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ThreePea
Currently Being Moderated

Flash, Flex, and the iPad

Apr 2, 2012 9:08 AM

Tags: #flash #flex #ios #ipad

While there is no shortage of iPad/Flash discussions on the Adobe and Apple forums, after searching for a couple hours now I have been unable to find the answers to my specific question.  So please forgive me if I missed it somewhere.

 

As I understand it, Apple does not support Flash for the mobile and iPad devices.  This is reiterated in a number of Apple forum postings that I just read, as well as Steve Jobs' rant here:

 

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

 

However, I came across this Adobe press release from less than a year ago:

 

http://blogs.adobe.com/ukchannelnews/2011/06/20/announcement-mobile-ap plications-for-android-blackberry-iphone-and-ipad/

 

Apparently this Flex thing allows me to develop cross-platform mobile applications.  So I do some research on Flex, trying to figure out the difference between Flex and Flash.  I come across Adobe's FAQ here:

 

http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/faq.html#flex-flash

 

It's not real clear to me, but it sounds like what they are saying is that Flex is simply a programmatic framework around which I can build Flash applications, especially helpful for those more familiar with traditional programming.  If this is the case, based on Adobe's press release above, it sounds like I should be able to use Flash on the iPad via Flex?  What am I missing?  Is there other differences between Flex and Flash?  Or perhaps is it the difference between an application and browser support (like Apple's Safari)?

 

Thanks in advance for your patience, and your help.

 

3P

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2012 9:16 AM   in reply to ThreePea

    Basically Flex and flash can be bundled into a single package with Air for IOS devices.

     

    Here's a start for you:

     

    http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/articles/packaging-air-apps-ios.html

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2012 8:43 PM   in reply to ThreePea

    It's easy Pea...

     

    Flash is a plugin. It runs from withing the browser IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc... It also can be run standalone, via special exe program on Windows platform.

    Although this is less common. Here are all the Flash versions: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/kb/archived-flash-player-versions. html

     

     

    AIR is a cross platform runtime, kind of like Java (build once run everywhere). But with AIR it's a bit more tricky. You have to compile your program to each target platform (Desktop, Andriod, BlackBerry, iOS) separately. It's not like with Java where you can indeed run your jar file on lot of platforms. AIR is essentially Flash "on steroids" as it mostly has the same API as Flash and builds on top of it. But AIR not in the pluging form, i.e. you don't need a web browser to run it from.

     

    Here are the latest AIR runtime: http://get.adobe.com/air/

    and SDK: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/air-sdk-download.html

     

    You will need AIR SDK to build AIR applications and it has to be overlayed on top of Flex SDK which you can find here:

     

    Flex SDK: http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Download+Flex+4.6

     

    Now Flex SDK is essentially a component framework. You will need a button in your application, or a Video component, right? So that is what Flex provides for you free of charge.

    Obviously this sound simple but Flex is much more then that and here is your

     

    Flex documentation: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/documentation.html

     

    So, Flex is a component framework which lets you build applications which target either Flash or AIR as executable runtime. For Flash it is called Web application and it runs from withing browser or standalone Flash player. For AIR it is called Desktop or Mobile project and it runs from withing AIR runtime which has to be installed on your device or bundled with your application.

     

    Now, speaking of Steve rants, yes, they wanted to kill Flash on their platform, there was even a guy there who was responsible for that result (I forgot his name but you can google), although Adobe never admited that and played it nice with Apple. Why they wanted to kill most expressive and complete vector and video engine on the web (Flash)? It's simple! This is beacase they wanted to play on their nice and cozy iOS/iPad/iPod playground alone! Because they want to control the delivery of the content from publisher to consumer. they want to stick their proprietory products and specifications in between and skim the money! That is why they don't need Flash in the browser. Flash allows people to publish and consume an impressive content without charging a dime! That includes H264 video among other things. And that is what Apple doesn't want to see.

     

    Good luck with Flex and everything else,

    SdS

     
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