Central Failing? More FUD?

News.com ran an article on Central, this morning a large section of which is a rehash of Jesse Ezell’s previous pronouncements that “Central is failling”. Not much new information is brought up in the article, although this did catch my eye:

Macromedia hasn’t done enough to establish the benefits of Central to justify the cost of developing for it.

Well, I agree nearly 100% with that. We are building out the platform which is something that is going to take some time. Does the developer’s release have everything that developers want? No, definately not. That is why we have been very active in talking to developers and asking them what they want. It is why we are working on the next version of Central and adding the features that developers have been asking us for. It is why we are working with developers to help us revise the licesning. Our primary goal is to build a platform that developers want to and can use.

However, this is going to take time, and we definately realize that. Not only do we have to build the platform, and add the things that develoeprs want, but we also have to make fundamental performance improvements to the player. Moving forward, this is our top priority across the Flash platform. Not only is this vital for developers, but it is also vital for Macromedia as we are building a number of tools and solutions that rely on the platform. However, it will take time to build out the platform, and address these issues.

I do find one thing odd though. If Central is such a failure and non-starter, then why is someone like Jesse Ezell, a Microsoft developer and evangilist, spending so much time and energy talking about and spreading FUD about Central and Flash? Is it because he can look down the road 1 or 2 years and see the real potential of Central?

Of course, we are not there yet, which is one reason we have not pushed Central to the general public. However, I am very excited about the potential that Central offers over the next couple of years. Regardless, one thing is for certain, things are going to get very interesting.

20 Responses to Central Failing? More FUD?

  1. I think he has a good point when he says that 20% is a bit high.I don’t agree with how he say it, because it sounds like FUD.But I’m optimistic macromedia will deliver something that as potential.Keep the good work!Carl

  2. I believe that Macromedia has already delivered a great product with potential. The lack of applications does not mean the product has no support, it means that the current licensing and advertisment has not been directed at those making the decisions. Unfortunately its tough budgets as of lately and people are satisfied with the current set of technologies they use. I also know that I can’t introduce central to any small businesses because none of these 5 employee businesses want to give 400$ / year just to use a player… Then I would have to charge up and above for the Central RIA. I am still pumped about this technology, and I can’t wait till I can spend more time on it, and I unlike that article understand that the technology is in its infancy and will be improving in the coming years.

  3. Dan Cornish says:

    I was unaware that there was a charge for corporate users. Do not do this to me. I love the idea of the technology, but this will price me out of the market and I will have to look elsewhere for a tool like this. I want to resell my app in Central to my customers, but I also need to make some money. If Macromedia is going to take a vig, it should be much smaller, so I can sell it to more people. You want this to become a widespread technology, then do not shoot yourselves in the foot.

  4. mike chambers says:

    Dan,We are currently revamping the licensing, with one of the primary goals being encouraging the adoption of the platform.More info in the coming weeks…mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  5. asden says:

    The current license does not allow apps to be given away freely (for commercial purposes). One of the biggest potential uses for Central is creating useful mini apps for promotional purposes or advertising supported apps. Creating a branded app that people use on a regular basis is a very powerful marketing method (it would also get Central installed on a very large number of machines) but this is not possible under the current license. It doesn’t fit under the capacity, “sell”, or nono profit options and few advertisers could afford to pay mm $5 for every user wether they purchased anything or not.

  6. aral says:

    Hey Mike,I think Microsoft is looking down the road 1 or 2 years and seeing Windows do what Central does.The one thing I see that could kill Central is Windows and what it might become in its next iteration.That said, you guys appear to have the head start. Of course, so did Netscape.Good luck with everything — I personally see a bright future for Central… and the sooner we can realize it, the better.

  7. Anybody ever tasted a roast meal, cooked in under 2 minutes….mmmmm. “Slow burn”, come off it!Stick it to’em Mike. I know what the “C” in Cnet stands for now!

  8. Scott Barnes says:

    Sounds like CENTRAL should still attach itself to the “BETA” word more and more. While we at work are about to go headlong into CENTRAL, and are happy to accept whatever limitations currently exist due to the fact that you have sold us on the reasoning in that “we are working on it”.I guess, two schools of thought exist here, one being that you have technology journalists and what not looking at CENTRAL in many ways as the final public release product, one can see why they take a “failure” attitude towards it, especially if Macromedia are working out finer points (ie Liceneses, Player Issues, Development bottlenecks etc) and publically admitting to its failures?At the same time, those who actually develop it know that Mike & Team are busy refining the Central product and most are willing to invest now and get started, hoping to get a slight competitve advantage vs waiting until 2.0 comes out and having to start from that point.Personally, I think CENTRAL should be BETA`ised as this would help kill a lot of negative publicity and allow you guys to focus on intel gathering from us the developers, without having to constantly defend its position.I say this as I noticed at MXDU you did get a lot of questions well.. attacks in many ways… over CENTRAL you managed to handle them with grace, but still if people have the perception its another “SPECTRA” ie pile of crap, without knowing it fully and in detail, perception will win in the end?

  9. Vinny Timmermans says:

    Mike, don’t wipe away criticism on Central as spreading FUD. Central is a combination of a business model (registration, licensing etc) and technology (agents, pods, offline working etc.). Make two lists: business model criticism and technology criticism. Collect and allocate all previous Central criticism (no bug reports!) and it all becomes clear.Central to me feels like someone gave me a beautiful car but allowed me to drive it on one road only.

  10. Chi says:

    I somehow don’t get excited by this idea. Why is that?

  11. Jan says:

    Well, maybe I’m too much struggeling with get it right on the web.

  12. TCS says:

    Our February meeting of the CGMMUG here in Macon, GA, was about Central. Byron Saltysiak, Team Macromedia member for Central came down from ATL to show it off for us.He did an excellent job of really getting the idea across of why use Central over something else. Our whole group was buzzing with interest after the meeting, with everyone wanting to go home and install it on their own computers and go out hunting for more apps to try.My point is that even out here in small town America, there is a lot of room for tech growth. And knowing all our members, Central having excited them so easily is a good indicator of its potential.I belive that the main thing they all want out of it is for Central development to be as accessible and affordable for them as Flash is.

  13. mike chambers says:

    >I belive that the main thing they all want out of it is for Central development to be as accessible and affordable for them as Flash isYep. we hear this, and are working toward this goal.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  14. Jay Contonio says:

    I still don’t see the use for central when I can develop my own application in flash…distribute it as an executable for any platform, or make it a web app…I know there’s a ifConnected parameter, but most people to use a flash based app will probably me online most of the time.If anyone wants to explain something to me email me

  15. Vinny Timmermans says:

    Mike, in the CNet article Hickmann mentions there is a Central roadmap for the next three years. I am not asking for details here, but can you provide some clue of the roadmap highlights?Besides making it more accesible and affordable are you planning to make it more flexible to: Central technology without the business model. Making it possible to sell Central applications like we can sell a Windows application or a Flash application. Allowing Central developers to do business the way they prefer to do business. You know I am not asking for a replacement, just an addition. Or do you prefer a scenario where occasionally connected app developers start getting their hands dirty on the Longhorn betas as an alternative?Vinny

  16. mike chambers says:

    Vinny,You will be hearing more about our roadmap for Central, and the Flash platform specifically over the next couple of months. I spoke a little about it last week at MXDU, and kevin will be saying a lot more at FlashForward.As far as the goals you mention, those are all things developers have been telling us, and are consistent with our goals.more info in the coming weeks.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  17. Chris Rogers says:

    Mike I think that there will always be those who see Macromedia technology and become afraid of the great strides Macromedia is making. MM is making quantum leaps in the RIA market with all of its latest products and CENTRAL is no exception. Only those who are unable to think in abstract, object-oriented ways doubt the true capabilites of technology in products such as CENTRAL and FLEX for that matter….I for one believe that even Macromedia is uncertain as to what exactly CENTRAL can truly do… it’s like having an F-16 and all you have ever flown is sub-sonic speeds now that you have the capability to go MACH everyone is looking to see what different pilots will be able to do with the aircraft and what kind of performance and tricks they can get out of it….I do have one MAJOR concern though… as a Lead Programmer for Boeing Aerospace I would love to take the F-16 to 50,000 feet and go MACH 2+ with it but I can’t use the open BETA server architecture model to do this as it would expose Boeing IP… Is there any chance that we will be able to run CENTRAL apps locally in the NEAR future???? We already have ColdFusion Enterprise, FLash Comm Server, FLash Remoting, and the entire suite of Studio MX 2004 with Flash Pro products it would be sad not to be able to just add CENTRAL into the mix just like we will be able to do with FLEX…For really high level testing it must be done internally for us… any help here????Whatever you do don’t let CENTRAL go the way the of great northern BREEZE…. while Breeze is a great product in its capabilites…. I don’t think the world wants a lot of service subscription based applications or IDE’s….. I know in my shop we want control over the entire IDE….Sincerely,Christopher L Rogers, Lead Programmer Analyst/ArchitectBoeing Aerospace OperationsOklahoma City, OK

  18. chall3ng3r says:

    well,i personnaly and professionally see a great deal in developing central appz.the main thing MM has to focus on is how the developers can get more ease when developing central appz.i’ve sent mike some useful features including a request to add SDK version of central player wheich can do number of special things that normal central player can’t.im creating a good big list of feature for central + whats the best development work flow for a central developer.keeep up the good work MM ;)// chall3ng3r //

  19. Vinny Timmermans says:

    Two quotes from a recent Infoworld article:”A release of Flex Server in 2005 will work with the company’s Central extension to Flash Player for running sometimes-connected Flash applications.””Macromedia in 2004 will update both its Flash MX authoring tool and Central. The company is working on moving Central to its Flash Player 7. Central also is to be moved to other platforms as it matures.”Mike, no more Central complaints from this guy!Vinny

  20. mark says:

    mike-jesse is scared and you are on the money when you mention the FUD tactics that microsofties are fond of using. they have been doing the same thing with linux for years. if it does not fit into the m$ plan of .net global domination, it is not worth their time… the truth is, though, that even though i love developing in .net (c#), *nothing* surpasses flash’s rich media and presentation potential. moreover, the central model of partially connected apps is where m$ wants to go today and the fact that MM is heading there *should* scare them…best wishes and keep up the great work,mark coates