Friday, 5 August 2011

The Flash community needs a complete reboot

This is a cross-post from my Google Plus account. Join in the original discussion on there.

The Flash community needs a complete reboot. From Seb Lee-Delisle to Keith Peters to Jesse Freeman to Ricardo Cabello (mrdoob) many of the most well know Flash developers have either branched out to new technologies, or abandoned Flash completely. While I wish these guys all the best, this obviously has quite a negative effect on the Flash community. For young developers looking on, it must surely seem that Flash is dying, and anyone with any sense is jumping ship for the gold-paved streets of iOS or HTML5. And at the same time, the link-baiting tech tabloids are publishing more and more negative stories about the "obsolete" technology Flash, largely unchallenged by Adobe's former poster boys. Flash is surely dying.

But of course this isn't true. For many applications, such as casual/social games, media players and online advertising, Flash is still the dominant force. And the good news for Adobe is that new talent is entering the Flash world all the time. There has never been a better time to start-up as a game developer, and Flash can claim many of the hottest developers such as Zynga, Vlambeer and Bezerk Studios amongst its users. And while WebGL is having its moment in the sun right now, the bigger reach of Flash Stage3D will surely steal the browser 3D crown when Flash Player 11 is finally released.

What can Adobe do to fix the perception problem? Well for a start they need to reach out and embrace the new generation of Flash users. Why aren't framework developers like Adam (Atomic) Saltsman or Chevy Ray Johnston invited to talk at MAX? They are doing way more for Flash than an old guard who have clearly lost the faith.

The other thing Adobe need to do is start supporting the amazing open-source Flash community with some hard cash. Flash Develop, Away3D, Box2D, TweenMax, Flixel, FlashPunk and many more fine projects all deserve some financial support from the mothership. The Flash open-source community is strong, but how much more could it achieve with the resources it deserves?

7 comments:

Ricardo said...

Yeah, I totally agree with you ... Things are slowing down! Adobe needs to help our strong community. Even thinking that HTML5, Javascript and other technologies has it's importance, I can´t understand Flash Evangelists (almost) stop talking Flash. And there's so much to be done ! Comeon people !

Kingmush said...

Agreed. I can see flash becoming less relevant nowadays but I hope it doesn't completely die. And I agree with you again where flash shouldn't die as in terms of games it's the leading force.

wonderwhy-er said...

I guess all Flash developers have been here for years feel this change.
I honestly think that its sign of Flash maturing. All those guys who left were people who liked to learn and try new things, to play with their toys etc. And in last years it seems to me that Flash ecosystem kind of exhausted on that side. There isn't much new to learn and try in a for fun way. Just sit down and do projects.
On other hand HTML5 is a new hype and there is much new and fun to try there for those who did not learn it before. So those who like to learn and try something new and "play" with technology went there.

On Adobe side, honestly to me Adobe is just another big corporation in its attitudes. Their forums, tutorials, newsletters always were kind of uptight and formal. Not playful community driven/supporting/embracing atmosphere there. Its actually outside of Adobe Flash community that always was fun and inviting.

In all that sense sadly feel like Flash is going the way of Java, becomes a serious business tools to do certain types of projects, not a lightweight toy for media/programming/web enthusiast.

Porter said...

I definitely agree with basically everything you said. Stage3D is huge, and needs to get here as soon as possible. As for all these open source projects being financed, I think it's very much in Adobe's interest to fork over what to them will be a tiny bit of money. Adobe recently gave me a Droid X to get into mobile development, so they clearly have interest in supporting those who help them, I think they just need a little more dedicated support in that field.

CC said...

I feel your pain. These are the exact same sentiments we all had in the Director community as Adobe faltered in its stewardship and the gurus started walking away. I hope Flash doesn't suffer the same fate as Director, but the current state of Flash sure feels familiar...

Ours is one of the shops leaving Flash for greener pastures. We set aside a week to see what we could do in Unity, because all our clients are asking for iOS versions (and let's face it, the Flash iOS exporter is a joke). Frankly, we were blown away. It's bittersweet - I'm leaving behind a solid Flash-based game framework we've been using for two years to make some really fun products - but there's no denying that this is the right move for our unit.

Good luck on your efforts to self-organize and evangelize. After putting years into Flash, I'd be sad to see it drop into obscurity alongside Director.

Jeff Fulton said...

After completing a book on Flash (with Ian's help) and a Book on HTML5, I can certainly say that Flash is still 10000000% my preferred platform. I use it it every day for client and personal use. Nothing even comes close to the flexibility and cross-platform (Browser and now even good mobile) development. Flash IS Dead!!! Long Love Flash.

I love Flash, Flex, Flash Develop, and even Flex Builder. I can build something in Flash and make both a Mac and PC projector file for it in 1 hour. (or do it in Air). There is NOTHING else like it.

Plus, animators love Flash and time-line coding to get their stuff to ork in As3 is simply not anywhere near as difficult as people would have you believe. Try adding code to an After Effects movie... I gotta go write my own blog about this, but in essence, Flash kicks ass and always wil.

Anonymous said...

yes, let the hype/tech-driven evangelist fly away.

Regarding Adobe, don't expect too much. It took 10 years to Macromedia/Adobe to realize that gaming was important.