The Silver lining

Whoa! What am I listening! Can not believe, its true! All this leads to what? Just because someone somewhere said we are dropping down support for Flash in Mobile or other devices !! Or the other one, Flex SDK is going to be maintained by another foundation(spoon project)? Or the HTML framework (Phonegap) is going to live somewhere else !?

Its a long post, but still I could not write everything.

Whatever it is, the same company is saying they are for Flash Player in Desktop. Though its hard to believe that they are saying correct information, but the fact is Flash community is about sheer talent, experiment and adventurous. It was, is and will be always like that.

Before jumping into any conclusion, lets see the landscape now.

Case 1 :
Flex Developer(as she said it) having 3 years of experience, named Fx and a senior developer who is using Flash platform tools and SDKs for more last 10 years named Fl have a conversation,
Fx : Can you tell me what is remoting?
Fl : ohh yes, sure. See when we are using Flash Remoting, ….
Fx : (stoping FL in middle of the sentence and with very disturbing angry voice) No, I am a Flex developer, tell me about Flex Remoting. I do not know Flash and thats not important.
Fl : (Trying to normalise the situation) ok, well then, can you tell me where exactly you need Remoting?
Fx : yes, an interviewer in xyz enterprise asked me about it.
Rest is not important.

Case 2 :
Flex Developer(as he said) having 3 years of experience, named Fx and a Flash developer who is using Flash platform tools and SDKs for more than last 10 years named Fl having a conversation,
Fl : Hey we need to draw a line at this place, can you do it?
Fx : yeah, I will just use VRule and thats it.
Fl : Its better if we use drawing APIs of Flash in this case.
Fx : We can do it in Flex in one line, I do not know Flash (with hesitation and no respect as if Fl is trying to do something very very wrong).

Well these are just two cases out of many, which everyday Flash platform community faces. Sometime very experienced people in Flash community, who have already talked in public meetings also talks likes this inside their corporate office just to favor their own pals and trying to show they are always right.

If you ask any of those guys to tell you what Flex is ? Can you please explain it to me, I want to learn. They will start asking questions like, do you know Java, or C++ ? If no, then Flex would be very difficult for you, instead go learn javascript as if its the end of the world to learn Flex!

Flash community was never like that, and is not like that and will never like that even. All the talented people in flash platform came to it for its simplicity and beauty. They enjoyed doing it for they love it. Slowly as Flash come to mainstream, there are a lot of talk and discussion in the community how to push the boundary of the Flash as a platform. The community is always open in mind and always co-operative to new ones who want to learn it. The community leaders are always pushing the platform further.
Look at some of the many awesome projects done by community,
MTASC
SWFObject
SWFAddress
SWX
SEPY
FlashDevelop
Red5

These people never asked Macromedia to do it. They did it for they love to do it and love to share it. On the contrary, if they were doing only Flash, was it possible to make these loving projects! Thing is Flash is not a platform. Its a community and that community does stuff for themselves not for some corporate or enterprise. All this community needed was a canvas to do some awesome work. The community is always doing cool stuff which they love, share it with the world and teach others how to do it. That has been broken once this technology platform entered the enterprise space. People became more like other platform community. Where, its always I can do it and its only possible in this way. No need to look at others code or no need to do any research.
When Flash entered the enterprise circle, it did it with Flex as a framework, SDK and compiler. That was a good move for a corporate to get some money flowing. But at the same time we flash developers also get in there easily with the knowledge we had beforehand. And all the talk about MVC, frameworks and coding standards had begun. People from Flash platform took the center stage, as other platforms rarely cared about all these in the past, they started to care about it now. People in other platforms came in as Flex framework, Flex IDE both look and behave similar to their own platform. And after all this, the community is diluted to do anything for the company not for passion. Now, people come to Flash platform just to do Data binding in Flex and using components in Flex, not even through code, they want to do it in design view only. These people do not even know, if there is a difference or similarity between a flex component initialised with “new” or a “xml tag”.
Look at the new age projects like,
MinimalComps
AS3 Signals
Robotlegs
Does Adobe told them to do it? No, its been done for they know the community requirement and they love to experiment.

On the contrary look at the beautiful people from Flash platform, moving to different other platforms doing very cool stuff. They are teaching people, doing workshops and sharing knowledge by any means they can, that is Flash platform spirit. They can do it, for Flash always has a diverse community not just some people who do not care others opinion and do not care to share their knowledge. Flash community was brilliant, is brilliant and will be like that, that does not mean they always work in Flex. They always worked in different technologies and they will do it in all those things they have access to.
So Flex SDK going to some other foundation may be matter of concern for the corporates, but Flash developers how does it matter ?! Flash is not there in mobile! So what ?! As we Flash developers do experiment with other technologies, let the company do it. And if it fails, thats ok, we still have Flash player in Desktops. Whether it will be there or not is a different matter and how this news is conveyed may be a wrong way. But they have already showed this wrong way of communication to some of the very best guys in our Flash community, that time everyone kept silence for that was not affecting major ones but a chosen few. Fact is if it can do the same thing to some of the brilliant Flash community members (despite today also these members love and respect Flash platform), it can be done to anyone.
The point is Flash community is always full of experiments. While I was talking to some of the flash platform community managers in last years Adobe summit India, they said they had hacked Flashlite during those days to run it in Nokia mobile. Is it possible only with Flash and actionscript knowledge?! Thing is community is always pushing it.
So the more restricted the runtime/player is more fun it gives to do stuffs for a Flash developer. Look at the HTML5 Canvas experiments done by some of the brilliant Flash folks. These are the guys who do not care if its corporate or enterprise, they just do it for experimentation and pleasure. Look at some of the folks who have mastered iOS development, look at people who have gone to Java world again but not doing traditional Java Application but picked up Play framework. The flash community is awesome and it will be. Just respect the community members who are doing the great stuff despite of all restrictions. And I think Flash on desktop may be a decision by Adobe, but community already knew what is possible. On another thought, let the enterprise think about Flex SDK. It matters to them, but for regular design shops, it does not matter, its a good thing for it will filter out the Flash community again. The people who want to push it will come and push it, those who need only and only money, position and power will have to go and learn a new stuff (which is difficult for them) not a Flash developer as Flash community is never about one technology.

All in all I see a silver lining. Whether Flash is going to be there or not in devices (or even in desktops) does not matter, what matters is what Flash is and what we can do with it. Thats what we were doing (before enterprises dilute the culture) and thats what it is going to be. There are still some nice individuals from age old flash platform community inside Adobe, if its going to be that bad, they might have come out too. Flash community is always about experimenting and giving respect to experiments, if it fails it fails, move on do some more experiment. Have the believe in the company, they did it wrong, they learn it and now they want to move on, help them do it. Despite of putting anger in one person, rather it should be for the Flash runtime. Should be fighting to opensource FlashPlayer, incase we want freedom.

If you read it fully, I love you :) Leave a comment.

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2 thoughts on “The Silver lining

    1. hey Simone Pascucci,
      thanks for dropping by and putting your thoughts.

      The answer to your question is “No”. I do not represent any corporate point of view. I am just trying to find out the silver lining in the darkest cloud.

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