Some Clarity around Flash Platform Changes

Before this evening, this post was going to read as another grueling defense of Flash technologies… Here’s an except from my earlier draft:

I have always used Flash when appropriate, to do things which were either impossible with HTML or at least would be a major pain. I’ve developed many applications which use Flash technology – they do so in a modular way. Will this change in the near future? Not at all. For functionality that requires technology beyond what HTML can provide, I am going to use Flash. Build a website? Use HTML. Will HTML continue to improve? Sure it will… and if Adobe can provide some killer tools and frameworks around HTML in the future – that would be pretty cool too.

Is Flex Dead?

So what changed? This evening, the Flex team updated their article from last week with a slew of excellent new details on exactly what is going on. I suggest anyone who is even remotely interested in Flex have a look over at Your Questions About Flex. Some of the hi-lights that caught my eye include the following bits and pieces…

Not only the Flex SDK is being open sourced, but also BlazeDS(!), the new Falcon compiler, testing tools, new Spark components, and…

Falcon JS, an experimental cross-compiler from MXML and ActionScript to HTML and JavaScript.

Whoa! Write AS3 and compile to HTML/JS – getting around the need for Flash Player for certain applications? Sure!

Adobe will also have a team of Flex SDK engineers contributing to those new Apache projects as their full-time responsibility.

Similar to their commitments to jQuery – this is really good news as Adobe ought to keep contributing to Flex. They have a lot to contribute!

The Apache model has proven to foster a vibrant community, drive development forward, and allow for continuous commits from active developers.

Having all of these projects (including PhoneGap) under Apache is a good move. The Apache Foundation is respected and established. Flex will not shrivel and die there – Adobe has now made some truly AWESOME contributions to the open source community!

The previous statement of HTML being the “long-term solution for enterprise applications” was also clarified:

Flex has now, and for many years will continue to have, advantages over HTML5 for enterprise application development

What about the roadmap shown at Adobe MAX this year?

Previously communicated road map features, such as enhanced code editing, real-time error highlighting and compile-as-you-type support will be available to both ActionScript and Flex developers.

So there we have it! Flash Builder also gets some mention with Adobe remaining committed to the tool – also a deep commitment for Flash Player on the desktop and the AIR runtime for desktop and mobile. There is a bunch of more info in the article, so be sure to give it a read.

I’d also recommend reading over Brian Rinaldi’s post, as it provides some additional perspective: Moving Forward with Flex and Flash.

And honestly, if you haven’t read Mike Chambers post yet… you really should.

In happy addition: I’ve gotten some rather heartening news from the Adobe Community and Education teams which will wait until another day ;)


  1. That’s the WORST possible news. Falcon to be thrown on the Open-Source scrap heap. That means that it isn’t working very well, or Adobe aren’t interested enough in AIR on mobile to make it one of their priorities and keep it close.

    The only thing stooping us from going over to Corona and Unity is the feint hope that Falcon will fix AS3 mobile performance.

    1. I don’t think so. We’ve seen Falcon in action and it seems to be a huge improvement over the current compiler. Adobe is invested in AIR on mobile – nearly all of the new touch apps (a huge push for them) are AIR applications.

      From what I understand, the Falcon compiler should be able to to improve AS3 performance across the board.

      1. Ok, I’ll run this by you. Is my argument flawed?

        A company only makes something Open-Source if the technology has depreciated in value, and contains no IP that might give a competitor an advantage. At least then, you provide a life-line to the users. (Something mTropolis users would have appreciated. … Before your time maybe).

        In the past, Adobe’s have been very protective of their Intellectual Property. It’s their lifeblood. I remember the guys working on AXDT (Open-Source AS3 Eclipse plug-in) removed all the AIR stuff, for fear of Adobe’s lawyers pouncing on them. So if Falcon does what it should – I’m surprised and concerned about Adobe relinquishing its proprietary rights.

        Adobe makes its money from selling content authoring software. But with Falcon free for all to use – other companies can incorporate it into their AIR app authoring software to compete directly with Adobe’s next generation tools (if they’re planning any). This is why I assume Adobe don’t see AIR as a priority.

      2. Can you tell me, which of these new touch apps are AIR applications? Did Adobe use Flex for some of these applications? I cant find any informations about this in the web. Thanks.

  2. My analogy to this situation is a break up. Adobe is being a nice girlfriend and easing you off to learn JavaScript and HTML. Sorry. You are not worth her time. She will still be a friend with benefits in the torrents…unfaithful to flash development….unfaithful to those who put time and energy learning to code as2, then she wants as3, now javascript. Can this bitch make up her fucking mind?

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