Following this week’s announcement by Adobe to halt development of Flash for mobile browsers, the Adobe Flex product managers have just announced that they will be making significant changes in the Flex SDK –

“…we are planning to contribute the Flex SDK to an open source foundation…”
“… Flex SDK feature development will continue under a new governance model…”

The Flex SDK was Open Source for a few years now, why then this sudden need to re-structure its governance model, why now?

“In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development. We also know that, currently, Flex has clear benefits for large-scale client projects typically associated with desktop application profiles.”

“…In fact, many of the engineers and product managers who worked on Flex SDK will be moving to work on our HTML efforts. We will continue making significant contributions to open web technologies like WebKit & jQuery…”

It is clear from above, and considering the adoption rate of HTML5 and the pace in which HTML5 features are being added and optimized that the role of the Flex SDK as the enterprise RIA framework of choice is only for the interim. In fact, Adobe is being direct; “we believe HTML5 will be the best…”

Contributing the project as a whole, changing governance model and loosening control will allow Adobe to keep the project alive while shifting resources and engineers towards what they believe will rule next. HTML.

Who can continue support and evolve the Flex SDK after Adobe? – Watch this video about Project Spoon.

Innovation and Evolution

Adobe (and Macromedia before) created great creative tools to both Flash (Flash IDE, Flash Builder) and HTML (Dreamweaver).

For the past decade Flash has been paving the way, stretching the limits of the web. It is what set HTML to be re-invented. Now that many of the great core Flash features (Bitmap, Video, Audio, etc.) were adopted in HTML5 and that it’s clearly on the browsers roadmap to implement the rest (Fullscreen, Devices, etc.), it is time for Flash to continue doing what it did so well, innovate (next up? – 3D, Gaming and native apps).

While these decisions may have badly impacted many in the Flash community, this may prove to be very smart in the long term. It takes true leadership to recognize a trend in time, adapt and shift focus towards greater potential revenue.


Did the announcements impact your business?

Website Comments

  1. Zohar Babin

    Hi Mario,

    Thank you for your insight.
    Having been an avid web developer using Flash and all other web technologies for the past decade, I can definitely feel the pain of avid Flash developers out there with these announcements (Flash mobile followed by Flex and Adobe’s trust in HTML5 as the future).

    I think that Steve Jobs and Apple didn’t have much more than being a catalyst for a process that would have happen anyways. It is the evolution of the web to take the greatest of the innovation platforms (e.g. Java, Flash, Silverlight) and integrate what’s common into the open standard. I would be very disappointed from the W3C (and its members) if they failed to do so.

    Flex is a great framework used by many enterprises. It was open source already, and didn’t make all that revenue compared to other things Adobe does, nor did being open source provided them with much contributions to the Flex framework, so contributing it to Apache (or similar) and cutting on resources does make sense.
    Truth is, it is time to move on, and HTML is now capable of handling the same requirements by enterprise applications. Adobe would be smart to provide tools and frameworks for HTML & JS rather than competing to keep Flex on Flash alive. And us companies and developers will be smart to move on and utilize the standard.

    Flash on mobile was never all that great, and wasn’t utilized much. At the end of the day, it’s all about the revenue for Adobe. It is not practical for a single company the size of Adobe to maintain support for all the many phones out there, the already fragmented Android market (which is growing quickly)… HTML, being an open, agreed upon standard is already supported directly by the vendors, so why would they support Flash as well?

    Yes, Flash is still strong, and it will take a long while till it’s phased out. And Adobe said they’re still committed to where Flash is strong, on the desktop.
    This all about planning for the future. Making hard decisions on time, when you’re still relevant, and not when it’s too late.

    Now what’s left to be seen is whether native applications which AIR is targeting will be taken over by the standards as well (Web Apps). If not, AIR indeed has a good reason to thrive.

  2. Mario

    All very nice… but this is just not the real thruth and we know it.

    Adobe bought Macromedia because of FLASH, a huge investment was made on Flash, they pushed it everywhere, Acrobat, Flash Builder and they presented and invested huge amount of money of developing AIR which was like the future for them.

    But then something unexpected happened on that beautiful road and all became a nightmare for them in just a couple of months, when suddenly Steve Jobs said, Flash won’t run on Apple massive products. All got allied against Apple: Adobe, Blackberry with its PlayBook fiasco, HP and his WebOS fiasco, Google Android saying loud and loud Flash runs in our OS, Samsung, HTC and so forth. But the selling numbers of all those together don’t even match Apple impressed selling figures, and in the case of iPad their dominance in the table market is just mind blowing.

    Steve killed Flash, that is the truth, Adobe could not overcome that and faced the fact that they cannot compete against Apple desires.

    All the rest of what Adobe says to be the cause of giving of flash is just plain nonsense and everybody knows it.

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