Does Flash Community Need a Re-boot?

There is this long discussion on Google + stating that the Flash Community Needs a complete reboot. It’s not possible to read all the comments posted there, so I’ll just answer a couple of statements from the original post. I don’t believe that the statement “The Flash community needs a complete reboot” is the right prescription. I’d rather say “The Flash community needs to go out of the closet”. Five years ago it was a relatively small group of people who developed games and banners and knew each other. Over the last five years Adobe did a good job in expanding into the enterprise developers’ market. This turned Flash Player from a small player into an important part of many mission-critical applications.

Having said that, the Flash community should get used to the fact that the toolbox of the today’s Flash/Flex/AIR developer has to include a bunch of languages and tool other than ActionScript.

In our company (Farata Systems) we’ve been actively using Flex/Java during the last 5 years. Now we are shifting more to the AIR/Java/Mobile combination. I personally do a lot more Java during the last year than Flash. So does it mean that the world around me is changing? No, I just happened to have a client that’s heavily into Java.

Regarding Adobe and their MAX conference. I like this company and this conference – I have free passes to MAX and JavaOne that take place during the same week, and decided to go to MAX. But I realize that MAX – this is a commercial event where Adobe wants to share their plans with the world and show off their latest achievements. It seems that they have really small number of speaking slots for non-Adobe employees, and these slots mainly go to their sponsors.

I realized it some time ago, and don’t bother sending them speaking proposals – ain’t going to pay for the privilege to speak at MAX. But speaking of Adobe supporting the community… I’d assume that Adobe could invite someone from our company to speak at Adobe MAX after we published two advanced bestselling books on their technologies and actively promoting (for free) Flash Platform in the enterprise world? They do invite us to participate in the Flash Platform expert group, and we gladly share our thoughts wishing this platform to succeed, but, I guess, we should do it quietly, behind closed doors without getting any accidental PR.

From the business perspective, I don’t see Adobe helping our company. No biggies – they create good software and we use it to generate profit. It’s a fair game. We create our own conferences, and speak at the smaller technical events. Are we planning to move away from Adobe Platform and tools? Not in the foreseeable future. Till when are we going to stick to Adobe’s tool set? Till someone else offers more productive platform and tooling for development of the enterprise applications with the UI that works cross-platform under Window, MAC OS, iOS, and Android.


I’ve submitted a speaking proposal to the 360Flex unconference in LA, where I’m planning to talk about…Java in a fun and simple way. Does this mean that I’m going away from Flash platform? Not at all. But I do like Java and hope there are people in the Flash community willing to learn this super-powerful Java platform that works nicely together with Flash/Flex/AIR.

Yakov Fain

3 thoughts on “Does Flash Community Need a Re-boot?

  1. Yet another Farata System’s sales pitch…

    Out of all due respect, I have to disagree with some of your points which are borderline condescending:

    “I’d rather say “The Flash community needs to go out of the closet”. Five years ago it was a relatively small group of people who developed games and banners and knew each other. ” – Having started out in Flash 3 and re-inventing myself Flex 2 Beta 2, I think your perception of the size and depth of the ‘parent’ community is wrong. There is a significant number more Flash content developers than there are Flex. These ‘relatively small’ groups held international Flash conferences over the last 10 years, some now defunct because competing Flash conferences got bigger. Although I do Flex full-time, I respect the roots that have paved the way for today’s Flex dev’s. Flash community has never been enclosed in a closet, it was at the forefront of online user engagement. However as that +google thread shows the insecurity in our community, Apple controls the forefront of the rapidly growing user engagement of mobile.

    “Adobe did a good job in expanding into the enterprise developers’ market. This turned Flash Player from a small player into an important part of many mission-critical applications.” – Small player compared to what? If anything, having a ubiquitous mechanism for deployment and upgrades was something enterprises sorely lack which they still do today.

  2. Mark,

    Flash is a really small community comparing to the Java one. I’d say it’s at least 20 times smaller (there are more than 9 million of professional Java developers in the world). I doubt that there is other programming community in the world that can compare with the openness of the Java community (Oracle may change this though), and the amount of the Java open source code freely available is huge, and Flash developers are just starting to learn this culture.

    I like ActionScript, but for many years it has troubles in making into the list of the 20 most popular programming languages http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html.

    Apple doesn’t allow Java in iOS, but have you heard any noise from the Java community about it?
    I know advantages of Flash Player VM comparing to JVM and have always openly spoke and written about it.

    I’d value your comment higher if it didn’t include the first statement. But it is what it is. Sorry for the tons of marketing spam and sales pitches you’re getting from Farata Systems.

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