Making the Case for Flash as a Creative Platform: Part II

This is the second part of a two-part series regarding correspondence with Adobe around Flash Professional over the past few years. I encourage you to read the first part as well.

The following comes about based upon some emails previous to the “Create Now 2014 World Tour” Adobe launched that year, which I did participate in as a speaker. I discovered that despite the enhancements Flash Professional received, there was zero acknowledgement from Adobe during the tour. The following correspondence demonstrates just how difficult communication around Flash Professional was during this time. I have many other examples, but this one does well to illustrate past difficulties.

Once again, names of Adobe employees and other pieces of information have been appropriately sanitized…

Joseph:

Speaking of which, {REDACTED}… I’m dismayed that the outlines do not reference Flash Professional CC at all!

As you well know – there are a bunch of great new features in the product which dovetail nicely with cutting edge HTML5 efforts via Canvas, SVG, and WebGL output and publish additions… Plus internal creative enhancements like beautiful strokes capabilities and the slick new Motion Editor. At least I see Sprite Sheet import in the Edge Animate section – which is a direct workflow tie-in with Flash Pro.

I wonder sometimes whether the evangelists themselves know what the tool is now capable of?

Not trying to shoot the messenger on this one, {REDACTED}. I just continue making some noise that hopefully lands on the right ears… someday… perhaps :/

REDACTED:

{REDACTED} has given me some feedback for you – sorry it’s not great news regarding Flash, but I hope it helps explain the tour focus.

This particular tour has a purpose: Encourage users still on Creative Suite to upgrade to Creative Cloud. That is Adobe’s goal. Highlighting key features in Flash Professional is not going to help achieve that goal.  End of story.  That’s not to say that Flash Professional isn’t awesome.  But the people that are holding out on CS 5 because “It does enough” are not the type to be influenced by Canvas, SVG or OpenGL. Which is not to say there isn’t someone out there but I’m saying it’s a tiny piece of the Venn diagram.

I understand that this is difficult to accept at times. {REDACTED}. Flash Professional isn’t its own product anymore, it lives or dies by how Creative Cloud does.

Joseph:

I don’t think my perspective is very far from the one presented… “Flash Professional isn’t its own product anymore, it lives or dies by how Creative Cloud does” – as part of the CC offerings, I would just hope that it be given suitable representation as a part of the Creative Cloud.

I use almost every CC product in my work. I think Creative Cloud is awesome. A lot of people think I don’t get it – but I really do, regardless.

REDACTED:

I think that’s fair Joseph, and I’d come back to you the same way several people have responded to my issues like this:

Construct a story using Flash Professional that convinces a CS3, 4, 5, 6 hold out to come to Creative Cloud.  Keep in mind that the majority of people who were heavy Flash Devs actually updated pretty quickly.

I ask you: What value does giving Flash Professional suitable representation have? I’m not asking this to be combative or anything. I’m genuinely curious what you see as the value of giving Flash Pro representation?

Joseph:

Hi {REDACTED}.

Regardless of the runtimes or Flex… so not telling a dev story here… Flash Professional is no longer (and probably never should have been) seen as a tool for developers…

Flash Professional was always something that was infinitely fun and creative. This is the case whether doing animation or simple interactions. The ease in which it enables designers to create engaging content regardless of target platform has always been such a strong story. That was the case when we could only target Flash Player. Now that we can target HTML5 Canvas, Edge Animate Sprite Sheets, and WebGL – publish that content and then integrate it within other Creative Cloud tools and services – it’s just such a compelling solution that I find it astonishing that Adobe – an entity that openly embraces creativity… does not take advantage of this. I see it as a missed opportunity to promote other CC offering by expressing the rich possibilities that exist when using Flash Pro as a purely creative tool.

It’s absolutely valuable for someone to be able to express themselves using Flash Professional CC and take that output into Dreamweaver Live View, Edge Animate Symbols, a PhoneGap project… not to mention things like HD Video and PNG Sequences or SVG. All of this doesn’t even mention Flash Player or AIR. The content produced could just about tie into any Creative Cloud application with the variety of targets and formats now expressed. It just baffles me that Adobe is not taking these strengths – from a purely creative perspective – and talking them up in the Creative Cloud story.

Anyhow – that is my opinion on the value that such representation would provide. I understand not everyone shares this view – but I think it is a legitimate one.

Thanks for listening. I hope that all makes sense.

REDACTED:

All good points, Joseph, but I’d argue:

  1. It’s not as compelling to CS3-6 customers as you think it is.  I know you feel strongly about this.  Our marketing people aren’t allowed to have feelings about this.  We have data that tracks who these people are, and what they’re interested it. Are there people who fit this profile who would be swayed by Flash?  Maybe, but it’s not as many as you think.
  2. Even if it was as compelling as you think it is (I admit I could be wrong on point 1. And I’m citing data that I’m specifically not allowed to share which seems unfair), to explain all of those features would basically eat up at least 100% of the time we have earmarked for web technologies. As almost every one of the things you cite would have to be explained before Flash’s value would be determinable. Not only do they have to be explained but most designers associate the most of the tech’s you listed as developer techs if they think of them at all: HTML5, WebGL, SVG, Phonegap, Canvas.
  3. Even if it was as compelling and explaining it wasn’t a huge time sink, what would you cut to make it fit? Cause we have 14 other tools that are being updated. 3 of them in the web segment.   Dreamweaver –  one of most successful tools that almost everyone we talk to uses?  Edge Animate, which is part of the value prop you reference for Flash Pro? Photoshop, which we’re not going to tone down?

In the end, Flash does have engineers, and marketing people responsible for making the best case for it, both internally and externally. We also have a staff of marketers and community outreach-ers (if that’s a word) who were put in charge of putting together an event with a goal of converting CS3-6 customers to Cloud.  They’re not idiots, and the Flash marketers sit right next to them, and can make the case themselves.  Juggling all of these products and making a case is hard, and tools get cut.  It’s not done with malice, and it’s not done thoughtlessly. A lot of smart people did a lot of work and research to come to come to conclusion you disagree with. It’s how it goes.

Joseph:

{REDACTED}– I want to be clear that I never thought anyone was making these decisions maliciously or thoughtlessly. Regardless of any disagreements I may have around Flash efforts… I am firmly in camp Adobe around Creative Cloud.

I do not have access to the data and research that you have access to… and my perspective has not been shaped by such research as yours surely has been. This places any perspective on the matter which I hold at an incredible disadvantage and renders it incomplete. There is no way I can argue against this sort of data.

So I must be wrong in my thoughts around this. I can accept that. It doesn’t jive with my experiences and personal positivity around the tool – but as you implied… that’s just how things are sometimes.

Understand where I’m coming from though: I just got done recording hours and hours of content around Flash Pro for {REDACTED}. Tomorrow I go into the {REDACTED} studio to record a course dealing with {REDACTED} – yet using Flash Pro as an asset generation tool. I cannot help but have Flash Pro front and center right now simply due to all of the work I’m doing around it. Has this colored my perspective? Absolutely. I’m up to my eyeballs in it.

In any case… thanks for the discussion and your willingness to hear me out and provide some insight into this matter. I do appreciate that, {REDACTED}.

REDACTED:

Make no mistake, I’m not mad or upset. Nor do I have any power to retaliate against you even if I was. I have been on your side of this conversation many, many times.  Remember I used to be a {REDACTED}.

No, I just remember what it was like to argue your side, and feel my soul slipping away just a bit to be able to so forcefully argue this side. ;)

In any case, we’ll have a good string of events in the upcoming weeks, and break a leg out there.

Regardless of how the data may have appeared at the time… it seems that Flash Professional has truly won out in the end. NEVER GIVE UP! 2016 will be a great year for Flash Professional as the reborn Animate CC!

Once again, I must stress that I am not posting these articles to “out” Adobe – it’s obvious they have been against marketing Flash in any sense for quite some time until very recently. It’s a way to snapshot a common occurrence – for historical preservation – and then to let it go.

Positive times ahead!

 

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