Category Archives: Community

Shantanu, where are you?

Surely more than enough has been said and written about the misadventures of Adobe PR back in November, yet there is still one unresolved pain point that has not been addressed – where is Shantanu Narayen in this whole story?

Throughout Adobe’s restructuring and announcements around its new focus, the one person missing in action has been its CEO. In fact, so conspicuously absent, that just about the only related public statement we have seen from him since is a single blog post (conveniently closed for comments) where he not even acknowledges the disruption caused to the community.

Its obvious though Adobe is scrambling to get the right messaging across, unfortunately though for a lot of us the damage has been done and we’re left to pick up the pieces. Many long time Adobe employees are now either laid off or in the firing line of a largely disgruntled user community.

Disgruntled, not because of Adobe’s plans, but their public messaging and clear lack of leadership. There are a great many Flash Platform developers both on desktop with the Flash Player and mobile through AIR who’s primary occupation now is convincing clients about the viability of their technology rather than doing actual coding.

For all intents and purposes Flash is alive and kicking, though admittedly its scope and use cases will change over time as web standards mature and allow us to reach as wide an audience. AIR development on desktop and mobile remains a compelling cross platform solution for rapid application development.

 
Fast-forward to today, for several days people were asked to submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #askShantanu to be answered during the keynote of the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit by the CEO himself. The hashtag in question makes for good reading material, as does the distinct lack of actual questions submitted. Another sign of increasing apathy around everything Adobe?

Needless to say, my widely retweeted question was left unanswered:

“with respect, do you feel you’ve taken enough personal responsibility around the massive communication failure in November? #askShantanu”

 

So I’ll ask it here again, along with a call to action – if you think this question deserves an answer, I’d like you to post the following to whatever blog or social network you’re active on:

“Shantanu, where are you? #Adobe”

 
It is in my opinion time for Adobe as a company to clean up its mess and move on, but to do so it needs to come to terms with the present situation and acknowledge its failures. If nothing else, I expect from a CEO to be willing to step up and defend his position.

This is my question, this is your opportunity Shantanu.

Shantanu, where are you?

Surely more than enough has been said and written about the misadventures of Adobe PR back in November, yet there is still one unresolved pain point that has not been addressed – where is Shantanu Narayen in this whole story?

Throughout Adobe’s restructuring and announcements around its new focus, the one person missing in action has been its CEO. In fact, so conspicuously absent, that just about the only related public statement we have seen from him since is a single blog post (conveniently closed for comments) where he not even acknowledges the disruption caused to the community.

Its obvious though Adobe is scrambling to get the right messaging across, unfortunately though for a lot of us the damage has been done and we’re left to pick up the pieces. Many long time Adobe employees are now either laid off or in the firing line of a largely disgruntled user community.

Disgruntled, not because of Adobe’s plans, but their public messaging and clear lack of leadership. There are a great many Flash Platform developers both on desktop with the Flash Player and mobile through AIR who’s primary occupation now is convincing clients about the viability of their technology rather than doing actual coding.

For all intents and purposes Flash is alive and kicking, though admittedly its scope and use cases will change over time as web standards mature and allow us to reach as wide an audience. AIR development on desktop and mobile remains a compelling cross platform solution for rapid application development.

 
Fast-forward to today, for several days people were asked to submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #askShantanu to be answered during the keynote of the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit by the CEO himself. The hashtag in question makes for good reading material, as does the distinct lack of actual questions submitted. Another sign of increasing apathy around everything Adobe?

Needless to say, my widely retweeted question was left unanswered:

“with respect, do you feel you’ve taken enough personal responsibility around the massive communication failure in November? #askShantanu”

 

So I’ll ask it here again, along with a call to action – if you think this question deserves an answer, I’d like you to post the following to whatever blog or social network you’re active on:

“Shantanu, where are you? #Adobe”

 
It is in my opinion time for Adobe as a company to clean up its mess and move on, but to do so it needs to come to terms with the present situation and acknowledge its failures. If nothing else, I expect from a CEO to be willing to step up and defend his position.

This is my question, this is your opportunity Shantanu.

The Flash Platform saga… one week later

[update] There is now some more solid information on the future direction of Flex available here.

 
We’re a week after Adobe’s shocking announcements around its future vision of the Flash Platform – time to get some perspective and see what exactly has happened.

Unfortunately on a number of topics we’re no closer to having real answers but this is my personal take and summary of what is publicly announced:

 
Flash Player for mobile (e.g. on Android) will not be further developed nor receive any further updates after version 11.1 (which was made available earlier this week) apart from critical bug fixes and security updates.

The Flash Player is still available for download and existing SWF content is supported, at some point in the future SWF content targeting new features will likely no longer work on mobile browsers. There has been talk about Adobe allowing OEMs to license Flash Player and do their own implementation, something which RIM reportedly wants to do for their PlayBook and upcoming QNX based devices (lets hope for more willing OEM partners to do their own Flash Player porting).

Adobe will invest further in AIR to package applications to mobile across devices, the recent acquisition of Nitobi and the involvement in the PhoneGap project also fits into this picture.

Unclear to me is if Flash Player 11.1+ content will be supported in AIR for Android and other devices. I don’t see how that would work if they don’t want to continue to port newer versions of the Flash Player – unless they take a strategy like on iOS where the runtime gets cross compiled to native binaries for each platform.

 
The Flash Professional engineering team has had a number of layoffs, though the product is still under development.

Product management is located in the US but the development is being outsourced to India. The next release of Flash Professional will have a feature to export to HTML5. If its anything like Wallaby or Google’s Swiffy project, ActionScript support – if any at all – will be very limited.

My own personal take on this is that its only a feasible proposition if Javascript support is introduced as a scripting “dialect”.

http://www.mikechambers.com/blog/2011/11/10/flash-professional-and-the-future/

 
The Flex SDK is going to get donated to an open source foundation and the Spoon project and Adobe (unclear how active and to what extent) will be involved in shaping its future.

The blog post announcing this however goes on to mention that HTML5 and web standards will be the best long term strategy – which undermines their case for continued support of the framework.

 
Flash Builder will still be developed and reportedly some Flash Catalyst features will merge into that product. The Falcon compiler project is still being worked on.

That seems like a pretty sensible move to me, imagine that at some point soon HTML5 will also become an export format here too.

 
LiveCycle and Acrobat Connect are being “wound down” – best guidance I’ve found on it is that they’re cutting investment on it, though continue to support it for existing clients in the government and the enterprise financial services market.

http://www.underprise.com/2011/11/11/the-future-of-adobe-livecycle/

 
I am still baffled at what Adobe was thinking in the way they communicated these changes. Clearly serious mistakes were made and I’m already seeing consequences everywhere.

Flash Player on desktop technically has a bright future ahead for gaming in particular, the issue here is if the actions of last week have not undermined Adobe’s credibility to such a point that nobody is willing to invest. After all, they’ve now proven that the very thing you’ve been working on for months or years can be pulled out from under you at any point in time.

Most shockingly is still how MAX attendees were misled – thousands of people paying thousands of dollars to make it out to an event that claims to give them insight into the roadmap at Adobe. It is now also clear that Adobe employees did not know about these upcoming changes until the day itself, so this is no criticism on their part.

 
I still strongly stand behind my call for a leadership change at Adobe. Spending billions of dollars over the years on developing a mobile platform to then abandon it without any advance guidance or clear transition path to your user base is inexcusable. The enterprise Flex market is one few that actually prefers proprietary solutions, they want a strong company backing the technology they use and a roadmap they can trust on.

We’ll see how these decisions play out, the move towards web standards can proof to be a good one in the long run but the more critical problem is restoring confidence in Adobe.
 

Looking back on Adobe MAX 2011

 

This was my fifth year attending Adobe MAX, always a great event to catch up on the latest developments when it comes to web and creative tooling. Its also an opportunity to see many friends, fellow enthusiasts in the community who we usually only get to talk to over email or social networks.

Continue reading

Flashback to 2010

Last week of the year 2010, no better time to look back at what happened this year in the world of Flash and related technologies and my own community involvement.

The year in review

 

  • February – Adobe Photoshop 20th anniversary
  • April 8th – Apple’s section 3.3.1 bans cross-compiled apps for iOS
  • April 30th – Adobe Creative Suite 5 shipping
  • April 12th – Flash Catalyst CS5 released
  • May 19th – HTML5 extension for Dreamweaver CS5
  • June 10th – AIR 2.0 released
  • June 22nd – Flash Player 10.1 for mobile released
  • July – Josh James, former CEO of Omniture leaves Adobe
  • September 9th – Apple revokes ban on cross-compiled apps for iOS
  • September 13th – HTML5 pack for Illustrator
  • October – Ted Patrick leaves Adobe
  • October 25th – Adobe AIR 2.5 for Android released
  • October 25-26th – Adobe MAX device giveaway extravaganza
  • December – Evangelism team with focus on Flash gaming announced
  • December 20th – Adobe reports its first billion dollar quarter

Memorable quotes

 

“Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.” – Steve Jobs, Apple CEO

“Let the games begin […] When you change the world with what you deliver, you’ll have fans and supporters — and you’ll have your detractors. We have to continue to innovate, and we will.” – Shantanu Narayan, Adobe CEO

“It turns out on the Internet, people use Flash” – Vic Gundotra, Google

“Anyone who’s not giving you Flash on the mobile device is not giving you the internet” – Christy Wyatt, Motorola

“I love phyllo dough!” – Kevin Lynch, Adobe CTO to Martha Stewart

Speaking engagements

 
For 2010 I decided to cut down on the number of speaking engagements and think I managed to find a good balance with an average of one event every two months.

These are the events I presented at this year:

  • Flex@Beach – Chennai
  • Flash Israel – Tel Aviv
  • Flash and the City – New York
  • Flash on the Beach – Brighton
  • Adobe MAX – Los Angeles
  • Flash Camp Chennai – Chennai

Technical review and authoring

 
I did technical review for three books this year, two of which are already published:

  • Getting StartED with CSS – David Powers
  • Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst: The New Workflow – Steven Peeters
  • High Performance Flash – Elad Elrom

Recently I also took on another book project on HTML5 to co-author:

  • HTML5 Solutions – Marco Casario, Charles Brown, Nathalie Wormser

 
In other news I was excited to see the ColdFusion User Group Belgium get set up by my friends Cyril Hanquez and Steven Peeters. Together with my colleague Nathalie Wormser we also set up the Pondicherry Adobe User Group over in India.

Project Cocoon celebrated its first year of business, a few months back we finally managed to get through the last bits of paperwork and have big plans for 2011, including moving office in February. There’s going to be a stronger focus on designing and developing for mobile devices and have done some promising research on digital publishing solutions for tablets.

In 2011 I expect to be getting my hands dirty and delving more into HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, native Android development and hopefully try WP7 as a mobile platform as well. Seb Lee-Delisle’sWhat the Flux?!” session at Flash on the Beach was a definite catalyst for this, despite me still being one of the most avid Flash Platform supporters around.

 
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my friends, colleagues and followers for their support in 2010 and wish you all the best for 2011!

 

Adobe MAX 2010 Schedule

This years Adobe MAX conference is fast approaching, end of next week myself and Nathalie Wormser of the Project Cocoon team will be traveling to Los Angeles.

Its been a long time since I’ve been this excited about the topic I’ll be talking about. If you haven’t tried P2P with Flash Player 10.1 yet, this is your chance to learn how to use it. In our session we’ll talk about how to do device discovery on the local network, send data between mobile to desktop applications, use mobile specific APIs like the accelerometer etc. to have those control desktop applications, games — all this without requiring a connection to a server.

After the conference I’ll be blogging about this a lot more, but if you’re there feel free to register for our session.

Looking at the MAX session schedule there are some themes that jump out: Flash Player and AIR for mobile and television, new 3D features for Flash Player and HTML5 with Dreamweaver. Of those things the one I didn’t expect to break through was Flash Player for television (presumably we’re talking Google TV to start with). I’m sure Adobe has a couple of other surprises up their sleeves as they usually do.

Here is a look at the sessions I registered for:

Monday, October 25, 2010

9:30 am – 11:30 am General Session: Welcome to the Revolution Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Deep Dive into Flash Player Rendering 512
3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Flash Platform for TV: A New Ecosystem 513
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm How to Build Adobe AIR Apps for the iPhone and Android 514
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Meet the Teams Los Angeles Convention Center

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8:30 am – 9:30 am Developer Tips for Building Great Games using AIR for Android 515B
10:00 am – 12:00 pm General Session: User Experience: The Next Generation Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm jQuery: A Web Designer’s Secret Sauce 515B
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Building P2P Multiplayer Games 515B
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Flash Player 3D Future 511A
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Sneak Peeks Nokia Theatre, L.A. Live

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

9:30 am – 10:30 am Mobile Devices as Application Controllers 504
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Programming HTML5 Canvas 510
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Developing Your First AIR for TV Application 409B

 
On the 24th we’ll also have our Community Summit event with all the Adobe User Group Managers and Adobe Community Professionals. Thats always a great day and nice to meet up with everyone again.

Hope to see you in LA!

Flash Platform Geeks… coming soon

Embrace your inner geek! I’m happy to announce together with Luca Mezzalira we’re starting a new community initiative called “Flash Platform Geeks“.

In the next few weeks and at upcoming conferences you’ll learn a lot more about what we’re up to and how you can get involved. In the meanwhile why don’t you follow our twitter account or join the Facebook group.

www.flashplatformgeeks.com

 
Be sure to stay tuned!