Flex has been open source since the release of Flex 3 SDK. What’s so different about what you are announcing now? Now Adobe will no longer be the owner of the ongoing roadmap. Instead, the project will be in Apache and governed according to its well-established community rules. After the announcement from Adobe about handing Flex over to the Apache foundation, the community Spoon project (open source effort to contribute to Flex) announced its views on Apache Flex. As an active Flash Platform Developer at RMC I am excited, but there are uknowns about the future of Flex.
The New Apache Flex Branding
Some other Apache Flex logo design entrants that I really like are here;
These are my best guess based on things read online. They may or may not be true.
- Is Adobe still committed to Flex? Yes. We know Flex provides a unique set of benefits for enterprise application developers. We also know that the technology landscape for application development is rapidly changing and our customers want more direct control over the underlying technologies they use.
- Does Adobe recommend we use Flex or HTML5 for our enterprise application development? In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development. We also know that, currently, Flex has clear benefits for large-scale client projects typically associated with desktop application profiles.
- Is Adobe still committed to Flash Builder? Yes. Flash Builder will continue to be developed and Adobe will work to ensure Flex developers can use Flash Builder as their development tool with future releases of Flex SDK.
- What guarantees can Adobe make in relation to Flex applications continuing to run on Flash Player and Adobe AIR? Adobe will continue to support applications built with Flex, as well as all future versions of the SDK running in PC browsers with Adobe Flash Player and as mobile apps with Adobe AIR indefinitely on Apple iOS, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS.
- You said Adobe is committed to Flash Builder – what exactly does that mean in the context of future Flex SDK support? Future versions of Adobe Flash Builder will continue to provide code editing, compilation, debugging and profiling support for Flex applications. Adobe will undertake the required work to ensure Flash Builder is compatible with future releases of Flex SDK.
The Big Question
- Isn’t Adobe just abandoning Flex SDK and putting it out to Apache to die? Absolutely not – we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Flex and know that it will continue to provide significant value for many years to come. We expect active and on-going contributions from the Apache community. To be clear, Adobe plans on steadily contributing to the projects and we are working with the Flex community to make them contributors as well.
Flex vs. HTML5
So we see Adobe has a vested interest in both Flash Platform technology (Through Flash Builder, Flash Professional, and Flash Player) and HTML5 (Through Dreamweaver, and upcoming Muse and EDGE tools). So let’s take a quick look at Flex advantages.
Flex has now, and for many years will continue to have, advantages over HTML5 for enterprise application development – in particular:
- Flex offers complete feature-level consistency across multiple platforms
- The Flex component set and programming model makes it extremely productive when building complex application user interfaces
- ActionScript is a mature language, suitable for large application development
- Supporting tools (both Adobe’s and third-party) offer a productive environment with respect to code editing, debugging and profiling
I love the Flash Platform and I’m excited for the future of HTML5. I’ve worked mostly with Flash and Flex over a dozen years as a designer, developer, and consultant. It offers mature tools and a powerful OOP language to create great content. While I’m excited as always to learn more alternative platforms, I’ll continue to prioritize Flash and Flex development as long as I have clients contacting me and paying a premium for my Flash and Flex projects.
- The official Apache Flex project
- Adobe’s Devnet Article on “Adobe’s commitments to Flex in the future”
- My summary of HTML5 gaming frameworks (A MUST-SEE)
- My summary of HTML5 app frameworks.