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Does Adobe's Promotion of Flex Put Flash Programmers at a Disadvantage?

Program in Flash or Die: Should Flash Programmers Learn Flex?

I ran into an interesting blog written by a Flash programmer who feels that Adobe’s  promotion of Flex puts him and other Flash programmers at a disadvantage.

He writes, “The times have changed and we all face the challenge to evolve.  The fact that all these soon to be popular tools are build leveraging the Flash API is a tribute to the communities commitment and dedication to relentlessly extend the boundaries of the .swf format. Now we find ourselves competing with Java dudes...smart people,  but no one knows the API better than us.  We have worked with it from its infancy (/ syntax, tellTarget) to its current form.

It’s clear that the author of this blog fell in love with Flash many years ago. But unfortunately software development is business, and big guys (Adobe in this case) do what they have to do to deliver competitive software. I happened to be one of the “Java dudes” who is using Flex now. First, the good news, Java dudes are not smarter than Flash dudes. Each programming environment has its own tricks of the trade, and based on my experience, GUI programming is often more challenging than writing efficient code for the back end. It requires a programmer to be a little bit of an artist, which is not an easily acquirable skill.

But professional programmers should not take any programming language too personal. You can’t love something that can’t love you back! Programming languages are tools and we learn them as needed. Can you fall in love with a Phillips screwdriver?

Then, this blogger calls for the holly war, “My shout to the community is not to let the newcomers step on our turf.  We hold the secrets of the flash API and are the rare ones familiar with its complexities, faults and vulnerabilities. Don't give up, transition to AS3, learn MXML and help the community find ways to efficiently bridge the gap between Flex and Flash through your new IDE which should be Flex (SDK)

It seems that the author would like to create a community that knows and passes from generation to generation undocumented secrets of Flash. This reminds me of a movie Rush Hour 3, where a secret list of thirteen Triad leaders was tattooed on the back of the head of a beautiful woman. Anyone is willing to shave his/her head and right there a couple of little known Flash APIs?

Unfortunately some Java, PowerBuilder, and Coldfusion developers are in the same state of mind. They want to protect their skills no matter what by creating all kinds of lobbies and publishing posts that would despise anyone who “betrayed” their clan in favor of another language.

Several years ago I ran into an ad in a Man Seeking Woman section. After listing the race and body parameters he requested that she should know Visual Basic. Apparently, otherwise they’d have nothing to talk about over the morning coffee.

Hey, let’s be friends. Program in Flex, Flash, or Java, or do not program at all.  If you are good at one programming language it’s just a matter of time to be good at another one.
Remember, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay. He wrote a thousand blogs (http://yakovfain.com) and several books about software development. Yakov authored and co-authored such books as "Angular 2 Development with TypeScript", "Java 24-Hour Trainer", and "Enterprise Web Development". His Twitter tag is @yfain

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