Adobe's sticking with Flex, investigating HTML5, for CS extensibility

PM Gabriel Tavridis shares some thoughts on where things are headed. Key points:

  • The Creative Suite SDK and CS Extension Builder will continue to be developed and enhanced with new features and support for Creative Suite applications.
  • We will make CS Extension Builder available through the Adobe Store at a compelling price point. We want the tool to become broadly available, so that every Creative Suite developer can enjoy its benefits.
  • We will continue our investigation on new technologies (e.g. HTML5) for extension development and occasionally share our findings with the developer community. We want to be transparent with the community and keep you involved in our planning.

All these tools & runtimes are just means to an end–specifically, that Photoshop and other apps get really well tailored to your needs. Your feedback is always welcome.

7 thoughts on “Adobe's sticking with Flex, investigating HTML5, for CS extensibility

  1. What we really want is to develop Photoshop Plug In’s using “High Level” language.
    Give us AS3 + Pixel Bender, that’s all we need.

  2. For enterprise apps, I think Flex/Flash is extremely limiting. Most enterprise applications needs to be accessible on Mobile, Tablet, and PC, and the most efficient way to have this reach is with Web. So, now, if enterprise developer develop an enterprise application in Adobe Flash/Flex they will not be able to deploy it over web for Tablets and Mobile. I do not think any enterprise developers want to limit the reach of their application because of the technology they choose, and Flash/Flex just prevent them any Mobile/Tablet Web deployment.
    Also, as in the FAQ posted by Andrew Shorten a few weeks back, most Flex Adobe staff moved to HTML5 and related project. So, I think it is very dangerous for any outside developer to start new enterprise app development with Flex as even Adobe has shifted resources.
    Again, Flex was a great technology, and filled a gap especially a language one (as JS/HTML is considered too loose by many enterprise developers). This is why I originally joined the Flex team back in 2006. However, the market has decided that this technology was not going to be universal, and now, enterprise developers need to make the right decision.
    I understand why a company need to reassure its user base, but I really hope that developers takes a pragmatic and business approach to their technology choice, and does not stick with one technology because they like it better than the other.

    1. Jeremy, my understanding while part of the Flex team has been moved, it’s not most of the team. Apparently there will be a document coming out soon from Adobe, detailing exactly how much staff is left on the Flex team and how long they will remain on the project. Also from those from the Spoon team have said there is interest for various corporations who are heavily invested in Flex who are interested in donating funds to keep Flex SDK moving forward. So it looks like Flex won’t be completely dead in the water.
      That said, it’s true that it won’t meet every project needs, especially without a mobile Flash Player on future Android devices (since RIM says they will continue porting future versions of the Flash Player to their PlayBook). Hopefully developers are looking at what their project technology needs and looking are what technology best fits their need rather than going with what they happen to like working with.

    2. Hello Jeremy, I respecfully disagree on several points with your analysis. To my opinion:
      -web-apps are accessible on mobile/tablet/PC, but they’re browser dependant. So you have to custom your HTML5 for each browser. It’s not that efficient…
      -Flex “web-apps” are still accessible to PC/Mac, whatever the browser (quite efficient).
      -at Enterprise level, you need real applications, not “web-apps”. For that Flex is the perfect solution, accessible on mobile/tablet/PC/Mac thanks to captive AIR.
      And this is why I keep Flexing, not because I “like” Flex, but because this is by far the most advanced and efficient technology (imho).
      (Adobe did a great job, Apache will too)

  3. Matthew, I understand that Adobe will try smooth out the transition, but by all metrics Adobe has disengaged from Flash/Flex, and given the reach limitation of Flash/Flex, it has become a very risky platform to continue to invest in for IT Manager. So, yes, Adobe Flex won’t die over night, no technology ever does (e.g., we still have Cobol developers even today), but Flex/Flash has become a legacy technology, and IT managers need to realize that.
    BTW, when I was at Adobe Flex (back in 2006/2007) I promoted Flex a lot to Workday and others companies, so, I feel kind of responsible as well. We could not know at the time, but as the iPhone came along and big players started investing in HTML5 the writing was on the wall. Open Source is good when it can create a momentum, but open sourcing a technology on top of a proprietary technology (i.e. Flash) it is going to be very hard to create a momentum. Adobe was kind of successful to push Flex in enterprise, but now that they are not fully behind it, it is going to be a hard ride.

  4. Why not make the CS Extension Builder free? Encourage people to create “apps” or Macros or whatever to enhance the CS product line?

  5. It’s a real shame. Flex is by far the best enterprise front-end around. But, if Adobe can’t make money off of it, why would they want to keep it around? We can only hope that they beef up HTML5/JS sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’ll learn some Objective C.

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