Apache Flex and the community

10 Comments 23 January 2012

Apache Flex and the community

Flex is now an Apache project in incubation (as PhoneGap under the name ‘Cordova’). The community is hyper-active and it’s not a surprise. If you look at what the community has achieved around Flex since its creation, you’ll directly understand why Apache Flex will be successful. Macromedia, and then Adobe, defined Flex’s vision, launching and promoting the concept of Rich Internet Applications. Basically, this trend promotes the development of “software-like” interfaces in web browsers. RIA can answer large organizations needs who want to migrate legacy client-server applications to a modern web architecture. That’s why the Flex community is so unique and developed very specific and valuable skills. In my opinion, the only serious competitor on that market is/was Microsoft with SilverLight: great technology combined with a huge community of software developers (VB, .Net, C++…). They even introduced the concept (or the utopia) or a seamless workflow between designers and developers with Blend. I guess that this healthy competition boosted the Spark architecture in Flex 4 (and the birth of Flash Catalyst). JavaFX by Sun (and then Oracle) is also trying to embrace this market.

But today, the Flex community is by far the strongest one on the RIA market and it’s not only due to Adobe. Flex is still the first-choice to build RIA because it’s consistent and because… it works. You should all read this fantastic article by Joao (RIA expert in Portugal). It’s also due to the fact that a lot of Flex developers were coming from various technical backgrounds: Java (mainly), PHP, AS3, .NET… And they tried to bring and translate their knowledge investing in areas not covered by Adobe’s engineers: data-visualization, backend integration, continuous integration, micro-architectures… As a tribute, I just wanted to summarize on one graph (inspired by Michell Zappa) some compelling projects developed by the community around Flex. All these projects are used by large organizations in strategic Enterprise applications. All these talents can now become official Flex contributors thanks to the Apache foundation. Flex is successful thanks to this constellation of talents, not thanks to Adobe.

Some projects are of course missing, I’m sorry for that, it’s not an exhaustive list; but this graph expresses all the efforts made by the community to make Flex a successful framework in a professional Enterprise environment. Just a few projects, such as BlazeDS, were initiated by Adobe on this map. Flex has been successful in the past thanks to the involvement of its vibrant community of talented developers… why would it change?  If you want to follow the Apache Flex project and get involved, check this page:

Thanks to all the folks who helped me build this list on Google Docs.

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10 Comments so far

  1. ommanipadmehum says:

    viva flex! )

  2. Hugo says:

    Yes, seems that Apache Flex will be successful :).

    There is still one big issue, called Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR/Adobe AIR Mobile.

    With the tall allent community working on the Apache Flex, this could be continuously evolving and bugs to be fixed but what about the runtime ?

    Currently Adobe Flash is supported in Windows, Mac OSX and even Linux, so developing Flex for web there is no problem.

    Currently Adobe AIR works in Windows and Mac OSX (I think no one will miss the support for Linux) so even no problem here.

    Currently Adobe AIR Mobile is officially supported in iOS 5 and Android 4 so is sync with the most recent versions of the major mobile systems.

    On the other hand Windows Phone is raising its market share and it shows with leading mobile applications to have a version for this system, so there is still a big issue here.

    About the future, will Adobe Flex work on Mac OSX version xpto, Windows version xpto, iOS version xpto, Android version xpto, Windows Phone ? There is no guarantee of that.

  3. JCLang says:

    Hello all,

    @Hugo I think you raise some good questions indeed. (And you also forgot about the “very active” support of AIR mobile on QNX BlackBerry PlayBook).

    I’d like to have more declarations from Adobe about the future of AIR for mobile/desktop.

  4. Hugo says:

    The QNX BlackBerry PlayBook and also 2 new tablets that also use the same OS announced for this year is the least of problems because RIM embraced AIR that even if the AIR is never evolves (and already gives a lot), it seems that the QNC will support the current release.

    What I would like to see is continuously new versions of Adobe AIR with continuously performance improvements and also support for Windows Phone.

    I know that Windows Phone still have a little market share but is growing up (thanks to Nokia) and how publish now apps in this store will have a good advanced.

    About the future support from Adobe to AIR no one can know and the last events of the end of last year prove that even.

  5. There is still one big issue, called Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR/Adobe AIR Mobile.

  6. urunmania says:

    thank you for posting

  7. Cédric says:

    Excellent graph ! (but I thinks there’s a typo in Parsley)

  8. I like your each and every post too much!! Always excellent,this one is also superb!!

    Is there any specific reason that I didn’t see Cairngorm and PureMVC here,under micro Architecture?

    Keep posting……!!

  9. H. Berreziga says:

    Hello Michaël,

    I work with Flex since three years, and will certainly still use it on the long term because it remains the best solution on the market to develop rich applications. Naturally, The day Adobe will offer new frameworks using other languages to develop the same type of applications in an even more productive way, I will gradually migrate, and this reasoning does not date from yesterday.

    Thank you.

  10. Sebastian says:

    Salut Michaël,

    I attended the London meetup on future of Flex, and wanted to ask a question but didn’t get a chance to.
    I developed an application in AIR, which I would like to redesign for the Metro UI of Windows 8. I haven’t found anything on this topic about AIR, if it will be possible to run apps in Metro.(and if this will be available before the release of Windows 8 Final version)
    I understand you can not disclose to much information about this, but I would just like to know if I should continue with AIR or opt for something that will be supported native, like .NET.


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Who am I ?

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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