September 21, 2011

Who moved Adobe's Flex?

You're all probably familiar with the book "Who moved my Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson which basically talks about reacting to changes in life. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go a head and read this short story.

In any case, the analog I want to share and discuss is referring to Flex as the cheese, and just to make it clear - I'm not taking any sides here (since, really, It's getting hard to side any particular one recently), but rather tell you how I see things.

The way I see it, someone did moved Flex. It is clearly no longer the best tool for creating RIA. Nowadays you have HTML5 and all the JS libs that pop up like mushrooms after the first acid rain. HTML5 is the real competitor in the field, and don't let anyone tell you different. The lately passed away Silverlight and the ridiculous JavaFX were never a match for Flex and Flash.

Now, if you were the mouse in that story you would smell the change and act upon it, meaning - go and learn HTML5 and take the rust of your JS skills. It is pretty obvious that sitting, doing nothing and waiting for Flex to come up with a game-changer bunny out of it's hat is the bad choice here, but, and that's big "but", ditching Flex and moving to HTML5 completely is also not the smartest path to take.

It is true that web developing, and RIA in that sense, are going through some major changes. It is odd, one might think, that the future lies in technologies that belong to the past. I have to admit that the future looks very interesting and challenging. What Adobe's sees for the future is a fantastic integration between it's Flash platform and HTML5. The possibilities are amazing. This is what I also see in front of me.

Whilst HTML5/CSS3/JS are proudly presenting the major features they have, Flash player now supports, among others, a monstrous 3D rendering engine called Molehill. It always seemed as if Flex/Flash is leaving the trivial stuff to HTML, while it itself is moving forward to more complex features. Trivial, today, is what Flex offered in the past 5 years. Let HTML5 do that. By all means - why not?

And now you hear that IE10 will not support Flash (to some extent), which is, IMHO, a poor decision MS made. Any UI technologist can see the tremendous value in combining HTML5 and Flash together. A browser that will not support this integration is doomed to vanish.

So yeah, the change is here already and yeah, people who wish to stay relevant need to embrace it, but this doesn't mean one should take one path over another. What we have ahead of us, is a parallel lane road. We can, and should, drive in both lanes alternately.

BTW - Wanna know who moved the cheese?
Mr. Steve Jobs.