Adobe's Recent Announcements

geek_dave's Avatar


29 Nov, 2011 10:14 PM

Hey all,

Apologies for the non-technical topic, but I just wanted to get a sense of how the RL community is reacting to Adobe's recent announcements about the future of Flex and HTML5.

Seems there are two schools of thought so far:
1) Flex as a true Open Source project will be great for the community, and we can all contribute more directly to the framework.
2) Adobe is abandoning us! Flex is dead! All the HTML5 books are sold out on Amazon! The end is here!

Will these announcements change anything about your career choices? Are you hedging your bets and picking up HTML5 just like Adobe? Or do you take comfort in Adobe's reassurance that they will remain committed to Flex?

Thanks for the feedback!

  1. 1 Posted by krasimir on 30 Nov, 2011 07:20 AM

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    I don't know why the people are reacting like that. Flash/Flex technology is not dead for sure. As far as I know what Adobe are doing is that they stop developing the flash player for the mobile devices and contribute the Adobe Flex SDK open source project to the Apache Software Foundation. Yes, the mobile world is a huge market, but Flash/Flex/AIR is still really good choice for desktop applications and sites. Currently we can't even compare HTML5 and Flash/Flex. Each of these technologies has its own scope of usage and that's it.

  2. 2 Posted by geek_dave on 30 Nov, 2011 07:46 PM

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    Thanks for your inputs, krasimir. Is anyone planning on becoming a contributor to the Flex OSS project? I notice in the RL source code that there are many references to workarounds for bugs in the Flex framework. So perhaps we've got a better shot at those being fixed if we can do it ourselves.

  3. 3 Posted by Jim on 22 Dec, 2011 03:42 PM

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    Even though there is no need to panic, I do see Flash/Flex slowly fading away as more support is created for HTML5. I do plan to slowly migrate to HTML5/jQuery over the next year or two.

    Giving the Flex code over to the OSS community can be a good thing. But long term, I see support for Flex fading as Flash will also eventually fade away.

    Like I mentioned, you are probably fine for about two years or so, but at some point it will be more and more difficult to find support for Flash/Flex.

  4. 4 Posted by Lamy on 18 Jan, 2012 07:45 PM

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    Here are my thoughts. I hope Flex/Flash will not fade away.

    From an architecture, development and support perspective, Flex has a lot of advantages -

    Minimal number of architecture components to achieve a visually pleasing Rich Internet App (Flex, AS, Robotlegs, AMF)
    Easier to prototype - wireframes break down fairly quickly
    Developers - Flex, Ruby on Rails (in my case) or PHP, Java, etc,
    Testing - Flash app works consistently over all browsers and the abilities to reduce testing for cross browser compatibility is a huge deal.

    HTML 5/jQuery/CSS3
    Architecture - HTML5, jQuery, CSS3, JavaScriptMVC, JSON, Ruby on Rails,
    Prototyping - Dreamweaver??
    Developers - HTML5, jQuery, CSS3, JavaScriptMVC, Javascript, RoR
    Testing - Need to test extensively on all browsers

    Do we do this effect in jQuery or CSS? Consistent UI - pop ups look a little different in each browser, platform

    If you add up all the skill sets and architectural issues, I think you will lean towards Flex as the number of people required and testing is reduced. This is significant as it can make or kill a project or startup.

    I am not sure what the final technology landscape will look like - HTML5, Flash, etc.

    I think it will be a new game if Adobe open source Flash completely. This will also benefit Adobe tremendously as they need a way to serve content consistently on all platforms as they focus on content.

    Adobe Air offers a nice way to create an offline App that supplements the main Flex app.

    I would also like to see Flash Builder to be able to deploy in Flash or HTML5/CSS/jQuery. It is actually very similar to OpenLaszlo, where you can deploy in Flash or DHTML with a single code base.

  5. 5 Posted by Jed on 08 Jun, 2012 10:21 AM

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    The Flash platform is still great technology. It's such a mature tool chain for all kinds of work (embedded devices, web, games, desktop etc.) that I don't see it going anywhere soon. That said, the dominance its enjoyed over the last 10 years or so as the go-to technology for highly interactive content on the web has taken a massive hit recently. That's fair enough though, perhaps it needed putting in its place? There's no doubting that open, standards compliant, non-proprietary technology is the way to go for the web in general.

    I'm a Flash developer slowly/reluctantly making a transition over to JS (both client side stuff with frameworks like Backbone.js, and a bit of server side dabbling with node.js). I've got to say building AS3 apps with RobotLegs and Flash Builder is an absolute joy, I wish the same could be said for JS work. At the moment the lack of a proper OO language, a proper full featured JS IDE with code introspection or a decent framework that leverages these feels like I've had a frontal lobotomy.

    Are there any other Flash refugees feeling a similar way? What tools/techniques are you using?

  6. 6 Posted by geek_dave on 26 Jun, 2012 09:03 PM

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    @Jed: Thanks for your insights. I've been ramping up on JavaScript frameworks over the past few months. It's definitely the "Wild Wild West" of software development, with everybody and their mother releasing a new JS framework every day!

    That being said, I've settled on a technology stack that feels "right" and very similar to Robotlegs' clean separation of concerns.

    1) BackboneJS - Provides Views & Models

    2) Marionette - Simplifies Backbone apps, reduces boilerplate, facilitates de-coupling, and allows complex nested views.

    3) Geppetto - Adds the missing "Command" piece to Backbone apps, de-coupling business logic from views. Disclosure: I wrote this plugin, since I missed Robotlegs' Command pattern!

    4) RequireJS - Essential dependency management tool for large projects. Allows you to break up your app into small easily-testable components, and cleanly and clearly declare the dependencies for each component.

    BackboneJS (and JavaScript in general), have a bit of a learning curve and a lot of "gotchas". I've found these resources to be essential to my current understanding:

    Backbone Fundamentals

    Essential JavaScript Design Patterns

    Hope this helps anyone out there who's confused about how to apply your hard-earned Robotlegs/Flex knowledge to HTML5/JavaScript.


  7. 7 Posted by Lamy on 26 Jun, 2012 10:03 PM

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    I have moved on too Yes, I agree with geek_dave. It is a jungle out there. I am still in early stages but this is what I am working towards -

    a) HTML5 - Content Markup

    b) CSS3 - Styling (Skinning)

    c) Javascript - main programming language ( 2 good books I found - Smashing Magazine - Javascript Essentials, JavaScript Web Applications - Alex MacCaw. Describe the more advanced topics on handling singletons or module pattern)

    d) jQuery - Manipulation of the DOM and has great libraries of GUI. Great training for jQuery is at Tuts - Jeffrey Way

    e) ember.js - This is used to handle the models (value objs), data binding (views - they use a templating system called Handlebars), routing and states. I choose this because of the data-binding needs. The site is - it is still work in progress but Square released an app based on this.

    f) RequireJS - Modularize the app. There is really no Javascript equivalent of Module (which I used in Flex).

    g) Modernizr - Cross Browser feature detection

    h) Less - CSS Maintainer (allows you to use variables)

    The connection to the backend is now JSON. Backend system has not changed, it is still Ruby on Rails.

    Results have been mixed.

    Good -
    The UI is coming up very close to what I did in Flex. The libraries (jQuery) is very rich and lots of active development.

    Still Working on -
    ember.js - Very active development team, talented and experienced group. Great community and the developers are quite friendly. Disclosure - I have no stake in any of the JS Framework wars out there. Just want to use something I can develop my product

    Cross Browser compatibility - Testing is a nightmare. Some of the browser compatibility issues are very difficult to fix - have not even touch the nasty one - Microsoft.

    It is a lot of work to make it all work. And some of the things, like Z-Index, I cannot get it to work in complex layouts.

    You may also want to check out twitter-bootstrap. Interesting layout tool.

    Text editor - Sublime Text 2 - superfast.

    Music - E.S. Posthumus

    I hope this sharing helps someone.

  8. 8 Posted by geek_dave on 26 Jun, 2012 10:14 PM

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    One more comment for anyone who's super confused about which JavaScript MVC framework to pick...

    Addy Osmani created a project called TodoMVC where there is a simple "To Do List" app created using each MVC framework. It's become sort of a de-facto standard that if you create a new framework, you have to create a Todo app for it. :)

    There is no right or wrong way to develop an app, and this project helps you understand which framework "feels right" for you.

  9. Support Staff 9 Posted by Ondina D.F. on 27 Jun, 2012 10:47 AM

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    +1 for this discussion

    It is indeed a non-robotlegs topic, but I think it’s good to have this discussion on this forum, because it can give us (developers sharing a similar background and mindset: as3, OOP, MVC(S) frameworks…) the right perspective on how to approach this amorphous creature, called HTML5.

    I hope Flex won’t die off any soon, but in any case it’s easier to make the transition to whatever will replace it together than alone. The knowledge we’re acquiring through using a framework like Robotlegs will serve us well.

    It's definitely the "Wild Wild West" of software development, with everybody and their mother releasing a new JS framework every day!


    Geppetto - Adds the missing "Command" piece to Backbone apps, de-coupling business logic from views. Disclosure: I wrote this plugin, since I missed Robotlegs' Command pattern!


    Recently, I've come across Geppetto, and so far I’m positively impressed by it. Thanks Dave!
    I hope for more of such Pinnocchian plugins à la Robotlegs in the future ;)

    I’d like to hear what you all think about Haxe. I’d really like if Haxe would get at least as much attention as JS&Co.

    And finally, I hope you’re not abandoning Robotlegs just yet :)

  10. 10 Posted by Jed on 01 Jul, 2012 11:28 AM

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    Cheers guys, that'd all really useful information. I'm definitely going to take a look at the Backbone/Marionette/Geppetto combo. I think its really important that we Flash refugees take our knowledge forwards with us :)

    A couple of you mentioned Sublime Text 2. Has anybody got a plugin stack that works well for JS app development?

  11. 11 Posted by geek_dave on 01 Jul, 2012 07:16 PM

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    @jed: I'd recommend checking out Paul Irish's presentation, Javascript Development Workflow of 2013. He presents a lot of great ideas & tools for making JS development easier, faster, and more fun.

    As far as IDEs go, I'm personally a big fan of WebStorm. It's by far the most featureful IDE for JS development that I've come across. Solid autocomplete, integrated debugging with all modern browsers, etc. I've heard good things about ST2, but having an integrated debugger is absolutely essential for my day-to-day.

  12. Ondina D.F. closed this discussion on 27 Aug, 2012 10:35 AM.

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