8 Replies Latest reply on Jan 23, 2009 1:30 AM by ChivertonT

    How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer

    Alan Klement
      Here is my response to a post Matt made on a blog:

      THe whole post:

      http://blog.simb.net/2009/01/19/take-flex-back-for-the-community/

      @Matt
      1st off thanks, now my input:
      The crux of your criticism seems to be that the process that we use for decision-making is closed its certainly not how we feel

      Unfortuntly, this seems like a case of bad commuication by Adobe and the Flex team. If notable community experts get the impression of closed doors, then *certainly* the rest of us get this impression as well.

      but there has been very little participation from the community so far

      Im a solid dev, and not an expert but I can contribute in things such as testing and low level optimization; But, the Adobe open source site is a galactic disaster and discourages me from getting invloved. It has so many webpages that just go around in circles - filled with text that is verbose, this frustrates me to a great deal. As opposed to somehting straight foreward like:

      http://framework.zend.com/download/latest
      or
      http://code.google.com/p/papervision3d/

      Everything is here and easily notable. I avoid the seamingly endless pages and confusion. If I want to get to the Flex dev mailing list I have to register, then choose the lists, add the lists to my account. go though my account prefs read some directions.. then set up some other preferences..jeeeezzzz. If I want to submit a feature request I am directed to create another login for some Bug and Issue management? HUH? I thought I was submitting a featue request.

      Right on papervisions google HOME page I see Getting started > Papervision3D Mailing List.

      Next when I finially do get to Flex SVN, this trunk. is nothing like I have seen.what IS all this stuff and where do I go to learn about it? There are countless subfolders filled with things I vaguely understand and if I want to learn what it is. where do I go? Is there even a src folder?

      Here is a classic example.
      Flex trunk Read Me:
      http://opensource.adobe.com/svn/opensource/flex/sdk/trunk/README.txt
      vs.
      Zend Trunk Read me:
      http://framework.zend.com/svn/framework/standard/trunk/README.txt

      *What* is the Flex team thinking with this?

      I just spent 5 minutes or so twirling through all these SVN directories and Adobes website and I am clueless. I feel like the project is unessarily complex and disorganized - even if it isnt. This just convinced me to delete my Flex sdk bookmark on my SVN client.

      Adobe just lost one potential contributor to Flex SDK.

      We have another idea that were bouncing around that I hope to share in a week or two but wont get into now.

      Saying stuff like this is what gives people the impression of closed. Why not post these ideas the Flex team has? Even if it is stupid or incomplete

      Thats the whole point.
        • 1. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
          matt_chotin Level 3
          Hi Alan,<br /><br />Sorry that you found the site to be hard to use.  We're certainly open to suggestions on things that could be better, and one way that folks can contribute is if they're willing to spend time on things like the site itself.<br /><br />I look at some of the links you sent and don't see how they differ extensively from our front page (http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Flex+SDK).  And we tried to create a developer documentation section that talks about the SDK organization, etc at http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Developer+Documentation.  So we've certainly tried to help folks understand the organization, in fact much of the source tree matches up with the final SDK zip output.<br /><br />You are absolutely right though about the combination of different accounts for using the site.  We had every intent of having the logins for JIRA be aligned with adobe.com and our budget for that simply fell through.  We are also working on a new forums system that will combine the two different systems currently in use and align the account info.  This is something that we simply will continue to work on and improve, I'm sorry it's been such a turnoff though.<br /><br />Matt<br /><br /><br />On 1/20/09 12:08 PM, "fen_phen" <member@adobeforums.com> wrote:<br /><br />A new discussion was started by fen_phen in<br /><br />General Discussion --<br />  How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer<br /><br />Here is my response to a post Matt made on a blog:<br /><br />THe whole post:<br /><br />http://blog.simb.net/2009/01/19/take-flex-back-for-the-community/<br /><br />@Matt<br />1st off thanks, now my input:<br />"The crux of your criticism seems to be that the process that we use for decision-making is closed... it's certainly not how we feel"<br /><br />Unfortuntly, this seems like a case of bad commuication by Adobe and the Flex team. If notable community experts get the impression of closed doors, then *certainly* the rest of us get this impression as well.<br /><br />"but there has been very little participation from the community so far"<br /><br />I'm a solid dev, and not an expert but I can contribute in things such as testing and low level optimization; But, the Adobe 'open source' site is a galactic disaster and discourages me from getting invloved. It has so many webpages that just go around in circles - filled with text that is verbose, this frustrates me to a great deal. As opposed to somehting straight foreward like:<br /><br />http://framework.zend.com/download/latest<br />or<br />http://code.google.com/p/papervision3d/<br /><br />Everything is here and easily notable. I avoid the seamingly endless pages and confusion. If I want to get to the Flex dev mailing list I have to register, then choose the lists, add the lists to my account.... go though my account prefs... read some directions..... then set up some other preferences.....jeeeezzzz. If I want to submit a feature request I am directed to create another login for some "Bug and Issue management"? HUH? I thought I was submitting a featue request.<br /><br />Right on papervisions google HOME page I see "Getting started" > "Papervision3D Mailing List".<br /><br />Next when I finially do get to Flex SVN, this trunk.... is nothing like I have seen....what IS all this stuff and where do I go to learn about it? There are countless subfolders filled with things I vaguely understand and if I want to learn what it is.... where do I go? Is there even a 'src' folder?<br />Here is a classic example.<br />Flex trunk Read Me:<br />http://opensource.adobe.com/svn/opensource/flex/sdk/trunk/README.txt<br />vs.<br />Zend Trunk Read me:<br />http://framework.zend.com/svn/framework/standard/trunk/README.txt<br /><br />What* is the Flex team thinking with this?<br /><br />I just spent 5 minutes or so twirling through all these SVN directories and Adobe's website and I am clueless. I feel like the project is unessarily complex and disorganized - even if it isn't. This just convinced me to delete my Flex sdk bookmark on my SVN client.<br /><br />Adobe just lost one potential contributor to Flex SDK.<br /><br />"We have another idea that we're bouncing around that I hope to share in a week or two but won't get into now."<br /><br />Saying stuff like this is what gives people the impression of 'closed'. Why not post these ideas the Flex team has? Even if it is 'stupid' or 'incomplete'<br /><br />That's the whole point.<br /><br />________________________________<br />View/reply at How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?13@@.59b790da><br />Replies by email are OK.<br />Use the unsubscribe <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?280@@.59b790da!folder=.3c060fa1>  form to cancel your email subscription.
          • 2. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
            ChivertonT Level 2
            Well, as someone who's had one patch accepted and the other stuck in limbo, I can feel the OP pain - there is little visibility of the roadmap - just managing that in an open way, maybe using the tools Jira has to do it, would go a long way to opening up, imvho.
            • 3. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
              Alan Klement Level 1
              Matt, your right. The Adobe Open Source site does have sufficient resources, but the perception I had , as a developer interested in getting invloved, was that the information was either not there, incomplete, or difficult to find. The perception to me is that Adobe is not serious about 'Open Source" - even if it is, the perception I have is that it isn't.

              I don't mean disrespect, but I don't take "Adobe Open Source" seriously. To illustrate my point I'll use this ( albeit a bit extreme ) example:

              Suppose the Flex community consists of 1000 devoted developers. 80% of these developers decide to take the sdk into a direction they feel it needs to go. This decision, regardless if it's 'good' or not, renders it incompatible with other Adobe products, namely Adobe Catalyst. WIll Adobe accept the community's decision?

              When Adobe can answer 'yes' to that question, I will take Adobe's commitment seriously.

              And there are so many other things that send me red flags.

              - Why is the new name of Flex not public, and why am I, as others, breaking NDA to talk about the renaming process with other Flex devs?
              - What business is NDA doing in an 'Open' project.
              - Why is Adobe tight lipped about a release for Flex 4? Where is the roadmap? https://wiki.mozilla.org/Releases .
              - Why are new features in Flex Builder not public? Adobe asks 'what do you want', but never tells us the results of these polls and what features it is actively working on.
              - Why are there builds of Flex 4 passed out at MAX, but unavailable to non-attendies. Had I *paid* to go to MAX, I'd have Flex 4...
              - You mentioned that there wasn't a 'budget' to make it easier for devs to submit feature suggestions? Set up a google mailing list, that'll cost you 0 dollars.
              - What is the term 'budget' doing in open source. If Adobe won't do something, ask the community to chip in.
              -Who are the other Adobe Flex devs? I can go to other open source projects and see the names and contact info of other devs. Why aren't THEY posting their opinions on this message board?
              _Why all the 'codename' garbage. 'Codename' denotes secrecy.
              - and on and on....

              To me, Adobe looks like they want all the benefits of an open source project, but none of the consequences. Being open source means releasing a degree of control over the software. Hell, Richard Stallman is still trying to convince people to change 'Linux' to 'Linux-GNU'.

              I would like to help, but I just don't think my efforts would be seriously considered. I work all day developing Flex applications and front end Flash web sites. I don't want to then spend my free time to be engrossed with a project's red tape ( Adobe policies ) - only to have my efforts to be blown off.

              Sorry guys, it just looks like a win-win for Adobe and a lose-lose for me.
              • 4. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
                matt_chotin Level 3
                We're working on getting the patches out of limbo, we've certainly fallen down on addressing these in a timely manner.<br /><br /><br />On 1/21/09 1:21 AM, "Tom Chiverton" <member@adobeforums.com> wrote:<br /><br />A new message was posted by Tom Chiverton in<br /><br />General Discussion --<br />  How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer<br /><br />Well, as someone who's had one patch accepted and the other stuck in limbo, I can feel the OP pain - there is little visibility of the roadmap - just managing that in an open way, maybe using the tools Jira has to do it, would go a long way to opening up, imvho.<br /><br />________________________________<br />View/reply at How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?13@@.59b790da/1><br />Replies by email are OK.<br />Use the unsubscribe <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?280@@.59b790da!folder=.3c060fa1>  form to cancel your email subscription.
                • 5. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
                  ChivertonT Level 2
                  To talk about Alan's wider points:

                  I see Flex as open source in the sense I can go and poke at it if it goes wrong and hopefully have a fairly high chance of bug fixes submitted winding back into the next point release.

                  I don't see Flex as open in the sense that Adobe tell us about features (much) ahead of time, or want the community to tell them what direction to drive the product in, or code large chunks of new features - they have a fairly clear idea of direction themselves, and don't appear to need much help delivering the code for their features.

                  Basically - Adobe run the road map and core code.
                  • 6. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
                    matt_chotin Level 3
                    I've delayed responding to this because frankly I'm not sure what to say for much of it.  The first thing I have to point out is that many of the things you mention are related to Flex Builder and not the Flex SDK, which is the part that is open source. So things like the FB features, and NDA as part of its prerelease program, etc are part of the commercial offerings from Adobe, not the Flex SDK.  Every build of the SDK has been available from the open source site, the MAX issues were for commercial products.<br /><br />The roadmap for Flex 4 has been posted on the Gumbo page now for a while, we don't put up specific dates because we don't know specific dates, and as we get closer to feeling certain on a date we've put it up.  I think that having dates up that constantly change is counter-productive.<br /><br />We use a code name because you never know if another version is going to jump into the middle or what could happen, locking in on a version number is often just setting yourself up for confusion later.  Plenty of other projects use code names too, the idea that a code name denotes secrecy is frankly ludicrous.<br /><br />Regarding your question about 1000 developers and 80% wanting to go in a different direction: if 80% of our customers think we should move one way, don't you think it'd be pretty silly as a company to go against them?  Adobe as a company, and the Flex team as a product team, are very focused on delivering our customers value.  If we fail to deliver value, not only is our free open source product not used, but our paid products aren't used as well.  The things that you sometimes run into are long-term vision vs. short-term pains, and that may be where some aspects of open source vs. closed differ.  The Adobe team has a long-term vision of Flex, which we have tried to share and get feedback on, and we make decisions based on that vision while taking into account the short-term needs of developers.  I think this is a pretty reasonable approach overall, and you as a Flex/Flash developer have probably benefited from it.<br /><br />I'm sorry you feel like Adobe is getting the only benefit of open source and you aren't, we certainly believe that we've put pieces in place to allow for everyone to benefit, and will continue to take suggestions on how we can improve.<br /><br />Matt<br /><br /><br />On 1/21/09 7:54 AM, "Alan Klement" <member@adobeforums.com> wrote:<br /><br />A new message was posted by Alan Klement in<br /><br />General Discussion --<br />  How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer<br /><br />Matt, your right.  The Adobe Open Source site does have sufficient  resources, but the perception I had , as a developer interested in getting invloved,  was that the information was either not there, incomplete, or difficult to find.  The perception to me is that Adobe is not serious about 'Open Source" - even if it is, the perception I have is that it isn't.<br /><br />I don't mean disrespect, but I don't take "Adobe Open Source" seriously.   To illustrate my point I'll use this ( albeit a bit extreme ) example:<br /><br />Suppose the Flex community consists of 1000 devoted developers.   80% of these developers decide to take the sdk into a direction they feel it needs to go.  This decision, regardless if it's 'good' or not, renders it incompatible with other Adobe products, namely Adobe Catalyst. WIll Adobe accept the community's decision?<br /><br />When Adobe can answer 'yes' to that question, I will take Adobe's commitment seriously.<br /><br />And there are so many other things t! hat send me red flags.<br /><br />- Why is the new name of Flex not public, and why am I, as others, breaking NDA to talk about the renaming process with other Flex devs?<br />- What business is NDA doing in an 'Open' project.<br />- Why is Adobe tight lipped about a release for Flex 4?  Where is the roadmap?   https://wiki.mozilla.org/Releases .<br />- Why are new features in Flex Builder not public?  Adobe asks 'what do you want', but never tells us the results of these polls and what features it is actively working on.<br />- Why are there builds of Flex 4 passed out at MAX, but unavailable to non-attendies. Had I *paid* to go to MAX, I'd have Flex 4...<br />- You mentioned that there wasn't a 'budget' to make it easier for devs to submit feature suggestions? Set up a google mailing list, that'll cost you 0 dollars.<br />- What is the term 'budget' doing in open source.  If Adobe won't do something, ask the community to chip in.<br />-Who are the other Adobe Flex devs? I can go to other open source projects and see the names and contact info of other devs. Why aren't THEY posting their opinions on this message board?<br />_Why all the 'codename' garbage.  'Codename' denotes secrecy.<br />- and on and on....<br /><br />To me, Adobe looks like they want all the benefits of an open source project, but none of the consequences.   Being open source means releasing a degree of control over the software.  Hell, Richard Stallman is still trying to convince people to change 'Linux' to 'Linux-GNU'.<br /><br />I would like to help, but I just don't think my efforts would be seriously considered.  I work all day developing Flex applications and front end Flash web sites. I don't want to then spend my free time to be engrossed with a project's red tape ( Adobe policies ) - only to have my efforts to be blown off.<br /><br />Sorry guys, it just looks like a win-win for Adobe and a lose-lose for me.<br /><br />________________________________<br />View/reply at How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?13@@.59b790da/2><br />Replies by email are OK.<br />Use the unsubscribe <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?280@@.59b790da!folder=.3c060fa1>  form to cancel your email subscription.
                    • 7. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
                      Alan Klement Level 1
                      Wow, thanks for your response. This is great.<br /><br />I now understand that I had a combination of prejudice and ignorance  <br />when regarding Adobe Open Source. Perhaps my ignorance on these  <br />particulars is something that other devs encounter ( that whole  <br />perception thing ).   I have chatted with people who consider the Flex  <br />SDK and Flex Builder... not the same... but fused together so much  <br />that it'd be just crazy to try and use one with out the other   When I  <br />mention using Flex without Flex Builder.... people get that glazed  <br />over look in their eyes....( FYI I'm a FDT man, but am keeping a close  <br />eye on the new Flex Builder )<br /><br />I'll use Zend as an example ( it's the best that I can come up with )  <br />but I feel like there is a difference between the open source  <br />framework and Zend Studio ( commercial software ). Anyway, I'm really  <br />excited about how you've responded to all this.  I have more ideas,  <br />but Ill sit on them and think it through and get ready for next weeks  <br />meeting.<br /><br />Thanks,<br /><br />Alan<br /><br /><br />On Jan 23, 2009, at 1:31 AM, Matt Chotin wrote:<br /><br />> A new message was posted by Matt Chotin in<br />><br />> General Discussion --<br />>  How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer<br />><br />> I've delayed responding to this because frankly I'm not sure what to  <br />> say for much of it.  The first thing I have to point out is that  <br />> many of the things you mention are related to Flex Builder and not  <br />> the Flex SDK, which is the part that is open source. So things like  <br />> the FB features, and NDA as part of its prerelease program, etc are  <br />> part of the commercial offerings from Adobe, not the Flex SDK.   <br />> Every build of the SDK has been available from the open source site,  <br />> the MAX issues were for commercial products.<br />><br />> The roadmap for Flex 4 has been posted on the Gumbo page now for a  <br />> while, we don't put up specific dates because we don't know specific  <br />> dates, and as we get closer to feeling certain on a date we've put  <br />> it up.  I think that having dates up that constantly change is  <br />> counter-productive.<br />><br />> We use a code name because you never know if another version is  <br />> going to jump into the middle or what could happen, locking in on a  <br />> version number is often just setting yourself up for confusion  <br />> later.  Plenty of other projects use code names too, the idea that a  <br />> code name denotes secrecy is frankly ludicrous.<br />><br />> Regarding your question about 1000 developers and 80% wanting to go  <br />> in a different direction: if 80% of our customers think we should  <br />> move one way, don't you think it'd be pretty silly as a company to  <br />> go against them?  Adobe as a company, and the Flex team as a product  <br />> team, are very focused on delivering our customers value.  If we  <br />> fail to deliver value, not only is our free open source product not  <br />> used, but our paid products aren't used as well.  The things that  <br />> you sometimes run into are long-term vision vs. short-term pains,  <br />> and that may be where some aspects of open source vs. closed  <br />> differ.  The Adobe team has a long-term vision of Flex, which we  <br />> have tried to share and get feedback on, and we make decisions based  <br />> on that vision while taking into account the short-term needs of  <br />> developers.  I think this is a pretty reasonable approach overall,  <br />> and you as a Flex/Flash developer have probably benefited from it.<br />><br />> I'm sorry you feel like Adobe is getting the only benefit of open  <br />> source and you aren't, we certainly believe that we've put pieces in  <br />> place to allow for everyone to benefit, and will continue to take  <br />> suggestions on how we can improve.<br />><br />> Matt<br />><br />><br />> On 1/21/09 7:54 AM, "Alan Klement" <member@adobeforums.com> wrote:<br />><br />> A new message was posted by Alan Klement in<br />><br />> General Discussion --<br />>  How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer<br />><br />> Matt, your right.  The Adobe Open Source site does have sufficient   <br />> resources, but the perception I had , as a developer interested in  <br />> getting invloved,  was that the information was either not there,  <br />> incomplete, or difficult to find.  The perception to me is that  <br />> Adobe is not serious about 'Open Source" - even if it is, the  <br />> perception I have is that it isn't.<br />><br />> I don't mean disrespect, but I don't take "Adobe Open Source"  <br />> seriously.   To illustrate my point I'll use this ( albeit a bit  <br />> extreme ) example:<br />><br />> Suppose the Flex community consists of 1000 devoted developers.    <br />> 80% of these developers decide to take the sdk into a direction they  <br />> feel it needs to go.  This decision, regardless if it's 'good' or  <br />> not, renders it incompatible with other Adobe products, namely Adobe  <br />> Catalyst. WIll Adobe accept the community's decision?<br />><br />> When Adobe can answer 'yes' to that question, I will take Adobe's  <br />> commitment seriously.<br />><br />> And there are so many other things t! hat send me red flags.<br />><br />> - Why is the new name of Flex not public, and why am I, as others,  <br />> breaking NDA to talk about the renaming process with other Flex devs?<br />> - What business is NDA doing in an 'Open' project.<br />> - Why is Adobe tight lipped about a release for Flex 4?  Where is  <br />> the roadmap?   https://wiki.mozilla.org/Releases .<br />> - Why are new features in Flex Builder not public?  Adobe asks 'what  <br />> do you want', but never tells us the results of these polls and what  <br />> features it is actively working on.<br />> - Why are there builds of Flex 4 passed out at MAX, but unavailable  <br />> to non-attendies. Had I *paid* to go to MAX, I'd have Flex 4...<br />> - You mentioned that there wasn't a 'budget' to make it easier for  <br />> devs to submit feature suggestions? Set up a google mailing list,  <br />> that'll cost you 0 dollars.<br />> - What is the term 'budget' doing in open source.  If Adobe won't do  <br />> something, ask the community to chip in.<br />> -Who are the other Adobe Flex devs? I can go to other open source  <br />> projects and see the names and contact info of other devs. Why  <br />> aren't THEY posting their opinions on this message board?<br />> _Why all the 'codename' garbage.  'Codename' denotes secrecy.<br />> - and on and on....<br />><br />> To me, Adobe looks like they want all the benefits of an open source  <br />> project, but none of the consequences.   Being open source means  <br />> releasing a degree of control over the software.  Hell, Richard  <br />> Stallman is still trying to convince people to change 'Linux' to  <br />> 'Linux-GNU'.<br />><br />> I would like to help, but I just don't think my efforts would be  <br />> seriously considered.  I work all day developing Flex applications  <br />> and front end Flash web sites. I don't want to then spend my free  <br />> time to be engrossed with a project's red tape ( Adobe policies ) -  <br />> only to have my efforts to be blown off.<br />><br />> Sorry guys, it just looks like a win-win for Adobe and a lose-lose  <br />> for me.<br />><br />> ________________________________<br />> View/reply at How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?13@@.59b790da/2 <br />> ><br />> Replies by email are OK.<br />> Use the unsubscribe <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?280@@.59b790da!folder=.3c060fa1 <br />> >  form to cancel your email subscription.<br />><br />><br />><br />><br />> ------------------------------------------------------<br />> View/reply at <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?13@@.59b790da/5><br />> Replies by email are OK.<br />> Use the unsubscribe form at <a href=http://www.adobeforums.com/webx?280@@.59b790da!folder=.3c060fa1 <br />> > to cancel your email subscription.
                      • 8. Re: How Open source Flex looks to a mid level developer
                        ChivertonT Level 2
                        I'm sure we'll chat more next week at the online thing, but just to say - the roadmap might be on the Wiki, but what was on that roadmap just appeared (as far as I know). Maybe I'm used to things like Java and other projects where there is a public RFC/vote process, or maybe the timing was just bad and Flex 4 was planned before the open sourcing, but I think that's one area where a minor amount of transparency would bring real benefit.

                        As always Matt, your input is ace - see you next week !