Having worked with Flash and Shockwave early on in my career I have to say Macromedia developed a great set of tools for creating dynamic multimedia content. Under Adobe’s wing the platform has become the defacto standard for rich media on the web. Object-oriented actionscript made it easy to reuse elements. However I find the recent controversy about need for Flash justified. HTML5 and dynamic SVG finally provide an alternative.
It is of course true that as is Flash absolutely owns the market. There are people and development tools. The problem with Flash is that it still fulfills a space in the no-man’s land between native and web applications. It has the same limitations as a web application and the only advantage has been the possibility to create rich user interfaces. First AJAX and now HTML5 is closing the gap.
Today a web developer worth his salt knows frontend scripting languages just as well as the back-end stuff. Increasingly existing libraries can be used to recreate common effects. There is really no more reason to have separate actionscript guy and the front-end interaction design can be given to a dedicated user experience specialist. So instead of somebody with a more technically-oriented background the job can be done by a more visually aligned person.