Reporters Dash to Bash Flash Crash

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Oh Adobe. You need to be an obsessed Apple addict to agree with all Steve Jobs’ prejudices against the Flash platform. Many people found his criticisms of reliability unfounded and defended Adobe’s systems.

And then Flash crashed. At the worst possible moment. It occurred during a demonstration of the latest 10.1 player on a Nexus One phone — a handset using Google Android which has recently overtaken Apple’s iPhone as the most popular smartphone OS in the US (second to Blackberry).

The disastrous Adobe demonstration was performed by Ryan Stewart to Flash developers at FlashCamp in Seattle. The problem was reported by blogger Jeff Croft

On his Mac, Ryan pulled up a site called Eco Zoo. It is, seemingly, a pretty intense example of Flash development — full of 3D rendering, rich interactions, and cute little characters. Then, he pulled up the same thing on his Nexus One. The site’s progress bar filled in and the 3D world appeared for a few seconds before the browser crashed.

Ryan said (paraphrasing), “Whoops! Well, it’s beta, and this is an intense example — let’s try it again.” He tried it again and got the same result. So he said to the audience, “Well, this one isn’t going to work, but does anyone have a Flash site they’d like to see running?” Someone shouted out “Hulu.” Ryan said, “Hulu doesn’t work,” and then wrapped up his demo.

Both Jeff and Adobe point out that Flash on Android is a beta product. Developers know what that means, but was it wise to publicly demonstrate the system? No IT product is crash-proof but the company must have known there was a considerable risk. It’s a spectacular own-goal from Adobe especially at a time when Steve Jobs’ open letter is stating:

Flash has not performed well on mobile devices. We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it.

The Apple vs Adobe battle rages on.

Update: Ryan Stewart responds

Adobe’s Ryan Stewart has posted a blog entry which apologizes for his “unpreparedness”. It shows a video of a Nexus One with an updated version of the player successfully running Eco Zoo and other Flash content.

Whether the mainstream press find his update as interesting as the Flash crash news is another matter…

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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