Moods

Flexcursion with Apache

55 Comments 17 November 2011

Flexcursion with Apache

What a week! Adobe made a lot of announcements which raised a lot of questions on the web, and led to a lot of WTF (which meant”What The Flex” right?). I feel that since MAX, the Flex community was expecting some clarification about the future of Flex. The strategic shift made by Adobe precipitated our communication to unveil the overall plan. Unfortunately, it has been shared in the middle of a wave of changes (the lay-off, the Flash mobile story, the HTML5 commitment…). There was a lot of misunderstanding, so let me give you my personal opinion on this as a Flex developer and as an Adobe Evangelist. First, here is the official article that provides details about the future of Flex: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/flex-announcements.html 

The evolution of Flex

This is a fairly long post, if you don’t have time to read it all right now, you may want to skip directly to What’s next for Flex. I’m French, I talk too much, and I’m not Victor Hugo… Whatever :) So feel free to skip this paragraph to focus on our future. But the history of Flex might help you understanding the difference between our past strategy and the new one.

Flex 1 was released in 2004. To develop and deploy a Flex app, you had to use a 15000$ server. I remember that I started looking at Flex 1.5 in 2005 at my previous company. Because of this economic model, I didn’t even try to develop a prototype. Then, after the acquisition of Macromedia, Flex 2 was launched with a free business model and an IDE based on Eclipse. It was 2006, when I started coding Flex projects and when I joined Adobe to promote this technology. In 2007, Flex 3 was open-sourced under the MPL license. Flex 4 introduced the Spark architecture that lets you skin visual components very easily and with a lot of freedom. Thanks to Flex 4.5.1 (and soon Flex 4.6) you can build “native-like” mobile apps and deploy them on Android, iOS and QNX. So what’s next?

I’m very close to the Java and the PHP community (I’m currently writing this post from the fantastic DEVOXX conference with 3200 Java developers around me). When we used to present Flex as an open-source technology, it was more a “you can view my source” one. That was a huge step, and it helped our community to understand how the framework works. After a few months, it also generated some frustration. Flex developers and strategic customers who are Flex masters wanted to contribute actively, optimize the code, etc… Some of them even started their own branches. The Spoon project is the expression of this will and the expression of our lack of efficiency in accepting contributions, which I think was because Flex was perceived and promoted as a product. What I want to express is that we were defining the new Flex features on our side, to (somewhat) surprise our community and generate excitement. It was of course based on customer and user feedback, but then the new features were only shared during main conferences (360Flex or MAX for instance), and this was related sometimes to our product strategy. And this system works very well to spur adoption and generate a lot of excitement: Flex is very successful in the Enterprise today thanks to this strategy.

What’s next for Flex ?

At the same time, HTML5 is moving very very fast — faster than most anyone would have predicted two years ago. This is mainly due to the success of the iPad. That’s why Adobe believes that within 3 to 5 years, depending on the complexity of your RIA, HTML5 should be able to enable decent Enterprise Application user experiences for desktop users, associated with a professional coding experience. What I would add, as an Enterprise consultant, is that we can easily add 2 or 3 years to this period of time. A significant part of the Enterprise customers I’m interacting with are still running on Windows XP. This is a reflection of the tempo of the Enterprise world that cannot be synced with the outside world for security, maintenance, training, and auditing reasons. So even if HTML5 integrates some key RIA concepts within 5 years, it means that browsers still have to implement them and that companies need to update to a recent browser… well, you know the story.

Flex is and will remain the leading framework for first-class Enterprise applications for many years. And by the way, don’t be scared. We’re not blind and we must accept the fact that HTML5 is making fantastic progress. That’s GREAT! And our community has A LOT of time to anticipate this shift and make the most of this transition. Adobe won’t let you down. We’ll contribute to open standards, and at the same time, Adobe, starting with my team, will make sure that you’ll make it through — and even thrive during — any shift in our industry. Don’t worry, if HTML5 becomes the standard for RIA apps, then the best HTML5 RIA developers of tomorrow will be today’s Flex developers. Why? Because RIA development is not just a matter of language. RIA developers have a lot of specific skills (design awareness, client-side architectures, service exposure architecture, user-experience, mobile applications conception and optimization to name a few). You have a unique knowledge of the market that goes beyond knowing a technology inside and out. Adobe is already a key player in the HTML industry, and we’ll deliver more and more advanced tools and technologies (you can already look at PhoneGap, Edge…).

That’s why we need to define the best strategy for the Flex framework and establish it as an Enterprise standard today! There are two options. The first option is to invest in more new features and hire more engineers on the Flex SDK team. For the long term, I don’t believe in this strategy. It’s the traditional way to proceed for software products but not for application development frameworks. The more committed and talented developers you have in the community, the more you need to let them interact with the source code of your technology. The more you have mission critical Flex apps deployed in large organizations, the more strategic customers need to trust the future of your technology. Open source can fulfill these needs. We all know that Flex is deeply linked to the Flash Player which boosted the innovation on the web, and then, consequently, in Rich Internet Applications. I believe that the Flex framework is very mature in terms of features and can answer pretty much all the current Enterprise needs. It can also answer  future needs as we can now rapidly build native apps for iOS, Android and QNX since Flex 4.5.

The second option is to consolidate the current SDK and transition to the next level of openness. That’s why we decided to propose incubating the Flex SDK to the Apache Software Foundation. I’m very happy and excited about this move for several reasons:

  • Apache is a very respected foundation by developers and by large organizations. A lot of mission-critical Enterprise applications are already relying on Apache software: Axis, Ant, Maven, JackRabbit, Tomcat, Geronimo, ActiveMQ, Felix…
  • We are not only proposing the Flex SDK, we’re also pushing BlazeDS (Java server libraries for data serialization and real-time messaging). In 2012, we’ll propose Falcon, a new generation compiler. We’ll also unveil and propose FalconJS, an experimental and advanced Flex to JavaScript compiler. More projects may also be proposed to Apache to build a first-class open Enterprise RIA stack.
  • For the first time, Adobe won’t be the sole influencer on the Flex roadmap. We’ll still have engineers working on it but the effort will also be advanced directly by work of top Flex developers in the community (join the Spoon project if you’re one of them).

So Flex or HTML5 ?

I’ve been working on Rich Enterprise applications for more than 6 years and I can tell you that it requires a lot of different skills and specialized knowledge. RIA developers, and especially Flex developers, know how complex it is to combine an efficient user experience with a maintainable client architecture. Flex is really the only cross-platform solutions on the desktop for rich applications. Today, 90% of Flex applications are internal apps (statistics from what I see on the field) available on the intranet and on the extranet to share the screens with external partners or customers. Flex apps won’t run in mobile browsers as Apple and MSFT don’t host plugins on their tablets (we’re still waiting for the MSFT one by the way) and as Adobe announced its intent to discontinue Flash in mobile browsers. Thanks to this decision, Adobe engineers are now focusing on Adobe AIR, the runtime that can execute and package your Flex applications as native iOS, Android and QNX (BlackBerry) apps. With the arrival of Flex 4.6 at the end of November, Flex apps will perform even better to deliver “native-like” experiences on smartphones and tablet devices. So what’s the market for Flex? Well it’s huge because we are focusing on Enterprise apps and not on Customer apps, we’re focusing on Enterprise data-driven apps, on rebranding and re-architecting existing Enterprise apps developed with Web 1.0 technologies or even client-server ones. That’s a growing market in all industries. Tablets will accelerate this need of user-oriented architectures, because if you deliver a bad user experience on tablets, you’ll immediately fail. The potential of RIA for desktop and tablet users is higher than ever because it unlocks ROI (increase the productivity of your company, improve the decision making processes, reduce the learning curve and then the training costs for employees…). I know that today you’ll hear a lot of people talking about the growing role of tablet devices in our daily life, that tablets will replace PCs, etc… Who cannot agree? I’d like just to add that the Enterprise world is evolving at a different tempo. Believe me, you won’t see large organizations replacing all PCs by tablets next year. If it happens and if it makes sense, it will take years, maybe decades. Desktop users will still represent the main population of Enterprise apps end users for a very long time. With Flex, you can already target 100% of your desktop users without migrating to a new operating system or a new browser, and you can target 99% of tablet devices as you can now generate iOS and Android native apps.

This is regarding the market for Flex, but there’s also the “developer experience”. Flex has been designed for Enterprise developers who are used to working with object-oriented languages like Java, first-class debugging experiences (on the desktop and on mobile devices), continuous integration, agile development, modular applications managed by several development teams, productive tools based on Enterprise standard IDEs like Eclipse, etc… It’s by far the best and the most efficient coding experience on the market and that’s not trivial. Before developing a mission-critical application, you have to measure/estimate the development time. Flex is usually way faster than other solutions, for a better result at the end. That’s why it’s considered the leading RIA framework on the market. So, don’t be scared, Flex is not dead. I was not surprised to see some posts on the web promoting this idea. It’s a classic trend in our industry. Just to illustrate that point, I googled some queries. Here is my TOP 5 list of the dead technologies:

  1. “.NET is dead” is the big winner with 576000 search results on Google. Congratulations.
  2. “JAVA is dead” is following with 138.000 results. I can hardly feel this trend from Devoxx and the 3200 Java developers around me :)
  3. “PHP is dead” is a little child with only 35.600 results.
  4. “Ruby is dead” is in the same range with 30.700 results.
  5. “AJAX is dead” generates 6500 results.
So we are newbies in this competition as “Flex is dead” only displays 5000 results :( I’m kidding of course, it’s a stupid analysis but it highlights that you shouldn’t always trust online articles about technologies lives. Try it with Flash, you’ll be amazed. Flash is a damned zombie :). Ok… no more stupid games, let me go back to the future of Flex.

How can I contribute ?

After the announcement of our proposal to the Apache foundation, I received several emails from Flex developers and customers who want to contribute, to play a role in the roadmap, to fix bugs, etc… We’re still defining the process, so I cannot share any information on that today. But as soon as everything is defined, I’ll be the first writing tutorials to explain how to contribute. It’s such a big opportunity for the Flex community. It’s also a huge change of strategy and I’m aware of that, and some of you may be a little bit nervous. But Flex won’t be the only project in collaboration with Apache. We acquired Day software, and the engineers at Day are Apache masters, true open-source contributors. I like that. PhoneGap will also become an Apache project. Adobe is one of the top contributing companies to the Apache Foundation, and I fully embrace this strategy. I want Flex to become as popular as Tomcat in Enterprise architecture!

Let’s embrace this strategy together. Adobe is proud of Flex and super proud of what you achieve everyday with this framework. Based on the emotional reactions perceived on social networks this week, I can tell that we are all true and passionate Flex lovers. So let’s continue to build on that passion and work together on the future of Flex.

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Your Comments

55 Comments so far

  1. Tonic says:

    Ready to contribute! :)

  2. Hi Michael, I’ve a couple of questions for you:

    1. if Flex will be good for RIAs for next 3/5 years, in those years it should be a bad idea go ahead with development and create something more that HTML 5 couldn’t arrive?

    2. In your post you are talking about developer experience to create stable and complicated RIAs, do you think that a lot of JS devs are comfortable with microarchitecture, oop and design patterns?
    For me the most part of JS devs are like AS 2 devs when Adobe introduce AS 3…

    It’s only an impression but it seems that Adobe is forcing a little bit HTML 5 in market fields that couldn’t be the right technology to create anything.
    Just my 2 cents

  3. Fabien says:

    Great article Michael. Clearly enterprise-oriented, which was lacking a bit on other official communications.
    I agree on all your points regarding adoption by enterprise of new technologies (especially HTML5), but now that Adobe is “moving” Flex to Apache, will companies still consider Flex as this strong and “controlled” technology?
    It was before because it was backed up by Adobe, but I now see clients asking the future of Flex as an “orphaned baby”.
    I’m sure you had many clients calling you about that as well, and I think time will tell.
    In the meantime I’ll direct them to your article :)

  4. H. Berreziga says:

    Thank you for all those clarifications Michaël.

  5. Is there any news on the AIR for desktop?
    Both Adobe and you pointed out the commitment on the AIR mobile project and the upcoming flash player for desktop releases…but nothing about AIR for desktop. so.. any news on this?

  6. admin says:

    Hi Luca, I’m glad you read this post, thanks for your feedback.
    My replies to your valid questions:
    1. It’s a strategy but Flex is already so advanced and mature. I need to find what could boost Flex compared to web standards, and it’s not that easy. But as you said, we have at least 3 years to find something. Don’t think that we’ll stop innovating. For instance, I’m crazy about the starling framework. It would be so great to have hardware accelerated UIs by the GPU !!!
    2. The AS2 to AS3 comparison is just great ! You’re absolutely right. If you take a web developer who knows HTML, it doesn’t mean that he’ll become automatically an interactive designer or a RIA developer. That’s what I’m saying in my post. You need extra-skills that are not technology-dependent. Even today, if you look at on the web the best HTML5 websites, and the most impressive HTML5 animations, in 90% of the cases, they have been built by Flash coders !!! Because they have this etra knowledge. And I agree, it will be exactly the same for HTML5 RIA in the future. Regarding the current limitation of JS (which is more like AS2), I don’t want to bet on its future, but I’m pretty sure that it needs to evolve. You remember 3 years ago (the Tamarin story, the W3C war…) when some actors wanted to push ECMAScript 262 ? It didn’t work, but we shouldn’t think that JS won’t evolve in future browsers. It may become a OOP language one day. And it’s not Adobe who’s forcing the HTML5 adoption :) It’s a massive wave supported by a lot of Software vendors, editors and manufacturers that we cannot ignore.
    We still have time, Flex is still the most relevant and advanced technology today to build Enterprise apps. We just need to be agile in case it changes one day. I hope to see you soon !

  7. Khaled says:

    Thank you for this amazing article, am ready to contribute too

  8. Nils says:

    Hi Michaël,

    Thank you for this article.

    To be honnest, what I don’t really get about the new strategy, is the new relationship between AIR and Flex. Let me explain. I know that it is possible to create AIR apps without the Flex framework. But for lots of people (like me), creating an AIR app, it is just creating a Flex app that runs as a “native” application, I mean 90% of the code is the same (and it is very good). So I wonder about how AIR apps (Adobe’s AIR compiler) and open source Flex framework will be linked in the future.

    A second point, but maybe you don’t know yet, is a question about the ubiquity of AIR apps. Does Adobe plan to target also Windows Phone ecosystem with AIR apps? I think it is a very important point to clarify as soon as possible. I think Microsoft is of course a very big player concerning the future of mobiles devices (smartphones and tablets), even if today it doesn’t represent a big market share. An announce about the possibility of targeting Windows Phone would sound very positive for Flex / AIR lovers, and would reassure them about the sustainability of the technology.

    Nils

  9. Thanks for your reply, I’m so agree with your vision and I really hoped in answers like that you got me.
    See you soon mate :D

  10. admin says:

    Hi Nils. That’s a huge shift and your concerns are totally fair !!! We’re still actively defining the best internal workflow to share it as soon as possible with you guys. Regarding Adobe AIR on Windows 8, we already shared that we’re discussing with Microsoft to enable it. But we still don’t have the visibility to unveil a date (and I agree with you, MSFT should become a key player in the mobile market, especially for Enterprise users, but it won’t happen before version 8 I guess).

  11. Michael,

    amazing article. amaizing explanation. I’m very glad to see you giving all this vision. I started to think that nobody was seeing all the Flex history from the real enterprise side we all live in our day-by-day:

    * OOP is simply crucial and HMTL5 will not succed ever in the enterprise field until we have some OOP platform that produces the final content (aka. app)
    * New enhacements like IoC, AOP, metadata (aka annotations) are expected in a enterprise platform. Once again, if Javascript does not support it, we don’t want it!
    * Maven, CI, and lots of other complex things are ineludible key *requeriments* in enterprise development. Adobe never listen to this statement and for this reason never was the best company to hold the technology.
    * Apache has most of the key projects used in enterprise applications, so agree completly that this can be a great movement. So yeah! hope Apache Tomcat and Apache Flex will go hand by hand in importance! :)
    * HTML5 could eventualy take over the enterprise segment if we get ride of prototypes in JS, get a *real* client execution enviroment like we have in Flash were we can delegate processing (draw screens in server side is today a joke, we already come from that scenario and we-don’t-want-it….I can’t speak more slowly but not more clear ;) )

    Finaly, sincerily I think you expose it very clear and right to the root of the problem. I’m very proud of what Adobe get with Flex and have many expectatives with Apache and Spoon, I think this could really amaizing and possitive for the years to come.

    So your article should be given relevance from Adobe and give wide spread over internet since your thoughts and points are crucial

    Many Thanks! :)

    Carlos Rovira

  12. JC Lang says:

    Hello Michaël,
    thanks for your sum-up.
    Since “la fine équipe du 11″ of last week, your post is the first that really conforts me back with Flex future.

    The main enterprise customer I work with (they build flying bus) wants secure technology on the long term,
    that means:
    -working with the biggest actor (ms) and his technologies even if they are not the best,
    -or using widely adopted open source products.
    So the move of Flex to “real” open source world may have an important positive effect on its adoption by the most chilly enterprise customers.

    Anyway I want to be a part of it and hope to meet you soon.
    …I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Flexiner!” :)

  13. Gunnar Karlsson says:

    Great post. Great blog.

  14. William says:

    Thank you so much for this post Michael. It explains pretty much everything we needed to know.

    Cheers!

  15. Nils says:

    Thank you for your answer Michaël,
    I STILL really believe in the potential of AIR if it succeeds in targeting ALL the ecosystems (ALL “mobile” devices, ie smartphones and tablets, and of course all main desktop OS).
    Concerning the market of “entreprise” applications, Flex is far in advance compared to any over solution and I’m confident that Adobe and now the community can do a great job of improving the framework.
    Entreprises need more than ever solutions that allow to “code once run anywhere”, and they have no problem deploying these solutions in the form of native apps.
    AIR+Flex is still in my opinion the most promising paradigm for that.
    But efforts has to be made to regain Flash Player’s lost ubiquity through AIR apps.
    It is the condition of the success.

  16. Nice, well thought out post. I’m not a Flex developer, but this last week.5 has been interesting.

    I do have a few questions;

    1. Flex relies on the Flash Player or Air, correct? Without constant tight integration between Spoon and the FP, is Flex not heading down a troublesome road?

    2. Enterprise was the leading innovation platform for a long time, this is changing! Are you not at all concerned that a consumer driven revolution in productivity and innovation will change Enterprise?

    Furthermore, we are seeing a lot more of; “Here is my iPad, now make it work!” from the CEO -> Mobile Sales to IT. This is a major shift and its accelerating. Many are starting to say that for the first time, consumer tech will drive enterprise tech going forward.

    What a lot of people fail to realize is Adobe is in a bit of trouble financially speaking. They have revised enterprise growth down every quarter and projections look tepid at best. http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/invrelations/2011_analyst_mtg/pdfs/FA2011_web_MarkGarrett.pdf

    Their strategy is to focus on the marketer and boost subscription rates to meet top line growth. They are literally betting the farm on subscriptions and marketing. That doesn’t sound “enterprise-y” to me, but I am, admittedly, not that smart.

    I like seeing the glass half full, but there are way larger forces at work here. We are fool hardy to accept them at face value. Take care.

  17. Bob Warfield says:

    Michael, it’s a very well written post. But there is a problem: Adobe has damaged its trust severely with its handling of these announcements and with the decisions it has made such as discontinuing mobile flash player.

    When you say, “Adobe won’t let you down,” you overlook that it has already let the community down. There are endless comments on Adobe Evangelist blogs about people who for example now have a far harder time selling their management on using these Adobe platforms for no other reason than because Adobe let them down in its handling of all this.

    Is it a great thing that Flex is now truly Open Source? Sure, except for that trust thing. People are going to wonder how much support Adobe will really give it, whether it was just thrown over the fence to cut costs, whether AIR is about Flex or whether that emphasis will all shift to making AIR about HTML5, and yada yada.

    Every time you emphasize the inevitability of a shift to HTML5 people are going to write off Flex as irrelevant. Even if it is a good thing, Adobe is saying it is inevitably going away and we’re just talking about the timing.

    How do you fix that? Well, you can’t fix it very easily or maybe not at all. That’s the nature of trust. It’s much harder to gain trust than to lose trust.

    It’s a pity the company didn’t see the wisdom of continuing to invest in Flex without these kind of doomsday announcements while continuing to develop its HTML5 chops. Making a cutover to a world where HTML5 was actually ready to accept the handoff would’ve been a lot easier.

    The other tough thing about trust, is when Adobe wants to be the HTML5 company of choice, it’s going to need a lot of trust to pull that off.

    BTW, “flash is dead” will get you 196,000 results, besting everything in your list except .NET.

  18. Rui Silva says:

    Hi Michaël,

    Excellent post! I wouldn’t have said it any better and my feelings regarding Adobe and the trust I have in you guys to keep our skills current regardless of how the industry evolves reflect perfectly what you have said here. Thank you!

  19. admin says:

    Hi Michael M., +1 on your questions. It’s true that Adobe is now focusing on Digital Marketing which is less technical than RIA architectures. That said, we’ll face the same customers, and a lot of them invested a lot of money in our Flex and LiveCycle solutions. So don’t worry, we won’t give up our existing and successful projects because we’re focusing on something new. Regarding the “it doesn’t sound enterpris-y” part, I guess that Apache will also help on that one. I had the chance to be a technical pre-sales involved in strategic RIA deals. Even 3 years ago, it was hard for Adobe to look like an “enterpris-y” solution. It requires a huge amount of effort to get the trust of large accounts. So now, we have a lot of Flex successes, but it wasn’t that easy, and still, it’s hard to see Adobe as an actor as strong as Oracle or IBM in IT organizations. So if in the Apache foundation, big actors join us to contribute of Flex, it will help. Look at what’s happening with PhoneGap ! IBM is one of the main contributor!

  20. admin says:

    Hi Bob, you’re absolutely right. I won’t tell you that we excelled at communicating our strategy last week. What a mess… And indeed, it affected your trust in us. My team and I, plus product managers are looking for the best solutions to fix that. We’ll announce that very soon. I was at Devoxx this week, a massive JAVA event (3200 developers). I realized that it affected most of all OUR community. The Java one is perceiving the move to Apache as an excellent news. I made 3 presentations and one 3 hours training about Flex mobile. It was a success and you can tell with the tweets that they were super impressed. But yeah… we failed creating this misunderstanding. I totally agree and you can’t imagine how I felt bad about that. Now we need to move on and make Flex successful with the community and some companies.
    Ah! the Flash is dead search is fair. I told you ! a Damned Zombie !

  21. Hugo says:

    Hello Bob Warfield,

    I totally at 100% agree with you :(

    When SilverLight appears I said to my self (nahh, its Microsoft will not work well either in their own system).

    When HTML5 appears I look at other eyes and I have been following its progress.

    After last week I started to study more seriously the HTML5 and have to say that comparing the current one Flex, which is a lower level language and less productive (at present) but the vast majority of scenarios are likely to be made ​​with HTML5.

    About the mobile I was very disappointed with the jQuery Mobile (poor performance, graphically looks like something from the time of Atari, missing components, bad components, etc …)

    I will start investing more in HTML5 instead of the Flex for web applications and in the case of mobile I will still use Flex but I will be very attentive to the progress of jQuery Mobile to also make the change at the right time (after that hardly I will continue use Adobe products).

    Lost confidence is made in a second with the worst passed message in the history of computing but to gain the confidence again the Adobe need’s match but very match more.

    The real consequences will be verified in the next year (if the Adobe survive to this …).

  22. switcherdav says:

    Ce qui me dérange c’est qu’on compare les applis Flex, majoritairement utilisées pour faire des outils internes, avec des sites grand public en HTML5

    ça n’a pas de sens, je réalise des applications internes en Flex et en HTML et j’obtiens des résultats identiques.

    Que ce soit sous Flex ou HTML, je réalise mes assets graphiques avec inkscape, j’utilise modérément les animations et travaille énormément sur l’esthétique et la simplicité d’utilisation.

    Je ne rencontre pas de soucis cross browser, utilisant jQuery et backbone.js pour l’organisation de mon code, le tout sur un seul navigateur (même si je teste sur les 3 principaux du marché)

    En revanche, il est vrai que le temps est plus important pour coder.

    Ma seule réserve aujourd’hui c’est sur l’avenir du lecteur flash … si la stratégie c’est AIR et le gaming … est-ce que la rentabilité du lecteur flash Desktop justifiera sa maintenance ? et vu la brutalité des décisions prises, je suis plutôt méfiant à présent.

    Bonne chance pour la suite

  23. boris says:

    Can we have the email of one the Adobe PR so that we ALL here forward them this post?? No? not possible?

    But now everybody seems glad that Apache is on the run, I am probably the only one praying hard that the community won’t transform Flex in a monster like Maven , Hibernate or Spring.
    Please KISS for Flex : Keep It Simple and Sexy!

  24. benzonico says:

    The thing I read there is : “Starling for Flex”. Can’t wait for that… :) (and ready to contribute)

  25. Masu says:

    @Michael … thank you for the hint:

    > Don’t think that we’ll stop innovating. For instance, I’m crazy about the starling framework. It would be so great to have hardware accelerated UIs by the GPU !!!

    Can’t wait to get my fingers on Flex 5! Please be fast because I am getting older ;)

  26. eric says:

    Practically, will Adobe help Flex developers transpose their skills and Flex key concepts to Javascript programming, or are we supposed to find our own way alone ?
    I have specifically in mind :
    MVC micro-architecture;
    display list ;
    layouts ;
    text layout framework ;
    bitmapData processing ;

    In other words, will Adobe invest in RIA developing around Javascript, providing for instance a mini Flex framework for Javascript, or some jQuery plugins ?

  27. Rahan says:

    Hi Michaël,
    Seb flex programmer from Paris here :)

    First thank you for thoses clarifiations.
    Secondly :) i have to say that i fully understand the strategic shift about flash player on mobile, and the give of flex to Apache fundation.

    But of course :) i have more questions.

    ***
    The first is in everyones mouth: How the F… could Adobe make such a bad annoucement?

    It is perhaps the biggest annoucement about flash since its birth. I talk about the whole strategic shift!
    And all is like if Adobe had never think about how to tell it to the world.
    Even in Max (where i was not :() this shift has not been presented as clearly as it seems to be in Adobes Executives heads. But it would have been the perfect place to do so.
    Now the result is that a lot of flash developpers who have followed Max annoucements, think now it was only lies…

    It’s just incredible for such a big firm like Adobe.
    Anywhere else, some heads would have been cut for such a big thing.

    ***
    Second question is more about the technology :)
    I think myself that shitfing to HTML5 is of course a good thing, but shifting so radically when HTML5 is not enough ready yet is less good idea for me.

    I don’t understand why everyone always talk about flash as if it was only flash player. I thought it was the flash platform, and flash player was only the runtime of this platform for some harwars but not everyone of them (now with iOs packaging or Air or else).
    So why HTML5 should not be simply the next runtime on which the flash platform can publish content, like it do already for native applications on mobiles?

    ***
    I read your interview on 01net here:
    http://pro.01net.com/editorial/546710/adobe-sexplique-sur-lavenir-de-flash/
    You say “En gros, on est pas là pour faire du diaporama sur mobile !”
    In RIAgora post also you tell flex developpers to start to learn the HTML5 technology to work for mobile browsers.

    BUT flash is not only a tool to make thinks more complexes than with HTML.
    It’s the only way to create web content, with consistency on every browsers, and moreover it’s the only ecosystem where you work with real OOP language and event programmation rather than poor javascript.

    So i’d disaggree with you, flash platform can also be used to create even pictures slideshows, because if you want to be effective in web development, even for simple things, its the first choice!

    So instead of creating Edge which use javascript as scripting language, why not putting efforts to make flah pro and flex publish for HTML5, even in Lite version until HTML5 is mature enough?
    Im aware that theres some projects in this area, like FlaconJS but it sounds more like small side projects than big elements of the whole strategy.

    ***
    My last question is just the logical next step after my second one.
    Its about designers, flash pro and Edge.
    Your post on 01net gave me an answer:
    “Nous avons déjà dévoilé un outil de développement HTML5, Edge. Celui-ci est basé sur les mêmes concepts que Flash Professionnal. Flash Pro, notamment sa prochaine version va être repositionné sur des applications plus sophistiques qui permettrons aux flasheurs de démarquer leurs créations. Flash Pro évolura notamment vers un environnement de création de jeux.”

    But will Flash pro be able to publish for HTML5 or not?

    If yes, what is the prupose of Edge, a lower version of flash pro with poor javascript?
    If no, why not getting flash pro, and making a sort of flash pro lite to create simplier things for HTML5, but still with AS3?

    Creating Edge seems like going backward to me.

    And if one day javascript evolves to a OOP language, than it should be quite easy to convert AS3 in javascript, and maybe only at this moment, starting to let AS die.

    ***
    Thanks a lot for your time, and your answers :)
    Regards

  28. ilan says:

    Great communication post. From a developer to a developers community.

    Looking forward to see many Flex branches and Flex components, even a Flex marketplace!

    Question remains regarding Adobe as a develop platforms. Developers (Me included) will not easily trust Adobe in future.

    Adobe is showing lack of leadership and even a spineless C level behavior ( sorry for being blunt / rude / frank).

    All communications made after this Fiasco were made by evangelists.

    Where is Adobe CEO? Where is Adobe CTO?

    Its their lack of utter communications to the community that makes me mad. After such an announcement, I think that people who paid money for Adobe Flex product should get something, some respond from the CEO/CTO!

    Another grave issue is W8, If AIR will not be supported on W8, then no enterprise will do new AIR projects.

    Will Flex/Flash run on W8? if not then it is truly dead :-)

  29. Hey, Michael.

    First of all, great article. Yesterday our UG in Croatia hosted Ryan Stewart and Mihai Corlan and they told us very similar things.

    The timing to announce these news was pretty bad – Flash Player Mobile should have been a different topic and different story.

    In the end I think there are no technical problems. Adobe should think about how to regain people’s trust and how to help them restore their clients trust because the clients were also pretty confused and still are.

    In 2007 I decided to explore Flex because I was tired of creating enterprise or custom CMS with HTML. Did anything happened since then? Yep, we have jQuery and similar frameworks but it’s still HTML!

    From my point of view, I believe that Flex and Flex experts will be pretty wanted in lots of years to come but in the end I think we all learned something – we have to be aware that our businness cannot be dependent only on one technology.

    Final thought – Flex is dead? Please, I’m seinor PHP developer and PHP was dead in 2003 when .NET arrived. Java was already dead in 1998 :)

    Cheers,
    Ivan

  30. admin says:

    @eric : My guess is that Adobe will help. We’re already contributing on the mobile part of JQuery, on the transitions, the animations… The next interesting move would be to contribute and add some “Flex” values. But it will take a lot of time.

  31. admin says:

    Hi Seb !
    thanks for your questionS !

    “How the F… could Adobe make such a bad annoucement?”
    That’s what I call creativity. We’re a creative company, and we’re trying new ways to communicate. No seriously… what can I say ? Sorry ?.. The only thing I can tell it that the way it went wasn’t good, and that it won’t happen again. I can’t share more details.
    “Anywhere else, some heads would have been cut for such a big thing.”
    Hey Seb, in France we can cut heads. We’re cutting heads experts. In the US, they didn’t have kings, that’s why they still need some practice :) Well, this is internal stuff, I don’t want to comment. Just make sure that this week has been seriously considered internally, and that it won’t happen again.
    “So why HTML5 should not be simply the next runtime on which the flash platform can publish content, like it do already for native applications on mobiles?”
    Well, for animation it can work. It’s true that within recent browsers, the JS VM are blazing fast. But it would still require to add an interpretation layer. We’re working on some cool stuff for the future of flash, just give us some time to announce it ;)
    “BUT flash is not only a tool to make thinks more complexes than with HTML.
    It’s the only way to create web content, with consistency on every browsers, and moreover it’s the only ecosystem where you work with real OOP language and event programmation rather than poor javascript.”
    I agree, 100% ! But you’re talking about consistency on every browsers… and Flash isn’t in the browsers of iOS devices, won’t be in W8 Metro browsers… so it won’t be everywhere. In desktop browsers, it’s still and will remain the best solution to reach all the web users, and have consistency.
    “So i’d disaggree with you, flash platform can also be used to create even pictures slideshows, because if you want to be effective in web development, even for simple things, its the first choice!”
    I understand your point. Unfortunately, some key actors didn’t put flash in their mobile OS. So, even for a slideshow, you’d opt for HTML5 in this case if you target tablet users for instance.
    “So instead of creating Edge which use javascript as scripting language, why not putting efforts to make flah pro and flex publish for HTML5, even in Lite version until HTML5 is mature enough?”
    Flash Pro cS6 will export to HTML5. But Flash Pro hosts AS3 code, where Edge hosts JS code. You also need to realize that Flash Pro represents 15 years of legacy code. That’s why the Adobe Edge decided to start a new product from scratch, using Agile development and modern languages such as Lua.

    Thanks for your comments and for sharing your passion for Flash.

  32. admin says:

    @ilan That’s fair. I’ll send your request to our top management. I can tell you that they are considering Flex users very seriously. They have direct relationship with our top strategic Flex customers. But if you think that an official online statement is necessary, I can ask them to think of it. And yes, the Flash Player will be in W8 desktop. And Adobe AIR will be in W8 Metro/mobile.

  33. admin says:

    @Ivan ! Ha ha Ivan + 1
    I was also a PHP developer in 2000. It was PHP3 and we were fighting against ASP pages. There were already press articles announcing the end of PHP in 2001, and now it’s one of the biggest developer community :) Thanks for your nice note.

  34. Yesterday, during Ryan and Mihai’s session I planned to set a big watch and I had an idea to check every hour or so is Flash still alive :) But I haven’t found a watch of proper size :)

  35. Rahan says:

    Hi again :)
    Thanks a lot for your answers, its great to get direct contact on that big question :)

    “That’s what I call creativity.”
    Lol a great bad announcement you’ve never seen before ;) soon on screen :)

    “Well, this is internal stuff, I don’t want to comment. Just make sure that this week has been seriously considered internally”
    Great to read it.

    “Well, for animation it can work. It’s true that within recent browsers, the JS VM are blazing fast. But it would still require to add an interpretation layer. We’re working on some cool stuff for the future of flash, just give us some time to announce it ;)”
    Im quite intrigued :) It makes me more thinking that the annoucement of shift was made too soon, and we don’t have all the pieces to fully understand where Adobe is going. What i understand, is that Adobe is going both ways for the coming years. Am I right?

    But i don’t ask anything else: A way to run on the HTML5 of today even with an interpretation layer, even with less features available, and maybe a full JS compilation for HTML5 of the future with a more mature JS which will probably look a lot like AS3.

    “I agree, 100% ! But you’re talking about consistency on every browsers… and Flash isn’t in the browsers of iOS devices, won’t be in W8 Metro browsers… so it won’t be everywhere. In desktop browsers, it’s still and will remain the best solution to reach all the web users, and have consistency.”

    Thats sad that Apple and Microsoft managed to put a big step back with such a conclusion.
    But i was still talking about the flash platform, where for me flash player is only one runtime among many other possible. If flash platform can publish for HTML5, consistency and efficient ecosystem will remain, even if Apple and microsoft don’t allow flash player on their mobile web navigators.

    “I understand your point. Unfortunately, some key actors didn’t put flash in their mobile OS. So, even for a slideshow, you’d opt for HTML5 in this case if you target tablet users for instance.”
    Same thing, i was still talking about flash platform. Again if flash platform publish HTML5, even in a lite version of flash plaform tools, than all would be right for even simple slideshows. So can i expect to get something like it with your next secret annoucements? :)

    “Flash Pro cS6 will export to HTML5. But Flash Pro hosts AS3 code, where Edge hosts JS code. You also need to realize that Flash Pro represents 15 years of legacy code. That’s why the Adobe Edge decided to start a new product from scratch, using Agile development and modern languages such as Lua.”
    But what will be the main drawback of flash cs6 export to HTML5? Performances?
    Does it mean that we won’t anymore be able to work in a same ecosystem (used to be flash platform) to publish for all targets, and now we will have to work on two different ones?

    Again if JS remains what it is today, we will never get the same efficiency to work with it, than with flash platform and AS3. (AS3 also needded some improvements;) )
    And if JS evolves to real modern language, than it will look like AS3 so the cross compilation will be very easy.

    In every posts i read about it, on Adobe annoucements, its always refering to the evolution of HTML5 for the years to come.
    So what evolution of HTML5 Adobe is trying to push? especially in JS area?

    “Thanks for your comments and for sharing your passion for Flash.”
    Thank you for your work and answers.
    I’ll be on Tonton Flexeurs meeting on tuesday :) see you there.

  36. Rahan says:

    Hi again,
    I have another but simple question :)
    About Flex.
    Would you say that Adobes engagement to the SDK developement will be at the same scale than it was before, and if not what rough percentage will it be?

    Thanks

  37. ilan says:

    Thanks for the post and getting back with answers so fast. much appreciated!

  38. Hugo says:

    If Adobe is focusing in HTML5 for web application and AIR Mobile for mobile apps, should be a good move now show samething new like have a new packager in Flash Builder to Windows Phone because now Windows Phone Marketplace have 40.000 apps and games (10.000 more since last month) and the number is growing up because the new nokia smartphone devices with Windows Phone (other good option could be also a package for BlackBerry smartphones).

  39. admin says:

    @Hugo. Yes Hugo, but it’s not about the number of apps. It’s more about the market shares of Windows Mobile. Today it’s small (below 2%). We all know that it can change thanks to Nokia and become a key actor.

    But will it be with WM7 or WM8? If we invest a lot of R&D in WM7 and that WM8 is a successful platform… then it doesn’t make sense. But don’t worry, we’re talking to MSFT and AIR will be successful on this platform.

  40. Hugo says:

    Thank you Michael. Are understandable reasons. See if the Windows Phone has evolved in the next months (such as the latest trends).

  41. Hugo says:

    I have studying HTML5 (ie, HTML+JS) since the day that Adobe tells to the workd that HTML5 is the best and I will start to recreated simple use cases that I do in Flex but this time in HTML5. I will publish my use cases with source code and my toughts in a new blog (HTML5 experience from a Flex developer :)).

  42. Nils says:

    Hi Michaël,

    Just one thing you should definitively communicate about (because I didn’t know it was possible until today…), it is the possibility to launch any Air application from a link in a browser (or email), as described here, for example :

    http://www.riaspace.com/2011/08/defining-custom-url-schemes-for-your-air-mobile-applications/

    If Flash Player leaves “mobile” ecosystems, there is still the possibility to make a “bridge” between “mobile” browsers and native AIR applications, and it is very simple. The most interesting part of this is that it is also possible to pass parameters to the application through these url schemes.

    We already had this discussion, but if tomorrow AIR applications can target ANY mobile ecosystem (Add Windows Phone target soon, I’m sure it is going to be worth! :)), it means that the couple AIR+Flex can still easily be deployed on mobile ecosystem and integrated almost seamlessly in browser-based “workflows”.

    The only problem is to be able to test that the AIR application is already installed (could be a very interesting feature to add or maybe it is already possible?), but in any case, it is always possible to add a link to any application of an application store into a browser.

    Nils

  43. Masu says:

    I’d like to add the following … “Where could Flash-Coding be in the year 2050?”

    I strongly believe that the World Wide Web (WWW) in 2050 should still be an open platform for both: their developers and their users. Therefore, it is necessary that the future of the WWW follows the guidelines provided by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with their members and ECMA International with their members. Depending on the future strategy of the W3C and ECMA Int, their decisions will have direct implications for the future use of the Flash-Platform (also Java-Applets and Silverlight). In the following I’d like to name a few things that might make Flash (also Java-Applet and Silverlight) development irrelevant in 2050:

    1. The W3C and ECMA Int will implement their standards
    Flash- and Flex-Coding would still be relevant in 2050 unless the W3C and ECMA Int will decide that it is not just enough to define a standard for the web – and HTML and Javascript in particular. Instead, they would also take care of its implementation of a freely available and open WWW with a _SINGLE_ web browser. Still having so many versions of web browsers out there could mean: the WWW is still very new and we (including the W3C and ECMA Int) probably don’t know yet where it should lead us to.

    Benefits:
    * HTML/Javascript documents look and behave the same EVERYWHERE!

    Risks:
    * The risk grows that the development of a single web browser inside the W3C and ECMA Int could be misused in favor to a certain involved company
    * Different web browser stay in competition in growing features, performance and their user community. Removing this competition could result into a weaker WWW

    2. HTML/Javascript will go RIA
    Flash- and Flex-Coding would still be relevant in 2050 unless the W3C and ECMA Int does not combine SVG, WebGL, HTML, CSS & Javascript … etc. into a single Rich Internet Application (RIA) document specification – hereby called “RIA-HTML”. For the moment the W3C still considers HTML to be a “text document with additional multimedia features”, whereas, a Flash document can be considered as a “pure multimedia document” (Audio, Video, 3D, Text … etc).

    Benefits:
    * A “pure multimedia document” similar to MXML/FXG (Flex) or XAML (Silverlight) would be way more expressive

    3. HTML/Javascript will be binary with a Semantic Webservice API
    Flash- and Flex-Coding would still be relevant in 2050 unless HTML/Javascript cannot be compiled into binary code so that search engines, crawlers and web bots will be restricted to only communicate to the “RIA-HTML” document via a certain separated Semantic Webservices API … for more information read Semantic Web and RDF, OWL … etc. at http://www.w3c.org.

    Benefits:
    * Compiled binary HTML/Javascript could significantly be transfered much faster between client and server
    * Users don’t have to run through any human-prove task in the web anymore … e.g. “Prove you are human while typing in the letters below: k2eMSlo rUs4Kin”
    * Search engines, crawlers or any type of web bots only get the information which is intended for them

    Risks:
    * Users don’t see what is inside a binary HTML/Javascript anymore (unless there is a “View Sourcecode API” included)

    4. Javascript will become a type-safe OOP-language
    Flash- and Flex-Coding would still be relevant in 2050 unless Javascript will become a type-safe OOP-language … which means: introducing castable typed objects and more powerful OOP features into the language.

    Benefits:
    * Faster Javascript code execution
    * Better tooling-support for Javascript

    ————
    Conclusion

    We should “occupy” W3C and ECMA Int … because then there wouldn’t be the need to “occupy” Flash … http://www.occupyflash.org/

  44. Rahan says:

    @Masu
    I strongly disagree with your conclusions.

    But it relies only on ONE missing point:
    It’s all because you don’t separate flex, flash pro, technologies, from the flash player runtime. Don’t forget Air and native Apps. It’s already more than flash player today!

    It makes all the difference, because i will take your 4 points back and conclude that Flash-Coding in 2050 (even before) will be more relevant then ever because of them!

    - First remark: about the first point:
    you talk about a SINGLE browser to gain consistency, that flash player runtime provides today on desktops.
    The thing is not A SINGLE browser, but a SINGLE HTML/JS rendering engine. The way how a browser manage tabs etc would still differ, but consistency would be achieved. But we need to force users to update their browser version, instead of making website work for ie6.

    About HTML it’s almost the case, we only wait for Mozilla to switch to webkit! And they will in the next years to come for sure.
    About JS, everyone has its own implementation today, but as soon as the speed race ingnitiated by google has ended (soon), they will all rely on a common JS engine in webkit, as it has been the case for HTML.

    - About flex / flash coding and flash runtime:
    You seems to oppose flash and open web technologies.
    But as the open web solutions as HTML were not very expressive, that was a good thing that Macromedia created a new solutions to give a big step forward.
    I often read that Adobe don’t want to get open sourced because it would mean that flash would be dead (again) and they would loos market share.
    But the swf format is opened since a while now, and if competitors could go in the race, they would have since a while ago. It’s simply too difficult to compete with flash, flex when they have such a big way ahead with tools and features.
    Even microsoft could have worked only on Silverlight tools and publish swf, but they droped it already.

    Adobe already opended swf format, opened partially the flash player threw open screen project or Tamarin, open sourced flex already and will soon give it to Apache fundation.
    It’s very open strategy i think.

    Why they don’t fear competition for flex (FDT, IntelliJ) or swf (Open Lazlo)? Only because they have a big lead on those technologies, and its very hard for competitors to catch up. I talk about technologies, but also about the users community which is very important!! Even if i think that Adobe don’t take enough care of her for big annoucements or pricing strategies!

    And think of it: if Adobe don’t fear competitors about tools or features, and if new web standards can replace flash player, and flash player support evolutions cost A LOT, killing flash player can be good news for Adobe and flash in a sens!

    -What are advantages of Flash / flex coding and confront them to the possible future of the web?

    0- ubiquity:
    it’s already compromised for flash player because of iOS and windows mobile web browsers decisions.
    They forced the fact thay only HTML5 will get ubiquity on web.
    But its a drawback for expressive web!
    AND flash flex is the ONLY ecosystem that can achieve desktop apps and web, smart phones and tablets apps, and soon smart phones and tablets web with restrictions.
    Thats a sort of good ubiquity for me: NOT for flash player runtime! but for flash flex coding for sure!
    And i don’t see any alternative achieving that yet even against flex TODAY.
    i don’t know about smart TV and HTML5, but flash will be there too.

    1- consistency: (your first point)
    its relevant only on desktops already today. HTML5 is well supported on mobile devices.
    and in the future, with webkit, and after every users has updated its browser version (very soon: less than 10 years by far).
    this advantage will dissappear.
    But this advantage had the big drawback of plugin installation need!!! And it will dissappear also! Good news.
    And flash flex coding will gain the whole open web tier technologies complementarity that was difficult to have in plugin solution.
    Adobe already work activelly with jQuery for example.
    So yes this advantage of flash will dissapear but it will gain more then it lose i think.
    No more very specific difficulties for search engines, accessibility etc.

    2- RIA features: (your second point)
    The RIA technologies for open web already exists and can be used. even if you’r right that they are not well implemented yet.
    I would link this point to the 4th!
    Because if HTML don’t go to RIA, JS won’t evolve to OOP language and stay simplier script language.
    If HTML evolves to RIA, which i think it will, BECAUSE OF FLASH :), than JS will have to evolve to OOP language.
    And why “because of flash”? Because i think that the buzz around HTML5, claiming that it can do the same than flash, but in open web standards, which is still false today, the market will push to be able to achieve what the buzz promise!
    Today microsoft and Apple don’t want HTML to be RIA, because they want to force users to get apps if they need expressiveness, so that they can monetize it and take their fees. By the way what is the position of Google on this?
    But the market will force them to change. For example if standards make HTML RIA, and mozilla implements it, how could microsoft or Apple stop it?
    And the users will go from apps to web again as it is the case for desktop.
    What will force it is not smart phones, but tablets because its so close to desktop usage!

    What flash coding has to gain with all that?
    Please check my 4th point.
    But flex is already the only ecosystem that can publish iOS AND Android AND Desktop apps with the same technology and almost same source code. ( no flash player already)
    It will gain on the RIA evolution!
    Because instead of only being a web solution, flash will become more and more an app developement solution, and with time (2050 or so) will compete with QT or .NET for big apps maybe.
    The advantage is that when apps go to web and not the inverse way, flash has big advantage when others are stuck to the desktop OS.

    3- efficiency: (partially your third point)
    For me compiling javascript is more an efficiency issue.
    Its linked to RIA issue.
    Again if HTML evolves to RIA platform, javascript will evolve to OOP language, and thus, VM will need to get bytecode instead of directly interpreting language (because its not script language anymore!)
    Everything is linked to the main question! (point 2) im quite sure HTML and JS will evolve to RIA, the only remaining question is when exactly?

    The efficiency is not big question for being advantage or not for flash platform i think.

    4- javascript evolution to OOP. (your 4th point)
    It’s the main question for me about flash coding, but i conclude the opposite way then you Masu.
    Because:
    Again if HTML JS evolves to RIA platform, JS will have to get OOP and be compiled.
    But what standard will be used for JS new implementation??

    JS is ECMAScript, AS3 is ECMAScript also.
    if JS evolves to OOP, it surely will be an ECMAScript last version. 5 or 6 or 7??. So AS3 will be quite easy to cross compile to new JS standard.
    And if you think about flash flex coding as a framework instead of a flash player runtime utility, it become a very powerfull framework of the future of HTML JS standards!
    It become the first, already usable and mature, with 10 years in advance, framework of the JS of the future.
    Thats huge advantage!
    Jquery and others will have to be entirely rewritten for RIA usage, and only to get less features than Flex, wich will be already open source owned by apache!
    Theres a bit competition with c# or java (GWT) to cross compile also but its more easy for AS3, being ECMAScript based.

    So i think that JS will be pushed by the market to be RIA-ready against the weel of microsoft and Apple.
    It will combine the two approches:
    - interpreted simplier scripting language, for retro-compatibility. And it will still be used for simplier DOM manipulation.
    - compiled OOP language, used for RIA and bigger projects. And flex will be the natural first choice framework. And Adobe will be strongly commited to it, with very advanced tools like flash builder. With strong presence in decision board of the framework etc. And as soon as flex is given to Apache, Adobe will be able to focuse on flash builder, Catalyst and fix the big lack of those against competitors. And with features like monitoring and reverse debugging, or big penetration among graphists with tools like photoshop or illustrator it will be hard to compete with.

    Of course developpers who invested on flex will have a strong position in the market :)

    CONCLUSION:
    Even if microsft and Apple don’t want HTML JS to be RIA-ready on mobile devices, the market will surf on the Buzz to strongly ask for it, espetially for tablets, and it will happen soon.

    2 possible ends:

    - Microsfot and Apple are more powerfull than market (sic) and HTML JS will never become RIA-ready. Flash flex won’t be needed for those runtimes. Just because NO ONE will do expressive content for it. Simple things will be done for HTML JS (so no need of flash for it, and Edge or even flash pro with restrictions will be used). And flex will be used for EVERYTHING else :)
    Which is the situation of today!!
    But i still believe that a sort of Flex Lite will be released for such usage.

    - Market is more powerfull, which is what i believe :), and HTML JS will evolve to RIA-ready state. It means in a short term, that JS will evolve to latest ECMAScript version as OOP language, compiled to bytecode.
    It means that AS3 will be very easy to cross compile to this new JS implementation.
    It means that Flex will be the first choice framework for expressive – RIA HTML content!
    It will be done in no time, because the FalconJS project will have already pointed out which specific points have to be solved.
    FlaconJS will make Flex FutureJavaSscript-ready :)

    Adobe and all developpers who invested in Flex and even flash pro,will become HTML5 kings :) or HTML5 will never be what it promised to be. In the first end, we win, in the second end we don’t loose. And i don’t see any other possibility.

    So yes flash player death is wanted in long term! unless we need more powerfull advanced features not possible in HTML (like 3D today, like video yesterday). But it will take time!
    But without flash player support, Adobe will be able to focus ressources on tools and features, so good for us!
    Every drawbacks (plugin needs) or critics againts flash player real or mythical (http://www.occupyflash.org/), will dissappear as it will use open standards runtime. All tricky part will be devoted to webkit team, so good for Adobe and for us!

    FLASH PLAYER IS DEAD, LONG LIFE TO THE FLASH PLATFORM!

    I’ll put it in one idea: (Michael, maybe you can use it for communication ;) i think its short, straight forward, catchy and true of course :))

    - Flash player pushed web experience in a futuristic way. Because HTML did not evolve quickly enough. (i only need to refer to video feature to prove it).
    - Flash platform (flash pro tool, and flex framework) made it easy/efficient to create the complex futuristic content of this web experience.
    - But only Macromedia/Adobe supported the effort of it, which bringed some drawbacks (plugin, closed techno, limited ressources for updates and bug fix and optimisations etc.)
    - Now that web standards is close to meet its future. Enabling to do what flash player did since a long time, flash player is less needed. Its only needed where HTML lacks of quick evolution: 3D on Desktop for example.
    - But the flash platform anticipated this future and is ready TODAY to publish content for the FUTURE of HTML5 which rise is linked to Javacript evolution to next ECMAScript version and compiled OOP language.
    - If this future never come, or during the transition, a lite version of flash platform (flash pro and flex framework) will be realeased to publish HTML5/JS content with restrictions.

    So flash platform running on HTML5 / Future JS is the near future of web!

    FOGET THE UBIQUITY AND CONSISTENCY OF FLASH PLAYER, THINK OF THE UBIQUITY AND CONSISTENCY OF FLASH PLATFORM (flash pro and flex framework) WHICH WILL BE STRONGER THAN EVER WITH HTML5 / FUTURE JS, AND ALREADY IS ON SMART PHONES AND TABLETS APP!

  45. Masu says:

    @Rahan … You seem to have the advantage of being a native english speaker ;)

    Thank you for your first comments on my thoughts on “The Web in 2050″. I will revise my two articles:

    1) “Where could Flash-Coding be in the year 2050?”:
    http://masuland.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/where-could-flash-coding-be-in-the-year-2050/

    2) “What’s wrong with Flex?”:
    http://code.google.com/p/masuland/wiki/WhatsWrongWithFlex

    … based on your comments. Preferably, I would open up a wiki doc to collect and structure our thoughts on this:

    http://thewebintwentyfifty.wikia.com or http://thefutureoftheweb.wikia.com

    Of cause, the decision of the future of the web in 2050 will not be ours … instead, it will be decided by the big players inside the W3C ( http://www.w3.org/Consortium/Member/List ) … but even them sometimes read stupid web sites ;)

  46. Masu says:

    Btw … Flex 4.6 has been released this night … @Michaël right on time ;)

  47. Rahan says:

    @Masu.
    You must be kidding, i’m a french guy trying to do its best with weird foreign language ;) sorry ;)

    Thank you for wiki and blogs,
    and thank you for the fresh news about 4.6 :)

    I was in a meeting a few days ago in Paris, where i was able to ask some questions to Mickael. (thank you again Michael by the way ;))

    It was very interesting and very reassuring about Adobes project concerning the future of flash platform and flex. Even if i’m pretty sure that they can’t reveil all their strategy right now, because of legal restrictions.

    Even during this meeting, among flash users, there was surprisingly much people still confusing flash player runtime, and flash platform.
    And thats why they get scared by HTML5.

    As you say, future will not be decided by us.
    But i never saw something that could prove me that flash platform and especially flex are not compatible with the future of web standards.

    Recently i saw some news aout ECMA standards.
    It all show that until now my view is relevant.

    ECMAScript 6 is still work in progress and goes fast (see the very fresh new announcements about new features added to it).
    It’s already OOP orientated if i’m not wrong.
    Google is pushing for a big step forward on javascript, with Dart.
    Even Microsoft propose some extensions to level up javascript!

    What i read (correct me if im wrong) is that ECMAScript 4 lead by Adobe and Mozilla which ended up to AS3 and was abandonned for Javascript, was considered to be too ambitious and was a too big step forward, creating a new language that would not be considered as Javascript anymore.
    They prefered to get a step back and propose more little steps to go further. It leads to ECMAScript 5, and 6.
    But at that time, HTML5 had not the same buzz effect.
    Today everyone is pushing a bigger step forward for the standard.

    I don’t know exactly what is the gap between ES6 and ES4 but it surely get thiner.
    And as soon as the ES6 is be implemented in browsers, it won’t be long to get some JS engines that will undertake compiled JS to gain more speed.

  48. Masu says:

    @Rahan

    It is really amazing to see how diverse the ECMA cloud is:

    http://ejohn.org/files/ecma-cloud.png

    Also an interesting post about ECMAscript 6:

    http://ejohn.org/blog/ecmascript-harmony/

    I guess it will take at least ten years until this ECMA cloud has been reduced to a single solution. Which means good times ahead for Adobe ;) Maybe Adobe should try to show efforts to implement ECMAscript 6 in Flashplayer 13 … which should make it easier to crosscompile to the WWW world. But as I have seen it in the ECMAscript Harmony spec: they don’t plan to namespace and package support … which I think would be awful!

  49. Rahan says:

    Ok
    from this post:
    http://www.2ality.com/2011/06/ecmascript.html

    I understand that ES4 was too ambitious but not entirely dropped, only delayed.

    So ES4 features, except for packages, namespaces, and early bindings WILL be implemented in standard but it is split between ES6 (called ES.next) and the next version ES.next.next as it call it in the post.

    ES6 standard will be finished in 2013, but implemented earlier at least in Firefox.
    See how HTML5 is already impleted and used even if standard is not yet finished!

    The only questions i have left are:
    Michael do you have answers? :))
    - how is it difficult to cross compile AS3 to ES6, what performances drawbacks it leads to?
    - what is the gap between ES6 and ES4 and thus, how long will it take for standards to evolve from ES6 to next version, which will lead to the flash platform ruling againg!
    - what the drop of packages, namespaces and early bindings imply for AS3 cross compilation and performances?

    Im quite confident that even packages and early bindings will come in standards quite soon, as RIA development will be heavly adopted on HTML5.

    And of course, again, even starting from ES6 implementation, we will soon see some JS VM using alternative compiled JS, for performances. Google will push it for sure.

  50. Rahan says:

    Hi again,
    Another post to complete the subject:
    http://www.2ality.com/2011/01/what-is-javascript-equivalent-of-java.html

    It’s related to the need to get JS compiled for performances.
    In fact this post is claiming that JS source code could be used as a bytecode which would be parsed with good performances.

    To achieve that the JS code must be transformed, and thus the JS code used as bytecode could be different than JS code written by programmers. But it would all be JS code based on the same standard speficitaions!

    So for flash platform, we can think about JS as bytecode to which we compile AS3.
    Just as many languages are targetting JVM bytecode without being java.

    In this way, compiling AS3 to JS (in an optimized but not humanly readable bytecode style) would become even more efficient than directly coding in javascript. :)


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I'm Michaël CHAIZE, Adobe Flash Platform Evangelist based in Paris. I'm a big fan of Rich Internet Applications and I promote the Flash Platform in the Enterprise world.
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