach beginning Japanese. Something that could not be done, as fun, in HTML.

As far as I know, if you have a large web site, lots of text, and it's all displayed in Flash, you won't get picked up by Google. But maybe that's superstition and I should study and embrace some multimedia fun. Certainly Josh's site PrayStation is wild and beautiful, though it has crashed my browser. Twice. That's almost an artistic gesture in itself.

Well actually - I guess spelling flash with a small f doesn't really matter - it's what you do with it!

Josh is certainly right that Flash can do allot more than Java (as far as fat clients is concerned) and Justin is right that all the text in Flash apps - aren't indexed by spiders, BUT let's just remember that superfluos animating buttons and sexy dynamic displays is NOT what multimedia is about.

It's about communicating beyond text. It's visualzing concepts. It's picking up where publishing leaves off - and bringing interactivity and comunication into the mix.

So good luck on learning Flash. I guess the real question is: "what else is out there that can leverage the Flash installed base, while simplifying the creation process - and combining communication into the mix.

Actually, that's exactly what I though. "Ooo. This MARC CANTER'S World..."


I liked the Nihongoweb a lot and i hope that there is more such stuff for learning on the web. Especially Nihongo for more advanced users:)

Another great site in Flash is:
Mid-Tokyo Dot Com!

Two comments:
There is also SVG - Scalable Vector Graphics - out there. I think it will even be more powerfull in the future than Flash. See for example some of the links at the end of my german article about SVG Open.

2. You can also do nifty things with javascript, xml, xslt, css;), See our Bitflux Editor Demo at You need Mozilla or Netscape 7 for it, but then you can look at it on any OS;)

Anyway - i really hope the Web will even be more fun in the future;)


So, is someone who doesn't like either Flash or Java, REALLY old school? (-;

maybe criticising flash could be considered
conservative assuming the the web is just what it
is. if you look at the origins and ideas of the web,
however, flash is somehow opposed to the original
intent of sharing knowledge and ideas (which is
still somehow alive in 'new' inventions like wikis
or weblogs). it may offer nice possibilities for
designers but in the end it is just another closed
shop standard focused on consumerism. it doesn't
integrate well with browsers (no 'save as' links
etc) .. all features that are obviously conceived
to let 'web authors and designers' publish an
obsfuscated and isolated product.

I think the final product is what counts and I will use whatever tools I have at my disposal to accomplish my goals.

As a sculptor I do not hand saw an 8 foot board if my table saw can do it quicker and cleaner.

As a photographer, I have no problem with altering my photos in Photoshop if it will improve them.

As a web designer, I do not write HTML code if I can present my information in a more attractive and interactive environment by using Flash.

I actually use a program called Swish and I have found it to be a valuable tool for designing my web site and even creating "computer art".

Flash is not bad. JavaScript is not bad. HTML is not bad. Some of the applications they are used for may suck... but that is because of the jerkoffs who created them, not the medium.

I find this debate pretty amusing and I have played my part from time to time.
Most "hard core" web designers hate my web site, but the vast majority of people who visit my site seem to really enjoy it. It's all very subjective.

Many people act as if they must CHOOSE between Flash and other forms of presentation.
Web sites can consist of flash animations embedded in HTML pages (with text) to satisfy search engines requirements. JavaScripts can be used in conjunction with Flash and HTML as well as php...etc.

A good designer will use these tools to best advantage rather than blindly clinging to some purist notion of what the Internet was "supposed" to be.

1.How to communicate flash and VB dotnet and ASP dotnet?

can I get coding for that

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tonight i was at a presentation from josh and amy of the futurefarmers. they talked about their recent work such as theyrule which maps the connections between board members from fortune 100 companies - 92 of top the 100 corporations... Read More