So today at Adobe MAX a huge announcement came out. We now have special tooling that allows you to use the Flash Platform to build applications for the iPhone. Flash developers will be empowered to use their existing skills to construct applications for iPhone that can be distributed through Apple’s App Store. No promises but the betas of this (CS5) should be available by the end of this year.
This caps a long running stealth like program code named “notus” within Adobe. While we just announced this today, there are several apps available today via the Appstore. There are details published at adobe.com/go/iphone.
Does this mean iPhone supports Flash? No. Apple has not yet announced support for Flash on the iPhone. So what does this really mean? It means there are hundreds of thousands of dollars of developers can use their existing skills to build iPhone apps via CS5. From a consumer/user perspective, these applications appear and work just like any other iPhone application. Users cannot easily determine which applications were built with CS5, native objective C code or even using something advanced like Nitobi’s PhoneGap.
Will we use this exclusively? No. Many developers use whatever makes them productive. Another major announcement today was the addition of an iPhone mobile client for Adobe LiveCycle ES. This was built using objective C. Developers who have ActionScript skills though will be able to build applications using a language and IDE they are familiar with and not forced to learn another application programming language. This is huge IMO and will help both Apple and Adobe’s developer ecosystems.
Adobe has not yet made any breakthrough WRT to getting Apple to put the Flash player natively on the iPhone. I don’t work with the people who are having the talks but I get the feeling (mine – not necessarily the truth) that Apple and Adobe haven’t made much progress on this front. I do know there are tons of people who want this so I am not sure what is going to happen. I have heard that much of the issue is licensing. By the same token, Phonegap also ran into issues with licensing. I hope Apple listens to their developers.
I am going to build an applciation later this month to try it out. In the meantime, if you go out and builkd one, please leave a shout here to tell others.