AIR+Flash Retake the Client UI Screen

Adobe is rising because of AIR and Flash. Android, RIM, and all the other major smartphone and tablet players are embracing Flash because it gives them a compelling competitive advantage. Over 85% of websites use some Flash content. But more importantly Flash and AIR apps that run on the PC also run on most other smartphones and tablets. And these Android, RIM, and other mobile device vendors will need the help against Apple which appears to be in the lead with nearly 300,000 apps for their iPhone and 30,000 geared for the iPad. But Steve Jobs who has openly attacked Flash appears to be wrong on several fronts regarding Flash:
1)First Apple appears to be primarily responsible for poor Flash performance in Mac OS X and iOS systems. Late delivery by Apple of 64bit and GPU accelerator APIs to Adobe are part of the problem. But as this link shows, Apple software developers have not been able,on identically the same hardware, to come close to the performance of  the same video and Flash graphics running in Microsoft Windows. And thefact  that RIM is incorporating Flash and AIR in its Playbook QNX OS underlines the falsehood of the  performance and reliability complaints by Jobs.
2)By Jobs saying that Flash and AIR lacked multi-touch, offline and multi-media capabilities and then have Adobe turn on a dime and deliver those in Adobe AIR 2.5 and Flash, the question of timely delivery of state of the art UI features in Flash is eliminated.
3)Jobs has been trying to avoid what the market is demanding – cross platform app development.
Steve banned not only Flash but also Java. These ostensibly did not meet Apple’s high development standards. But in fact, Apple is trying to establish a Windows-like development strangle hold on the mobile and tablet markets with proprietary development methods and tools. But organizations and developers, confronted with the prospect of having to develop as many 4-9 versions of the same basic application are looking for cross platform and highly interoperable tools.
4)By ignoring Flash Apple has given to its competitors hundreds of thousands of nearly instant-on apps. And so Android, RIM and other mobile developers are turning to Flash for all of the reasons cited here.

Adobe AIR – the best cross platform RAIA -Rich Anywhere Interface App tool?

Consider reason (3) as one of the most compelling in favor of Adobe. Organizations and developers are already behind the 8-ball in keeping up with maintaining existing organizational programs and apps. And now they are being told to innovate and deliver new apps as well. But innovation on the client side means having to maintain a number of very different versions of the same applications. Thus, cross platform apps that work on mobile, smartphone , tablets, and desktops are again a developer’s holy grail. And Adobe Flash+AIR is one of the better tools for delivering high functionality and speedy apps that run on the major mobile OS as well as Linux, Mac OS/X and Windows. Adobe AIR also adds online and offline operation to the mix.

The only other cross platform tool that has comparable speed and functionality is Oracle’s Java. After a long hiatus, Oracle has just announced ambitious plans to release Java 7 in 2011 and Java 8 in 2012 that will add stronger JavaFX, JavaScript, and Java Swing cross UI framework support plus much more vigorous support for mobile and tablet platforms. But as you can see from the commentary at JavaWorld blog, there is some skepticism that Oracle will be able to deliver on these ambitious goals. The other Scripting tools such as Pearl, Ruby, Python, Curl and others lack a)performance speed; b)a wide array of development tools; and/or c) a large development community.

HTML5, which has been anointed by Steve Jobs as his cross platform tool of choice, is wracked by two major problems. First, there is little agreement in standards definitions for the vital multi-touch operations, offline operation, and Web database sub-projects. In addition, the current browsers are quite fragmented in their support of HTML5. No browser scores better than 66% complete on the current HTML5 standards.Even the new Microsoft IE9 barely passes a third of the HTML5 tests.

So Adobe through AIR+Flash is supplying serious cross platform support to developers. Whether this cross platform and open commitment permeates the Adobe product line-up is still an open question. In the past 3-5 years Adobe has become notably ingrown and proprietary in its graphics products. But the Dreamweaver program has started to turn the corner with its CS5 version now supporting concurrent  development on mobiles, more JavaScript UI frameworks other than its own Spry tools, and has yet again added more support for PHP [but still lacks an online debugger plus no drag and drop PHP UI form layout].

So with Flash+AIR, Adobe jumps back into the lead on RAIA-Rich Anywhere Interface Applications. But this market race has been so volatile its hard to predict a winner. Who would have thought that Microsoft, with its huge Windows base, would stick defiantly to a highly proprietary codebase and all but miss the markets turn to mobile+tablets? So Adobe is rising; but for how long is still up in the AIR.

4 thoughts on “AIR+Flash Retake the Client UI Screen”

  1. I click link to visit this article, just wanna say — Flash should burn in the hell!!!

    we are currently developing web application using Flash, just because we have to, not because we wanna to.

    1. Flash Builder only have windows & Mac version, however, we prefer Ubuntu. Adobe never consides to provide linux version of Flash builder, even their Flash Builder is built upon Eclipse.
    2. Eventually, Adobe provide the featuer that you can edit fla in your Flash Builder, but you have to install Flash CS5 first.
    3. Flex is a joke. It eats a lot of resources, and demanding the user to download a big file to run…haha….

    1. Right now developers have the problem that they have to develop for 8 major client platforms not the old 4 HTML, Mac, Linux and Windows. The new kids on the block: iOS4, webOS, BBerry OS, and possibly Windows Phone 7 are all fundamentally different even from their supposed parents Mac ~= iOS4, Windows ~= Windows Phone 7. But HTML 5 is badly fragmented – no vendor implement more than 60% of the standard. But the HTML5 standard is subject to huge conflict over multi-touch operations, Web Database, and Offline operations. So what are YOU going to do for a cross platform

      Hint … think Flash+AIR or Java . Ooops these technologies are forbidden on iOS4, WP7.
      But name to me a cross platform technology that cand do multi-touch, web databse, and Offline operations – and are speedy. NOT HTML5!

      So you may want to take a new lok at Java/JavaFX and Flash+AIR

  2. funny article & another joke article….actually, no one wanna Air & Flash any more….

    Adobe is losing the support from its developer, so how can it be the RIA leader….haha….impossible!

    1. Actually the big draw for Android and RIM is the fact that they support AIR and Flash. And even Apple is slowly but surely relenting as AIR has been approved for use in the Apple App Store.

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