When it comes to developing dynamic web elements, navigation menus and animations, Adobe Flash has a lockdown on the technology. Flash is the king of rich content on the web, and working with this proprietary format is best left to the developer of the technology itself. That’s why so many studios choose to use Adobe Flash Professional for their web development. But what about the rest of us, who don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in software licenses? SWiSH Max is perhaps the most compelling alternative to Adobe Flash, as it can accomplish many of the tasks that Adobe Flash can, but costs, much, much less. Depending on your needs, SWiSH Max may be the solution for you. See how SWiSH Max stacks up against Adobe Flash below.
Price – Winner: SWiSH Max
The prices fluctuate depending on promotions, new releases and discounts (i.e. educator discounts and bulk licensing). But in general, you can expect to pay a least four times as much for the official Adobe Flash suite than you would for SWiSHMax. At the time of this article’s writing, SWiSH Max3 costs $150, which is nothing to sneeze at. But Adobe Flash Professional CS5 will set you back $699. No contest here.
Learning Curve - Winner: SWiSH Max
For absolute beginners, SWiSH Max is going to ease you into animation and dynamic web content authoring much more smoothly. You can go from knowing practically nothing about flash to creating full-featured pages in just a few hours with SWiSH Max. SWiSH Max saves you from learning the fundamentals by including a rich set of pre-set effects and animations that you can use out of the box. The only problem: you don’t learn as much in the process, so an eventual transition to a professional flash suite may be a bit bumpy.
Support and Education – Winner: Flash
Adobe Flash is huge. There’s no detracting that. There are more users, more educators and more technical support staff working for or with Adobe products than SWiSH Max by a long chalk. That means you’ll find far more guides (and far better guides) as well as professionally produced training videos, tutorials and step-by-step instructions for Adobe Flash than you will with SWiSH Max. SWiSH Max does have a community, but it feels more rag tag and less professional. If you really want to get top notch training, or if you really need someone authoritative to answer your questions, you’ll find more experts with Adobe Flash than with SWiSH Max.
Potential – Winner: Flash
Obviously, you can do more with Flash. You can delve into advanced action scripting and other elements that are either not available in SWiSH Max or poorly supported. But depending on your needs, this may be a non-issue. SWiSH Max is leveled at entry level users, and remains sufficient for some intermediate users—but Adobe Flash is a true professional tool. If you want to do it all, Adobe Flash is a must. If you want to save a few bucks and don’t need all the bells and whistles, SWiSH Max will fit the bill.