In the “Your Questions About Flex Blog” on blogs.adobe.com, Adobe appears to be putting the future of Flex in doubt:
Does Adobe recommend we use Flex or HTML5 for our enterprise application development?
In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development. We also know that, currently, Flex has clear benefits for large-scale client projects typically associated with desktop application profiles.
Given our experiences innovating on Flex, we are extremely well positioned to positively contribute to the advancement of HTML5 development, starting with mobile applications. In fact, many of the engineers and product managers who worked on Flex SDK will be moving to work on our HTML efforts. We will continue making significant contributions to open web technologies like WebKit & jQuery, advance the development of PhoneGap and create new tools that solve the challenges developers face when building applications with HTML5.
So what does this mean? It means that Adobe just took more days off the life of the .SWF format (we said 1000 days last week, now we say about their are about 500 days left. Someone needs to create a SWF Death Countdown Clock…not in a gleeful way mind you….more like a Wake).
Why would Adobe do this? It’s very simple: the bottom line. It make sense from a business perspective for Adobe. HTML5 is “free”, but the tools to build HTML5 Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck (especially when compared to the Flash IDE). Adobe can build tools for HTML5 (hopefully better than Adobe Edge), leverage their investment in Phonegap and JQuery and sell them as a package as the “new Flash”.
The Flex SDK is free too, but since the world never accepted Flex as a true “open source” software, and since the .SWF is a slowly dying format (because Adobe just shot it in the stomach), there is no incentive to support it (within Adobe anyway). Instead, Adobe will beef-up the Flash IDE, and sell the crap out of the Air exporter to create apps. This may not be a logical decision for loyal Flash developers, but it’s good for the bottom line of Adobe and for Adobe’s stockholders. Adobe can make money from tools, and retreat from “open source” and “open screen” Flex and AS3, because, as we now know, their heart was never really there anyway…or at least their heart would have been there, if Steve Jobs had not done the service of tearing it out it out for them.
(thanks to Ken Railey for the head’s up on this)