Last week there was some BIG news coming from Adobe Systems. On the forefront was the news that they would cease further development on the mobile Flash Player, which is typically used to develop web sites, web applications, video, ads and rich media applications. Later in the week, they furthered the Flash Platform announcement with the news that they would move Adobe Flex to an unspecified open-source foundation; the new project leaders will include some of the original Flex SDK engineering team, along with developers from the Flex community. Further guidance of the project rests in the new governance committee, with the new committee to decide the framework’s direction.
In communication from corporate, they very clearly stated it would be best for them to focus on HTML5 as the future for mobile interactive features and animation, and discontinue Flash for mobile. While many people may see this as an inevitable transition, the announcement seemed abrupt for many Flash designers, animators and developers. It’s clear that Adobe sees HTML5 content creation as its future, but, for many developers invested in Flex and the Adobe Flash Platform, this will not be a simple transition of learning new software and buying into Adobe’s HTML5 vision.
Adobe Flash, Flash Builder, and the Flex Framework are powerful tools that HTML5 can not even come close to matching in its current state. It will take some time before the millions of sites already out there update to HTML5 and people tend to forget that the standards themselves don’t move as quickly as some would hope and imagine. HTML4, the predecessor, was officially published by the W3C in 1997—that’s 14 years ago!
After the dust has settled from the news last week, it seems that Adobe has simply confirmed that the landscape is changing and they are setting out to invest in the direction that makes sense for their corporate goals and their future customers. However, the take away point that seems to have been lost in the hype is that the Adobe Flash Platform is NOT DEAD! Adobe will continue investing in and promoting Flash for desktop browsers, as well as AIR on mobile devices. (AIR lets developers build apps in Flash, HTML, and other technologies, then package those apps to run on multiple platforms, including both mobile and desktop computers.)
With the news from the Adobe MAX conference of the mobile touch apps, HTML5 tools, and de-emphasis on Adobe Flash, Flash Builder, and Flex, this announcement was still a shock for many, however, it is important to remember that many of the new software solutions that Adobe is developing for their customers are built with the Adobe Flex/AIR framework. While they may not be focusing on the commercial sales of Adobe Flash Builder and trying to push the Flash Player on to every mobile device browser, they are continuing the investment in building their own solutions with the Adobe AIR runtime.
For the ever changing wild wild world of the web, Adobe has some new solutions up their sleeve that focus on HTML5 and the new supporting technologies that are rapidly becoming the standard for the web, mobile devices, and tables. Included in these new software solutions is Adobe Edge, Dreamweaver CS5.5, Typekit, and Phone Gap. Check out the official Adobe & HTML5 landing page for the latest developments.