The differences between versions of Swish and Flash have been a hot topic of debate for years among web designers, but how can you determine which one is better?
Swish v. Flash
Until Swishmax was introduced, Flash had an enormous lead in functionality. Previous Swish versions were far easier to use but severely limited in function. The introduction of Swishmax narrowed the function gap and blurred the lines, but what the differences really break down to are price, learning curve and the freedom, or lack of same, to break new ground. As each new version hits the market, the primary issues remain exactly the same.
No matter how you slice it, Flash is pricey, typically at least 4 times the cost of Swish. Swish products run in the $100-$150 range, Flash in the $450-$550 area. If Flash offered 4 times the functionality, this might not be an option. But does it? For most people, price is definitely a consideration.
Swishmax is easy. A complete flash virgin can learn to make a flash movie in an hour and be proud of the result. Without education or a step by step tutorial, it is unlikely that a newbie to flash could learn to change the background color of the panel in an hour, and it only gets worse from there. The learning curve is steep, but the reward is an understanding of the process impossible to learn by using Swish.
Swish effects are built in, and there are a lot of them. Making things happen to your words and images, like explosions, dramatic exits and waves, is a matter of selecting an effect from a list. Once the effect is chosen, things like speed and position can be adjusted. Flash is less intuitive….the difference between building a birdhouse from a precut kit…and building one from pieces of wood.
There's also something to be said for learning how the effects happen. Flash forces you to learn how to do it yourself, and once learned, the same principles can be built and expanded upon to break new creative ground and push the boundaries of animation. Advanced active scripting makes the possibilities endless, and the smooth motion of moving objects is almost hard to believe. So for sheer professionalism and range of use, Flash still holds top honors.
The bottom line
Who you are should determine which program to choose. If you need simple flash pieces to enhance a web site (or even a whole flash site but with some limitations) but flash development is not your primary source of income, then get Swishmax. Professional flash developers will want Adobe Flash for many reasons, not the least of which is that it's usually a job requirement.