12 Replies Latest reply on Aug 31, 2012 6:11 AM by sinious

    How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?

    Factgathering2010 Level 1



      Not sure where this message belongs, so please feel free to direct me to a more appropriate forum if one exists.


      I am a college professor who uses Flash ActionScript to teach the fundamentals of computer programming to undergraduate communication students. Flash is the ideal platform for demystifying computer programming. The program's animation tools provide a friendly on-ramp to the world of ActionScript. Students love it.


      During the past year, the decision to abandon support for the Flash Player has led many people in our industry to conclude that Flash is about to become obsolete. Sadly, many technology and web design columnists have echoed the "Flash is dead" mantra without actually digging beneath the surface.


      As people who read this forum are surely aware, the Flash Player is just one of two possible Flash runtimes. Adobe AIR also delivers Flash content, and Adobe has no intention of abandoning AIR.


      Adobe is not doing a good job of explaining the situation to the general population. If you look through the comments thread related to the Flash Player on Google Play, you will see that many people misunderstand what is happening. Most people think that Flash, in all of its forms, is nearly dead. I have spoken with skilled web developers and graphic designers who mistakenly believe that Flash is down for the count. Yes, there is an Adobe Roadmap for Flash Runtimes, but most people don't read or understand these sorts of white papers.


      Flash is not dead. But if Adobe doesn't do a better job of getting the message out to the general population, I fear that our colleagues, students, and clients will steer away from anything potentially Flash-related.


      Does anyone else agree with my claim that Adobe needs better messaging about Flash and AIR? If so, how can we bring this to Adobe's attention? If not, can you point me to good resources and popular press articles that explain why Flash is not dead in terms that make sense to a general audience.


      Flash (Player) is dead. Long live Flash (Adobe AIR runtime).



        • 1. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
          Ned Murphy Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Maybe part of the problem lies in people making simple statements like the one you just ended with.  They say if you repeat something enough people will come to believe it.


          That statement does not agree with the roadmap documentation you have referred to in your writeup (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplatform/whitepapers/roadmap.html).  I have not seen anything that indicates that Flash Player is dead, nor that there are plans to kill it off - actually moreso the opposite.  Maybe you should point to your sources if you have some that indicate otherwise.


          I understand that continued development of the Flash Player for mobile use is being dropped, and I have my own bias as to why that came to pass.  I feel it was brought about when enough people did exactly what you claim will drive the demise of Flash.


          How can Adobe convince anyone of anything?  I don't think they can.  Just like it takes a bunch of folks saying the things you don't want to hear to make those things disappear, it will probably take a similar effort by those who want them to stay around to make it so.


          The squeaky wheels get the grease (if for nothing other than to quiet the noise)... so complainers have the edge in that aspect.  We can't complain about something we enjoy, but someone who wants to get rid of it can.

          • 2. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
            Factgathering2010 Level 1



            The sentence I ended with was rhetorical flourish, not a simplistic statement.


            The final sentence in my message references this statement from the documentation: "Flash Player 11.1 is the last release of the Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers. Adobe will not add support for new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.). Adobe will continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations through September 2012, and will also allow our source-code licensees to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. Adobe continues to actively invest in enabling developers to create and deploy Flash based content as mobile (and desktop) applications via Adobe AIR."


            OK. To be fair, the sentence should have said "Flash (Player) is dead on mobile browsers. Long live Flash (Adobe AIR runtime) on mobile browsers." But really, aren't you just nitpicking here?


            My point is that Adobe could do a *much* better job of explaining this to the general public. This is how technology companies succeed. They evangelize on behalf of their products and create compelling, understandable visions which explain why their products will endure in the future. For many years, Macromedia and Adobe promoted a compelling vision of Flash. During the past year, they have allowed competing, inaccurate memes to gain the upper hand. They have not explained, in terms that make sense to a general audience, how Adobe AIR means that Flash content can be delivered on a wide range of platforms. This is precisely the sort of situation in which strategic communication and effective public relations can make a difference.


            This isn't just about people complaining and screaming loudly in an echo chamber at each other. Adobe could help by providing talking points and specifically addressing claims that undermine the appeal of Flash to people who make decisions about digital content. Is this such a crazy suggestion?



            • 3. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
              rossfranks Level 1

              Hi there I'm concerned where Flash is going too as a developer of Flash interactive animations for students on our university campus.


              Since students are using more mobile devices these days how are we to develop these products if mobile devices aren't being supported anymore? (I'm talking on browsers not apps)


              Also I feel a bit cheated that CS6 says it can export to HTML5 but that's only if it doesn't use Actionscript. Who doesn't use Actionscript?


              I'm hope Adobe has something up their sleeve because it starting to get a bad name out there in the public over this issue. I hope they can shed any light on this future especially that Flash will export to HTML5 (with AS) or can create interactive animations on mobile devices.


              Sorry I'm just a bit bemused as to why Adobe is kinda stringing up their own noose for mobile devices.

              • 4. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                Isometric Bacon Level 1

                I have to agree with the statements here. Adobe doesn't exactly seem to be going out of it's way to clarify the future of Flash, which is quite disappointing to see.


                Generally, most people percieve flash as 'that annoying plugin that puts all those ads on your computer' and 'the thing that doesn't work with my iPhone.'


                Many responses I've heard have been along the ilk of "Do not use Flash, it is no longer supported. Use HTML 5 instead.'


                There is a problem with this. Namely, HTML5 is not supported by many of the browsers in the wild. Secondly and most importantly, to make interactions in HTML5 at this stage you require a much larger investment in programming time and effort, which results in an awful lot of code to reproduce what is relatively easily achievable through their Flash equivalents.


                I've noticed most companies are simply using 'HTML5' as a buzzword at this point, delivering traditional HTML4 / JS content under that guise.


                Now, I think HTML5 is fantastic and I am looking forward to using it extensively in my workflow. I am glad to see sites lose Flash based navigation (which they never should have been in the first place) in favour of HTML based navigation which is more accessible. I am glad to see those intrusive Flash ads disappearing from the web.


                My biggest problem seeing Flash disappear however is that there is no direct equivalent out there. Flash has a fantastic animation focus, is easy to pick up and is immensely powerful. It also produces reliable results across different browsers and platforms without complicated hacks or javascript workarounds. It also is incredibly adaptable, being able to be used for anything from small animations to complex 3D simulation.


                Usually technology becomes obsolete because something better comes along that is more efficient, easier to use or is more adaptable. But as it currently stands, with it gone there is currently nothing available that can fill its shoes.

                • 5. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                  rossfranks Level 1

                  Well it looks like Adobe Edge Animate is going to do all that, I only found out about it today (even though it's been around for a year or so).


                  I'm downloading it now to check out.


                  Wish Adobe advertised this alongside their announcment of not supporting Flash on mobile devices. Edge seems promising and great news but it needs to be promoted even if it isn't a full product yet.

                  • 6. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                    shasimo Level 1

                    I agree - Adobe is not communicating well about the Flash/HTML5 issue. I miss some clear statements as to what the strategy is. And I would so like to see them defend this great program, instead of letting it die an undignified death due to rumors and misunderstandings. For a long time I was expecting Adobe to launch a bigbrother to Flash, which would kill all the bad talk about "ALL the inadequacies" of Flash.

                    I have spend the last couple of days browsing through the web to get a feeling on the present status of the situation, and I'm sad to say, that by now the word "Flash" seems to be a profanity. Maybe a name change is in order?


                    One interesting feature in CS6 is the CreateJS-Toolkit plugin (http://www.adobe.com/devnet/createjs.html), which makes it possible to generate javascript from Flash content and Actionscript, but even though it's said to be easy to use, I think it looks like an opposition, which only hardcore programmers will find satisfying.


                    Adobe Lab presented both Wallaby and Edge more than a year ago. I tried one of the first releases, and found it needed quite a lot more work before being a realistic alternative to Flash. But I'll be sure to try the newest Animate Edge to see how fare they have come. Maybe this is the "new Flash" I have been waiting for?

                    • 7. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                      sinious Most Valuable Participant

                      Adobe AIR runtime is Flash with extra libraries. The underpinnings are the same. AIR runtime is flash runtime is AIR runtime. The code you're allowed to run is the difference. Open up an .air (it's just a .zip, like an .ipa, etc) and it's a SWF. EXE just wraps it, possibly with a captive runtime.




                      Adobe doesn't need to defend Flash. If you need to defend flash as a viable path to continue teaching your students, that's another thing.


                      While the multimedia engine makes exciting things happen "easily", learning programming overall in ActionScript is unideal. Major required concepts like the display list have no application in traditional programming fundamentals. If you want the visual training wheels while still launching avid programmers then you should be teaching C#.NET. It doesn't get much easier than drag and drop components with a killer (express edition=free) programming environment. There is no comparison between debuggers, period. If you're teaching animation then by all means continue using ActionScript.


                      Outside the web there are plenty of viable uses of Flash and AIR from mobile and tablet apps to small kiosks. Flash also stated in their MAX conference they're realizing that JavaScript+Canvas can do some of the things flash is most often used for. That's displaying video and animating advertisments.


                      Please, STOP saying HTML5. It's nothing at this point. It's not even a standard or even close to being a W3C recommendation across the board. They had to break the syntax up into categories for separate recommendation and amendment processes just because it was taking so long to evolve into a recommendation. The majority of the WOW factor of HTML5 is not just HTML5. It's people who can't identify between HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.


                      Unless you love killer preset dissolve transitions in powerpoint, without any competition what-so-ever, Flash is going nowhere for a very long time. In fact they just gave us the keys to the GPU, so we're all just getting started again. As far as I'm concerned Adobe did a good job offering the HTML5-JS toolkit for the better of the SEO-friendly and mobile device market. They're sick of people doing everything in Flash just because if it's not on a timeline or click-and-drag they can't be bothered to learn how to do it the right way.

                      • 8. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                        Factgathering2010 Level 1



                        Adobe does need to defend Flash, and it is naive to think otherwise.


                        People who work in client-driven businesses (e.g. a creative shop) understand that clients need to be persuaded to support certain technologies. Those who work in higher education understand that those with fingers on the purse strings need to be persuaded to pursue certain pathways.


                        I am not being excessively critical of Adobe when I say that they need to do more to explain their vision of Flash and AIR. I'm suggesting this as someone who agrees that Flash has much to offer in the mobile and tablet space. To be honest, I have been surprised by the defensive reaction to this thread. The suggestion that Adobe could do more to promote/explain Flash in a highly competitive marketplace seems like a no-brainer.




                        There are different schools of thought about whether or not ActionScript makes sense as an introductory programming language. I agree with Bruno Skorvc that "there is no better way to quickly grasp both OOP and animation basics than Flash and AS3." There have also been several peer-reviewed journal articles which report great success with Flash and Actionscript in programming classrooms.


                        Does this mean that Flash is the answer for all situations? Certainly not. It would be foolish to suggest that one platform is the only answer for all situations.



                        • 9. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                          esdebon Level 4

                          Certainly Flash is a very powerful tool and professional, but the program easy to use, and lack of seriousness of the users is that has questioned their capabilities and causing rejection.

                          So many designers who think they may be programmed and amateur developers have spawned many inferior products, resource-intensive and exceptions not caught, have created a bad reputation for Flash.

                          Flash is not the only option but it is almost always the first to recommend, I defend to Flash and in my meetings with customers, which is not Adobe who knows what else for a project should

                          • 10. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                            sinious Most Valuable Participant

                            1 ~ Flash has been around longer than most people have been using the web. How does this present demand for it to present itself as a viable technology?


                            Please elaborate on the competitive marketplace. Silverlight? Where is the competition of which you speak, and of that, highly?


                            2 ~ My last sentence was, "If you're teaching animation then by all means continue using ActionScript". I think that's an excellent usage of it.


                            I'm more than used to needing to justify every imaginable technology decision. Are you finding anyone objecting to your choices in using Flash? I don't know if you're a college professor in the USA but we have a very commonly known clause here; Innocent until proven guilty. Anyone telling you Flash is dieing should bear the weight of providing that proof. Your problem is solved, they can't, because it isn't. It sounds like you're dealing with the same old water cooler talk becomes fact syndrome. You're the professor, they should be listening, not talking.

                            • 11. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                              shasimo Level 1

                              You are all very professional and experienced people, and you're able to understand what it means, when Adobe announces that they are quitting the mobile Flash player.
                              To the general public (costumers and new students) this message has more or less been received as the entire Flash platform will become extinct in a short time, an interpretation which Flash opponents have greatly aided.

                              Which technology to choose depends on the project, and the debate (battle) would benefit from serious comparisons of different kinds of projects developed in both Flash and JavaScript/CSS, to reveal the cost, time, quality and usability  etc.. Maybe anyone know of such a research?

                              • 12. Re: How can Adobe convince the world that Flash is not dead?
                                sinious Most Valuable Participant

                                Do you want to pay $1,000 for your phone? As it is, without signing a contract your smartphone will cost you anywhere from the cost of a netbook to a complete laptop (and more). Thing is, a properly chosen laptop will easily exceed the phones speed by 10x or more at absolute bare minimum. Although it's priced similarly, a phone is not a computer. Yet people continue to expect the same performance.


                                In the future the gap will be bridged. Currently, it's not. Flash is by no means lightweight. There's Flash Lite for Mobile but it's rarely used. Androids adoption of the player was a simple game of marketing. They knew they always had hardware advantage and with the introduction of dual core they took an opportunity to slash the wrist of Apple. Thus, Flash support on Android emerged and an amazing, continuous, premeditated campaign of "Apple devices don't support Flash" was unleashed.


                                The problem was, the hardware was still immature. It wasn't a good idea in the first place. Excessively optimized and memory tuned websites would work somewhat well but for the most part flash never ran even close to a desktop computer. Adobe received a nice black eye in consumers views because the Android browsing experienced was hampered with slow page loads and boggy scrolling on flash heavy sites, if they'd load at all. Adobe had no choice but to abandon it until hardware matures.


                                The choice to leave it at 11.1 makes sense. They gave just enough support so developers can leverage the GPU and take the load off the phones poorly performing CPU. Anything that uses Stage3D will then perform far better and all previous experiences can be updated so older Android devices don't die upon page load. Plus no developer uses a version of flash beyond what is absolutely necessary for the best experience of their content. Unless you're writing an amazing 3D MMO in Flash you have no reason to target 11.4 for your flash ads so 11.1 should be of no issue.


                                Google slapped Apple around long enough. The truth is the web should be developed and catered to the adaptation that has already happened. Browsing percentages of devices are climbing and there's no reason to believe it won't continue to do so. We are, after all, creatures of convenience. These devices are only starting to become powerful enough for Flash Mobile.