The ugly truth about Adobe and Flash

The week we left behind was a shocking week for all the Flash community, both developers and designers. Adobe declared with a poorly prepared statement that they are going to stop development of the mobile Flash plugin. A terrible thing to hear from the Flash community considering the growing importance of the mobile internet connected devices. Adobe is going to fire 750 developers working on the Flash platform. But those developers are not the only ones that will find themselves without a job soon. This statement is going to affect a lot of companies offering services based on the Flash Platform. But the damage now is done and we should all move forward. Personally I`m really disappointed from this statement and I never expected this to happen. But let`s leave behind emotions and let`s try to understand what really drove Adobe to this decision.

Adobe made huge efforts to improve its Flash Authoring Software and to adapt them with low powered mobile devices. Personally I use Flash Builder to develop Rich Internet Applications. Version 4.5 is a big step forward from version 3. Adobe added the possibility to deploy applications on mobile devices like Android, Blackberry etc. But they moved forward without consolidating the steps they previously made.

Flash does not support threads. You cannot execute code in another thread other than the main one. This means that if you have processor intensive code it will block the UI update if not properly handled. With the threaded model the solution would be more simple and more performant. This is a big hole in the Flash platform. It simply means that you are not able to use the whole power of the processor with Flash. All the modern programming languages like Java and C# offer multithreading capabilities and Flash totally lacks of them. This is a failure to adapt to the trends.

The most important tool for Flash developers is Flash Builder IDE. Flash Builder is based on Eclipse which is a Java based bloated computer software. It takes a lot of time to load even with small projects and you have to pray God during development for the IDE not to crash. Every time you press the build button you better go out drink some coffee and hope that it has finished when you come back. In my opinion this is not serious. It doesn`t offer security, It doesn`t make it a reliable choice for development for many developers despite the other good qualities and nice features of the Flex Framework.

One big question comes to my mind now: – What have Adobe Developers been doing on their working days? They have probably played Farmville all the time.

I think that the battle against HTML 5 could have been easily won by Adobe. Adobe is still a leader in the Field. 99% of the computers connected on the internet have the Flash plugin installed. Flash offers advanced authoring tools for designers and those for developers can be improved. If we take into account the browser wars everything is easier to understand. HTML 4 is very old and still all browsers understand it in different ways. You have to do html hacks, css hacks, use different javascript libraries to accomplish even the simplest things. Javascript is not designed for developing large projects. If a project begins to grow it gets un-manageable with javascript. Flash was the solution to all of that. I have never seen a Forex application written in HTML. Flash applications perform better than HTML/Ajax applications and development time is at least three times smaller with Flash. HTML 5 is not ready and Adobe left the throne to it, leaving us all unprepared and disappointed.

I think that Macromedia Left Adobe a big heritage with the Flash platform and they didn`t know how to adapt it to the trends.

Complete Lack of vision from the executives, lack of vision from the marketing team and lack of creativity, professionalism and lack of the ability to understand and project the market trends by the Flash team leaders.

Small startups with energetic young motivated teams could have done better in this situation. Adobe failed to do it with 750 developers.

In the end Apple is the winner. With the death of mobile Flash their 30% commissioning business will continue to shine…


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