Flex is headed to a better place

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Do not take the title of this post in the wrong way. In no way do I believe that Flex or Flash is a dead platform. I do really and truly believe that where it is headed is a better place. Here's why.

Adobe announced that it would be, together with the Spoon Project, be creating an open source foundation to govern Flex in the future. While it may seem that Adobe is spinning flex off in order to let it die alone and sad, I do not believe that it is the truth. Developers have been asking for years for all of flex to become open source. Many of those devs are now jumping ship because of this announcement. You know what, guys? You asked for this.

I feel that Flex can become the greatest platform out there if it is made into an open source project. Just think: the entire wealth of knowledge of optimization and component sets can now go into the greater platform that is Flex. Right now, as a proprietary platform, Flex is on a very slow release cycle compared to other platforms that are out there (HTML5, JS, CSS). But, if it's open source, the community knowledge can work together to make it better.

Now, I will say that I expect in the next few months to see an announcement that Flash Player in the browser will be shut down. I may be wrong, but that's just what I see. The future of Flex and Flash is really on AIR on devices. I do not believe that Flash has a place in the browser world anymore. I had held out for the longest time, trying to make everyone believe that flash player could survive in the world. But now, Adobe itself has jumped ship to HTML5. I can't go on thinking that flash can survive, when its parent company has abandoned it.

However, Flex and AIR on mobile can survive in the long run. I envision a future in which no one knows that your app for mobile was built on AIR. In an ideal world, AIR would be indistinguishable from native apps. That's what I'd like to see, and I think that it can be done through the community development of the Flex framework.

What's next for Flex? I can't say for sure. Perhaps, one day Flash Builder will use Flex to export both AIR apps and HTML5. That would be a day I'd like to see. I want very much for flex to survive and be completely independent of the frontend technology. That's what I see in the future.

(And yes, I do know that Flash Player for Mobile is dead. But I don't put as much significance behind that announcement as Techchrunch or Gizmodo. I have never really seen a developer who actually developed for FP Mobile. Everyone wants their apps on app stores, and used AIR.)

All for now.

Arthur Rosa is an engineering manager based in Sunnyvale, California.