Last week Adobe announced information about the company’s evolution and future plans of Flex. It was also announced that Adobe Flex would be contributed to an open source software foundation. The result of which, was mass speculation, fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Rest assured, Flash is not dead, nor is Flex.
Andrew and Deepa from the Flex team have posted some questions and answers raised by these conversations. I highly recommend reading these in their entirety, as they will answer a lot of the questions about the future of Flex. Key takeaways:
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.
Will Adobe continue to support customers using Flex?
Yes. Adobe will continue to honor existing Flex support contracts.
What specifically is Adobe proposing?
We are preparing two proposals for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS at the Apache Software Foundation.
In addition to contributing the core Flex SDK (including automation and advanced data visualization components), Adobe also plans to donate the following:
- Complete, but yet-to-be-released, Spark components, including ViewStack, Accordion, DateField, DateChooser and an enhanced DataGrid.
- BlazeDS, the server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real-time to Flex applications.
- Falcon, the next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler that is currently under development (this will be contributed when complete in 2012)
- Flex testing tools, as used previously by Adobe, so as to ensure successful continued development of Flex with high quality
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 has been open source since the release of Flex 3 SDK. What’s so different about what you are announcing now?
Since Flex 3, customers have primarily used the Flex source code to debug underlying issues in the Flex framework, rather than to actively develop new features or fix bugs and contribute them back to the SDK.
With Friday’s announcement, 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. In this model, Apache community members will provide project leadership. We expect project management to include both Adobe engineers as well as key community leaders. Together, they will jointly operate in a meritocracy to define new features and enhancements for future versions of the Flex SDK. The Apache model has proven to foster a vibrant community, drive development forward, and allow for continuous commits from active developers.
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.
Adobe’s Mike Chambers has also posted information explaining a bit more detail, and providing insight into the future of Flash and AIR. Key takeaways:
We are continuing to develop Adobe AIR for both the desktop and mobile devices. Indeed, we have seen wide adoption of Adobe AIR for creating mobile applications and there have been a number of blockbuster mobile applications created using Adobe AIR.
Flash Player for Desktop Browsers
We feel that Flash continues to play a vital role of enabling features and functionality on the web that are not otherwise possible. As such, we have a long term commitment to the Flash Player on desktops, and are actively working on the next Flash Player version.