October 16th 2008 | Jens C Brynildsen
We all know that Flash is installed on about 98% of all browsers, but how many web pages use Flash? Surveying more than 3.5 million pages, the Opera (browser) developer center found that somewhere between 30% and 40% of all pages tested contained Flash files. The survey also features fun statistics such as AJAX usage, the least popular HTML and CSS tags and the number of pages that validate.
MAMA (Metadata Analysis and Mining Application) is Opera's structural search engine. Whereas normal search engines return results about the content of pages, MAMA returns results about site structure, including what doctype the page uses, whether it validates, what HTML elements and CSS properties it uses, what plugins, what scriping constructs, and much more.
The survey is a goldmine for web develpers in general, but also for Flash developers. The Flash findings are truly impressive. Countries like the US, UK and Canada are at the lower end, with about 30% of all pages containing SWF files. Countries that were slower to move online has a massive distribution such as China (67%) and Turkey (60%). It should be noted that these countries also have a weaker statistical base, but the numbers are good enough to get less than 4% error margin.
One of the most facinating things to note for Flash developers is that AJAX isn't all that widely used. This was checked by looking for the XMLHttpRequest DOM object, an important part of AJAX technology. Only 3,2% of all the pages in the survey used XMLHttpRequest. This is kind of confirmed through a second source (from 2006 though) as well and it's an interesting argument to bring along to client meetings.
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