Flex is Alive!

November 17, 2011By 34 Comments

Flex folks, first of all, today there’s a new official statement out on the Adobe website about Adobe’s commitments to the Flash Platform including plans for Flex that you should be aware of. Secondly there’s a new post from the Product Management team out now summarizing the recent Flex Q&A. There’s been a lot of frustration in the community (which I understand and can personally relate to having been part of the community myself for a very long time) and I wish that the sequence of events (and frankly the communication) did not happen as it did, but it is what it is at this point and we need to carry on. I hope people can see this move of Flex to an Apache model with dedicated full-time engineering resources in San Francisco as the good news that it is!! Flex is alive and well and will continue to grow as the dust settles. Even now we can build amazing applications over many other technologies in half the amount of time with it in its current state. And the growth in Flex and AIR for mobile is allowing us to do some super cool and fun stuff which is about to just get better with the upcoming release of Flex 4.6 in a couple weeks!

I realize people’s trust is tarnished and people are scorned and angry, but please try to remove your emotions from the equation and look at this for what it is. Any good developer knows that technology is ever-changing and you have to ride the current wave. It’s evident that HTML 5/JavaScript is gaining ground and needs to be kept on our radar of things to be learning (whether we love it or not). It should also be considered as an option right now for certain applications where it makes more sense. As much as I am passionate about Flex myself, it can be overkill for many applications. And what better way to refine our skills in the HTML/JS arena by actually building some apps to gain the experience. As we all know though, there are still a ton of applications where it makes more sense to use Flex (enterprise and many mobile AIR apps) and fortunately we still have that option!

I know many of you are having to answer some tough questions from your clients and management about all of this, I hope today’s statements can help in that respect. If there was a way I could change how things happened myself or wave a magic do-over wand I would in a heartbeat :). This has not been easy for any of us. I just hope we can now start channeling our frustrations into something more positive and productive and get back to having some fun!

I will continue to post any updates on the move to Apache as I find out. Start thinking about how you might be able to contribute ;)!

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  1. future of flex « scriptingRT | November 18, 2011
  2. The ADEP Post | Flex is Alive! | November 20, 2011
  1. David Jumeau says:

    The Flash Platform was promoted as a large ecosystem. I am wondering about Enterprise level development such as:

    * LiveCycle Data Services
    * LiveCycle Collaboration Services

  2. Marc says:

    I noticed in this statement that there was no mention of Adobe AIR for computers. This may be nitpicky but they specifically mention Adobe AIR for mobile and Adobe AIR for TV. Am I reading into this to much?

  3. Peter Witham says:

    I think the new statements from Adobe and in particular Deepa and Andrew actually suggest a very interesting future for Flex and yes I am suggesting it has one ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Rob McKeown says:

    Why no mention of AIR for desktop? That concerns me very much as I am currently (successfully) selling an AIR for desktop application.

  5. Wil Genovese says:

    I really hope Adobe as a company learned from this. Communicate First, Act Second.

  6. Hugo says:

    In fact it is not worth looking back what’s done is done. Is actually very poorly done and will surely go down in history as well as many customers will be lost forever. In fact what is shown is what I thought but now I’m taking it more seriously, that is, when I looked for the appeared SilverLight (nahhh it’s Microsoft and not have changes in multiplatform) but when HTML5 came I looked with new eyes and had not yet seen as a productive tool I was just aware.

    Since the announcement of Adobe that I start studying more seriouly HTML5 + jQuery and I have to say despiede of not have good tools and not there is also still same problems between, today most of Flex scenarios are already quite likely (if not almost all) to develop in HTML5, except for mobile which I was very disappointed with the jQuery Mobile (not it in the first final version) with performance problems, rendering in the browser and a great lack of components to touch base however is something evolving exponentially and I will follow the closely now.

    For now I will gradually divest in Flex, continue my studdies with jQuery and start to do small things and hope in a fews month be able to do an enterprise web app 100% HTML5 and abandon Flex for web apps.

    Will continue to use Flex Mobile until see that jQuery Mobile is ready.

    Regards and hope that you continue your greate blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. DP says:

    Yeah, I’m concerned about the seemingly intentional exclusion of AIR for Desktops. Can you please clarify?

  8. julien says:

    Time to choose something new as a long time flash,as,flex developer adobe is pissing me off.

  9. Randy says:

    Although the statement above is relieving pressure on Adobe, I understand the facts of your post, don’t be emotional, trying understanding Adobe position its for good of the community, be a good little robot that doesn’t get pissed off, even after years of touting Adobe as the cure all for all development needs.

    I doubt Adobe with its turn of news releases (new official statement) will capture the developer’s trust.

    Good grief are they politicians, I just don’t trust them, all it takes is one press release that they are going to release in the future they are scraping flex, air, ColdFusion, fireworks, flash, that’s all it takes from this company, yeah I am pissed off, so eliminate the emotional feeling, screw them, and the horse they rode on. How many more official statements will it take to get Adobe back in the game of winning software developer converts?

    I think the best bet is to get away from Adobe all together and start using HTML5 resources, Aptana Studio is HTML5 ready and it’s free, I am almost a convert.

  10. SC says:

    To me, it reads:
    Adobe sending Flex to the Community and a few engineers will contribute while the rest of the team will be redirected to HTML5 product.

  11. Junaid Ahmed says:

    Glad to hear that Flex is Alive! Even though coming from an HTML/CSS development/design platform.. started learning Flex/Flash Builder methodology as I started working with a client that had created application in this platform. After 6 months I’m very familiar with it and loving the ability to deploy to multiple platforms.

    Thanks again for an informative post, and yes we should always be looking to learn technologies that can be leveraged natively on several devices HTML5/JQuery.

  12. Lionel says:

    Thanks for the info Holly. I have not been able to find anything concrete on the plans for Flash Catalyst. Can you find out if there will be a next version of that?

  13. Cory says:

    I was looking for mention of air desktop as well. Seems like a hard thing to forget…

    • For those of you wondering about AIR for Desktop, it is NOT going away, please see this post for specific details, but here’s the excerpt:

      ‘Adobe reconfirmed its commitment for its continued support for Adobe AIR applications running on the desktop. Adobe is actively working on the next version of Adobe AIR for the desktop.Adobe AIR 3.0 added support for captive runtimes, which allows developers to package and distribute Adobe AIR applications without requiring users to first have the AIR runtime installed. Adobe recommends that developers use this new feature as it provides the best user experience for end users.’

      Cheers :)!

  14. Thank You Holly!!!

    I repeat what I said yesterda at Flex 4.6 & Flash Builder 4.6 Prerelease Program

    Why donโ€™t stop talking about this subject and try to build the BEST EVER version of Flex and show this tool is the BEST on the planet to build Mobile, Apps and Enterprises solutions.

    This at end will be what show what Flex is and tremendously powerful IS!!!!

    “itโ€™s time to show that this community is made”

    Best regards!!

  15. mihau says:

    Exacly – whats with adobe AIR i desktop applications?

    Holly – could you give us some info about this.

    AIR it’s/(was) perfect alternative for Java.

    Bad new started after you turn off linux support, and now … whats with pc desktop apps

  16. Rob McKeown says:

    We can now relax a bit. Mike Chambers just commented on my blog at http://agileui.blogspot.com/2011/11/air-for-desktop-abandoned-too.html confirming that AIR for Desktop is not being abandoned!

  17. Mario Vieira says:


    Firstly, you and this unbelievable Adobe Evangelist’s team that worked so hard for this community and evidently did not have a say in this premature decision, should know that we support you all very much.

    Such a abrupt decision execution from Adobe’s direction showed no consideration for this dedicated community that so far helped to catalyze every need from the web into Adobe’s creative products suit.

    All this could be done, and yet have the community behind it. Solutions could be found, single licenses for Google, or RIM to keep the Flash player going and stopping slowly to allow the market and investors migrating, or perhaps even the exact same solution, but not this “pulling the plug” feel for investors, clients, and community.

    Although AS3 developers should have no concerns (ECMA strong typed language skills), Adobe direction actions had a much wider effect their accountant mind set seem to be able to realize.

    Behind every Photoshop license, or whatever is new big revenue pot there is an user, just like as a community member. There was simply no reason for dumping the community’s belief on Adobe.

    The only sensible thing this massive AS3 community would accept, but also to help investors and clients to understand Adobe value each single user is:

    CEO Shantany Narayen stepping down (perhaps he’s a CFO, a narrow visioned one)

    Petition is here, Adobe would only profit of it: http://www.change.org/petitions/adobe-systems-shantanu-narayen-to-step-down-as-ceo

  18. Paul says:

    My thoughts,

    Well I guess Adobe where in a pickle trying to support all mobile platforms with Air and Mobile flash. For me mobile flash never really worked that well and air does, so in some way it makes sense to discontinue mobile flash.

    The problem for Air is that we don’t know and presumably Adobe don’t know, that the controllers at Apple may turn round one day and say Air is no longer support by IOS. It could happen.

    Adobe have been playing catch up along with everyone else since IOS came onto the scene, Apple have no interest in supporting Adobe from what I can see, and who can blame them?

    So Adobe are ditching Flash for mobile and divesting any real responsibility towards Flex to others, this may/not work out.

    I guess the way they see it is, “if you cant beat them join them”, hence the focus on HTML5 tooling and no longer Flex.

    I cant say I blame them, don’t get me wrong, for the past 4 years we have built a great business using Flash, Flex and Air for real time auctions including video and audio web-casting, it has been a great ride! I loved learning this stuff.

    But as Dev Girl Says, technology moves on, and at an accelerated pace now.

    Personally I am undecided about continuing with Flex for mobile which is a shame as the tools alone are much better (easer)and faster than native Android application programming with Eclipse.

    I think like most developers I’ll wait and see how it pans out.

    Bad move Adobe, but I don’t blame you.

  19. Hugo says:

    I have studying HTML5 (ie, HTML+JS) since the day that Adobe tells to the workd that HTML5 is the best and I will start to recreated simple use cases that I do in Flex but this time in HTML5. I will publish my use cases with source code and my toughts in a new blog (HTML5 experience from a Flex developer :)).

  20. Donald says:

    If you really think about it, Adobe’s saying no flash for mobile is only for the browser in mobile devices. But Flash and Flash Builder is alive and well in mobile app development. So it really doesnt affect a whole lot except the transition is moving to a technology more suited for mobile devices. I image that Adobe is still going to use Flash Pro and Flash builder to built your app and export for HTML 5, Air, or native iOS for mobile devices. So for the developer it doesnt change much in the environment that you develop in only maybe how it exports out and deployment.

  21. daslicht says:

    Rumors say that new upcoming Flash Builder will no longer have a Design View and Flash Catalyst gets discontinued.

    If this is true the Whole Flex Platform gets totally unattractive for us.

    Why the heck is Adobe doing such damage ?

  22. Tahir Alvi says:

    Hi All,

    Is there any sign that Adobe transfer all future development to Apache or only web-part of Flex ?

  23. That is such a great news Holly, Thanks alot!!

  24. Fahim says:

    Hi all
    what is future of flex ?
    as i listen adobe transfer it to the Apache for future API’s
    Should we (flex developers) are safe ?
    and should we continue mobile development in flex ?

  25. Hugo says:

    Few months after the announcement of the Adobe, the world still rounded and still can not make a pair of shoes with HTML5 and applications continue to work with Flex in major Browsers for computers and apps still exist in Android/iOS developed with AIR Mobile.
    Now with AIR 3.3 (now in Beta 2) we can also deploy for Mac App Store.

    I think the Flex developers are desktop/mobile developers.
    The web development it’s different.

    Hope HTML5 evolve further (maybe someday in HTML6) to regain the power of developing for the web in the same as desktop.

    It’s necessary to remove the head from the sand and realize that the attempt to put the desktop on the web did not work for now because there was to much edges (starting in iPad and ending in Windows Phone).

  26. fox says:

    Its a pity that AIR wont run on ARM6 CPUs which are currently the most used …

  27. Hugo says:

    Yes. Since iPhone 3GS have a ARM7 processor (iPhone 3G it’s very old and Apple dont support anyway in the required update OS) as also iPad 1, we have a vaste audience for iOS plataform.
    With this ARM7 limitation we have 30% or less of the marketshare for Android.
    I understand the ARM7 requirement that there is out ther good ARM6 with a lot of MHZ and memory like Samsung Galaxy Ace.

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