Big News Monday

Happy Monday- Flash is a platform, open source IDEs are cool, and we’ve all got some reading to do. The Flash Platform was announced earlier this morning (actually late last evening), putting larger context around the ecosystem surrounding the Flash Player and it’s assorted technologies. Make sure to read Kevin Lynch’s Flash Platform white paper (pdf, 1.55mb) for the straight story, as well as two press releases on how the mobile ecosystem and broadband telecom providers will leverage the Flash Platform.

To follow up, Macromedia also announced joining the Eclipse Foundation– while announcing a new RIA/Flex application development environment (code-named ‘Zorn’) built on the popular Eclipse IDE’s architecture. Make sure to check out the Zorn FAQ points hidden down in the Flex FAQ on Macromedia.com, too. I see this as a very positive move for Macromedia developers in general, many of whom have already adopted the platform due to it’s robust support, most notably CFEclipse. For the scores of enterprise RIA developers out there, Eclipse support spells a far more standard development environment across the technology they support. Good stuff.

And all this on a day where everyone seems to be talking about what chip the Mac OS will end up running on. Don’t worry, the WWDC keynote is coming soon enough with the definitive answer to that question.

13 Responses to Big News Monday

  1. Interesting stuff. Just read through the whitepaper and noticed a chart technically showing Maelstrom released in March. ;) The people I talk to have split into two camps, each with a theory: one side says that this is to ready the world for Maelstrom’s imminent release while the other is saying that this is filler as Maelstrom’s been delayed (probably due to that Adobe thing) — I’m in the first camp, but then again I’m an optimist.

  2. Agreed, Alex- the March release suggested there does seem a bit confusing. I tend to be an optimist myself, but think any confusion could be more due to the low resolution of the graph’s timeline. I’d expect Maelstrom’s penetration efforts to start a wee bit later than March (i.e. after it’s actually launched!)- but have passed this on as a potential editorial snafu to look into. Thx for catching it! ;-)

  3. So no date yet eh? :) Speaking of charts, do you know if there’s any chance of getting a Flash Lite device penetration chart? We’re working on a couple of mobile apps and it would be great to have some numbers.

  4. Another good question! I just did a quick scan and wasn’t able to dig up published mobile/device/regional penetration numbers for FlashLite (not certain we’re even circulating those yet), but have alerted the content team- and will ping you back if I get any info on that short term…

  5. chris says:

    Maybe its because some of the stuff being published recently was compiled with 8balls wicked capabilities into V7 files. Just being quietly stuck out there.

  6. Joe says:

    am I the only one who sees the whole “Flash Platform” as a big marketing push with nothing new to offer? I mean MM just found another way to market thier products. We all know about breeze, fles etc… but to call it a new platform is a little silly. It just bothers me how 1st we had “Flash MX 2004” get released way to early for marketing reasons. Then the whole breeze thing… if your pokets are lined with gold you can afford to develop with it. I mean breeze is just a simple powerpoint to swf converter and then using a sort of a Flash com server to serve of the info. I mean why doesn’t macromedia sell the converter. There many other mediums that will be used in other then websites or intranets. Now the flash platform. It is great that the new flash player well bring leaps and bounds from where it was. With all the attention of the server programmer, i guess me as a multimedia developers are starting to feel a little left out. I mean what about CD-ROM development. Director is dead and MM knows it. I can’t tell you how many developers use flash for CD-ROMs yet MM has made no push to improve Flash player for this. The play back engine is much slower when played back on a CD-ROM and I know this not the players purpose but its better then jumping into director which just a pain to work with. I like to see MM adobt function made by other 3rd party tools such as Zinc.

  7. Chris, I mostly agree about the Flash Platform but I see it more as an expression of maturity. Flash is finally becoming the RIA _platform_ MM wanted it to be. I think this push is mostly educational and also helps us developers sell Flash as a reliable and trustworthy solution for apps.What I’m trying to say is that while to many of us nothing of this is new it’s good to tell the rest of the world that Flash isn’t just annoying intros and stickman animations.Both Breeze’s and Flex’s pricing have up to now forced us to find other solutions and occasionally move away from Flash alltogether. However, being the “standard” it is Flash has led to the development of many reasonably priced or even open-source systems, namely Lazzlo.Regarding running Flash apps on CDROMs or generally stand-alone there are a few third-party apps that allow you to do all sorts of very cool things. Performance should be pretty good compared to running within a browser, especially Firefox! ;)Scott, thanks for looking into the mobile numbers. You’ve got my details. Was actually discussing the subject today at a project meeting. People get very excited when they see the potential.

  8. Joe says:

    Ok, its “educational” for us developers. But think we are smart enough to tell the average person what breeze, flex is. Confusing them with whole flash platform I dont think is going to make it all better. No matter what spen you put on it, it still comes down to feeding us like good little sheep old stuff with something new wrapped wrong it to hide the fact that its old. Don’t get me wrong I think its great that MM is taking huge steps into open source but the new “Flash Platform” come on.As far as third party tools fro CD-ROM dev. I am aware of them and currenlty use them. I believe you are mistaken about play back. I been doing CD-ROMs with flash and thirda-party tools for 6 years now and you can compare how much better the play in a browser. Partly I believe is because you can preload in a browser and with a CD-ROM there is no preloading. Plus external FLV play back is not so hot. Answer this. Wouldn’t it be great if flash didnt need any third party tools for CD-ROM dev? But i guess like the “Flash Platform” money is whats driving MM right now. Ok maybe not just money but the marketing deparment is going a little crazy with all this stuff like releasing FMX 2004 way to early.

  9. Joe (sorry got the name wrong last time), I actually meant it was “educational” for people outside the already clued up developer community. Sure it’s all very much marketing but I don’t see anything wrong with it.Last time I checked Flash performed at least as well in the stand-alone player (ie. CDROM) than in IE, pretty much the fastest performance you can get out of Flash (in Windows anyway). Flash has major performance issues in some instances but the stand-alone player is not worse by any obvious margin. Why would preloading make a difference? Regarding needing a third-party application to create proper executables, what’s wrong with that? It’s completely normal for other developers to build tools for Flash, healthy even. Even if Macromedia build in more export features into Flash it would be great to have the choice to go for other software. Flash is quickly becoming a multi-purpose tool. People use Flash to make broadcast quality cartoons, with third-party applications.There are a lot we can complain about, like MX 2004 being somewhat rushed and unreliable at first but overall I don’t think your points are all that fair.

  10. Joe says:

    Alex,Maybe I’m not being fair…your right. I just would like to see more of a push for the point of all this marketing for the “Flash Platform”. I don’t think calling everything that flash can do “Flash Platform” is helpful to me.As far as this cd-rom stuff. You do have a point third party does help for a better product. I would like see MM drop Director and keep up with us, as far as CD-ROM development. Prelaoding would help because the frame would get a chance to load before play back and this in turn would improve proformance. I dont expect you to agree with my view on this whole thing just want you to get my point…even little.

  11. Joe- I certainly understand your position, the point of Macromedia starting to talk about Flash as a platform is simply that we’ve never really done it before. Macromedia has traditionally addressed *individual solutions* built upon the Flash technology well (Flash, Flash Player, Flex, Breeze, FlashCom, Remoting, Flash Lite, et al), but not how they all interact and complement one another as a larger techology ‘ecosystem’. I’ve personally heard a lot of developers question how all the pieces come together over the last year or so, for what it’s worth.But sure, I get your point- you regard this ‘news’ as largely marketing – and that’s a fair comment – but addressing the platform as a whole also a necessary step in order to put an overarching vision around the entire ecosystem of Flash technology, how that technology is exposed to our developers (in the form of individual toolsets and tech APIs), and how those toolsets/APIs can then be leveraged *together* to solve problems for clients/customers. That news may not be helpful to you personally but (from my POV) I’ve been asked ‘how does it all fit together’ questions very regularly by developers over the last couple years, so the larger context discussion will be helpful to many. Perhaps you’re just ahead of the curve there?Just my $.02, of course… your mileage may vary. ;-)

  12. Alex- quick response from the Mobile team on your Flash Lite penetration questions. As Flash Lite is still technically not available to the public (outside of OLS/developer purchases and a few preinstallations), device penetration stats like the Flash Player NPD stats won’t be made public at least until pre-installed handsets start saturating the market. I believe there are some numbers maintained internally on the estimates/projections, but alas we can’t share those- sorry!

  13. Joe: Hey, I agree with you in some respect. I think Director could be dropped for Flash but I don’t quite know how they would move all the 3D stuff over without bloating the plug-in. I agree that Flash performance could be improved both stand-alone and in-browser but I think that 8ball will bring performance up to scratch with user expectations (ie. not crawling the second we try to glide some text.)I do think that generally Macromedia has proven to be pretty good at listening to developers as well as adapting their applications and even turning things around altogether. I think the fact that Flash is now a possible replacement for Director was unforeseen, it will be interesting to see how everything pans out once the Adobe integration is complete. I for one would love to see a suite that includes Flash, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator. :)It’s good to debate.Scott re. Flash Lite penetration: Thanks, this makes sense. I’ll watch this space then. We’re prototyping some stuff in-house currently, very excited about the possibilities.