Flash’s future ain’t so bad after all

Back in February I wrote a post in which I stated that the future of Flash wasn’t so bright, well if you ask me what I think about that right now, I would say that it ain’t so bad. Why? Well, the roadmap for new features seems pretty exciting and also the array of stuff you can do with Flash is astonishing.

Molehill API (Hardware accelerated 3D)

After AdobeMax, I wanted to write a post just about this topic but I continually postponed it… but now it seems to fit perfectly with my second point so here it is. Molehill is some new low level API that enables some function calls to be hardware accelerated. Basically it permits some code to be sent to the video card instead of the processor, thus enabling us to do more crazy 3D stuff. Here is an example of what has been done with it and it is not even released yet:

If you’re a Flash Developer and this doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. Actually, I don’t think I looked forward so much for the next version of the player since I started using Flash. I started at FlashMX 2004, so Flash 8 gave us the filters and BitmapData; computers weren’t powerful enough to do the cool stuff with filters at the time, and I don’t know, BitmapData is pretty useful but I kinda didn’t know what I could do with it then. After that came Flash 9 with ActionScript 3, well that was nice but it took so much time for people to switch from ActionScript 2 to 3 that the excitement was kinda mitigated. Flash 10 was to follow with nothing really to offer… maybe Vectors are cool but they didn’t really impact anything. Flash 10.1? supposedly it is faster, doesn’t seem to be a game changer, the mobile stuff is cool but I wanted more for the web. Now Molehill is a very different ball game. Molehill will allow us to do way more than what we could before, both on the web and on the mobile. Gaming wise it is very easy to foresee how it will be used, but what I am mostly interested in is how it will be used for rich experiences, for rich internet applications or for data-visualization. It is the possibilities of this new technology to be used in unsuspected ways that makes it very exciting. Now, all we have to do is wait for it to come out. I bet you that the adoption rate will be very fast.

Flash everywhere

Maybe one of the good consequence of Apple saying no to Flash is everybody else saying yes to it to differentiate themselves. So yeah, Flash on a shit load of mobile ( Android, BlackBerry (PlayBook), Windows Phone 7), Flash on the TV (GoogleTV) and now Flash on the cloud (ChromeOS). It is seeing how easy it was to add a Flash app to the Google Chrome Web Store that made me realize that I was lucky to have liked Flash and have made it my job. I have so many possibilities now, from gaming to advertising (banner ads, ok I never want to do this again even if you threaten me with a gun), from website to mobile application, from your TV to the cloud. If you ever get bored as a Flash Developer there is still so many things you can do. So yeah, that did put a smile on my face and made me realize that Flash’s future wasn’t so bleak.

And to those who said that Flash would die, well it’s going to be goddamn hard to kill now on all these media… Cheers!

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  1. #1 by sjaakie - December 15th, 2010 at 06:23

    Amen, although i must say, not having to do banners now and then is a luxury for most flash developers, besides banners really challenge your creativity because of all the limitations.

  2. #2 by Mamzelle - December 15th, 2010 at 11:18

    Yes, I approve with all you said :) . Nice entry.

  3. #3 by Chad - December 15th, 2010 at 11:22

    Very impressive. Looks like the gaming world will be very happy when that comes out. Stuff that keeps me interested in Flash right now is the realtime / peer to peer functionality they’re working on. Tom Krcha’s blog at flashrealtime.com has some great info and what Adobe has done with Actobat.com’s live collaboration tool is awesome. I hate that services like Citrix’s GoToMeeting and alike all require 3rd party plugins when Flash is fully capable of a lot of those tasks and is already on 99% of people’s computers.

  4. #4 by zedia.net - December 15th, 2010 at 12:29

    @Chad
    Ya people forget about the P2P feature in Flash because it is not a visual thing, but without it there wouldn’t be any ChatRoulette, also B-Reel used it to drive a real car on the internet for Mitsubishi Live Drive http://www.outlandersport.com/

  5. #5 by R2 - December 15th, 2010 at 13:31

    @ zedia.net
    I think the thing that made Apple avoid Flash is to protect it’s APP store, since theres a lot of games there that are made previewsly on flash. for free. Goddamn bunch of greedy bastards

  6. #6 by zedia.net - December 15th, 2010 at 13:35

    @R2
    my thought exactly.

  7. #7 by David Jumeau - December 15th, 2010 at 15:15

    Great article. Frankly I am already innundated with all the new possibililties with the Flash Platform. The reaction from Apple is typical, and only a boon for the other companies. But we must remember that we are also partly responsible for making Flash run atrociously on other sites. We’ve already learned that we should do our best to optimize our development. I am not sure if those who design websites with HTML5 would learn that lesson as well.

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