February 11, 2010

Flash & Core Animation on Mac OS X

Flash Player engineers have been working closely with Apple to improve Flash Player performance on OS X, to the point where Flash Player 10.1 (now available for testing) will run faster on Macs than on Windows.

Now Flash engineer Tinic Uro has provided some interesting info on Flash & Core Animation, highlighting some of the bottlenecks that the teams are now overcoming. It’s techie but readable, and it portends good things for the future.

Posted by John Nack at 2:43 PM on February 11, 2010

Comments

  • Danny — 3:51 PM on February 11, 2010

    So what is Adobe’s position on the upcoming iPad? With Apple saying it won’t support Flash on the iPad, it seems that Adobe received a wake up call, to get it working better, fast. Is Adobe hoping to get it included on future iPad upgrades? Are you hoping to win Apple over?

  • TomasF — 4:01 PM on February 11, 2010

    So to keep things even, now Steve Ballmer should make MS release killbits to disable Flash Player on Windows because it runs slower than on the Mac now?
    Oh right, he’s not quite that petty…

  • mike chambers — 4:39 PM on February 11, 2010

    @Danny

    it seems that Adobe received a wake up call, to get it working better, fast.

    Danny, this (along with a lot of other performance work) is work that the player team has been working on for some time… i.e. it isnt in response to anything recent.
    You can find a good write up on Adobe’s thoughts around the iPad / Flash and open platforms here:
    http://blogs.adobe.com/conversations/2010/02/open_access_to_content_and_app.html
    mike chambers
    mesh@adobe.com

  • Danny — 5:50 PM on February 11, 2010

    @mike
    Thanks for the link.

  • J-Man — 7:12 PM on February 11, 2010

    Yes, everyone at Adobe has been scrambling around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to appease Steve Jobs and his army of flame warriors. Adobe engineers haven’t been doing anything important, but suddenly realized that they were getting beat up in the comments section of every blog on the net, so they spent a day and fixed the FlashPlayer for Mac OS.
    Seriously, sorry for the sarcasm but how ignorant does one have to be?
    If Adobe can get FlashPlayer 10 to run on my Blackberry, I will be VERY impressed. If it runs on everything BUT the iPod/Pad/Phone then that will put a little pressure on Apple. They still won’t allow it (Flash would likely kill the App Store) but it will require them to come up with a new excuse.

  • Mark Ross — 8:24 PM on February 11, 2010

    I really don’t buy this “Flash will kill the App Store” business.

  • olivier Hericord — 12:01 AM on February 12, 2010

    steve jobs saved adobe.
    with this beta , playing a video on youtube no more puts my macbook on its knee and the scroll wheel is working !!!!!!!!!
    bugs every mac user is reporting for YEARS !!!! steve talk trash and it’s solved ….

  • hfhfghfghgf — 2:02 AM on February 12, 2010

    well that wasn’t so hard was it, why did we have to put up for years of “WE’RE DOING THE BEST WE CAN” then suddenly your left out of the iPad party and you get this out in a month.

  • Benz — 2:55 AM on February 12, 2010

    @oliver:
    Sure pressure and competition helps but in this case that`s not what drove them. The beta player is out for a while now long before Jobs made his move.
    I think one should not thank Apple for this but all the companies in the Open Screen project (http://www.openscreenproject.org/) who constructively work with adobe to bring Flash Player to their devices.

  • kile — 5:01 AM on February 12, 2010

    Is there any way to save streaming video to flash player??

  • Ben — 5:54 AM on February 12, 2010

    Sigh…some people really don’t get it do they? This performance update was being worked on a long time before the iPad was announced…It was probably even being worked on before the iPhone was released!
    And Apple doesn’t always make it easy by switching frameworks and making dramatic changes with little warning (which can be both a blessing and a curse).

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 6:53 AM on February 12, 2010

    And Apple doesn’t always make it easy by switching frameworks and making dramatic changes with little warning (which can be both a blessing and a curse).
    Carbon is a bastardized framework created to facilitate the porting of classic Mac applications to OS X. Its days have been numbered since its inception. Apple hasn’t switched frameworks so much as it has been eliminating impure frameworks such as Carbon which have outlived their welcome.
    [We’ve established any number of times, Mark, that you’re not a software engineer, and to the best of my ability to determine, you’ve never written any code in your life. Feel free to keep professing your opinions on these matters with absolute confidence, however; wouldn’t want to slow you down. –J.]
    Cocoa (née AppKit) is the one true OS X framework. Adobe has always known that Carbon’s days were numbered; they just didn’t expect that Apple would begin to deprecate it so suddenly by axing 64-bit support, a move which not only affected Adobe, but also Apple itself which leveraged Carbon to quickly port popular Classic Mac applications such as iTunes and FinalCut to OS X
    Nobody who knows about the history of OS X and its origins in NeXTStep can feign ignorance in these matters. That Carbon would eventually be killed was a given.

  • Matthew Fabb — 10:45 AM on February 12, 2010

    As others have pointed out this improvement has been in the works for quite some time.
    Not only that, if you read the post, Adobe are only able to add this improvement thanks to the Core Animation API being available inside of Safari. However, it’s not even the current version of Safari, but the nightly builds in an unreleased version of Safari. Which shows that Adobe couldn’t have given these speed increases sooner.
    Also Firefox and Opera users on the Mac don’t get these speed improvements. Not because the Flash team is lazy, but because those browsers haven’t made Core Animation API available yet. When they do, Flash will in turn see a speed boost in those browsers.

  • Brent Coffey — 11:13 AM on February 12, 2010

    As a Mac loving Adobe Flex Developer I have to say I won’t be buying the iPad for many reasons, but the lack of flash support is a deal killer. Can’t believe that Steve Jobs would call the iPad the device that can give the user the “best web experience” when it doesn’t support plugins! Long live Flash on the Mac!

  • J-Man — 2:21 PM on February 12, 2010

    It is kind of like how the whole Internet killed America Online…
    Who but an Apple fanboy (not everyday Mac users, the zany fanboys) would want to limit their rich media and game options to one portal instead of the entire web?

  • Petter — 6:55 AM on March 04, 2010

    That comment is moot as they will support HTML5 features which better leverage the browser then just HTML4/XHTML/JavaScript. Want a painting application in the browser? Done, you don’t need Adobe Flash for that. You don’t need Appstore or Android market. Works fine in WebKit/Safari. Webapps won’t be missing. Content will be delivered and you can even stream the same videos as flash player does.
    The pressure any way must be on Adobe, of course Apple should cooperate, but for them to do that Adobe must communicate. They hasn’t been communicating with the hardware driver developers nor with Apple. It wasn’t Microsoft who fixed Video acceleration for Flash, it was the driver developers from the graphics vendors who implemented the needed functionality.
    Also carbon isn’t any more deprecated then loads of Microsoft tech. Apple should provide good tools for refactoring the code though. Regarding Core Animation on Windows you have GDI/GDI+ which is the basic drawing API, DirectDraw which is deprecated, Direct2D which replaced it, Direct2D which isn’t supported by XP, robbing XP users of the improvements made. On top of that you have Direct3D and OpenGL. There’s no jungle in OS X. It’s not that you will have to port all your Carbon code to get 64-bit support so the issue is a bit overblown. They certainly lagged a bit behind, both Apple and some Software vendors but even large apps such as the CS5 suite will support 64-bit now. So not much to complain about. 64-bit is by no means mainstream yet not on Windows either.

  • Pete Thomas — 3:27 PM on April 13, 2010

    IMHO – Steve Jobs has finally got sucked his own asshole.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 5:10 PM on April 13, 2010

    Just noticed this comment:
    [We’ve established any number of times, Mark, that you’re not a software engineer, and to the best of my ability to determine, you’ve never written any code in your life. Feel free to keep professing your opinions on these matters with absolute confidence, however; wouldn’t want to slow you down. –J.]
    You’re adept at leveraging this logical fallacy implying that because I am not a software engineer, I must be wrong about the merits and history of Carbon on Mac OS X. What’s unclear is whether you actually believe what you’re saying — in which case you are dangerously misinformed — or whether you’re deliberately spreading misinformation. The former would be ignorant, the later despicable.
    [I suppose, Mark, that if I’d never taken a photograph in my life but then showed up at your place of business & presumed to tell you what’s wrong with your work, you might be skeptical. “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” and the problem is that you conflate valid arguments (e.g. there is only one way that UI widgets should look and feel–never mind that Apple customizes them all day long) with your presumed solutions (e.g. it must be the fault of Carbon; going to Cocoa would make things better–as opposed, say, to taking time away from us making exactly the changes you’d like to see). You’d be far better off telling us what you need (e.g. fast, stable, elegant software) than how to do our jobs. –J.]

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 9:14 PM on April 13, 2010

    Mark, you’re the one spreading FUD, fanboi juice, and misinformation.
    John and some developers have tried to correct you, but you’d rather repeat the FUD than consider that there might be another point of view, or people who know more about the situation than you do.
    Give it up already, you’re giving fanbois a bad name.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 10:28 PM on April 13, 2010

    Uh huh. Like the self-proclaimed “Pissed Mac Developer” has any integrity in this discussion.

  • Mark Alan Thomas — 11:04 PM on April 13, 2010

    I have never once said there is only one way for widgets to work. I have only ever pointed out that the way Adobe does it is wrong. That neither you nor Adobe as a whole will acknowledge that it’s wrong is just one symptom in a disease of disregard and contempt for the underlying platform that will conspire to distance Apple from Adobe. Adobe’s feigned outrage over Apple’s moves against Flash on the iPad is laughable. It’s basically the bogus “carbon” outrage recycled and repurposed for a new day, as if Adobe didn’t see this coming. Come on — everybody saw it coming. Adobe should be apologizing to its Flash developers, not whipping them into a frenzy with BS about how Apple has wronged them. Adobe knew Apple didn’t want Flash on the iPad and tried to weasel it past the barricade. If you’re going to develop for a platform, do it properly.
    Apple gets a pass on GUI customization because it’s their OS and because they don’t do a poor job of it. The things they do, no matter how radical, usually still feel native to the GUI (though I can’t stand the look and feel of Final Cut Pro), whereas Adobe’s infarctions do not. Whenever Adobe tries to roll its own GUI it comes put poorly with widgets on the wrong corners, scroll bars on the wrong sides and all manner of clutter and clumsiness.
    True, cocoa isn’t a “magic pill” as you like to say, but it sure helps if you’re willing to leverage Interface Builder and otherwise do things properly.

  • Pissed Mac Developer — 1:23 AM on April 14, 2010

    Mark, when you write a cross platform app even a tenth as complex as Photoshop, then maybe you’ll have some idea what Adobe’s developers have to deal with. Even trying to write a moderate sized iPhone app might open your eyes to reality. Apple screws all their developers, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. You won’t see it coming, because Apple will claim one thing, right before publicly switching to another. And they’ll tell everyone that the other was the “one true way” all along, and that changing over just requires you to recompile.
    Interface Builder – nice technology in 1985. Kinda obsolete in 1990. Way beyond obsolete now. Please, learn what you’re talking about before repeating something you read on a fanboi blog.
    But claiming that anything Adobe does is wrong, and everything Apple does is right? Sorry, you just put yourself even farther into the “ain’t got a clue” corner.
    If you don’t have anything to add but fanboi spittle, stop posting.

  • fluffyn01 — 4:16 AM on October 12, 2010

    Hey maybe someone has already put this on but
    Is adobe flash player working with blackberry
    Cause it is annoying on my blackberry curve
    I can’t go on any site without it saying you need
    The latest adobe flash player.

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