More kicking in the Adobe/Apple leafpile fight

Here’s another kick. This time coming from Adobe aimed at the shins, so its more like a sweep than a real high kick, as AIR is set to arrive on Android and Blackberry phones. AIR is that handy-dandy format that Flash or Flex can export out to, basically its an application, you just need to have the AIR program to run AIR apps. And calling an AIR file an application is often times a stretch. If you wanted to launch Flash, draw a square onstage, and publish an AIR file, you could.

And to reiterate my feelings on all this Adobe/Apple stuff: I don’t see any of it mattering in the long run. 10 years from now, Apple will still have its App Store packed to the brim with new apps and Adobe will still have Flash as its flagship program which publishes to a dozen formats for the web and otherwise. The fun part of this fight is reading the articles of tech-guy and gals which I would have thought had more common sense than to say things like “Flash is in its death kneel”.  But take note of anyone claiming epic defeats like that, because their prediction-meter is set to “Nostra-dummy”

I’ve read a lot of stats recently about percentages of sites that use Flash as a factor in this issue. And duh, it is. But I haven’t really read anyone talking about Flash thriving as a development tool. Sure, I’ll bitch when it crashes, but its a damn good piece of software. And it fills a massive void in Adobe’s suite of tools. Without Flash, what in Adobe’s product line would replace it? After Effects? No, thats overkill for web work.  Photoshop or Illustrator? Both underkill. What Flash does quickly, and cleanly for web animation, gaming, and simple-t0-advanced interaction isn’t available anywhere else. And is Apple going to offer up an alternative, hugely-liked development tool because its products don’t play Flash content. No.

Remind yourself  how smart Adobe was to buy up Macromedia a few years ago. They certainly didn’t buy Macromedia for  Director, Fireworks and my precious little Sound Edit 16. They bought Macromedia for Flash, and Dreamweaver sweetened the deal. And why is Flash such a great program? It satisfies three types of users really quickly …

  1. Dummies can amaze themselves with it.
  2. Super-smarties can amaze others with it.
  3. Everyone in the middle can do a little of both. “Ohh” and “aww” at some easy animation they made, or feel super smart for a day or two when they code something they didn’t think they could.

And with good software like Flash, the circle of learning goes like this…  dummies get smarter, the mid-level users eventually become super-smarties. And new dummies discover the program everyday.

Plus it exports to every damn format in the world. Swf, Pict, Jpg, Gif, Animated Gif, Illustrator, PNG, Quicktime, Image sequences, Windows Projector (.exe), Mac Projector, AIR, and soon-to-be-tested iPhone App. It is the Swiss-Army knife of Adobe’s creative products.

So for anyone out there writing “Flash is on its death-bed”, you are out of touch. Also if anyone wants to learn Flash, here’s a great website.… =)


10 thoughts on “More kicking in the Adobe/Apple leafpile fight

  1. Nice article.

    I’ve said this before. Flash is not dead actually now it is the best time of his existence:)

    For those that make statements like html5 will replace flash they need to read a few programing books and watch some cool cartoonsmart tutorials and then I’m sure they will change their minds.

    And one more thing we are talking about ADOBE here not some crapy company…..

    Questions for the html5 fans…. Can you do something like the below site with html5 … the answer is NO and by the time that this will be possible it will pass another 10 years…

  2. Very well said. I also think it is worth noting how powerful the Flash+php+mysql combination is getting using ZendAMF especially given that Flash Builder 4 is coming out soon. Generally it takes 3 versions of a software package to really stand out. Flex3 can build some amazing stuff and seeing what is coming out in Flash Builder 4 is unbelievable. It is really becoming a full featured IDE capable of building fantastic, scalable, enterprise applications.

  3. Great read! It inspired me to post some thoughts.

    Having been caught with my pants down when the market for Director/Lingo swiftly declined back in the day, I noted with dismay that the rate for freelance Flash talent (offered by a Chicago creative staffing agency) dropped from $50-75/hr in late ’08 to $25-40 by early ’10, and wondered if history was repeating itself.

    Justin makes a number of good points about how useful and versatile Flash still is — I can’t imagine the 2-D animation industry giving up on the format any time soon — but the point that nailed it for me was his mention of all the export formats. And it suggested an obvious possible solution (or possible compromise) to the argument over Flash’s future relevance:

    If Flash uses XML (or some-such) for most of its animation and transition data, then I eagerly await the day some genius coder at Adobe — or maybe a genius open source dude who knows Galvan from some conference — will write a brilliant HTML5/CSS3 (including SVG) export plug.

    As soon as possible, once the standard is published/implemented/whatever (which will be sooner rather than later, one hopes), I’m looking forward to using HTML5 and CSS3 rather than SWF for the more basic animations and transitioning in my sites.

    If the export plug exists, then I can still use Flash to build and animate beautiful interfaces, but I can publish to a more SEO-friendly (and hopefully less processor-intensive) format that can be edited/modified by a client who is a novice user and has only non-proprietary software (like a text editor) as tools.

    Sound reasonable?

  4. Thanks Don, great followup post. And yeah I think Adobe might grind their teeth a little at the idea of enabling Flash to export to HTML5, but I bet thats coming soon. And you’re right that probably most developers would opt for using HTML5 for simple things like buttons or image transitions, and keep using swf for advanced things like games. And I really don’t think HTML5 is going to become a game developers toolkit. I don’t know anyone using Javascript to make games, but its possible. Its just not an ideal language to make a game with (in my opinion)

  5. Marty says:

    The last time I even heard any chatter about a new “Flash Killer” app was several years ago. Remember “Sparkle”?

  6. Justin has touched the surface with this debate and certainly has some good points. But the problem is people see what Flash is here and now and they haven’t looked at the future. They also haven’t looked at all at the implications of HTML there are already problems on the horizon.

    What I mean by this is Firefox say they are not going to support H.264 but only the opensource OGG format. Youtube says their going to use H.264 does anyone see a problem. Because I certainly do! When you have a conflict of interests that’s when the user suffers because of compatibility.

    Plus no one has mentioned about Flash CS5, most people just think it can recompile to the iphone and work a little better with text. Well yes it can do them things however there is always something left out and it is important. You can now design an animation in Flash CS5 and export it to HTML5 canvas and javafx. That is right Flash can export to HTML5 (in CS5 when it ships in summer)!!

    So Html5 then, flash killer? Are you stupid!

  7. Josh says:

    I See the future of Linux on Macpros grow. Apple shud be careful coz wrong moves cost you. 80% of my work is not apple related software. I dnt knw about you guys! WHAT’S A MAC WITH NO ADOBE? ITS LIKE HAVIN A NICE CAR WITH NO ENGINE.

  8. I think it is good that Adobe and Apple are fighting. This is because when two major game changers happen we the developers reap the benefits. I think the Black berry will have great Flash games run natively because of Adobe Air or even MySQL client software. Plus I don’t have to pay apple a developer license. I think black berry will grow massively now since Adobe is working with them maybe that will be a game changer in the smart phone arena or maybe it won’t?

    But all I know is that Flash IDE will never die and I have had bad experiences of Flash player not working. However Adobe will be implementing HTML5 canvas export, just animation for now (CS5) and hey in the future full export to canvas and that would be amazing and beat Apple at their own game. There are no good developer tools out their for HTML5 Dreamweaver and Flash will be the products that knock the dust off all the others. That is why Apple can never win, Flash player may die for years to come but by that time HTML5 will be fully supported and working so how can Apple win.

    Having an open source web gives us a level playing field with all developers. That is a game changer and Apple has the right to say no to Flash and its webkit experiment for technical reasons because of multi tasking issues. I for one am happy about an open source web and if your a web developer and say no to open source then maybe you shouldn’t be a web developer. Plus remember that Flash player is free but is not open source! Also don’t forget since Adobe AIR is based on webkit it will also support HTML5 as well. It is in Adobes best interest to work with HTML5 then its a WIN WIN!

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