Imminent Death of Adobe Flash

My fellow Flash developers, this post’s title and the post is not to start a new flaming war on the subject, it’s just an opinion which you may or may not agree with.

I posted some of the following ideas in a private forum, so I thought I’d just save some typing and add some more thoughts in original forum post(s) and publish here on my blog. This post is also long overdue, so here it goes.

I think Flash is really a strong brand and awesome technology. There are certain things Adobe have done wrong in terms of strategy and vision for this technology.

Macromedia and later Adobe pushed Flash Player too hard on mobile devices. Back in 2005 when I won a t-shirt from Flash Lite competition, all the developers sent a clear message to Flash team, that on mobile, Flash apps are the future, as all the apps submitted were installable apps on Symbian OS, not mobile browser based.

Flash’s experience in mobile browser was too bad, there were no contents optimized for mobile, and Adobe tried to run existing content in mobile browser, which failed miserably. So we saw Steve Jobs’s thoughts on Flash. Which I agree to, also for lazy engineers part. The focus should’ve been on installable mobile apps from the start. For same reason Adobe had to pull the Android version. I do not see why Flash team failed to see it early.

I also noticed that Flash product team tried hard to sell the Flash Player / AIR to ODMs to embed / pre-install in devices. They did for some, like Nokia / Blackberry. Idea was a clear fail from start, as there was no way to update Flash Player / AIR until ODMs releases an OS update. Also the failed idea to get share of revenue from Flash Player based games/apps if a developer makes more than a million in a year. That was just crazy.

Pretty late, Adobe recognized and thought, oh! we should package the runtime with the app, so it will run correctly with its required version of runtime, and not depend on ODMs (we made a product SWF2Go in 2007 which did this). I can’t believe what sort of people were in Flash team who did not recognized this from the very start where I personally sent emails to Flash team, managers with same idea, am sure many other developers may have asked them the same.

Now in current situation, the only bad name Flash gets is from its Flash Player in the browser. What Flash team can do now is to split the player, one only with AS2 support, which I believe is the root cause of most security issues, and one with only AS3 runtime. This should’ve been the strategy from the start. But Adobe kept two runtimes in same player. Continuously improving on AS3 version, and deprecating the AS2 version.

We need tons of new language features in AS3, not just renamed APIs. Look at C# for example, evolution from v1 to latest. And this is really important moving forward. I do not see any new language features since AS3 was introduced with Flash Pro CS3. Here I’d like to share a post from Dave Yang’s FB feed, which summarizes exactly my point about why I and many other Flash developers held on to AS2 for too long.

DaveYang-FB-Post-Programing

For installable apps, AIR needs to drop HTML (webkit) and just keep AS3. I have not seen a single AIR app which is done with HTML, it’s a useless feature which wastes bytes with every deployment. All I see is AS3 apps and games in stores, so I always think why there’s this HTML thing in AIR, when Adobe also promotes another product PhoneGap, which does the same thing, makes mobile apps with HTML. Can anyone from Adobe tell me why AIR needs HTML support?

Also, AIR needs to support more platforms if it needs to gain some ground in future, i.e. Windows Phone / Mobile support which is top requested feature, but it seems that no one at Adobe cares anymore.

flash-cs3

Now Flash Pro, this tool was awesome until CS3. Even before that there were versions which didn’t come with new features but just re-write of the Panels system. I’ve seen so many versions of Flash Pro which just did that. The team wasted time in re-writing Panels system, instead if improving on or adding new useful features. For example, the Info Panel did not show real-time X, Y and other details when mouse was held down (fields just froze until mouse is released), until I filed a feature in CS4 (I was first time in beta), and it was implemented in CS5.5. Two versions later, because team were re-writing the Panels (lazy engineers as Jobs pointed out). Unbelievable.

There are tons of things which Flash Pro team can bring, return to the core idea which made Flash popular, Design, Timeline, Animation and Scripting them. Each of these features Flash Pro can borrow ideas from other tools. And even they can come up with a new version in one iteration which can be so new and feature rich, many designers and developers will appreciate and will upgrade for sure.

I see why Flash is dead as there’s no revenue coming from this investment for Adobe. I.e. Flash Pro CC, most are holding back on CS6 or older versions like myself. AIR is free and a developer can use AIR SDK with free FlashDevelop or other tools to make apps, so Adobe do not get anything for their investment going forward with AIR. Flash Player team also gets a bad name when we see some security issues now and then, again there’s not much revenue from Flash Player (other than the Flash Player install page which keeps trying to install some useless software along).

Update 1:

Another reason, that all my Flash developer contacts from 2004 onwards have moved on to something else around 2010-ish. Some switched technology, some even on different directions doing amazing 3D printing, embedded hardware stuff.

What Adobe needs to do is to make Flash Pro, the tool so feature rich, so awesome that developer buys a copy, like the old days of Flash 5. Make the app store prominent and attractive to developers, to buy and sell pre-built assets ready to use in projects or to extend the editor.

unity3d

Unity is a perfect example Flash team can follow. Look how they’ve not wasted time in re-writing panels, but they made Unity Editor so open that there’s a whole ecosystem for extensions. And brilliant idea of selling pre-built assets. They are making tons of money from this idea. They were able to give away free version of Unity, along with a perpetual or subscription version and cloud build. I see great strategy to make revenue from tool, and the assets store for developers. I am using free version, but I have bought extensions, from which they got something. Maybe in future I might go for Pro version as well.

There’s still time, and if Adobe can make and follow good strategy, which I currently don’t see (hence the post’s title), they can come back in game again.

BTW, about me, I am developing with Flash since 1998 (ver 3/4). Done great stuff with Flash, contributed to Flash Player (no credits) and Flash Pro (top beta tester, CS4 to first CC), and developer of SWF2Go.com, Flash Lite to Symbian app maker.

Would love to hear what you think about Flash and its future.

// chall3ng3r //

Highway Racer is #1 on Ovi Store

I would like to share our success so far on Nokia’s Ovi Store with our Flash Lite based game Highway Racer. You can read my previous post for our initial experience of publishing.

We are really happy with our experience so far. Highway Racer reached #1 spot in Sports category, and #3 spot in overall Games category on Ovi Store in just four days after published on Ovi Store for Pakistan region.

Now it’s 29th day on Ovi Store, it’s been jumping up ‘n down in top 30 games. Highway Racer have been downloaded 175000+ times and counting, on it’s way to million downloads. It’s current rating is 4 stars with 149 reviews.

Highway Racer is also reviewed by two popular mobile technology blogs, SenseApplied and TechProlonged.

This is quite a big achievement for our team at Orison Technologies.

Highway Racer - Promo 3

As of yesterday, Highway Racer is one of the featured applications on Ovi Store, and also it’s on #1 spot for Games and Sports sections. Thanks to Nokia team for the help on this :)

We have decided to keep Highway Racer free for more time as we work on an updated version. So, if you haven’t downloaded Highway Racer yet, just visit Ovi Store now!

// chall3ng3r //

Updated SVG2Go and PlayBook Icon Maker now live!

Finally I got some time to do the most requested updates to our online icon makers, SVG2Go for Symbian devices and PlayBook Icon Maker.

They are really helping a lot of developers and we have been receiving many suggestions and appreciation from around the world. And we thank you all.

We have so far 1800+ SVG-Tiny icons created for Symbian apps, and they include icon for games like Angry Birds Free version as well. And 2700+ icon for the PlayBook apps.

There are two major new things in this update.

  1. Option to enable a background fill color. This is also useful when you are dealing with a transparent icon which is hard to see on that checker-box in the preview area.
  2. Icon selection box and loaded image is opened centered by default. We have noticed many users confused that the selection box doesn’t move from the top-right corner. Well, it does and user can use Arrow Keys to fine tune the selection.

Click the screenshots below to start SVG2Go for Symbian or Icon Maker for PlayBook.

iconmaker-svg2go

iconmaker-playbook

Do let us know what you think about these new updates and any more suggestion you may have for future updates. Also, we’d be glad to hear for which of your apps you used our icon makers.

// chall3ng3r //

Highway Racer – Now On Nokia Ovi Store

I am excited to announce our first entry into Nokia Ovi Store with our first Adobe Flash Lite based game, Highway Racer. It’s a simple arcade style racing game, to take a fun break in your busy life.

Click the banner below to head over to Ovi Store and get it FREE now. It’s a limited time offer ;)

Here are some screenshots before I get to details and our experience so far in publishing to Ovi Store.

1-Splashscreen 2-MainMenu

5-InGame 3-About 

Game Development Experience

Highway Racer is a Flash Lite 3 based game developed using Adobe Flash CS5.5. The development experience is best you can get. We used traditional timeline for animations and scripts on frames for interactivity. Most of the resources are small components and reused to keep the runtime memory footprint small.

flash-cs55-highway-racer

Highway Racer runs on all Symbian 5th Edition (Nokia 5800XM, N97, etc.) devices as well, but the performance is not as good because these devices have slower processor.

For best experience, we recommend playing Highway Racer on any latest Symbian ^3 device like Nokia N8, E7, C7, X7 etc.

Packaging and Distribution

For Highway Racer, we used SWF2Go Pro 2.6 to compile a SIS file to post on Ovi Store for QA. SWF2Go is our most popular development toolkit used by tons of developers in more than 50 countries around the world.

Since SWF2Go allowed us to get past the SIS making process in less than 10 minutes, we were then quickly on the phase to make graphics for Ovi Store submission.

Ovi Publisher portal is now really easy to use, I must say. The submission wizard is easy follow, and it was like just 4 steps. And you are done.

The QA process took 2 days only, which was quite a surprise for us, we were not even quite ready :D

There’s one small complaint/ issue, which I like to point out. On the Distribution “€œ> Language tab, there should clear note, if content is in English, select Works With All Languages / Publish To All Languages. We selected English (US) on first QA round, and later discovered that our game was only visible in US / Latin America. Ovi Store team, please add this note.

The After Shocks

It’s a complete surprise to us that Highway Racer is on #1 position in Sports category and #3 position in overall Games category for Pakistan region, just in 4 days!

We are very proud, and excited, as we have just stepped into Ovi Store, and finding such success in few days. It’s a big milestone for us.

We have already plans for follow up versions of Highway Racer as well as couple of cool new game ideas we are working on to publish on Ovi Store in coming months.

Download Highway Racer now from Ovi Store, and let us know your feedback and suggestions. And keep visiting Ovi Store for more of our exclusive games and apps to come ;)

BTW, Highway Racer is also our entry for Nokia and P@SHA MakeMyApp 2011 Challenge. Wish us luck!

// chall3ng3r //

New project: Make SVG icons for Symbian from any image – Free!

I am glad to announce our latest online project SVG2Go, for mobile developers targeting Symbian platform. As the name suggests, SVG2Go is for making cool looking SVG icons from any image file. And best of all, it’s online and free ;)

Start using SVG2Go online here: http://www.orison.biz/apps/svg-icon-maker/

Icons made with SVG2Go can be used for all Symbian applications made using Symbian C++, Qt and Flash Lite. Even you can use it with our other product SWF2Go, to rapidly develop cool games and applications using Flash Lite and publish them on Ovi Store.

Until now, making a nice looking SVG icon was a really hard task. The icon made using Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape doesn’t look the way designer created them, when it appeared on mobile device. Let me give you an example:

tron-icon-example

You might have checked out the Disney sponsored Tron : Tanks Arcade game on Ovi Store, made from the Tron : Legacy movie theme. Take a look it’s icon, no offense to anyone here, but I’m guessing that the developer might have not been able to produce a better icon in time, so he used this one, which doesn’t look good enough. But, the game is quite impressive, smooth graphics and play experience.

Using SVG2Go, anyone can make a really nice SVG icon instantly using the same Photoshop raster artwork. No need to experiment with SVG-T or fiddling with viewbox property. The output SVG icon looks exactly as you have made them. No tweaking needed.

As always, bellow is the screenshot of SVG2Go in action.

svg2go-screenshot

Give it a try, and do let us know of your experience with it, or any suggestions you might have. And don’t forget to share it with your fellow Symbian developers.

// chall3ng3r //

SWF2Go Professional 2.6 – Now Available as Free Trial

We are proud to announce another update of our flagship product SWF2Go Professional. This new version now natively supports latest Symbian based devices, such as Nokia N8, C7 etc.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, and download the trial and see how easy it is to publish Adobe Flash Lite based games and applications to Ovi Store.

Also, you might like to see what kind of games are already made with SWF2Go and are available on Ovi Store. Check out some great games by Breakdesign at http://store.ovi.com/search?q=breakdesign

The biggest advantage of SWF2Go is that it’s completely standalone product. You just install it, and click the Build Project button. It’s that simple!

Download now and let us know what you think, or you might like to showcase your new game or application on our website :)

// chall3ng3r //

Some updates about SWF2Go Pro

Just wanted to share some new updates regarding SWF2Go Pro.

  • SWF2Go have now social media presence as well. You can become a fan of SWF2Go on Facebook and follow on Twitter for latest news and updates.
  • We have published a small guide to make SWF2Go v2 made SIS files compatible with S60 5th Edition devices. Read it on SWF2Go wiki
  • We are now running a special holiday season sale. Instantly save 20$ on SWF2Go Pro v2.0. So, what you are waiting for!!!

FYI, we are working on an update for SWF2Go which will be available soon. Stay tuned!

Happy holidays and have fun!

// chall3ng3r //

Nokia Ovi Store is LIVE!

Today I received an announcement that the Ovi Store is live, and products are available to end users. Great job Nokia!

Orison Tecchnologies,
 
The big day is here!  Ovi Store http://store.ovi.com is open for business!  Our thanks to you for helping to fill the shelves and get the store ready for opening day so that consumers around the world can discover your applications and content on their Nokia device.

We are working on some cool stuff as well for Ovi Store ;)

// chall3ng3r //

Happy Birthday SWF2Go!

I can’t imagine its been two years now since we released SWF2Go. The first ever Flash Lite developer toolkit which enabled developers to sell Flash Lite applications through regular channels.

SWF2Go - Home Screen

SWF2Go Professional have made great success in these two years. We successfully released one minor version as free upgrade and one major version with exciting new features.

We are truly thankful to all the developers who have supported SWF2Go all this time and kept us motivated to bring innovative new features to Flash Lite developers.

Here I’d like to share a news. We successfully enabled Flash Lite 3.1 support in our internal builds on the 2nd day Flash Lite 3.1 was available on Adobe Labs website. The second part of the news is, there will be new features in next update, so be prepared ;)

Have nice day!

// chall3ng3r //

Be My Lips – Let the phone do all the talking for you!

Never be afraid of saying anything anymore, type it in and let your phone say it for you. But be careful, don’t cross the limits ;)

This application is freeware, made using Flash Lite and Python for S60 (PyS60) and packaged using SWF2Go v2. It demonstrates how to make powerful and engaging mobile applications using Flash Lite and PyS60 on S60 3rd Edition platform.

Symbian S60 3rd Edition SIS files and full source code is available under free source license (no license at all, have fun ;)).

Download Be My Lips and read more about it at SWF2Go Wiki

Couple of screenshots:

 Type your message  Screenshot3

// chall3ng3r //