Et tu, Adobe? Flash Player homicide

I’m disgusted at Adobe today.

It has now well and truly become tradition to have the post-MAX November layoffs. This year reportedly 750 employees got dismissed across North America and Europe (worse than the previous record after MAX Milan 2008). I wish them all the very best.

If you start to see a recurring theme like that, anyone would realize something is going terribly terribly wrong. The hard economic reality hits all of us you say? Adobe backs it up by a press release stating “We expect to report record revenue within the fourth quarter […]”, eliminating hundreds of full-time jobs gets classified under the thinly veiled euphemism of “restructuring”.

By now Adobe has reorganized their internal house keeping so many times, Martha Stewart should come take master classes.

 
Things get worse. News starts to trickle out about Adobe abandoning Flash Player on mobile. Not an unusual rumor to see pop up in your twitter stream if you’ve been around our community for the last year or two. This time it was different and slowly – judging by the roles of people who got dismissed and reading between the lines – it became apparent there was more to the story.

Just 18 months ago at Google I/O 2010, Vic Gundotra bailed out Adobe and the idea of having Flash Player on mobile with the words “It turns out on the internet, people use Flash” and announced Flash Player support on Android. This after Steve Jobs gave it a near fatal blow with his infamous “Thoughts on Flash” letter.

We’re refocusing on developing applications through AIR across mobile devices while continuing to innovate on the web. From Flash Player 11 onwards we will not be getting updates on mobile devices apart from bug fixes and security updates.

This whole move seems to me like cutting off the leg of a perfectly healthy patient to save money on shoes, only to realize you have to buy them in pairs. The web doesn’t stop where mobile begins.

 
Supporting a runtime across a wide range of devices is difficult and expensive – if it wasn’t Flash would not nearly have been so successful. Arguably we came closer to this as a reality than ever before.

 
What bothers me most is the utter disregard Adobe has for its developer community in the way this is communicated. This is not the company I’ve grown to know and love, this is not how you treat your most loyal customers and passionate evangelists.

Just weeks ago thousands of people came to the annual MAX conference in Los Angeles to hear about Adobe’s plans and roadmap. Not a word was mentioned about abandoning development on Flash Player for mobile, is this how confident Adobe is about its decisions it can’t defend them in front of their user base?

I’m part of the community programs since the Macromedia days, certified instructor, author, participated in countless prerelease programs – can barely keep track of how many NDAs I’ve signed with Adobe over the years. I’ve promoted the technology through good and bad times and this is how they chose to break the news.

 
Bad communication doesn’t just piss off your developers – it cuts budgets, causes projects, jobs and livelihoods to be lost. And boy, has there been some bad communication. I’ve lost all confidence in Adobe as a company through the recklessness they’ve demonstrated in the last two days.

 

[note] views expressed are mine alone and may not reflect those of my employer.

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57 thoughts on “Et tu, Adobe? Flash Player homicide

  1. Ed says:

    I would say goodbye to AIR on mobile as well. Mobile development for Adobe will be done with PhoneGap. There will be huge fallout on the Flash Platform.

  2. Ed says:

    I would say goodbye to AIR on mobile as well. Mobile development for Adobe will be done with PhoneGap. There will be huge fallout on the Flash Platform.

  3. Marvin Blase says:

    Without any intense to start another discussion here as well (I’m really, really tired of it), I totally agree with your points regarding Adobe’s treatment of developers. It’s kinda back-stabbing to all of us and I wish every former Adobe employee the best in their future.

    However, from the first day they’ve announced to bring the Flash Player to mobile browsers, I’ve been asking “Why?”. Still, a year and more later, I’ve got no intension to re-install the player, whether on my Android tablet nor on my phone. Every major website which is willing to give you full access to their (Flash based) content should provide an app. What’s the point in not doing so? Let it be three days to do the code and design translation. That’s it and you’re even reaching the iOS users then.

    On the other hand, though, I totally agree with you in the uselessness(!) of this decision. If it’s really because of “cutting off the leg of a perfectly healthy patient to save money on shoes”, then Adobe should really screw itself – they could save on so many useless applications in their portfolio.

  4. Marvin Blase says:

    Without any intense to start another discussion here as well (I’m really, really tired of it), I totally agree with your points regarding Adobe’s treatment of developers. It’s kinda back-stabbing to all of us and I wish every former Adobe employee the best in their future.

    However, from the first day they’ve announced to bring the Flash Player to mobile browsers, I’ve been asking “Why?”. Still, a year and more later, I’ve got no intension to re-install the player, whether on my Android tablet nor on my phone. Every major website which is willing to give you full access to their (Flash based) content should provide an app. What’s the point in not doing so? Let it be three days to do the code and design translation. That’s it and you’re even reaching the iOS users then.

    On the other hand, though, I totally agree with you in the uselessness(!) of this decision. If it’s really because of “cutting off the leg of a perfectly healthy patient to save money on shoes”, then Adobe should really screw itself – they could save on so many useless applications in their portfolio.

  5. Well said Peter. I have nothing to add 😦

  6. Well said Peter. I have nothing to add 😦

  7. Hi Peter,

    long time no see. Anyway I agree with you completely.

    For me a big problem with canning the excellent mobile flash plugin is that it is another destroyer of confidence in a technology that I have invested a lot of time in, work with every day and have to defend quite often ( that gets very tiring). Adobe have just made it even harder for me to justify using Flash or AIR for a project.

    Up until now I had been refusing to learn a new technology and quite happily trying to become a flex expert – It has earnt me a good wage and I enjoy it, but now I have lost a lot of confidence in its future. Maybe next year Adobe will suddenly drop support for the desktop flash player – who knows? Therefore I have no choice but to start learning something else and move my skill set to that,

    I am gutted…

    • I am done with flash. There are so so many things that flash is above of html5 today, but I don’t trust anymore in Adobe when dealing with flash technology. From now on, I will built things in html5 and only use flash when I can’t find the solution in html5.

      Questions? Is the browser dead? I think the browser will be like a phone/tablet format so you can’t right-click to view code. That is a must on all browsers from now on. Block the view source code.

  8. Hi Peter,

    long time no see. Anyway I agree with you completely.

    For me a big problem with canning the excellent mobile flash plugin is that it is another destroyer of confidence in a technology that I have invested a lot of time in, work with every day and have to defend quite often ( that gets very tiring). Adobe have just made it even harder for me to justify using Flash or AIR for a project.

    Up until now I had been refusing to learn a new technology and quite happily trying to become a flex expert – It has earnt me a good wage and I enjoy it, but now I have lost a lot of confidence in its future. Maybe next year Adobe will suddenly drop support for the desktop flash player – who knows? Therefore I have no choice but to start learning something else and move my skill set to that,

    I am gutted…

    • I am done with flash. There are so so many things that flash is above of html5 today, but I don’t trust anymore in Adobe when dealing with flash technology. From now on, I will built things in html5 and only use flash when I can’t find the solution in html5.

      Questions? Is the browser dead? I think the browser will be like a phone/tablet format so you can’t right-click to view code. That is a must on all browsers from now on. Block the view source code.

      • Jay says:

        Why in the world should view source code be blocked? Silliest idea I’ve ever heard. Most of the “brains” in web applications are in the backend anyway and code minification provides some protection from casual snooping.

        If you think people looking at your front-end source code is going to result in competitors stealing your IP, you’re doing it wrong. Case in point: Google, the world’s leader in desktop web applications, where anyone can do “view source”. It hasn’t stopped them from making tons of cash.

        In addition, “view source” provides an invaluable learning opportunity for any developer. I personally have learned so much about coding patterns, structures and styles by doing view source. Why take that away? Why surrender more freedoms to corporations and go back to a closed era?

  9. wonderwhy-er says:

    I agree with many of your points except for may be one. I am not really sure flash ever was really alive in android browsers. Have android phone since beginning of summer and so far except for videos haven’t seen any successful app for it there. Honestly Flash felt foreign to browser there and until today I thought that it will be polished with each release. Now I know that it won’t.
    And suddenly Flash completely lost its biggest selling point “compile once, run everywhere”. I guess they changed it for “write once, compile for everywhere” which does not stand out that much. I was in Flash for this. Rich apps in browser everywhere. Sadly Flash did not manage to provide that with changes that are happening.

    Anyways, my reaction at the moment is same as Conrad Winchester above. Flash is great for rich web apps. Best out there. HTML5 in many ways is not even close(sadly, I would have loved for it to be).
    I started to learn server side scripts and HTML a year back again. But for me it still was a HTML site around rich Flash experience like games, multimedia tools etc.
    Now I am planing to lower Flash side in my learning and ump up HTML. Probably in form of “here I made this in Flash, lets do same and HTML and compare results”.
    There is no present in rich multimedia in HTML. Now there are big doubts over Flash future in that respect. Which means years of suffering ahead for those who work with rich internet applications.

    Even worse in a way it feels that its not only Flash that was broken by new mobile revolution. At the moment it feels that Internet itself got broken… There are old good websites and apps for desktop. But they are not a premium experience for mobile often. So what devs do? Make HTML apps that imitate native ones. And fail to compete on quality with native apps. What result of this is? User demand for native apps. So as a example lets take Googl+, it has native apps, it has mobile native like app, and it has desktop site. And I actually wonder, are their native apps for iOS and Android even the same project? Or two projects written from ground up for different OSs?
    This all makes me sad… Dream of write once use everywhere is teared to peaces again… And I wish that HTML5 will succeed there where Java and now Flash have failed.

  10. wonderwhy-er says:

    I agree with many of your points except for may be one. I am not really sure flash ever was really alive in android browsers. Have android phone since beginning of summer and so far except for videos haven’t seen any successful app for it there. Honestly Flash felt foreign to browser there and until today I thought that it will be polished with each release. Now I know that it won’t.
    And suddenly Flash completely lost its biggest selling point “compile once, run everywhere”. I guess they changed it for “write once, compile for everywhere” which does not stand out that much. I was in Flash for this. Rich apps in browser everywhere. Sadly Flash did not manage to provide that with changes that are happening.

    Anyways, my reaction at the moment is same as Conrad Winchester above. Flash is great for rich web apps. Best out there. HTML5 in many ways is not even close(sadly, I would have loved for it to be).
    I started to learn server side scripts and HTML a year back again. But for me it still was a HTML site around rich Flash experience like games, multimedia tools etc.
    Now I am planing to lower Flash side in my learning and ump up HTML. Probably in form of “here I made this in Flash, lets do same and HTML and compare results”.
    There is no present in rich multimedia in HTML. Now there are big doubts over Flash future in that respect. Which means years of suffering ahead for those who work with rich internet applications.

    Even worse in a way it feels that its not only Flash that was broken by new mobile revolution. At the moment it feels that Internet itself got broken… There are old good websites and apps for desktop. But they are not a premium experience for mobile often. So what devs do? Make HTML apps that imitate native ones. And fail to compete on quality with native apps. What result of this is? User demand for native apps. So as a example lets take Googl+, it has native apps, it has mobile native like app, and it has desktop site. And I actually wonder, are their native apps for iOS and Android even the same project? Or two projects written from ground up for different OSs?
    This all makes me sad… Dream of write once use everywhere is teared to peaces again… And I wish that HTML5 will succeed there where Java and now Flash have failed.

  11. Peter, although I agree that the way it was communicated is not good at all, I have a question about Flash as a technology.

    How would you imagine to run Flash content in a mobile browser?

    What kind of content should it be?

    Just any SWF file? Then imagine complex web applications, where Flash is really good at, shown on a smartphone. I bet 99 out of 100 SWF on the web are not mobile friendly either because of UI or performance.

    If it is some basic stuff, I doubt Flash is the right choice.

    If it is a game or dashboard, probably packaging it as an Air application is the way to go.

    I really have no idea how Flash as a mobile browser plug-in can run and at the same time not people angry about it.

    In my opinion the biggest Adobe’s failure was promoting Flash as a silver bullet without strong focus on what it is really good for.

    This leads to misperception and ultimately to unreasoned complaints to Flash in general.

    And it seems to me that today the company focus starts sharpening.

  12. Peter, although I agree that the way it was communicated is not good at all, I have a question about Flash as a technology.

    How would you imagine to run Flash content in a mobile browser?

    What kind of content should it be?

    Just any SWF file? Then imagine complex web applications, where Flash is really good at, shown on a smartphone. I bet 99 out of 100 SWF on the web are not mobile friendly either because of UI or performance.

    If it is some basic stuff, I doubt Flash is the right choice.

    If it is a game or dashboard, probably packaging it as an Air application is the way to go.

    I really have no idea how Flash as a mobile browser plug-in can run and at the same time not people angry about it.

    In my opinion the biggest Adobe’s failure was promoting Flash as a silver bullet without strong focus on what it is really good for.

    This leads to misperception and ultimately to unreasoned complaints to Flash in general.

    And it seems to me that today the company focus starts sharpening.

  13. When I notice a year ago that flash was not using smoothing on the mobile devices… I started to think that Adobe will have a hard time fixing this. Flash 11 did not show any improvement over flash 10, it made everything slow. Also, I believe that Adobe had plans to kill flash long time ago when they added the Script infinity loop pop out in all browsers (that made Apple people hate flash even more). So simple to fix that and Adobe did not stop the loop error code pop out. I knew that if Adobe does not want to cancel/delete any stupid errors from bad coders out there to crash the browsers, they did not care of its future. Now, today flash video still the best format for PCs and when html5 video will start to become better then flash? a year from now? I hope Adobe uses the same technology from flash video in html5. I am not thinking about building anything anymore in flash. Adobe kill flash and not matter when they say about Adobe Air/Builder people will not trust them anymore.

  14. When I notice a year ago that flash was not using smoothing on the mobile devices… I started to think that Adobe will have a hard time fixing this. Flash 11 did not show any improvement over flash 10, it made everything slow. Also, I believe that Adobe had plans to kill flash long time ago when they added the Script infinity loop pop out in all browsers (that made Apple people hate flash even more). So simple to fix that and Adobe did not stop the loop error code pop out. I knew that if Adobe does not want to cancel/delete any stupid errors from bad coders out there to crash the browsers, they did not care of its future. Now, today flash video still the best format for PCs and when html5 video will start to become better then flash? a year from now? I hope Adobe uses the same technology from flash video in html5. I am not thinking about building anything anymore in flash. Adobe kill flash and not matter when they say about Adobe Air/Builder people will not trust them anymore.

  15. Greg Burch says:

    Well said Peter. This is why I left Adobe a couple years ago after seeing how misguided in mobile they were. Lots of smart people not put to the right use. It makes it tough to defend Flash as a technology when things like this happen. I do look forward to them helping the HTML5 effort move forward, at least we aren’t left in limbo and we know what technology to invest in when building applications for the web.

  16. Greg Burch says:

    Well said Peter. This is why I left Adobe a couple years ago after seeing how misguided in mobile they were. Lots of smart people not put to the right use. It makes it tough to defend Flash as a technology when things like this happen. I do look forward to them helping the HTML5 effort move forward, at least we aren’t left in limbo and we know what technology to invest in when building applications for the web.

  17. Thanks for this great post Peter!

  18. Thanks for this great post Peter!

  19. […] to dismiss mobile Flash Player in this manner. I think Peter Elst put it best with his analogy of removing a limb. Seems very unnecessary and Adobe has done great harm to many core supporters in […]

  20. […] to dismiss mobile Flash Player in this manner. I think Peter Elst put it best with his analogy of removing a limb. Seems very unnecessary and Adobe has done great harm to many core supporters in […]

  21. […] to dismiss mobile Flash Player in this manner. I think Peter Elst put it best with his analogy of removing a limb. Seems very unnecessary and Adobe has done great harm to many core supporters in […]

  22. […] to dismiss mobile Flash Player in this manner. I think Peter Elst put it best with his analogy of removing a limb. Seems very unnecessary and Adobe has done great harm to many core supporters in […]

  23. […] to dismiss mobile Flash Player in this manner. I think Peter Elst put it best with his analogy of removing a limb. Seems very unnecessary and Adobe has done great harm to many core supporters in […]

  24. […] to dismiss mobile Flash Player in this manner. I think Peter Elst put it best with his analogy of removing a limb. Seems very unnecessary and Adobe has done great harm to many core supporters in […]

  25. Thomas Joos says:

    Hi Peter, long time no see (nor speak 🙂 ) I read your blogpost and I must say I agree with you completely. What strikes me the most is a lack of vision and focus regarding flash on devices (as we like to call it). There have been several interesting blogposts written by the community (2008-2009) where honest but direct feedback was already given. I’m thinking of the one Aral Balkan wrote for instance. For myself: I have been very active in the flash mobile community, you know that, and I always questioned myself… is this thing failing or not? When I say there is a lack of vision and focus it might be refreshing to read my small blogpost concerning things I was missing regarding Flash Mobile Development.. A lot of promised initiatives were cancelled or died silently. (redistributable player, AppZone, … ). http://vilebody.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/is-flash-lite-failing/

    As a matter a fact, when I applied in 2009 in the Openscreen Project Funding for a Flash Lite Netlog App (targetting millions of users) I simply got the feedback that they were focussing on the browser.. while all the communication regarding the funding focussed on app development. This was very dissapointing and made me decide to stop evangelizing their technology. In the end, it’s not about technology, it’s about delivering quality and an amazing experience.

    Greets,

    Thomas

  26. Thomas Joos says:

    Hi Peter, long time no see (nor speak 🙂 ) I read your blogpost and I must say I agree with you completely. What strikes me the most is a lack of vision and focus regarding flash on devices (as we like to call it). There have been several interesting blogposts written by the community (2008-2009) where honest but direct feedback was already given. I’m thinking of the one Aral Balkan wrote for instance. For myself: I have been very active in the flash mobile community, you know that, and I always questioned myself… is this thing failing or not? When I say there is a lack of vision and focus it might be refreshing to read my small blogpost concerning things I was missing regarding Flash Mobile Development.. A lot of promised initiatives were cancelled or died silently. (redistributable player, AppZone, … ). http://vilebody.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/is-flash-lite-failing/

    As a matter a fact, when I applied in 2009 in the Openscreen Project Funding for a Flash Lite Netlog App (targetting millions of users) I simply got the feedback that they were focussing on the browser.. while all the communication regarding the funding focussed on app development. This was very dissapointing and made me decide to stop evangelizing their technology. In the end, it’s not about technology, it’s about delivering quality and an amazing experience.

    Greets,

    Thomas

  27. Fintan says:

    Setting aside whether is was right or wrong to stop supporting Flash in the mobile browser, this is a PR disaster for the Flash Platform. It is all about perception of a technology and it doesn’t matter how effective or appropriate it is at solving a problem if the decision makers in companies have already filtered Flash as an option because they think it is dying/does not run on mobile/do not know or understand Air.

    Even if dropping support in the mobile browser is the correct move it was poorly executed and (to borrow an economic term floating around at present) who is to say that contagion won’t spread? I have recently started to believe that Flash is an excellent option for mobile app development for different use cases but it will really be an uphill battle if confidence is low in believing in the longevity of a technology. I have to genuinely convince myself first before I convince anyone else.

    It really is time to get skilled in Flash alternatives even if Flash isn’t going to disappear because other technologies will be chosen over Flash for lots of work even if Flash might have been a better option. It’s always been my intention to increase my offering to clients in the form of javascript-based solutions but Adobe’s shitty way of communicating things hasn’t done any of us any favors.

    • 1ndivisible says:

      This is exactly it. The perception amongst clients is that Flash is now dead or as good as. And if client work continues to dry up it soon will be. I can’t blame Adobe for ceasing mobile support. It was stillborn at best, but the casual way they have dropped it shows they have lost all faith in Flash themselves. Next will be AIR for mobile.

  28. Fintan says:

    Setting aside whether is was right or wrong to stop supporting Flash in the mobile browser, this is a PR disaster for the Flash Platform. It is all about perception of a technology and it doesn’t matter how effective or appropriate it is at solving a problem if the decision makers in companies have already filtered Flash as an option because they think it is dying/does not run on mobile/do not know or understand Air.

    Even if dropping support in the mobile browser is the correct move it was poorly executed and (to borrow an economic term floating around at present) who is to say that contagion won’t spread? I have recently started to believe that Flash is an excellent option for mobile app development for different use cases but it will really be an uphill battle if confidence is low in believing in the longevity of a technology. I have to genuinely convince myself first before I convince anyone else.

    It really is time to get skilled in Flash alternatives even if Flash isn’t going to disappear because other technologies will be chosen over Flash for lots of work even if Flash might have been a better option. It’s always been my intention to increase my offering to clients in the form of javascript-based solutions but Adobe’s shitty way of communicating things hasn’t done any of us any favors.

    • 1ndivisible says:

      This is exactly it. The perception amongst clients is that Flash is now dead or as good as. And if client work continues to dry up it soon will be. I can’t blame Adobe for ceasing mobile support. It was stillborn at best, but the casual way they have dropped it shows they have lost all faith in Flash themselves. Next will be AIR for mobile.

  29. Steve Price says:

    @Fintan Very much agreed. I was out having dinner and beer with friends and family last nite. I looked up to see that vapid, vapid lady Erin Burnette on CNN with a huge Adobe logo by her head and the headline FLASH ABANDONED. Doesn’t matter that it’s a totally untrue and misleading headline and story, the kind of people who make final decisions of project details learned all they needed to know from that one headline. Lee Brimelow and Thibault Imbert could do a year-long, global Vaudeville roadshow about Flash and it still wouldn’t undo the damage done by the link-baiting, lazy tech press and Adobe’s abysmal PR last nite.

    Many decision makers for rich-media projects have no idea about the difference between AIR for mobile and Flash for mobile. Hell, my gf barely understands it!

    This all happened as I was literally putting the finishing touches on my awesome Flash portfolio so I could finally land a job above the poverty line. Thanks, Adobe.

  30. Steve Price says:

    @Fintan Very much agreed. I was out having dinner and beer with friends and family last nite. I looked up to see that vapid, vapid lady Erin Burnette on CNN with a huge Adobe logo by her head and the headline FLASH ABANDONED. Doesn’t matter that it’s a totally untrue and misleading headline and story, the kind of people who make final decisions of project details learned all they needed to know from that one headline. Lee Brimelow and Thibault Imbert could do a year-long, global Vaudeville roadshow about Flash and it still wouldn’t undo the damage done by the link-baiting, lazy tech press and Adobe’s abysmal PR last nite.

    Many decision makers for rich-media projects have no idea about the difference between AIR for mobile and Flash for mobile. Hell, my gf barely understands it!

    This all happened as I was literally putting the finishing touches on my awesome Flash portfolio so I could finally land a job above the poverty line. Thanks, Adobe.

  31. Sven says:

    @Fintan: Are you Fintan Boyle? If so, we met in Bordeaux earlier on this year and I know and support which alternative you’re talking about 😉

    Anyhow, I can only confirm the emotions and thoughts expressed by Peter and others here. Aside from Flash, I also feel that Adobe f*d up with the transition from Flex 3 to Flex 4, and that this – to me – also felt as being disregardful to the developers embracing and evangelizing their platform, frameworks and tools. The changes introduced in 1 major version update were far too large, making developers have to re-learn and get accustomed to a lot of what they invested time and effort in to get good at it in the first place. Not to mention the fact that Flex 4.0 was a *very* unfinished product (which it still is to this date in version 4.5.1) with major & important Halo components not being available in the new Spark component architecture, and that developing 2 parallel component architectures and allowing (and forcing, because of the lack of alternatives) developers to mix the 2 architectures was & remains a horrible decision.

    While I often get the feeling that they really mean well and do their best to stay in the game, I cannot help but say that they play that game in a bad way. A very, very bad way.

    I feel really hurt for not being able to trust, love and advocate this platform, the frameworks and the company behind it anymore. This platform that I’ve loved so much (and still do). This platform that I’ve put so many effort in to really master it. I hope all that effort will remain to having been valuable, but I’m definitely glad that developing for the Flash platform isn’t the only thing I’ve put time and effort in over the last 10 years!

    Let’s hope that Adobe quickly gets a grip on things again and makes some clear decisions on where and how they’re heading in the near future. We developers are fast movers. It hurts sometimes to leave your babies behind, but we move to give them a future. Let’s hope we don’t have to part from this baby anytime soon. It’s a beautiful and bright child, so allow it to keep growing up in a great environment with cool, bright and passionate parents!

    Sven

  32. Sven says:

    @Fintan: Are you Fintan Boyle? If so, we met in Bordeaux earlier on this year and I know and support which alternative you’re talking about 😉

    Anyhow, I can only confirm the emotions and thoughts expressed by Peter and others here. Aside from Flash, I also feel that Adobe f*d up with the transition from Flex 3 to Flex 4, and that this – to me – also felt as being disregardful to the developers embracing and evangelizing their platform, frameworks and tools. The changes introduced in 1 major version update were far too large, making developers have to re-learn and get accustomed to a lot of what they invested time and effort in to get good at it in the first place. Not to mention the fact that Flex 4.0 was a *very* unfinished product (which it still is to this date in version 4.5.1) with major & important Halo components not being available in the new Spark component architecture, and that developing 2 parallel component architectures and allowing (and forcing, because of the lack of alternatives) developers to mix the 2 architectures was & remains a horrible decision.

    While I often get the feeling that they really mean well and do their best to stay in the game, I cannot help but say that they play that game in a bad way. A very, very bad way.

    I feel really hurt for not being able to trust, love and advocate this platform, the frameworks and the company behind it anymore. This platform that I’ve loved so much (and still do). This platform that I’ve put so many effort in to really master it. I hope all that effort will remain to having been valuable, but I’m definitely glad that developing for the Flash platform isn’t the only thing I’ve put time and effort in over the last 10 years!

    Let’s hope that Adobe quickly gets a grip on things again and makes some clear decisions on where and how they’re heading in the near future. We developers are fast movers. It hurts sometimes to leave your babies behind, but we move to give them a future. Let’s hope we don’t have to part from this baby anytime soon. It’s a beautiful and bright child, so allow it to keep growing up in a great environment with cool, bright and passionate parents!

    Sven

  33. Walt French says:

    “Just 18 months ago at Google I/O 2010, Vic Gundotra bailed out Adobe and the idea of having Flash Player on mobile with the words “It turns out on the internet, people use Flash” and announced Flash Player support on Android. This after Steve Jobs gave it a near fatal blow with his infamous “Thoughts on Flash” letter.”

    The Fog of War — a decade of bad blood between Apple and Adobe — seems to have obscured the fact that BOTH Gundotra’s and Jobs’s thoughts were correct. People LIKE Flash, but shoehorning it into the extremely confined limitations of a 256MB RAM budget was a guarantee that it would run poorly. Add in the ultra-competitive timeframes for smartphones — significantly different new models from major players every month — and it became obvious two years ago that Adobe was NOT going to be able to cope with extremely intricate engineering challenges on ultra-short time-frames.

    Implementing Flash Player on mobiles requires coping with multiple OS versions (BB5, QNX, Symbian, WM, WP7, Win8metro, iOS, Android 2.X, Android 3.X…); a host of CPU/GPU variations to optimize for (OMAP, Sammy, QualComm, Tegra1/2/3, Atom, …); drivers (zillions of sizes and PenTile vs 3-color); different GPU architectures; etc. The RAM, CPU speed and development times are all impossibly tight. Add in a couple of important desktop initiatives (WebM; 3D and other demanding features in 11.0) that you commit to including in mobile, and you have a recipe for failure.

    Didn’t use to be so bad, back when a couple of good Windows versions plus not-so-good Mac and Unix versions, were all that Adobe needed to do.

    I don’t suppose that many Flash developers spend that much time close to the hardware; the whole purpose of Flash is that you don’t have to! But at least most are quite savvy about how tough the tech challenges could be and almost all live the experience with the business issues of what you can do versus what you can’t afford to.

    That is, developers are savvy enough if they don’t get caught up in the Fog of War that caused propaganda to mislead developers as to what was REALLY going on. I’m not apologizing for Adobe’s attempts to rally their devs; I think too many got made into unwitting infantrymen who are taking the bullets. But this whole debate started when a couple of firms decided they didn’t want Adobe controlling their destiny. As independent as developers are usually said to be, it shouldn’t have been THAT hard to understand the same issue.

  34. Walt French says:

    “Just 18 months ago at Google I/O 2010, Vic Gundotra bailed out Adobe and the idea of having Flash Player on mobile with the words “It turns out on the internet, people use Flash” and announced Flash Player support on Android. This after Steve Jobs gave it a near fatal blow with his infamous “Thoughts on Flash” letter.”

    The Fog of War — a decade of bad blood between Apple and Adobe — seems to have obscured the fact that BOTH Gundotra’s and Jobs’s thoughts were correct. People LIKE Flash, but shoehorning it into the extremely confined limitations of a 256MB RAM budget was a guarantee that it would run poorly. Add in the ultra-competitive timeframes for smartphones — significantly different new models from major players every month — and it became obvious two years ago that Adobe was NOT going to be able to cope with extremely intricate engineering challenges on ultra-short time-frames.

    Implementing Flash Player on mobiles requires coping with multiple OS versions (BB5, QNX, Symbian, WM, WP7, Win8metro, iOS, Android 2.X, Android 3.X…); a host of CPU/GPU variations to optimize for (OMAP, Sammy, QualComm, Tegra1/2/3, Atom, …); drivers (zillions of sizes and PenTile vs 3-color); different GPU architectures; etc. The RAM, CPU speed and development times are all impossibly tight. Add in a couple of important desktop initiatives (WebM; 3D and other demanding features in 11.0) that you commit to including in mobile, and you have a recipe for failure.

    Didn’t use to be so bad, back when a couple of good Windows versions plus not-so-good Mac and Unix versions, were all that Adobe needed to do.

    I don’t suppose that many Flash developers spend that much time close to the hardware; the whole purpose of Flash is that you don’t have to! But at least most are quite savvy about how tough the tech challenges could be and almost all live the experience with the business issues of what you can do versus what you can’t afford to.

    That is, developers are savvy enough if they don’t get caught up in the Fog of War that caused propaganda to mislead developers as to what was REALLY going on. I’m not apologizing for Adobe’s attempts to rally their devs; I think too many got made into unwitting infantrymen who are taking the bullets. But this whole debate started when a couple of firms decided they didn’t want Adobe controlling their destiny. As independent as developers are usually said to be, it shouldn’t have been THAT hard to understand the same issue.

  35. Jay says:

    Bring on the open web! It may move slower, but you don’t have to worry about some company pulling the rug out from under your feet. It’s something that belongs to each and every one of us.

    No more browsers crashing because the Flash plugin died! No more laptop batteries being drained down as the fan hums furiously to cool the CPU that heats up like a piece of iron in the forge, trying to play that Flash video! No more paying $400 for crappy Adobe Flash IDE that doesn’t follow the basic principles of UI design!

    Flash is a woeful technology. Good riddance and begone. It may be difficult for Flash developers to make the transition to HTML 5, but it is SO worth it. Believe me. And you say “X effect” or “Y font” or “Z animation” isn’t available/working/good enough on HTML 5? Well, your participation can make it better, and drive the transition quicker.

    • Joseph says:

      Jay said: “It may be difficult for Flash developers to make the transition to HTML 5, ”

      Oh You Must be Jocking!
      Flash developers a
      Ready have a lead on HTML5 developers. Know that every Flash Developer knows JavaScript. It’s a learning curve about a solid week.

      It’s not the fact that Flex/Flash developers need to learn a new language to stay in the lead, it’s the fact they have to transition to an immature, inferior language

  36. Jay says:

    Bring on the open web! It may move slower, but you don’t have to worry about some company pulling the rug out from under your feet. It’s something that belongs to each and every one of us.

    No more browsers crashing because the Flash plugin died! No more laptop batteries being drained down as the fan hums furiously to cool the CPU that heats up like a piece of iron in the forge, trying to play that Flash video! No more paying $400 for crappy Adobe Flash IDE that doesn’t follow the basic principles of UI design!

    Flash is a woeful technology. Good riddance and begone. It may be difficult for Flash developers to make the transition to HTML 5, but it is SO worth it. Believe me. And you say “X effect” or “Y font” or “Z animation” isn’t available/working/good enough on HTML 5? Well, your participation can make it better, and drive the transition quicker.

    • Joseph says:

      Jay said: “It may be difficult for Flash developers to make the transition to HTML 5, ”

      Oh You Must be Jocking!
      Flash developers a
      Ready have a lead on HTML5 developers. Know that every Flash Developer knows JavaScript. It’s a learning curve about a solid week.

      It’s not the fact that Flex/Flash developers need to learn a new language to stay in the lead, it’s the fact they have to transition to an immature, inferior language

  37. I Know you’re a troll, but I have to respond? The major browser vendors can not agree on a standard – so how do you think you can affect that?

    “Drive the transition quicker?” – LOL, ROFLOL, how long has the transition from HTML4 to HTML5 taken. HTML4 was announced in 1997 and HTML5 is still not released/finalised – in that time Flash player has gone from version 2 (yes Flash Player 2) to Flash player 11 and massively innovated the web – Flash player 11 runs on mobile devices and is capable of rendering rich web content far faster than HTML5 can on any mobile platform (if it ran in the iOS browser it would definitely be faster than html5).

    I will now have to make the transition to HTML5, but it will be a step backwards to a slower non-standard and less capable system, that will drain your battery just as much as flash does.

    Have you got annoyed by HTML5 popups that can’t be blocked yet????

    • Jay says:

      Calling every dissenting voice a troll is a waste of time, and helps no one. I suppose I was asking for it by making these comments on a blog whose readers are by-and-large Flash supporters. I meant no disrespect to anyone.

      I’d love to see some sources for these facts that you state, gems such as: “if it ran in the iOS browser it would definitely be faster than html5”. I’ve seen it run on Android and WebOS and it is awful. These are platforms where Adobe got plenty of support from the OS and phone vendors. Is there a reason to expect anything different on iOS? From what I know of browsers today (and especially mobile Safari), Flash player would run as a separate process and communicate with the browser. My grasp of systems isn’t great, but it’s uncertain as to how that’s faster than rendering performed by the browser natively.

      Secondly, it’s great that you think that incrementing version numbers is a sign of “progress” and “innovation”. I don’t. Although I admit that HTML 5 lags in some features and browser vendors may take some time to converge on a standard, at least that standard will have been decided upon by an open, community process. We’re not beholden to a single corporation to advance the state of the web. I don’t think anyone thinks that it’s a good situation to be in. Slowness and squabbling are sometimes the price of freedom. Developers can help drive the transition by using these technologies more broadly instead of clinging to closed technologies such as Flash. Standardization comes as a result of something becoming, you know, “standard”.

      • On my present contract at a very big financial institution we develop for desktop and mobile. Currently mobile is developed in both flex and javascript. I can unequivocally state that the javascript performance on iOS is appalling (only slightly better with iOS 5), and the AIR performance is nothing short of brilliant.

        Currently javascript on mobile is a battery draining hog – get used to it.

    • Walt French says:

      @Conrad, it seems that you are good at imagining things that don’t exist, e.g., Flash in the iOS browser. In your make-believe world, yes, anything is possible.

      In the real world, Adobe has decided that NONE of the sort of things you imagine are practical. I doubt they’re possible. Just look at Flash in the tablet landscape at the end of 2011:

      * Amazon Fire: punted. Flash vid converted to HTML (h.264 vid?). Limited interactivity; unsuitable for games.
      * Apple iPad: famously uninterested until Adobe beats the quality of the much-maligned Mac version
      * Asus et al: who knows/cares?
      * B&N Nook: forget it
      * HP TouchPad: lousy
      * Microsoft metro slates: banned
      * Motorola Xoom: Crappy Flash at intro helped kill the brand.
      * RIM Playbook: herky-jerky
      * Samsung et al/Android 2.2: disowned by Google

      A year and a half after Jobs asked Adobe to show Flash running well on ANY mobile platform, the mobile devices with the most appropriate power, speed and screen for Flash, just haven’t gotten enough Adobe love. Those that tried for it, like Moto, paid a brutal price for touting Flash.

      Now 2012 gets worse for Flash on mobiles. Imagine you are the lead tech for Flash/Mobile; you have to deliver high-quality code based on maybe 30 days access to alpha OS software running on pre-production hardware. You have to be prepared to work well on 1-, 2- and 4-core CPUs, often on platforms with little ability to help you manage multi-processing. You have a whole spectrum of GPUs across the devices, and you have to tweak incredibly detailed and low-level code for a range of different ARM and Intel Atom architectures.

      So yes, Flash 11 *can* run pretty well on a couple of devices that have had the code tweaked and sweat over. But while the code is obsolete 6 months after the device ships (because customers move on to that company’s, or another company’s next device), you have security and bugfix obligations for a couple more years. Oh, the direct revenue from having a few platoons of engineers ready to jump at a moment’s notice? Zero.

      The Flash model worked well when 95% of the customer base was on IE and you had to make a nod to Apple. It was obviously NOT going to work starting in 2009, when it became obvious that there would NOT be a single mobile platform; the fragmentation of Android (shown above) means that even if Google won 90% market share the problem would still persist. Adobe has steadfastly refused to acknowledge this reality until this month.

      Now that they’ve broken down their Potemkin village, there’s no reason for you to pretend that the false front is real, either.

      • HI Walt,

        very intrigued as to the sources of your performance analysis of flash on mobile devices. I own the following devices

        Samsung Galaxy S2
        Samsung Galaxy Note
        HTC Desire
        HTC Desire HD
        Motorola Xoom
        Asus A500
        Blackberry Playbook
        Sony Tablet S
        iPad
        iPhone 3g

        Apart from the iDevices I have found that flash and flex perform surprisingly well on them considering they are mobile devices. I do not have high expectations, but have seen some fairly complex sites perform very well on the Xoom, which you describe as crappy.

        The Galaxy note is actually rather good at flash in the browser. This is not imaginary.

        HTML5 performs very poorly on all of them. Just look at html5test.com for a compatibility test

        Grabbing the charged phones
        The note gets 177/450
        S2 gets 177/450
        Desire HD gets 177/450

        Chrome on Mac gets 353/450
        Safari on Mac gets 301/450
        Firefox on Mac gets 323/450

        Then the Sunspider results (smaller is better)
        Galaxy Note 5041
        Desire HD 6046
        (sorry s2 ran out of battery – lol)

        Chrome 211
        Safari 197
        Firefox 8 – didn’t finish (??)

        So it looks like the android browser gets less than 50% compatibility with HTML5.

        Suggesting that HTML5 is a standard and mature/ performant enough on mobile is obviously stretching reality a bit.

        Now for iPhone performance – given the hardware of an iPhone 4s I predict the Flash player would perform pretty well and definitely better than HTML5 on it. Unfortunately we are not able to perform that experiment.

        So just a bit of reality to add to my imagination 🙂

      • Walt French says:

        Conrad Winchester wrote, “Suggesting that HTML5 is a standard and mature/ performant enough on mobile is obviously stretching reality a bit.”
        That suggestion never came from me.

        I am simply taking the perspective of a user — I often see sites with Flash videos embedded, and my phone, which can handle video just fine, won’t show it, usually for no apparent reason than the web site elected not to look at my user agent and supply video that will talk to my device.

        And from that I extrapolate to the site owner: why bother to put up a website that such a significant, and growing fraction of your audience cannot see? Why, for instance, should a restaurant put a huge Flash display on its home screen, with Chef making goggly eyes with some oysters for those who have Flash, but an impenetrable block to potential customers who have bought iPads or BlackBerrys or WP7 phones?

        See my earlier post: people LIKE to see what Flash delivers. But Flash has been no friend to the mobile platforms that put out the energy to support it: the consumer-friendly sites such as the Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg get video’d saying things like, “there still isn’t a single good mobile Flash on any device” to Gundotera, who doesn’t even attempt to rebut it.

        And, the situation is getting worse, which led Adobe — not Microsoft, not Apple, certainly not me — to declare an end to development efforts for the zillions of different configurations that are now in widespread use on mobiles.

        So again: this is not about what is possible, it’s about what Adobe is willing to do, and can do, to make money. This seemed obvious to me when I first looked at the Adobe-Apple issue 18 months ago, and it seems obvious to Adobe, today. The only question is how much developers and partners were misled by Adobe’s very aggressive claims, claims that are now followed by capitulation.

  38. I Know you’re a troll, but I have to respond? The major browser vendors can not agree on a standard – so how do you think you can affect that?

    “Drive the transition quicker?” – LOL, ROFLOL, how long has the transition from HTML4 to HTML5 taken. HTML4 was announced in 1997 and HTML5 is still not released/finalised – in that time Flash player has gone from version 2 (yes Flash Player 2) to Flash player 11 and massively innovated the web – Flash player 11 runs on mobile devices and is capable of rendering rich web content far faster than HTML5 can on any mobile platform (if it ran in the iOS browser it would definitely be faster than html5).

    I will now have to make the transition to HTML5, but it will be a step backwards to a slower non-standard and less capable system, that will drain your battery just as much as flash does.

    Have you got annoyed by HTML5 popups that can’t be blocked yet????

    • Jay says:

      Calling every dissenting voice a troll is a waste of time, and helps no one. I suppose I was asking for it by making these comments on a blog whose readers are by-and-large Flash supporters. I meant no disrespect to anyone.

      I’d love to see some sources for these facts that you state, gems such as: “if it ran in the iOS browser it would definitely be faster than html5”. I’ve seen it run on Android and WebOS and it is awful. These are platforms where Adobe got plenty of support from the OS and phone vendors. Is there a reason to expect anything different on iOS? From what I know of browsers today (and especially mobile Safari), Flash player would run as a separate process and communicate with the browser. My grasp of systems isn’t great, but it’s uncertain as to how that’s faster than rendering performed by the browser natively.

      Secondly, it’s great that you think that incrementing version numbers is a sign of “progress” and “innovation”. I don’t. Although I admit that HTML 5 lags in some features and browser vendors may take some time to converge on a standard, at least that standard will have been decided upon by an open, community process. We’re not beholden to a single corporation to advance the state of the web. I don’t think anyone thinks that it’s a good situation to be in. Slowness and squabbling are sometimes the price of freedom. Developers can help drive the transition by using these technologies more broadly instead of clinging to closed technologies such as Flash. Standardization comes as a result of something becoming, you know, “standard”.

      • On my present contract at a very big financial institution we develop for desktop and mobile. Currently mobile is developed in both flex and javascript. I can unequivocally state that the javascript performance on iOS is appalling (only slightly better with iOS 5), and the AIR performance is nothing short of brilliant.

        Currently javascript on mobile is a battery draining hog – get used to it.

    • Walt French says:

      @Conrad, it seems that you are good at imagining things that don’t exist, e.g., Flash in the iOS browser. In your make-believe world, yes, anything is possible.

      In the real world, Adobe has decided that NONE of the sort of things you imagine are practical. I doubt they’re possible. Just look at Flash in the tablet landscape at the end of 2011:

      * Amazon Fire: punted. Flash vid converted to HTML (h.264 vid?). Limited interactivity; unsuitable for games.
      * Apple iPad: famously uninterested until Adobe beats the quality of the much-maligned Mac version
      * Asus et al: who knows/cares?
      * B&N Nook: forget it
      * HP TouchPad: lousy
      * Microsoft metro slates: banned
      * Motorola Xoom: Crappy Flash at intro helped kill the brand.
      * RIM Playbook: herky-jerky
      * Samsung et al/Android 2.2: disowned by Google

      A year and a half after Jobs asked Adobe to show Flash running well on ANY mobile platform, the mobile devices with the most appropriate power, speed and screen for Flash, just haven’t gotten enough Adobe love. Those that tried for it, like Moto, paid a brutal price for touting Flash.

      Now 2012 gets worse for Flash on mobiles. Imagine you are the lead tech for Flash/Mobile; you have to deliver high-quality code based on maybe 30 days access to alpha OS software running on pre-production hardware. You have to be prepared to work well on 1-, 2- and 4-core CPUs, often on platforms with little ability to help you manage multi-processing. You have a whole spectrum of GPUs across the devices, and you have to tweak incredibly detailed and low-level code for a range of different ARM and Intel Atom architectures.

      So yes, Flash 11 *can* run pretty well on a couple of devices that have had the code tweaked and sweat over. But while the code is obsolete 6 months after the device ships (because customers move on to that company’s, or another company’s next device), you have security and bugfix obligations for a couple more years. Oh, the direct revenue from having a few platoons of engineers ready to jump at a moment’s notice? Zero.

      The Flash model worked well when 95% of the customer base was on IE and you had to make a nod to Apple. It was obviously NOT going to work starting in 2009, when it became obvious that there would NOT be a single mobile platform; the fragmentation of Android (shown above) means that even if Google won 90% market share the problem would still persist. Adobe has steadfastly refused to acknowledge this reality until this month.

      Now that they’ve broken down their Potemkin village, there’s no reason for you to pretend that the false front is real, either.

      • HI Walt,

        very intrigued as to the sources of your performance analysis of flash on mobile devices. I own the following devices

        Samsung Galaxy S2
        Samsung Galaxy Note
        HTC Desire
        HTC Desire HD
        Motorola Xoom
        Asus A500
        Blackberry Playbook
        Sony Tablet S
        iPad
        iPhone 3g

        Apart from the iDevices I have found that flash and flex perform surprisingly well on them considering they are mobile devices. I do not have high expectations, but have seen some fairly complex sites perform very well on the Xoom, which you describe as crappy.

        The Galaxy note is actually rather good at flash in the browser. This is not imaginary.

        HTML5 performs very poorly on all of them. Just look at html5test.com for a compatibility test

        Grabbing the charged phones
        The note gets 177/450
        S2 gets 177/450
        Desire HD gets 177/450

        Chrome on Mac gets 353/450
        Safari on Mac gets 301/450
        Firefox on Mac gets 323/450

        Then the Sunspider results (smaller is better)
        Galaxy Note 5041
        Desire HD 6046
        (sorry s2 ran out of battery – lol)

        Chrome 211
        Safari 197
        Firefox 8 – didn’t finish (??)

        So it looks like the android browser gets less than 50% compatibility with HTML5.

        Suggesting that HTML5 is a standard and mature/ performant enough on mobile is obviously stretching reality a bit.

        Now for iPhone performance – given the hardware of an iPhone 4s I predict the Flash player would perform pretty well and definitely better than HTML5 on it. Unfortunately we are not able to perform that experiment.

        So just a bit of reality to add to my imagination 🙂

      • Walt French says:

        Conrad Winchester wrote, “Suggesting that HTML5 is a standard and mature/ performant enough on mobile is obviously stretching reality a bit.”
        That suggestion never came from me.

        I am simply taking the perspective of a user — I often see sites with Flash videos embedded, and my phone, which can handle video just fine, won’t show it, usually for no apparent reason than the web site elected not to look at my user agent and supply video that will talk to my device.

        And from that I extrapolate to the site owner: why bother to put up a website that such a significant, and growing fraction of your audience cannot see? Why, for instance, should a restaurant put a huge Flash display on its home screen, with Chef making goggly eyes with some oysters for those who have Flash, but an impenetrable block to potential customers who have bought iPads or BlackBerrys or WP7 phones?

        See my earlier post: people LIKE to see what Flash delivers. But Flash has been no friend to the mobile platforms that put out the energy to support it: the consumer-friendly sites such as the Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg get video’d saying things like, “there still isn’t a single good mobile Flash on any device” to Gundotera, who doesn’t even attempt to rebut it.

        And, the situation is getting worse, which led Adobe — not Microsoft, not Apple, certainly not me — to declare an end to development efforts for the zillions of different configurations that are now in widespread use on mobiles.

        So again: this is not about what is possible, it’s about what Adobe is willing to do, and can do, to make money. This seemed obvious to me when I first looked at the Adobe-Apple issue 18 months ago, and it seems obvious to Adobe, today. The only question is how much developers and partners were misled by Adobe’s very aggressive claims, claims that are now followed by capitulation.

  39. […] Flash プレーヤの終焉に幻滅している。彼らの呪いの声はここでもここでも聞ける。もちろん Flash の互換性は AIR […]

  40. […] Flash プレーヤの終焉に幻滅している。彼らの呪いの声はここでもここでも聞ける。もちろん Flash の互換性は AIR […]

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