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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    Will you be re-skilling?

    With Adobes announcement of the demise of the Mobile flash platform, and the logical subsequent death of flash in the wild (it will take a while, but gotta face the fact that the writing is on the wall), will you be looking to rejuvenate your skillset?

    If so, which way do you plan to develop? I'm curious as to how many think that Google dart has legs in particular. Strikes me that it will be mainly a plug-in masquerading as a standard initially....erm.... a little like Flash!
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  2. #2
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    The things that flash is still the best deployment option for (complicated multi media integration, games, high end animated/interactive work) will remain so for a long time. Award winning sites like audiotool.com, takethislollipop, aldo shoes for life etc none of these can be done with the same ROI (if even at all) in html in the next 5 years, no matter what the anti-flash hysteria around the web from pro-apple blogs is.

    This does undoubtedly however affect demand for simple low end flash work, which is tailing off, but it could be argued that nothing has changed there - jquery has been the pragmatic choice for small interactive page elements for a while. Most interactive developers I know have already started looking at mobile, it's the growth market with demand and is an opportunity to do fun things.

    I always look at skill choices from the perspective of likely client demand rather than what's the hipster fad on blogs and twitter - clients will still have demand for advanced interactive experiences, they'll still be technically unaware but they'll still want to see them reach as many eyes as possible.

    The deployment choices that fill those needs will remain pretty much the same as for the last year or two. Until html6 or 7 in a decades time - clients can either limit scope to make things work across multiple common browsers, or use flash and need an app to reach mobile/ipad users. There's proven demand for jquery and similar libraries, and as browsers incrementally improve, so will these. Certainly a lot faster than the w3c can innovate, or new technologies like dart can achieve sufficent public diffusion amongst a polarised environment between the major browser vendors.

    I can't see dart having any legs for many years as there's not a justifiable audience to develop for. In a similar vein, Unity3d has now been around for years, with an advanced IDE and great resources but it's made very little headway on the web again because the audience isn't there - I'd be amazed if most users of that weren't mainly using the output to ios capability it has.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    A very considered reply and well put position, nice to see here!

    I agree 100% about the client demand; that they don't really care about the underlying technology as long as their desired objective is delivered - however (and I fully accept that a may be wrong), I really don't think that Flash is going to be an acceptable technology to deliver, simply because of Adobe's recent announcement.

    I firmly believe that in the not too distant future both workstation and laptop sales are going to be on fast decline. You may still have a workstation per household, you may even have more than one laptop, but I think that as the vast majority of what "normal" people do on a computer can now be achieved in a more aesthetically pleasing way on a tablet device, sales are going to reflect this (this is pretty much a 180 on the position I held a year ago!).

    If (and it is an if) that becomes the case, we will be in a situation where developers will be forced to deliver clients expectations in a new way, be it feature rich browser experience or targeted app. I'd put my money on the tipping point being 2-3 years, not a decade, whether browser based technology is there or not!

    iPad is the defacto market leader for tablets at moment, and according to the Gartner group, is likely to remain in that position well into the timeframe I estimate. If that alone wasn't enough, with no mobile flash support from Adobe, all tablets will present a potential problem. This means in order to balance the demands of likely audience with client expectation, we will be duty bound to recommend a solution which does not involve flash. To do otherwise would be selling them short - something akin to delivering a website that works only in Chrome.

    I suppose to a certain extent the question was directed at developers who work exclusively in the flash environment. I know a few, but have no idea how common that is in the wider community. Those that have a wider skillbase already will I imagine be up to speed on the most acceptable html/js solutions, and perhaps looking at Android & IOS app development. Those that fit into the "flash only" department should I think be broadening their horizons while the existing work is still there.

    Will Flash developers become app developers? Will there be a more narrow android developer vs IOS developer fragmentation? Is there even room in the market for flash developers with the existing developers? Will there simply be a more defined line between the role of front-end developer and back-end developer, which seems to have blurred somewhat in recent years? The future is certainly interesting if nothing else
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
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    My 2 cents.

    I worked solely on Flash/Lightwave/After Effects with PHP/SQL for 7-8 years (doing full interactive sites, games, navigation modules, commercial animation, AIR apps, interactive presentations, etc), and at the end of 2010 decided I should really learn js/html/css. As a person coming from full as3 application development learning jquery/html is a piece of cake, and really at his point I think anybody who is using Flash to develop for the web (not necessarily for those of us who do it just for the animation and/or app development) should absolutely pick up more skill-sets.

    A lot of people say that they are still getting hired for Flash just as much as always, for me this is not true, pretty much the ONLY work we get hired for having to do with Flash is animated commercials and the like, and/or the occasional game or banner. Our old clients that used to come to us regularly for Flash related work now have no interest because of it not being usable on iProducts.

    html5 has light years to go before it compares to Flash for true animated interactive content such as games. When I first started with jquery I was all excited about the fades/slides/etc that could be accomplished... before I realized if you use that stuff extensively at all it eats up CPU 1000 fold faster than properly programmed and developed Flash animation.

    Adobe killing the Flash Mobile part of their company was smart I believe, it's ludicrous for developers to make a full Flash version of their web app, a Mobile Flash version AND a js version for all the mobile devices that don't support Flash at all. Aside from that, Mobile Flash never even came close to actually working well on mobile devices.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    What an insightful first post - welcome to the forums .fee!

    I am actually fairly ignorant as to the limitations of mobile flash having only dabbled with some 'droid and win tablets, but if it isn't working out, then it sounds like Adobe did make the right choice, and perhaps my take on full flash is slightly out. I suppose there will still be scope for the demographic that require use of a full on workstation/laptop to be targeted at browser level.

    It is a real shame that JS/ECMAscipt seems to kill CPU faster than flash, and there is an ugly possibility (it's certainly a pattern that has gone before) that rather than fixing the issue somehow (be it at code or interpreter level), that the slackess may be covered up by faster and faster CPUs. In this respect only, I think Dart may have some scope, especially considering the unparalleled growth of Chrome, but the proof will be in the pudding.

    Great to hear from someone who's right in the thick of that area of developments experience, views and strategy, thanks
    ~The Artist Latterly Known as Crazy Hamster~
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  6. #6
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    Interesting with regards to banners - I developed a banner advertising distribution and tracking system for a multi domain news network of sites and also design some of the adverts for it too.

    Their MD demanded that all the animated ads 'have to work on iphone'. I came up with some 'html5' ads converted using adobe wallaby. Sure enough an example page with multiple ads ran on his iphone, but was incredibly slow to load (filesize per ad not including jquery libs was a lot larger) and was extremely slow and just about froze his phone. I also explained the cost of developing these ads would at least double, and that ads from external designers/agencies would probably have incompatibilities, and that the pool of external designers they use for banners would be decimated. People that whinge about flash ads have no idea how pissed they are going to be when html5 ads become common. The 'unblockability' of these ads will likely end up as part of the sales pitch from ad agencies. The MD went and got quotes from others for html5 ads and it ended up back to square one - the ROI and skill base just isn't there yet. Part of the lesson here though is that rich media on the web and mobile aren't well suited companions, which is part of adobe's argument for discontinuing flash mobile.

    Also, a year or so back there was an html5 animated splash for macheist and the same flash haters who always dismissed flash as 'splash screen nonsense' were whooping and hollering about how cool this was. To make a point I recreated this in flash - far smaller development time (about 30 minutes versus likely many days) cpu (less than half) and far smaller filesize.

  7. #7
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    With regards to the rise of tablets, if tablet/mobile use reaches sufficient saturation then flash deployment will be less attractive. If such a point is ever reached, then it'll be a sad day for the web as a whole range of advanced features that have been taken granted for years will be eliminated - in effect a retrograde step back in where the cutting edge of web expression and capability lies, which is odd but not unknown in the far larger picture of technology and science (e.g concorde).

    I think the analysts projections for tablets may be over wrought, if they're not taking into account the high 'bounce rate' for tablets becoming primary devices (people who buy them then realise they're not much use for anything other than casual use, or just like to buy trendy devices then sock drawer them). Though that could be weighed against the fact there are probably many casual computing users who have yet to experience a tablet and would realise it's all they need. Has to be said, I've never met anybody that has a tablet as their primary computer.

    By the time tablets reach enough saturation to matter, adobe will likely have output from the flash IDE to html5 mastered within the restricted features of html5. What haxe is managing to do is a good indication of what's possible - a fully object orientated and advanced language that can output to both javascript/flash.

    While the ipad is a big leader right now, it may suffer the same fate as the iphone which has seen an apparently insurmountable lead swamped by android phones very rapidly. I doubt many analysts saw that in advance.


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