Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Ajax as Flash: Achmea

Category: Examples

Remon de Boer sent us a link to, a Dutch website that brought back memories of Thomas Fuch’s Ajax makeover of Gucci’s website some time ago.

Ironically, starts out by displaying a Flash-powered “Loading” graphic:

But once the site loads, it’s all Ajax. Powered by YUI, the site sports animated roll-overs, smooth transitions, and otherwise feels like Flash. Nice work!

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 11:09 am

3.7 rating from 44 votes


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What makes this so special, the loading indicator? Ajaxian could post about a million other sites just like this.

Comment by Jadet — December 17, 2008

This looks to be pretty well done, there’s some nice motion to the UI and bookmarkable URLs, etc. Not bad! The sliding motion can get a bit repetitive when reading sections of the navigation, but it’s still fairly zippy.

Comment by Schill — December 17, 2008

It’s still got some Flash in it for the harder bits!!

My question would be, what is the relative development time/cost between AJAXing it and Flash?

Since Google now indexes some Flash some of the reasons for making sites like this HTML have gone. Saying that I always advise HTML with Flash elements for funkyness. Why reinvent the navigation paradigm.

Comment by stueccles — December 17, 2008

This does raise the point that if the Javascript engines are performant enough – is there really even a need for Flash et al for the majority of the UI swiz-iness

Comment by neilmiddleton — December 17, 2008

neilmiddleton: “performant” isn’t a word.

Comment by Diodeus — December 17, 2008

Loading…Loading…Loading… Gave up after 2-3 minutes.

Comment by tj111 — December 17, 2008

maybe it is, but not in this context:
But then again, probably not:

Comment by TNO — December 17, 2008

Interesting; I hate the loader at the beginning of the web site, but the web site itself is nice. You know, most Flash web sites (as opposed to Flash applications) look pretty much like this site. I wonder if there are a small number of declarative tags we could create that you can mix into HTML that would allow you to do these kinds of things much easier? One approach might be to actually allow you to have your information in normal HTML, and then have some CSS instead of tags that can control these things; think of it as exposing SMIL through CSS, then you can have your nice search engine friendly HTML but very easily do these kinds of things from normal HTML.

Since I’m a JavaScript shim guy, one way to accelerate this would be to create a drop-in JavaScript library that can parse and work with these CSS properties now. If only Mozilla made it possible to access custom CSS properties…. (they have been stubborn about this — the CSS spec, unlike HTML, says you should drop custom CSS properties which makes experimentation on the web for CSS impossible):

Comment by Brad Neuberg — December 17, 2008

Well it’s ok I guess, but nothing loads when JavaScript is disabled. I’ve seen several Ajaxed ‘mock Flash’ sites – including ones I’ve done recently – that are still fully functional even without JavaScript enabled.

Comment by eyeCache — December 17, 2008

I wonder how SEO works with this site.

Comment by pkenoyer — December 17, 2008

No graceful degradation: totally inaccessible for the robot and that’s a pretty bad practice. I like the effects though (and how it is not jQuery) :)

Comment by deadcabbit — December 17, 2008

@ pkenoyer & deadcabbit turn off javascript and then go to you’ll see a static HTML website

Comment by Mareden — December 17, 2008

I could not click anywhere, the screen “froze”. But got this JS error (firefox 3.0.5):

YAHOO.util.Dom.get(“loadContainerMain”).stopLoading is not a function
Linje: 868

Comment by Terje — December 18, 2008

@Mareden: did that and it’s totally useless, there’s pretty much no content.

Comment by deadcabbit — December 18, 2008

@deadcabbit it’s full of links to all the content, so i guess enough to spider for SE’s

Comment by Mareden — December 18, 2008

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