Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanks for nothing Adobe.

So Adobe is offering Flex to become open source (
) when they themselves admit that HTML5 is a better option.  So, Adobe
is basically abandoning Flash just after they added a 3d graphics game
engine and a bunch of zero-day vulnerabilities.  In looking back, the
lack of Flash was supposed to be a bad thing about the iPhone/iPad and
that Apple was wrong to think that Flash was unstable and bloated.
Then more features were added to Flash and it became unstable and
bloated on Android and Blackberry platforms.  More recently Adobe
killed Flash Lite so there would be no expectation to see Flash on
lower end devices, now Adobe is killing Flex.

I loved Flash.  I should preface that, I loved Flash the application
and not the plug-in.  I loved making cartoons and drawing with it, the
vectors in Flash were better than in Adobe Illustrator and the fact
you could animate and program with it sent me over the moon.  As I
became a web application developer, I saw the programmer oriented
nature of Flex to be very exciting.  With a MXML file I could write an
application that compiled into a SWF and could be used right away.
Flex was very exciting for programmers to make web applications that
didn't look like a programmer made it.

Then the dark days came.  Adobe bought Macromedia and didn't invest in
Apple, almost expecting Apple to roll over and die.  That was a bad
bet to make as the iPhone was about to become the most powerful
web-enabled tool ever.  Since Flash didn't run well on any Apple
device, ever, Steve Jobs hated Flash -- and now by proxy Adobe.  As
web pages worked to become more iPhone friendly the first thing to go
was Flash content, and in it's place HTML5 content supported by Webkit
in the Safari web browser.  As people invested in HTML 5 and fled the
old, old days of mandated IE 6 support, they realized HTML 5 was easy
and cool.  Suddenly it came to be understood that many of us were
using Flash to bring modern content and designs to IE 6 and now that
IE 6 was not the compatibility goal we became free to the new
possibilities of HTML 5.

Adobe dug in their heels and insisted the whole "HTML 5" thing was a
fad and that Flash was here to stay.  They pushed Android to use
Flash, they touted Blackberry Playbook's ability to run Flash...
(yuck)... in the end they are betting on a dead horse.  Flash will all
die and go away.  It will become irrelevant but not because better
solutions came along but because Adobe was dumb and tried to bring a
knife to a gun fight.  Had Adobe immediately re-tooled Flash to
compete and be compatible with HTML 5 and the associated technologies,
had Adobe taken Apple's distaste for Flash seriously, had Adobe
believed that if Steve Jobs says something is buggy, bloated, slow and
unstable -- it was... Had Adobe done anything different then we'd be
talking about how cool it is to run flash applications on Android,
iOS, Wii, XBox and everything else.

Instead we are talking about a half-hearted attempt to revive a
technology that held so much promise had it not been under Adobe's
control.  Open Sourcing Flex will not do anything.  Adobe had proven
their hate for Open Source when they killed off Air for Linux (another
promising technology for rich desktop applications developed in
Flash).  The Adobe Flash builder (formerly Adobe Flex Builder) remains
closed source and overpriced as a plug-in to Eclipse (they charge
money for an Eclipse plug-in!!).  Adobe turns to Open Source like a
guy asking a girl out on the night of the prom, it is just insulting
that Open Source would be their last choice when they have done little
to nothing for the movement in the past.  If they were serous about
Flash, they would Open Source the Flash Plug-in and then maybe get
back some stability.  Saying that Adobe is committed to Open Source by
giving away a mechanism to compile Open Code into closed (and buggy,
unstable, bloated, insecure...) plug-in bytecode is not helping

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