Flash Runtimes Conquer the Universe


A panel at the 2014 Adobe Education Leader Institute at the heart of Adobe’s corporate headquarters in San Jose, California – with; Joseph Labrecque of the University of Denver, Andrew Phelps of the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Chris Campbell of Adobe Systems Inc.

A week from today I will be making the case for Flash Player and AIR in education (and really everywhere) at Adobe’s San Jose headquarters at the annual Adobe Education Leader Institute. I’m bringing along two others to form a panel to help educate “those who will listen”™ and make it clear that Flash is not a four letter word.

Andy Phelps is the Founding Director at MAGIC at RIT, Professor and Founder at School of Interactive Games and Media at RIT and Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology. You may remember him from the spectacularly controversial session on gaming technologies research from Adobe MAX 2013.

Chris Campbell is the product manager and customer advocate for the Flash Runtimes product team at Adobe. The amount of awesome work that he and his team continue to do with the runtimes is outstanding – especially considering what a toxic environment we are in at the moment.

The primary point I want to spread throughout the general community and within Adobe itself is very simple. Great work still happens around the runtimes and no one should be dismissive of either their potential or application in the world today. Are web standards and other technologies up to task with many of the functions that Flash used to be the only answer for? Sure they are – this fact should not diminish Flash in any way and I would argue that current trending technologies have much to be thankful for when it comes to Flash historically paving the way for their very existence and widespread adoption.

In this industry – we often only have our eyes set dead forward – fixed upon a glimmering future. This is a mistake – we must embrace not only our history but this present reality as well. The Flash runtimes have conquered the universe… the core DNA is now scattered across the web and beyond – inseparable and inescapable – spectacularly spectral.

Here are the slides from the talk:


  1. Good luck Joseph! I think it’s a great idea. Flash/Flex continue to be my little secret weapon to kick a$$ here in the corporate world. A simple cost/benefit analysis makes it the clear and obvious choice for us.

  2. Perfect Joseph

    Hope it will help this community to work more on it and make the world realization factor that without Flash / Flex Games cannot be interactive as they are on real environment.

    I am myself trying to do this in Pakistan with different forum and I need some good literature from your end.

    Good Luck


  3. Hi Joseph, a great initiative! The fact that Flash is already well in front of the HTML5 ‘standard’ speaks volumes. 10 year delays caused by defining an inferior platform should not be acceptable when compared with the fast iterative pace of the Flash runtime releases, which are now monthly. As you know, HTML will always be playing catch up and misinformation around HTML5 and Flash GPU capabilities continues to damage such a great platform and has already slowed down the progress of the web for years to come. HTML5 is now a concluded spec, as such, it cannot change and is already old technology. Thanks.

  4. Hey, all.

    Thank you for the enthusiastic response to this little effort. I have posted the slidedeck and it is available to everyone.

    Aside from the perspectives that Andy and I provided as part of our real-world experiences at large institutions – Chris had some nice insights into how things are seen at Adobe and where the stats lie : 95% Flash Player penetration, full, quarterly releases, and 1.8 billion app installs is nothing to sneeze at or dismiss lightly.

    Having a proposal like this accepted by Adobe, at Adobe HQ, by a large section of Adobe (education) which is under their enterprise area is also significant. As many have commented – there is a sort of rift within when it comes to the runtimes.

    Aside from this presentation, I was able to speak with Chris for a few hours (thank you for your time, Chris!) and also the PM for Connect on a separate occasion. I get the very strong impression that Adobe is committed to the runtimes despite shifting roles.

    When considering major investments like Connect or Primetime – these significant money-makers rely upon Flash. Besides which, they are very aware that it would be a terrible thing to “break the internet” and that Adobe (whether they like it or not) have a responsibility to ensure the future of the runtimes through platform support, security patches, and bug fixes at the very least.

    Of course, we know that Chris and his team go far beyond this to provide support for new platforms like Intel on Android and new functionality such as AGAL2. So, while development is scaled down from the days when Adobe was all about Flash – the runtimes are nowhere near “maintenance mode”.

    Hopefully this presentation and the retention of this set of artifacts within Adobe’s structure will help bring a little more positivism and awareness to the story. All I’m asking is that Flash is recognized for what it has done and for what it continues to do for the web and beyond. No one should be dismissive about these things – no one.

    1. Hi, Dimous. Yes, I read over Keith’s post when it was published and found it to be well-reasoned considering his background and perspective regardless of whether I might take reason with some of the particular, non-personal details cited. I’m not quite sure what that has to do with this though… please elaborate.

      1. I liked how Keith compared Flash technology with a retired man. It’s not directly related to your post, though.
        It’s good to hear, that Flash is still worked on. Any plans to resume delivering Flash Player for mobile?) My clients say, that if it’s not working in their smartphones’/phablets’/tablets’ browsers, then it isn’t suitable for implementation of their projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *