Adobe vs Apple discussion followup!

Wow, I’m reading some excellent comments from my last post (17 is probably a record). I want to keep hearing them, but I also wanted to post an article this weekend, so lets keep it on the same topic. Last night Adam posted this video below which is news to me. A version of Quake 2 done in HTML5…

…hopefully thats as ugly as HTML5 will ever get (because that game is just plain ugly) but it does show what HTML5 is capable of. A lot.

Also I want to say despite my recent game dev course for the iPhone and the game I made for the iPad, I’m not at all siding with Apple here. I would love to see Flash on the iPad, but not only that, I’d love to see  Flash development stick around for another 10 years. And I think it will. Reasons…

  • Developers, aplenty! I have no actual stats on the number of Flash developers there are right now, but I’d guess many, many millions. Flash is taught in high schools now! Its like THE computer technology course these days.  I get emails from 12 year-olds about Flash. I get emails from high school teachers wanting to teach 200 kids Flash. I get emails all day long about Flash. Its never been more popular.
  • Flash is like a gateway drug. In a good way. There are people that start drawing with Flash that become good illustrators, when previously they couldn’t even draw on paper. Same with animation. Same with programming! How many of you have started with Actionscript, then realized “holy cow, all these other programming languages are pretty similar to AS” . Count me as one. I didn’t know jack about programming until Flash. And when I come back to it, its like home base. It feels good to write in Actionscript.  Developers are going to keep coming back to a great program that they can work quickly in.
  • Director is still around!! Talk about a “dead” program, how did Director get an update in the post Adobe-merger days?? Who’s using it? Director MX 2004 really should have been its death knell, and somehow it got an update 4 or 5 years later.  Point is, software is made for people that use it. And apparently Director still had like 200 people using it, so Adobe figured well 200 guys times $999, hey not bad. And Flash has a bazillion more users than Director ever had. Adobe just needs to keep expanding on what Flash is great at.
  • Flash isn’t going away as a browser plugin. Its pre-installed in most computers, and even if it wasn’t, everyone knows you need it. When that “update your Flash player” prompt appears, people don’t think, they just do it. Its not like 8 or 9 years ago when a clueless parent’s kids were the ones that finally got around to updating their home computer’s Flash player.  But let me say again, I don’t think the future of Flash development is tied in with the future of the Flash plugin. Both will survive much longer, but in 10 years I think new Flash developers will be like “what’s this S.W.F. format thats listed in the Publish Settings?” .

Sidebar: My friend John, who is like my guru of all things computer related, disabled Flash years ago. Actually what he did was make it so you have to activate Flash if you see an empty box with the Flash icon. He did it to deactivate ads mostly. And I know why, because on a Mac occassionally a Flash ad will freeze the hell out of a page that loads up. Safari will then crash, and guess what happens then: a popup comes out that says “do you want to send this crash report to Apple”. That report gets emailed to and he goes storming around the castle yelling “wtf, Flash crashed another browser!!!”. So when you hear that Steve Jobs hates Flash, thats probably what started it.

One more reason…

  • AIR is just getting off the ground. And it is an awesome aspect of Flash development. Every one of you that knows Actionscript 3, became an “app developer” the day AIR came out. The thing thats missing right now, is some kind of catalyst for AIR like what the App Store was for iPhone apps. But that’ll come. And some other hot tablet will have an AIR App store with 100,000 games overnight.

So anyway, stay positive. Keep your clients informed. Keep your friends informed too. If someone says “Flash is dead, dude”, tell them to disable it for a day and see how they like their internet in iPad-mode (it sucks by the way).

But with all that said, every one of us is gonna have to buck it up and learn HTML5 whether we want to or not. If you’re a freelance developer (or a guy like me, that sells stuff to guys like you), new shit is on the horizon that we all gotta cram into our brains.  So I leave you guys with Alec Baldwin, talking about something important….

…and I know you’ve seen it before on this blog, but this is required viewing every month. And if your client says they want an App version of their site for the iPad, and you tell them its gonna cost $8,000 to develop, and they say “okay, lets do it”, you’ve earned your coffee. Coffee is for closers remember. Then you just gotta start learning. You sell what you know.


18 thoughts on “Adobe vs Apple discussion followup!

  1. I like Apple, but the future is not looking very bright for them. I think here in a few months nobody will even be talking about the iPad and the death of Flash. I honestly think when people get their hands on the new HP Slate sporting a USB port, Web Cam, Flash support and choice of web browser they will forget all about this crazy talk.

    Check out the specs yourself… ($100 less than the iPad)

    I don’t think Adobe is worried about Apple. Adobe is too busy working with Microsoft and HP right now…

    Just my opinion. ; )

  2. So Justin you are saying the eventually html5 will be the new “flash” , like it will replace the swf format or something.

    I really don’t see how this will be the future maybe in 5 or more years, lets not forget that IE6 is still used big time and as 2.0 is more popular then as 3.0, I’m pointing this because we will build websites that will look different on each browser(this sucks!), we are back from where we started…

    I’m starting to think that it is all a big s… 🙂

    Is not a big deal to learn html5 … but learn what? is not even a programming language, how the heck is supposed to replace flash?

  3. I totally agree with you that flash should be around for a very long time. It’s a great programing platform, it makes beautyfull pages and great games. Not only that, it’s a non static style of programing which can make for a LOT of interesting stuff.

    PD: BTW, thank you for all your tutorials, they have taught me a lot over the years.

  4. Lucas, the anti-flash guy says:

    Well… as your friend, i disabled flash long ago… but i have this fascination with the technology… i have books, i bought almost all your tutorials, and i spend a lot of time discussing about flash with friends (in real life, on forums is just a waste of time..)
    I will not say that flash is dead, or that it will be anytime soon, because in my opinion, it is a great technology…. as with windows, the main problem is not the software, is the users…
    Is incredible how many friends ask me to “fix their pc”, like the old cliche (and the oatmeal cartoon), and they have every possible file on the desktop. Even friends that switch to mac (more because is trendy than anything else) and start having problems… and you look on the desktop and it is full of crap… or you take a look to the root folder and they have games/movies/pictures there!

    Flash is cool… it can be cool, but some bad developers have made it turn into this beast… (not to mention the crashing problem/usage of processor on the mac), i mean, who needs to do a banner with flash to show only 2 photos and a fade in – dade out transition!
    Adobe should fix that, create the “export for html5” and developers, we should give the option to the users to see the flash/html5 version if need it!

  5. Ranoka says:

    Flash is going nowhere fast! IE6 has been around for about 10 years and is still being used. Everyone else supports Flash other than Apple, and Apple have a tiny percentage of the computer market, and about 15% of SmartPhone share (which is a small subset of all mobiles).
    Flash is very widly used, and actively sought out on game portals, Facebook social games (fastest growing area), and videos etc.

    I’ve been reading a lot on the #331 thing, and I agree with this one quite strongly:

    The change in the T&Cs is about locking developers onto their platform by tightly coupling their APIs with Low level ‘C language’ code. Thus keeping their market advantage by preventing people from easily porting their apps that are in the Apple app store onto other platforms’ stores. The diversity of unique apps is their strength, and they want to hold onto that. Seems they’re playing dirty now they have a proportional share in the market (they know the majority will stay, and consumers don’t understand or care anyway).

    Programs like the Flash CS5 AIR2 exporter lets developers easily port their program to every platform that can run Flash, all in one go. Therefore the developer doesn’t need to commit themselves to the Apple app store, they could easily release the same app on Windows7 mobile and Android etc with very little change or effort. Apple would eventually lose their market share if every store for each platform has the same content.

    Maybe Apple are planning to release their own High level developer tools to help more casual developers make apps more easily (like the Flash CS5 tool, and Unity3D etc).

    As an aside, Tibi, do you have any proof that AS2 is more popular than AS3? Because I don’t know any developers that use AS2 any more. I only know a couple of designers that use AS2, but most have moved over to AS3.

    I can’t see any reason to stay with AS2, it’s slower (2-5 times). You can’t do many of the new features they added in CS4 (like 3D, bone tool and pixel bender), and I imagine the same with CS5 as well. The language is less well designed since it evolved and is quite inconsistent — AS3 is much nicer to learn and use.

    I think anyone who says AS2 is better is just making an excuse from learning the differences in AS3 (You can port AS2 to AS3 by fixing the compile errors).

    Anyway, I’m quite disappointed in Apple, I’m strongly thinking of getting CS5 for Windows and getting an Android…

  6. Development wise AS3 is clearly more popular now, but maybe Tibi you mean that As2 still has more Swfs on the web. I know most CartoonSmart swfs are still As2 because I never had a reason to update and republish to 3. By the way y’all , Tibi is the author of all the Templates we sell, so he’s definitely an AS3 guru.

    And I do miss the days when Apple and Adobe got along. If it wasn’t for the design industry in the 90s holding tight to their macs and using mostly Adobe software I don’t think Apple would still be around. I don’t know of any other industry than print, video, and design that was really known for using Macs.

    But remember a few years ago when we ALL had to change our embed code for swfs to accommodate Microsoft disabling Flash from playing automatically. That whole Active X thing. Granted MS was getting sued and had to do that, but still it’s another example of how one company can shake up everything for a little bit and it’s usually the developers left to sort through the mess.

    And yeah that HP slate looks awesome, I saw it a couple weeks ago but forgot the name. I would seriously consider getting it because what Ive found out in the past week is that I love tablet computing vs. laptop computing for sitting around casually, but most times when I have to do real work this iPad sucks. And by real work, I mean, accessing files from a hard drive, or saving files somewhere. It’s not complicated stuff, but this iPad is shut tight. File browsing doesn’t exist.

  7. Adam says:

    Glad you liked the video Justin, Quake 2 is indeed an ugly, muddy game but it’s still pretty impressive.

    Tibi, html5 will work with a number of programming languages (in the same way that html4 does) but the most popular ones will probably be javascript and php. It will also work with the new functionality of css3. It’s this combination that has the power but also the big drawback (as you’ll have to learn 3 technologies and probably a new editor before you can do anything impressive). With the Quake 2 demo, I believe html5 and WebGL handled the rendering (with the canvas tag) and the audio but the game was programmed in javascript (again showing how far the language has progressed in terms of speed). Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m with you on the Flash support front and I don’t think it’s going anywhere(I love Flash and AS dearly), was just clarifying.

  8. Ok Adam that make sense… So basically html5 is the same as before is just adding some new html tags like the canvas and stuff.

    So what is the big deal with it, even if it works developers/designers will never do stuff that it can be done with flash…

    After all the discussions I think is just a huge confusion created by APPLE.

    I really hope this IPAD crap will be over soon, I think is a stupid invention ( no offence Justin 🙂 ) …

  9. Adam says:

    For me HTML5 is to HTML4 as AS3 was to AS2. It’s a big overhaul under the hood with a lot of new features but it is essentially still just HTML. I think some people see HTML 5 as the death of Flash because it supports things like vector drawing and video and audio playback directly in the browser without a plug-in and these are some of the core uses of .swf files and the Flash player today. With some CSS and JavaScript you can extend the capabilities even further to create dynamic websites and apps.

    As Tibi said though, people are still using older browsers and from experience we can see that not everyone is going to update, so for sites like YouTube there will be a need for a Flash fallback for quite a long time. Flash is still a long way ahead in terms of market penetration, functionality, development (user interface and editor are much better that anything else out there for HTML 5….or HTML4 for that matter), games, animation….etc…

    If it wasn’t for this Apple/Adobe war, I’m sure all of the different technologies would work very well together (as they have been doing for the past decade or so).

    One thing I would add Justin, is that I agree AIR is cool but you can also produce AIR apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript (Dreamweaver has some AIR export options). AIR is also based on WebKit, so will probably see an update to support HTML5 and CSS3 at some point.

  10. I teach high school kids how to become digital artists, photographers, filmmakers, etc. My blog, hopefully, helps them to become better human beings as well.

    I’ve secured funding for the forthcoming Master Collection and had high hopes that it would empower us to begin creating apps for Apple’s iDevices sooner rather than later. Like many, I was disappointed by the recent rift between Apple and Adobe and wondered why it came to pass.

    I don’t pretend to understand this from a developers POV but I do know that Apple has a pretty good 21st century track record. The iPod and iPhone were –and still are — panned by many critics. (I own neither, btw, just an ancient white iPod Shuffle.) Devices with more features and lower prices abound but Apple flourishes because of the user’s experience. There’s a certain elegance to their products. Of course they’re not for everyone (what is?) but I’d be willing to bet the iPad succeeds as well. (Yes, there will be tablets with more features and lower prices.)

    Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny they have $40B stuffed under the corporate mattress. That hardly qualifies them as a company that makes foolish decisions.

    You developers have to look forward AND backwards in order to ensure your clients reach the widest possible audience. Apple, on the other hand, seems to be creating products with an eye to tomorrow. Remember that colorful little computer without a floppy drive? Remember the scathing opinions back then?

    Now I’m not suggesting Flash is going the way of the floppy (and I certainly hope it doesn’t as I love it), I’m just saying that Apple must have an awfully good reason to be looking in another direction because, after all, they’re in business to make money.

  11. I think maybe “Always Be Closing” could also be better expressed “Always Be Learning”. I still feel that Flash is going to be around for a long time. Adobe has too much invested in that platform as well as thousands of other top companies. To think that Apple could just wipe that out kinda gives them a lot of power…which I hope they don’t have. Apple has becoming the snob bully of the tech industry. Is there any company they are not at war with?

  12. Pretty sure Apple hasn’t declared war on Pixar….yet. Wait lemme see if their site uses Flash though. I doubt it, Steve owns too much stock.

  13. Cash says:

    Actually, there are a few parts of Pixar’s site that do use flash.

    Personally, the magic of the ipad is going to die down, and when it does, it is going to hurt Apple.

    What is the ipad? Its a giant iphone. Wait, its not. The iphone has the added benefit of being a phone as well. The ipad is actually just a giant ipod touch, but putting the logical inconsistencies aside, the ipad misses the primary reason for the success that the app store and iphone/ipod touch have had. And that is portability.

    Not the sort of portability that devs like us think of when we hear that word, but actual, movable portability. I can’t count how many times I have been at dinner with friends when a pop culture question comes up, and none of us can remember the answer to. The next thing I know, I am pulling out my iphone to search for the answer. Games on the iphone are the same way. I am not going to sit on my couch and play an iphone game. I save those for when I am at the DMV, in class, or in a meeting. These things are lost when it comes to the ipad because you are not going to carry your ipad with you everywhere you go. But you will carry your phone.

    That is just my opinion anyway. The facts are clear though. Jobs needs to quit being a Nazi or he is going to piss a lot of people off and a repeat of Apple’s non-success of the 1990’s will reoccur.

  14. Yeah, I agree Cash. The iPad hype will definitely die off in time, and especially so once the HP Slate and other tablets get in on the action. But I think what Apple wants is the simplicity of a big iPhone/iPod Touch though. They’ve sold like 50 million phones & 40 million Touches, so they’ve got a big pool of potential buyers thinking “hey, I like that device, so I’d like a bigger one too.” And obviously it won’t fit in your pocket, but it is easy to carry around. Way easier than a laptop. And I’ve been taking it to dinners instead of the portable DVD player that we usually bring for the baby to watch.

    What’s already happening though is the iPad is getting a reputation for what it doesn’t do. And thats an easy thing to exploit for its competitors to come. I think this is where the board of Apple needs to step in and be like “really Steve, is the anti-Flash crusade worth losing 10% or 20% of potential buyers?”.

    And keep in mind how many young consumers Apple has lost over the years because Macs weren’t considered good gaming computers. They still suffer from that reputation. And that actually had more to do with the developers not wanting to spend the time developing for the extra 5% of people on Macs.

  15. Justin said, “…I mean, accessing files from a hard drive, or saving files somewhere. It’s not complicated stuff, but this iPad is shut tight. File browsing doesn’t exist.”

    Might want to try Air Sharing HD. Yeah, there’s an app for that. 😛

    Like I said, the iPad isn’t for everyone, but it’s time be honest and stop calling this hype.

  16. Air sharing looks good. $10 though =)

    Hey Mike, any idea why I always have to approve your comments? Yours should be automatically approved because you’ve been approved in the past. You don’t use a new email each time right?

    FYI, for other posters, If it wasn’t for all the spam comments this blog gets, I would just disable prior approvals altogether.

  17. Same ol’ email but in these recent posts I’ve added multiple links each time. Under WP Discussion Settings there’s a “Hold a comment in the queue if it contains [blank] of more links.” Since this one will have no links it should fly through.

    I know what you mean about spam. Since adding Askimet in October: 3,736 spams caught, 3,183 legitimate comments, and an overall accuracy rate of 99.624% Spam sucks!

    $10? I’ve always supported developers. Well not always. It started back with Kaleidoscope (must… resist… urge… to… add… link…) in OS 6 or 7. Besides, Air Sharing HD lets you print too. I call that a brilliant solution to a >$10 problem!

  18. Crap! I was logged on as an alter ego (didn’t realize) and my comment disappeared (into your spam filter?). No time to rewrite. Check for IX625 (name on my personal site) for the answer.

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