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Flash within the Dutch Guild of Front-end Programmers

Bobby van der Sluis



  • An interactive agency based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Specialized in audio-visual websites en dynamic product campaigns
  • Concept, design and technology
  • Web-standards-friendly Flash development

Guild of Front-end Programmers

  • To professionalise the front-end programming discipline within the Netherlands
  • An all-encompassing platform for many different initiatives
  • Carried by the commitment of active members

Our profession

  • Has slowly emerged in the past 15 years
  • We develop for a medium (the Internet) that hasn't reached maturity yet
  • Most professionals are self-taught
  • We have organized ourselves primarily within companies and online communities

Why professionalization is needed

  • We can learn a lot from each other
  • We should sell ourselves better as a group to other professional disciplines and to clients

Raise your hands please

  • HTML & CSS
  • DOM & JavaScript
  • AJAX
  • Flash & ActionScript
  • Any other...

The Guild's current focus

  • Web standards
  • Accessibility

Front-end web developers

  • Create user interfaces
  • Using markup- and scripting languages which are executed by a program on the end user's computer (and not on the server)
  • Also called the web client

Front-enders are the linking pin

  • Interaction designers
  • Visual designers
  • Back-end developers
  • Testers
  • Project managers

Front-enders are a unique group

  • Only we understand how web clients work
  • And how many different target audiences can be reached

Front-enders are fragmented

  • Passionate specialists
  • Focus on one or a set of related technologies
  • Little knowledge of technologies that lie outside their own area of expertise
  • Often hang around in one specific community only

The negative side effects of communities

  • Groups define borders
  • We-and-them-thinking

How broad-minded are front-enders?

  • Love to discuss their favorite technologies
  • Are often misinformed or only partially informed
  • Sometimes too much polarisation and too less nuance

Current popular front-end technologies

  • Common misconception that they directly compete with each other by nature
  • Are rather complementary instead
  • Web standards + browser plug-ins + AJAX = 100% what you can do with the web today

Web standards

  • Offer a universal language to call upon browser functionality
  • While avoiding compatibility problems, vendor lock-ins and patent-infringement issues


  • Designed to extend the functionality of web browsers and therefore expand the possibilities of the web as a whole
  • Primarily compete with each other


  • Is not a technology
  • But a de facto standard to exchange dynamic data
  • Sometimes also used to indicate a collection of standardized and proprietary techniques that focus on web applications

AJAX as a progressive movement

  • Focusing on what we can possibly do cross-browser today
  • Pinpointing the problems with current web standards
  • Influencing possible new web standards

A future prognosis

  • Web standards will very slowy conquer ground on plug-ins
  • Plug-ins will grow into new functional areas
  • AJAX will slowly fade out and its features will become standardized

We can still learn a lot from each other

  • One central message: Be as open minded as you can and learn from your fellow colleagues

Tasks for the Guild

  • Create awareness that all front-end developers are a part of a shared professional discipline
  • Create an open culture
  • Avoid misconceptions
  • Promote cross-pollination

Flash within the Guild

  • Presentations
  • Bring in the Flashers
  • Recruit active members and gather proposals for activities
  • Collaborate with the Adobe Usergroup Nederland

Adobe Usergroup Nederland

  • Association with bi-monthly meetings
  • Focuses on Adobe software and related technologies
  • Started with focus on Flash
  • Sponsored by multiple parties

Topics for presentations #1

  • Standards-friendly Flash development
  • Flash and accessibility
  • Tool selection: when should you use web standards and when Flash?

Topics for presentations #2

  • Introduction to Flash and ActionScript for non-Flashers
  • Introduction to web standards for Flashers
  • Hybrid solutions: how and why?

Topics for presentations #3

  • Propose topics on the Guild's website
  • Let members vote
  • Let members post suggestions

Flash certification