Thoughts on “Thoughts on Flash”

April 29, 2010, a year ago today, Apple published a document titled “Thoughts on Flash”. Although weird, it was welcome… for over three years people had been asking about iPhone’s Flash capabilities, and up through the iPad’s “little blue lego of gloom” launch the only guidance offered was some unclaimed “lazy & evil” hearsay. Thanks to Joseph Labrecque for pulling together a few of the contemporaneous reactions to that response… with a year’s hindsight, you can make your own evaluations on the speech of that time.

The bigger issue is how we humans will adapt to our new technology capabilities… how we’ll actually end up using handheld displays, rich and interactive, always in connection with other machines, other people. Developers need to go where their audiences are, where their clients’ audiences are. Publishing workflows must traverse the silos.

Macromedia Director did early work bridging devices, with its Portable Player running on Iris, Scientific Atlanta, 3D0 and other devices, and authoring done on either Mac or Windows. Flash Lite was a bigger success, on billions of devices, but mainly regionally in Japan, Korea, and emerging markets. Today we’ve got a uniform Flash Player which runs the same across laptops and smartphones… a remarkable engineering achievement, requiring great cooperation among scores of industry titans.

The branding wars of today won’t matter much in a year or two’s time. Better to look 5, 10, 20 years out, and see how we humans will need and want to use these various devices. Unlike the PC era, handhelds will have a global reach, be affordable to many more people. Many voices will speak. The implausible Open Screen Project may have been proven a success, but the more important work is yet to come.

2 Responses to Thoughts on “Thoughts on Flash”

  1. Joe Cutting says:

    Hi John,
    I know this isn’t relevant to your post but I’ve just spent half an hour on Adobe’s website and haven’t found anywhere more relevant. I’d like to report several bugs and issues with the Adobe store but I can’t find anywhere to report them. The standard “Report a bug” dropdown doesn’t have any options for the store or the website. As for the issues, there’s lots of them, but for a start the “search” in “find a product” doesn’t work. Try typing “Flash” or “Creative Suite” into the search box. Seems that people like you are putting lots of work into telling people about Adobe products but then the store experience is letting you down.



    • John Dowdell says:

      Hi Joe, I think the generic “Contact” links would probably beat the product categories here, but I’ve got an escalation into the UI crew, and hope to have better info soon.