My wishlist for Adobe MAX 2009

In ten days I’ll be sitting at the general session at Adobe MAX 09 in LA.  People from Adobe will come up on stage one after another delivering the latest news on the products we all use daily. Here’s my short wish list of the news I’d like to hear:

1.    Flash Player will become available on iPhone at so-and-so date. A year ago I’ve been hearing hints and vague promises that this is in the works. A year later – nothing happened.   It’s great that Flash Player is installed on each desktop connected to the Internet, but this doesn’t cut it any longer. Last year Adobe announced the motto “Mobile first” and it’s time to put the money where their mouth is.

2.    LiveCycle Data Services. If Adobe won’t substantially lower the prices, I feel sorry for their salesmen who try to sell LCDS to the enterprises. Five thousand per CPU for the enterprise edition seems to be a reasonable price for the features it provides comparing to free BlazeDS.

3.    Adobe AIR.  It’s time to let it behave as a full fledged desktop development platform. Allow AIR to start other applications, let it access ports on the user’s machine. Stop being a little pregnant.

4.    Flash Catalyst. This product is being developed for more than two years and I still have hard time trying to understan how it’s useful in the enterprise world. Sure enough, you can use it for a quick prototype, but there are other simple tools that can be used for wireframing and prototyping.  I want to hear at least a promise (with a deadline) of something useful for the real world. Of course, I’m talking about round-trip scenarios when a developer can refactor generated code, and later on, the designer should be able to load this code into Flash Catalyst, make some changes and regenerate the code again without messing up developer’s code. I also want to see how an enterprise project can be started without the need for the developers to wait until the designer’s ready with his/her FXG file.

5.    Flash Builder. The gap between releases of Flex Busined 3 and Flash Builder 4 is getting too wide. I understand, that this serious redesign is caused by introduction of Flash Catalist and by new component skinning architecture, but I want to see some real improvements in performance of Flash Builder 4, which won’t be available till late February of 2010.  I also want to see substantially smaller SWF/SWC files generated by Flex compiler. Modularization and framework caching is OK, but not enough. I want more good news from this department.

6.    The startup of the Flash Player and with the minimal Flex objects (i.e. SystemManager) takes too much time. Even with the use of preloaders with light Flash-only pages, I can’t promise my customers that I’ll be able to design a Flex application that will show the first (any) view of their RIA in less than 2 seconds. Too bad.

7.    I’m really interested to see how this new Flash Platform Distribution Services will pick up in the real world. Will its revenues justify this enormous spending on purchasing Omniture?  I want to hear more about it.

I’m sure people who are using Creative Studio 4 see some room for improvement too,  but this is not my cup of tea and I can’t come up with additional items for my wish list that would please the graphic and Web designers.  But if my seven wishes become a reality, I’ll openly admit that Flash platform is a killer.

Yakov Fain