At the end of last year Adobe announced that Flex and BlazeDS would become projects of the Apache Foundation.
Their contribution to the open source community.
At the same time they reorganized internal and some of the evangelists disappeared, specially those who had their focus on Flex.
So no more James Ward, Christoph Rooms, Duane Nickull, Ted Patrick and who knows else.
So what happened? Did Apple create so much damage by not allowing the flashplayer on their mobile devices?
In my opinion no. Adobe tried to get into an world that they didn’t know, the world of developers.
Besides Flashdevelopers they had no experience in that so they hired Java guys to tell them where to go and how. Combined with the creative skills of Adobe it should have lead to a powerful platform.
Off course open source (although Flexbuilder -later Flashbuilder- wasn’t exactly free) with a server called BlazeDS which was a weaker stripped version of Adobe LifeCycle. Adobe allready stopped supporting BlazeDS 2 years ago and the licenses for LifeCycle can only be afforded by huge companies.
With the introduction of Flashcatalyst Adobe tried to combine the different worlds of designers and developers.
The first releases came 2009 and I remember giving a presentation June 2009 at the Adobe usergroup saying that this tool wasn’t what anyone was waiting for.
Flashcatalyst died a silent and painless death.
Still, why give Flex to Apache? After the debacle of the announcement that Adobe would not develop a new mobile flashplayer (rumour that Microsoft Mobile would also refuse it killed it) they needed some good news to tell.
New logo, lot of publicity but not much readers I think, had to lead to a positive impulse.
I am sceptic and expect Flex to be ending soon. Problem is that the Adobe Flashplayer is not open source.
This means that you can add whatever you like to Apache Flex but don’t expect Adobe to follow this community by updating their Flashplayer all the time.
Although I love Flex it is time to start looking at alternatives as well on to the next level of rich internet apps.
Adobe focuses on AIR, a virtual cross platform machine, which enables you to use AS3 ánd HTML5 to create apps. AIR doesn’t require the flashplayer and can even be installed as desktop app. AIR is accepted by all devices so far and gives you the same opportunities as Flex.
This means Adobe will keep continue to invest in AS3. Proof of the success of AIR is for instance the popular game Machinarium which is the best selling app for iPad so far.
For another example on the iPad take a look here, for Android click here.
In the future developers will need a tool helping writing clean JS and HTML5 and my guess is that Adobe will provide this.
Flash will loose in the end from HTML5 simply because flash uses too much cpu but I don’t dare to predict how many years it will take before HTML5 can be some kind of standard.
On the computer (so not mobile) people often keep the same browser. In Holland IE7 has still a huge marketshare. Unlike on their mobile devices people don’t like to be forced to download another browser.
The quesion I don’t have the answer for is : will IE, Safari, Chrome and Firefox ever use the same webkit or will they all give their own standards to HTML5?
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