My thoughts on HTML5 and Flash’s future

29 Nov11

Given the mess that Adobe has put us Flash developers in these days, I want to add to the conversation that I’ve never had a better time as a Flash developer! While Mike and Ben provide some good background on the choices, this does not compensate for how poorly this was communicated. Way to kill a devoted community Shantanu!

This should have been handled in a much different way and it puzzles me that there’s still nobody in Adobe talking about Flash’s unique strengths. It’s all about HTML5 these days and the 750 layoffs is probably just a start. Luckily for Flash as a platform, there’s others doing Adobe’s job in this area.

I should add that I’ve done dynamic HTML sites ever since I started in this business about 15 years ago. The Rock City project (in the previous post) uses ExpressionEngine as a backend and I also do smaller sites based on Wordpress on a regular basis. The new website is EE driven and I’ve written several EE plugins in PHP as I’ve needed them. It’s all about using the right tool for the job at hand.

I enjoy making sites and apps using HTML, but I could never do that every single working day. Flash is what brings fun to my job. Things I do with jQuery, CSS and CMS systems are really just something I do for bread and butter and to stay up to date. I’ll keep doing this as well as play around with other languages like Haxe and Processing (for Arduino and other things)

I still see Flash as a solid part of my future, especially with the new Stage3D and other gaming related features now in Flash Player 11. I’m thoroughly impressed by the performance I can get out of the AIR apps I write for Android and iOS and I love NativeProcess and the possibilities it gives. All the fun things I’ve done this year are thanks to the Flash platform and I don’t see that change in the near future. I’m pretty sure there’s no other tool that is as capable when it comes to multi-platform publishing that can actually utilize hardware features such as cameras, audio, video, p2p, multitouch, hardware 3d and much more on so many platforms - all with the same consistent rendering.

And the best part - the stuff that I made in Flash more than 10-12 years ago still works on 99% of all desktop machines as well as quite a few Android phones and tablets (for now).


29 November 2011 at 9:21 pm

6 Responses to My thoughts on HTML5 and Flash’s future

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    Mark Lapasa 29 November 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    As a Flash Dev, picking up haXe is pretty easy. Why write HTML5 when you can code it AS3 style?

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    Shawn 30 November 2011 at 3:03 am #

    Could not agree more, great article!

    It would be nice to see Adobe actually support AIR more, and be proud of their runtime, but the truth is we don’t need them anymore really.

    With AIR 3.2 we will have Stage3D, we will have native extensions, we have captive runtime… I mean I’m basically set, I can make money with these tools for years, even if Adobe never releases another version.

    The only thing we need Adobe for at this point is to support new platforms when they come out.

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    Jensa 30 November 2011 at 5:01 am #

    @Shawn True, but that’s a daunting task and they are also working hard to make the performance even closer to native code. To me, performance is a bigger feature than anything else. I don’t mind the a commercial toolmaker that owns and steers it’s own platform.

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    Thibault Imbert 30 November 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Hey guys,

    Agreed, we need to tell the world better what is Flash/AIR and what kind of amazing content can be produced with it.

    At Max, a lot of developers shared the same frustration. Can you please just show better your technology and be proud of it.

    I think one mistake we did is that we treated Flash as one of the solutions from Adobe. If you are a CTO and go to the website and want to know what is Flash, it will take you ages and it will not make you excited about it. If you are a developer, worse, you just don’t know where to start. Not a clear way to get started, download what is needed and most importantly, see what is possible with Flash.

    Machinarium, the best selling iOS game, etc. Who knows that ? Nobody and we should change that radically.

    I personally do not care about looking cool to the HTML5 peeps. What we want is have the best solution to Flash developers, and make it easy for you guys to show around what is Flash, the technology you are using.

    We are thinking about having a complete standalone Flash website showing what is it and all the things produced with it, and also a complete getting started section to better introduce new developers to the technology.

    This is great that Adobe is investing in HTML5, but us, in the Flash team have always been ahead in terms of features and innovation. We will keep doing that.

    As I said in the past, the Flash brand has been injured lately and we are also thinking about where Flash is going to be in 5 years. Implementation may change, but we will always fullfil the promise of Flash.

    Thanks for being passionate and thanks for all the stuff you make with Flash.


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    David Bamford 01 December 2011 at 1:16 am #

    So true, nice article… You have to wonder where the negative opinions come from regarding Flash.  I have been using Flash since Flash 2 and like you said it just keeps running as before.  Any coding/tagging can be done well or poorly depending on who’s at the wheel.  “Occupy Flash” is an annoying and silly idea as well. Cheers*

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    Jensa 01 December 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Thanks for the comments guys and thanks for joining in Thibault! You really should check out this podcast to hear what the average JavaScript guy thinks Flash is. It’s quite depressing, but worth it.