ActionScript 3.0, Adobe, Flash Platform, Flex, JavaScript, Open Source, Tools

Adobe’s view of Flex and its commitments to Flex in the future

Its no secret that Adobe has been going through a turbulent patch the recent months while they have been implementing their new adaptive strategy to an unruly future.

Its included layoffs and new hirings, internal repositioning and new layouts of their many divisions within services and products and they have taken a deep look at the business in terms products and offerings in the process of optimizing their market profile…

Its been painful, not only to see beloved team members leave Adobe but also to see that this major company refurbishing has not really been successfully communicated to both community, but also to users of the software and companies using services based on Adobe partners… even investors has been confused by the lack of diligence in the communication, however, its increasingly behind us as the new changes are settling in and the changes to the teams is stabilizing…

One of the massively controversial changes was the dealing with the future vision for Flex and the Flash Platform… I will not go into details with what has transpired over the past months, its well documented on every blog and site relevant to the community and product ecosystem and its not with a great pleasure I’m looking back on the past months… so let’s leave it behind and instead focus on the most recent statement from Adobe on their vision for Flex…

Now, there is not a lot new statements under the sun, however in contrast to the scrambling messages and divergent directions we have been seeing until now, its nice to see that Adobe has taken a deep breath and made a firm statement which would be difficult to misinterpret either positively or negatively…

If you are in a hurry and not interested in reading the entire writeup, I’m sharing with you the conclusion in a nutshell which confirms some of the more positive statements we have seen over the past months…

Adobe believes that Flex is the best solution for enterprise and data-centric application development today and is moving Flex into a community-driven open source project to ensure the continued development and success of Flex for years to come. We are currently in the process of contributing the core Flex SDK, automation libraries, AIR SDK binaries, and documentation to the Apache Flex Project. We will also be contributing Falcon, Falcon JS, Mustella, and BlazeDS.

In addition to these contributions, Adobe is providing a team of full-time Flex SDK engineers who will contribute to and support the Apache Flex Project. These Adobe engineers will work directly with the highly skilled Flex developer community to maintain, support, and evolve the Flex SDK. We remain committed to enabling the success of all existing and new Flex projects.

Thank you Adobe, for setting the record straight and for sharing with us your intentions and vision for Flex… its a privilege to be on the team…

Events, Flex

Don’t forget to consider attending 360|Flex

If you were thinking Flex is fading out, think again… nothing stays the same, and Flex is changing just as the industry is changing… however in the midst of all this change, its nice to see that something stays the same…

One of these things, is the 360|Flex conferences that has always managed to gather the community across all disciplines and across all company belongings… presenting the best of the best as speakers and calling upon the attendance of the coolest cats among the community…

Check it out…

You can book your ticket here

Adobe, Arbitrary Thoughts, Flex, Open Source

A Saturday Night Status in the World of Flex

Upon a week of drama across the world of Flex, the past week proved to be business as usual… and thank heavens for that.

In case you have missed it, the Flex team at Adobe has amended their original statement regarding the future of Flex in the context of Adobe.

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)
  • Falcon JS, an experimental cross-compiler from MXML and ActionScript to HTML and JavaScript.
  • Flex testing tools, as used previously by Adobe, so as to ensure successful continued development of Flex with high quality

Adobe will also have a team of Flex SDK engineers contributing to those new Apache projects as their full-time responsibility. Adobe has in-development work already started, including additional Spark-based components.

You can read the entire post here:

Eventually, its a much more positive and inspirational variant of the post after the update compared to the original one, so thanks to Andrew and Deepa for taking the time to make the effort to apply the amendment.

In retrospect, I found the entire experience of having the bag shaken in which we have placed our faith to be motivational and a reminder to update my skillset. This last point is something we can all take away from this experience.

Upon talking with dozens of Flex developers over the past weeks, it became clear that some of us had forgotten to stay updated and expand our toolset, and regardless of what happens to Flex, this is an important reminder. A professional is only as good as his tools allow him to be and the quality of the output depends on both the skill of the professional as well as their ability to choose the right tool for the job.

We should use Flex when it makes sense and remember to stay tuned to what is going on in other areas or our industry for the moment when Flex may not be the optimal tool for the job.

Another reminder I have taken away from this experience is my old commitment to continuously contribute to at least one Open Source project at any given time… obviously I will be contributing to Flex once it hits the repositories… why don’t you join me ?

ActionScript 3.0, Flex, JavaScript, Tools

Introducing Jangaroo…

Jangaroo is an Open Source project building developer tools that adopt the power of ActionScript 3 to create high-quality JavaScript frameworks and applications.

There are two main use cases when you might want to use Jangaroo tools:

  • JavaScript programming in the large – Adopt ActionScript 3 language features like packages, classes and inheritance, interfaces, private members, and many more to create even large-scale client-side Web code, where you otherwise would have used JavaScript directly. This approach is extremely helpful when creating frameworks with explicit public APIs, but also for larger applications that use such frameworks.
  • Running ActionScript 3 code directly in the browser – You are implementing a Web project that must not rely on plugins and/or requires close integration into an HTML Web site, possibly already using some JavaScript framework. You want to reuse or build upon existing ActionScript 3 code (utility classes, frameworks like FlexUnit, custom code) as well as JavaScript APIs and code.

This obviously is a very useful approach and if the end-result actually is useable, it would give us the very best of both worlds… especially since Jangaroo maintains edit-ability in the source between productions… very very useful in deed.

I will be taking Jangaroo for a spin at first given opportunity considering the magnitude of the benefits if the approach were made to work.
A really nice little “feature” is that Jangaroo keeps the generated code close to the source, even keeping line numbers to allow source-level debugging… pretty kewl !

Check it out…

…and thanks to Kevin Newman for the heads-up, be sure to check out his blog…


Flex… a few more pointers

Adobe Flex was, is and will be the coolest cat on the block for the next long foreseeable future… the basic truth is that there is no alternative more attractive than Flex to address the requirements of the businesses of today and tomorrow.

Flex emerged in 2005-2006 from the hidden corridors of Macromedia far from the mature platform it is today… but the principles innovative to the degree that they still are unbeatable when doing a 360 ! Increasing development effort up to 500% project velocity compared to competing technologies and then even targeting a übercool cross-platform runtime called Flash Player… crazy awesome !

Now, bear in mind that it wasn’t until Flex 2 that we had ActionScript 3, during the dark ages of 1 and 1.5 we were still coding ActionScript 2 to target Flex… and MXML were far from the king if UI frameworks it is today in terms of completeness as well as general readiness… we have obviously come a far way since then !

It’s now a globally adopted platform for everything from Enterprise Desktop App’s running AIR, Interactive TouchScreen Systems running on Televisions, 100 of millions of iOS and Android smartphones, millions of Tablets, every browser on the planet (besides Lynx and a few other tremendously obscure pieces of software) and even runs management consoles for cars… Its a fact that an unfathomable amount of money has been invested in Flex applications across the globe to date, and its another fact that most of the world’s Fortune 500 companies are running billion lines of AVM byte code compiled from Flex every day…

If Flex really were to go away overnight, every industry and every business sector in the world would come to a screaming halt, and thats a fact, wether you like it or not. Naturally the powers that be can not let that happen, and that’s the situation in a nutshell, the literally tons of dollars invested across the globe in Flex code is equivalent to an insurance that Flex will stil be here years from now… and even if Flash Player should become obsolete at some point thanks to the growing maturity of HTML, then certainly by then there will be a plethora of compilers that can take MXML and ECMAscript and output both native apps for devices as well as HTML, CSS and JavaScript for every other target… projects are already being formed as this post is both being written and now read to achieve this…

More pointers will come as to why there is no reason to think that Flex is gone with the wind, let Adobe catch their breath and give them a chance to share their plans, and they certainly will in the very near future…