Adobe, Adobe Flex

Quick Pointers about Flex (and Flash Platform)

A lot of confusion has arose triggered by the recent announcements by Adobe… among one was that they would hand over Flex SDK to Spoon and leave updates and maintenance to the community, in this case including the way it has been done, imho. means the very rapid departure of Flex as a viable application platform.

Even in the upcoming 4.6 release, its far from feature complete to make it a viable mobile platform (Native Extensions is a half-baked poor solution to lack of resources to implement what should be part of the platform) and general performance remains ludicrous despite the effort put in to improve it in addition to the UI control which should be the force of Flex is far from complete.

Adobe Flex’s ultimate force was as an enterprise platform, however Adobe has in the past week announced that they are replacing Flex as the recommended enterprise application platform with HTML, please read Deepa’s blog post describing the change in focus of Adobe Flex…
http://blogs.adobe.com/flex/2011/11/your-questions-about-flex.html

The fact that the Flash Runtime is lost on mobile in general with the last weeks announcement to discontinue Flash for Mobile and the fact that it will not be running in Windows new Metro browser system makes it a no brainer that Flash Platform is going down as well, now its just a count down which we eventually dont know how long will take before Flash will disappear as a platform… the proposition that Flash Platform should survive as a casual gaming platform is difficult to have any sincere faith in, but perhaps time will show that there is a market to support it as a gaming platform, however as a RIA platform Flex and Flash Player Runtime is now officially not viable anymore anymore than ActiveX and Java Applets are…

Soon we will see Adobe taking all their hard earned knowledge and experience building Flex and putting into something equally useful, but based on the Web Standards stack and not a closed source proprietary platform such as Flash Player…

This is good news, it will make applications and experiences build using Adobe technologies generally better software system citizens by using the same technologies as the other members of arena, and now Adobe can focus on providing tooling and framework and not focus on maintaining a runtime as well…

We are already seeing some of the directions the tooling will take us, you only have to look at Adobe Edge, PhoneGap, jQuery Mobile possibly Adobe Muse (if you want to be aMused) to see that they are already way ahead on this and soon ready to release the first tools to facilitate making the initial experiences and small app’s using Web Standards Stack in replacement of Flex and Flash Player…

We are still far from having the strength of ActionScript and the Flex Framework, not to mention Flash Builder and the SDK itself, however it will come and we will be even better positioned for creating great experiences and apps for our markets than we were with Flex and the Flash Player runtime…

Following a comment to the post, I wanted to add this except from my response as its essential for the understanding of my point here (and to address the things I on purpose didn’t address in this post):

The current state of affairs is exactly that as described, Flex is no longer a recommended platform and there is no alternative available (yet) that can equalize it… thats it, in a nutshell.
However, making the decision to change focus and resources to be allocated on HTML instead of Flash and Flex is a good and sound decision, regardless how the decision may have been communicated and left us people working with Flex where the rubber meets the road hanging to dry.
The message itself and how you deliver the message is two separate things, the message is good and clear, the delivery was not exactly up to par which is causing the confusion now and the uproar in the community.
Therefore, my suggestion is that we discuss these two aspects separately from each other. In my post I was not trying to discuss the way this new change of focus and technical strategy was conveyed to the public and the community, but instead only focus on the decision itself and what it means in the long run for us working with Flex.

I agree, we are stuck right now with a very delicate situation because of this and because many people and even people close to Adobe were not made aware of this information until the public did… there are some pretty horrid stories going on backstage right about about how some people were left hanging to try on stage while presenting Flash Technologies, where people in the audience were following on Twitter how the storm hit following the Flash Mobile announcement, something the Adobe Rep on stage wasn’t informed about, and therefore were made to look like an ass on stage in front of 250+ people.

Lets keep pragmatic and keep emotions aside when discussing constructively what technological decisions have been made and what it means to us in the community, then we can always discuss the approach used afterwards when the dust has settled…

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7 thoughts on “Quick Pointers about Flex (and Flash Platform)

      1. Well-crafted Flash SWFs run awesomely on mobile. Flash isn’t dead on mobile. All Adobe said was, they’re not adding any new features to the mobile Flash Player after version 11. Well, version 11 is not even out yet, so Flash on mobile browsers still have a few years. And Adobe is till committed to AIR apps on mobile, which is in fact where the technology’s strength on mobile lies anyways.

        What’s a real shame is that Adobe didn’t deliver this in a way as to have it seem to be merely another course correction in their technology strategy. They’re delivering the message in a way that misleads and causes as much confusion as Steve Job’s grossly inaccurate missive 20 months ago. And to suggest that Flex devs should now learn HTML5 is absurdity to the point of insult. That’s like telling an architect to go build a suspention bridge out of LEGO. It can’t be done.

        There is NOTHING wrong with the technology. Flash is not dying. Only people’s perception of it. Once business owners and technolgists realize that you really can’t do anything much with HTML5 compared to Flex, they will be back, much like, once business owners realized that Jobs was full of crap they actually started using Flash and Flex more in the enterprise.

        The only reason Adobe is doing this is because, after all these years, it still has not figured how to be a technology company. This isn’t about technology. It’s about Adobe’s incompetence at being a leader in the industry it inherited from Macromedia.

        If Flash is dying, it’s because people are buying Adobe’s BS. For someone such as yourself to not be able to distinguish between technological fact and marketing BS is just sad.

  1. For me you stated two opposing thoughts that should be rectified. First you state “however as a RIA platform Flex and Flash Player Runtime is now officially not viable anymore anymore than ActiveX and Java Applets are…” Then at the end of the post you state “We are still far from having the strength of ActionScript and the Flex Framework, not to mention Flash Builder and the SDK itself”.

    Basically you say Flex and the Flash platform are now dead and no longer viable technology solution while at the same time admitting there are currently no viable technologies to replace them. So how are you going to go to your clients and explain this? How is this a positive move on the part of Adobe to leave Flex and Flash developers holding the bag for there communication bungling.

    1. Hi Michael,

      The current state of affairs is exactly that as described, Flex is no longer a recommended platform and there is no alternative available (yet) that can equalize it… thats it, in a nutshell.
      However, making the decision to change focus and resources to be allocated on HTML instead of Flash and Flex is a good and sound decision, regardless how the decision may have been communicated and left us people working with Flex where the rubber meets the road hanging to dry.
      The message itself and how you deliver the message is two separate things, the message is good and clear, the delivery was not exactly up to par which is causing the confusion now and the uproar in the community.
      Therefore, my suggestion is that we discuss these two aspects separately from each other. In my post I was not trying to discuss the way this new change of focus and technical strategy was conveyed to the public and the community, but instead only focus on the decision itself and what it means in the long run for us working with Flex.

      I agree, we are stuck right now with a very delicate situation because of this and because many people and even people close to Adobe were not made aware of this information until the public did… there are some pretty horrid stories going on backstage right about about how some people were left hanging to try on stage while presenting Flash Technologies, where people in the audience were following on Twitter how the storm hit following the Flash Mobile announcement, something the Adobe Rep on stage wasn’t informed about, and therefore were made to look like an ass on stage in front of 250+ people.

      Lets keep pragmatic and keep emotions aside when discussing constructively what technological decisions have been made and what it means to us in the community, then we can always discuss the approach used afterwards when the dust has settled…

      Cheers,
      Peter

      PS. Apologies for the long reply, however the topic is precarious so I thought it was warranted.

  2. Sorry I don’t mean to be rude, and yes, I am upset. Adobe could have had ActionScript running natively in browsers if they’d taken the Tamarin project somewhere. If they’d chosen to be a leader in the space instead of a follower, we would not even be discussing HTML5 right now. If they had proper leadership. Flash may be dying, but it’s not dead yet, not by a long shot.

    If you’re still upset like me, and not fatalist like most, you might want to do something about it:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-shantanu-narayen-to-step-down-as-ceo

    1. Hi Joseph,

      No worries, emotions are running high in the community and its totally understandably.

      If you check the of people having signed the petition, you should be able see that I was the 5th person to sign it, however I don’t really consider signing that actually “doing something about it”.

      I’m not here to save Adobe or to save the community, Im here to live and learn and hopefully have a good time in the process. Being pragmatic in this situation indicates to me that letting go of Flex, regardless of the many great times we have had together.

      Wether Flash is truly dying or not, I will leave as an exercise for history to complete, all I can see that my training center is not receiving any requests for Flex Training (we are overrun by native mobile courses and HTML, etc.) and that the organizations I work with are not any longer eager to hire Flex resources.
      Enterprises have from the beginning had a hard time to come to grasps with using Flash Player as their enterprise runtime, now its infinitely more difficult which is why its not an option, very much helped by Adobe’s own communications suggesting that long term thinking should not involve Flex, but HTML5.

      Adobe is letting LiveCycle go as well, since this was one of the few divisions where the revenue stream could be partly traced to Flex, now with those 8.9% half way out the door, there is very little pecuniary reason to keep posting funds into Flex.

      It will take a long time for us all to correlate all the information that has come out of San Jose this past week, however once the paint is dry and wrinkles ironed out, a new dawn will arise where Adobe will continue to be market leader in the digital publishing… if Creative Cloud will boost or burn the company is yet to be seen, however I think we can be pretty certain that if CC doesn’t turn out well, that Adobe will be in a very likely position for a hostile takeover as their value will have dropped significantly…

      It worked for Intuit, however its still to be seen if it works for Adobe…

      Cheers,
      Peter

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