We are well into 2014… isn’t Flash dead already?

There been a bit of a stir lately around Flash (again)… caused by this Adobe post on some PhoneGap announcements for marketing. The Adobe Flash Runtimes platform PM, Chris Campbell, has posted a response to these comments and I’ve thrown in my opinion as well. Incidentally… while I do plenty of web standards work… most of my income with Fractured Vision Media still comes from Flash Platform technologies and 2014 looks to be no exception to this. At all.

Balance and perspective, people…

Thanks for the (formal) update, Chris. This should go some ways to alleviating the fears out there inadvertently caused by the marketing post on PhoneGap enterprise tooling.

I remain a huge proponent of of Flash Player and AIR. I work with these technologies every day. 2014. Working with Flash Player, in the browser, daily. Working with AIR on mobile and on the desktop/server… daily. Most of this work is done in applications which support rich media and video creation, management, and delivery. The platform excels in gaming (of course), and video… but also general app and utility development. This is to say nothing of the incredible workflow established over the past decade. Incredible creativity. Perhaps Adobe could re-visit the strategy of pigeonholing the platform to such a narrow set of targets?

I also work with web standards on a daily basis. this stuff has come a long way obviously… and Adobe is right to want to take advantage of these advances and contribute to moving things forward. There is no question that web standards developers want a better experience. Adobe is enabling this. PhoneGap is one way in which this is being done for mobile. This work is needed… it is welcome… and appreciated.

I teach on PhoneGap and Edge Animate. I work with various HTML5 libraries all the time and some of them are very solid. Have you all seen the Phaser HTML5 GDK? Incredible what is now possible in the browser. Does this take away from my work in… or support of… Flash and AIR? Of course not. I’ve ALWAYS believed in choice and balance when it comes to web technologies and see no reason to change my perspective or my daily practice. I do wish that Adobe (as an organization) would realize that this balance is the true sweet spot.

You have the Flash runtimes platform AND the web standards platform in your domain. The only thing missing is balance. Flash on.



  1. An excellent summary of the situation Joseph. I too work with Flash and AIR every day producing utility apps and apps for business.

    It does frustrate me when Adobe pigeon holes AIR as only being suitable for video and gaming. It’s capable of much more than that.

  2. Hi Jospeh, I think that what myself and Karim Beyrouti did bringing Away3D to HTML5 is actually more impressive than phaser http://typescript.away3d.com – My work on AGAL to GLSL, math routines and Stage3D migrations etc. So, you see, I’m quite capable of working with HTML5 personally, this isn’t a crazy letter about the capability of the HTML5 platform (which is actually more capable than Flash) but rather that I agree with you that we need both platforms, which entails the continued investment into the Flash/Air based technologies, until a time when HTML5 tooling and language support have fully caught up or surpassed that of Adobe Air.

    1. No doubt that Away3D TypeScript is an impressive feat… and I never called you crazy :) I just happen to be working with Phaser on a project or two right now – and like to speak from experience only.

  3. I think the central issue about trying to replace AS3 with JavaScript is the language features and tooling.

    Does anybody really want to write apps (not *just* games as the conversation has subtly made the distinction of) with JavaScript over AS3?

    Unlike AS3 Javascript is not Object Oriented, doesn’t have strong typing, doesn’t have access to Mobile GPU, terrible debugging, does it have profiler anywhere like scout? (you can fill me in on this one) etc.

    That should be the deal breaker from not only a developers point of view, but a commercial one – This will create projects that take twice as long to complete, with more playback inconsistency due to VM implementations, and as a result of the language have much more potential to be bug prone, which again has real impacts on the commercial side of things.

  4. I’ve been following the last week or so worth of comments with some interest. I jumped ship last September to start working again with HTML5/CSS/Javascript on a large banking application. I’ll be honest, in the 5 or so years that I wasn’t working much with the traditional web stack, something’s had changed for the better, while some remained the same. The pain of getting your code to look and function correctly across browsers is still a very real concern when using the HTML5 dev stack.

    In reply to James’ comments regarding Scout, you should check out the Chrome DevTools – they have a lot of the functionality that Scout has (though minus the GPU abilities). I thought Adobe was working on a version of Scout that could introspect the DOM/Javascript execution… or perhaps I dreamed that?!

    In regards to the Air vs. Phonegap debate that kicked off on the Adobe site, things still distil down to choosing the best tool(s) for your project’s needs. If the clients insists on that being HTML, so be it.

    I enjoy reading your posts Joseph, you’re always very fair with your assessment of things without any of the vitriol that generally comes along with the great Flash debate :-)

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