Recap of the Adobe Education Leader Institute 2014

Not long ago, I made my way back out to San Jose, California to attend what I believe would be my 6th annual Adobe Education Leader Institute. They have held the institute for years before that but no one involved in higher education was at that time a part of the program – at least not formally.

This is an event I look forward to every year. Not just because I get to visit Adobe HQ and learn a bunch of cool stuff from Adobe executives, product managers, the Adobe education team, and other AELs… but also because I get to hang out with these people and really hash things out, non-stop, no-holds-barred, for the duration of the conference. It’s an amazingly tiring yet simultaneously energizing experience.

A lot of future projects and collaborative efforts are seeded at this conference. I was even able to drag a bunch of AELs and Adobians down to a shadowy bar for late-night absinthes… so these people really are all-right ;)

Conference Overview Video

Here follows a video recorded during the event in which a number of AELs and Adobe EDU team members share insights on the conference, the AEL program, and what it means to stand for creativity in education.

AEL Institute 2014 from CreateEDU TV on Vimeo.

Flash Runtimes Panel

As mentioned in another post, I organized a panel at the conference around the Adobe Flash Runtimes. 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.

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.


Always an adventure… and no one was hurt! Thank you to the Adobe EDU team and thank you to my fellow AELs for the great discussions and sharing over theses past couple of days. Let’s do it again in 2015 ;)


  1. Thanks Mr Labrecque, you are a voice of hope in the Flash community, after hear everywhere “Flash is dead”, and a horde of programmers running away from flash, following the voice of the haters. The fact is : the Flash player plug-in, provide consistency across a multitude of platforms in a very easy way, HTML5 is a lie, it doesn’t have consensus and it never will. Also the javascript virtual machine can’t perform better than the flash player plug-in, I’ve encountered a lot of hogged and clumsy websites thanks to a javascript bottleneck, The new browsers as a glorified plug-ins do not perform better without flash, sometimes a misbehaving Flash application could kill the flash player and you still have a usable browser but, a bad javascript application just make the browser unusable and you need to kill the browser. I think that the Internet is not gonna be better without the flash player, just the opposite and in the hell of platforms that we have and will come, the Flash Virtual Machine its gonna be a breath of fresh Air for the developers and a better user experience for the users.

  2. I didn’t hear the one thing I wanted them to say.

    ** We recognize the potential for AIR to dominate the development of cross-platform mobile applications. **

    Adobe is still focused on the WWW as it related to Flash, and remains wholly ignorant of AIR’s massive potential.

    AIR Should be the Unity for “Apps”. Not shitty Flex-based corporate apps, but beautiful, rich, smooth amazing apps.

    AIR is superior to PhoneGap in every way that matters. More reliable, more performant, much deeper API’s, far better native extension support, shorter development times, and the list goes on…

    So they miss the boat. Fail to invest. Leave the door wide open for a competitor to fill the space. Meanwhile PhoneGap goes nowhere, cause it’s slow, buggy and inconsistent across platforms.

    1. — AIR Should be the Unity for “Apps”. —

      Absolutely. I do think this message is slowly getting there. The main problem right now is still perception and balance. That still just isn’t there at the right levels.

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