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Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

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Why I Didn’t Mention Flash Player

I was making a presentation to our client on mobile development. It’s a strong Flex-Java IT shop, and our company helps them with Flex development. I was comparing pros and cons of native vs html5. Spoke about the hybrids too. During the Q & A session one person asked me if I was avoiding mentioning Flash Player on purpose?

At this moment I realized, that it was probably the first time when I didn’t even plan to mention it. It happened naturally. I still like the technology, but it would be unfair to lie to the client.

I answered that we are still using the Flex framework and AIR in our own software product that’s being used in insurance industry, and our company will continue helping customers who need help with Flex. The desktop version of our product uses Adobe Flex, and for tablets we use Adobe AIR. But I don’t see commitment from the Adobe to Flex or AIR. The compiled AIR application works slower on tablets. Creating a build with AIR for iOS can take from 30 minutes to an hour. I also said (may sound pathetic, but this is what I honestly feel), that I spent 5 years of my life with Flex, but with tears in my eyes I say “Don’t do it”.
This product was abandoned by Adobe, support for new platforms/SDKs is weak, Flash Player crashes a lot more often than three years ago, eats up all the CPU – it seems that it’s been simply ignored.

Now Adobe has a new pet called PhoneGap. Similarly to Flex, Adobe donated PhoneGap library to Apache Software Foundation. But this time Adobe has a plan to monetize on such a gift – they created a Build PhoneGap cloud service, which can package your HTML5 or Hybrid Web application as a native app. I like PhoneGap, and wish Adobe to succeed with this product. But Flex is going away from the enterprise Web toolbox.

My today’s hope is for Dart – an interesting language from Google that can run either in the compiled mode in the Chromium browser’s VM, or (automatically) turn the app code into JavaScript and run as usual. The Dart VM is not in Chrome VM yet, but you can run the JavaScript code generated by Dart in any browser (see

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More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion ( He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

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