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Adobe AIR Development

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Developer
Innovatology
Posts: 1,280
Registered: ‎03-03-2011
My Device: Playbook, Z10, Q10, Z30 with Files & Folders and Orbit of course
My Carrier: Vodafone

An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

Garry Paluk posted this open letter about HTML5 and Flash/AIR:

 

http://plugin.io/open-letter-to-adobe/

 

The same letter could be sent to BlackBerry. A perfectly good technology (AIR) is being killed due to marketing hype of a partially overlapping technology (HTML5).

 

I do not wish to start the whole Flash vs HTML5 debate again. Don't get me wrong, HTML5 is great for some use cases. In my opinon, AIR is often the best choice for many other use cases. Or Native might be the best way to go. It depends on the app, the team, the target. We have used all three (and more) extensively on many different platforms.

 

I realize that BB is in a state of flux at the moment but with the refocus on enterprise, AIR (and especially Flex) is becoming important again. Years after we were led to believe HTML5 was going to replace AIR, there are still many, many things HTML can't do that AIR can. And vice versa. So we need to choose the right technology for each particular job.

 

BlackBerry was once on the cutting edge of AIR support, but attention seems to have dwindled. Besides HTML5 the platform has two other very powerful cross-platform toolchains (AIR and Qt) that are not getting the TLC they deserve.

 

Remember, BlackBerry, that thousands of large corporations use AIR/Flex for their internal LOB systems and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. The fruite is there for the picking. Is BlackBerry up to the challenge?

Files & Folders, the unified file & cloud manager for PlayBook and BB10 with SkyDrive, SugarSync, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Docs. Free 3-day trial! - Jon Webb - Innovatology - Utrecht, Netherlands
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Developer
UberschallSamsara
Posts: 1,017
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

Good points.  

 

Presumably AIR on PlayBook was originally meant to (attempt to) stick it in Apple's eye over web video support ... but now that the iPad has succeeded smashingly w/out Flash, that argument falls away, only to be replaced with a more compelling (?) argument that BB10 == Enterprisey && AIR == Enterprisey.

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Developer
soaman
Posts: 848
Registered: ‎03-03-2011
My Device: Z10

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

My first apps developed for PlayBook were using AIR. I touched WebWorks and Sencha in a few occassions but AIR was the best replacement of Java at that time. Later I switched to Cascades and I am not moving from there. I wish AIR would be better suported by BlackBerry.
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Leader of Ljubljana BlackBerry Developer Group
BlackBerry Certified Builder for Native Application Development
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Developer
billbsb
Posts: 144
Registered: ‎03-25-2011
My Device: Playbook, Z10 L.E.
My Carrier: Vodafone NL

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

Very good points!

The deterioration of the Adobe + BlackBerry partnership was ... odd? Ackward? I don't really know how to put it.

Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen with the new partnership between Digia (Qt) + BlackBerry.

Cheers!
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Developer
KermEd
Posts: 171
Registered: ‎05-18-2009
My Device: NA
My Carrier: NA

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

Good point - It is interesting to see overall.

 

BlackBerry's choice to turn its back on one of the few companies that stood by it during the transition is ... a little backward.  It causes credibility issues with developers who chose to back BlackBerry.

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Guru I
Xandrex
Posts: 18,382
Registered: ‎07-29-2008
My Device: Z10 10.1.0.2312 / Playbook 2.1 / 8900 5.0
My Carrier: Vodafone France (SFR) & B&You

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

I am just a mere user, and at least for my Windows systems at work and at home, back a month ago I had not installed the AIR runtime at all.

 

and I did that just for one app that was coded in AIR for BB10 and Windows (Polarbear).

 

So at least from a normal user point of view, AIR for Windows is non-existent, and on the other hand I have plenty of apps that run either in QT or webapps that either incorporate Flash, or as much HTML5/javascript they can.

And it is enough for me.

 

****

 

Now, reading the Adobe blog article, I understand that Adobe has never really been able to highlight any coding technology other than Flash for more than a few months/years.

 

I also notice that every single major entity related to how coding trends develop, focus on HTML5 and everything that could make it better.

 

From a user perspective, I believe it is a good thing. If let's say every developer in 5 years, all know how to code in C++, and in HTML5+javascript, then it's good for me. They will be able to switch from one platform to another (if we stick with just the mobile dev business) and it also means that Cordova and other friends will eventually become bigger in terms of features set, and in terms of usage.

 

Sometimes, it is better to lose some incredible features, in order to steamline things and get a broader standard.

 

That being said:

  • I indeed would not want right now to be an AIR developper for BB10.
  • Acceptance of that fact (no more AIR in 10.3.1) highly depends on the timeline before the 10.3.1 OS goes gold for consumers.



The search box on top-right of this page is your true friend, and the public Knowledge Base too:
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Developer
UberschallSamsara
Posts: 1,017
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

The problem is not in moving on to the next wave of technologies and letting go of ones that have run their course.

 

The problem is in how BlackBerry is going about it.

 

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Developer
KermEd
Posts: 171
Registered: ‎05-18-2009
My Device: NA
My Carrier: NA

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

[ Edited ]

UberschallSamsara wrote:

The problem is not in moving on to the next wave of technologies and letting go of ones that have run their course.

 

The problem is in how BlackBerry is going about it.

 


It's purely an execution, communication, planning and change management issue. 

 

I think any AIR dev would agree - kill the SDKs and tool chains. We know it is inevitable. But completely wiping the apps off of user phones - blocking them in BlackBerry World. Removing all underlying functionality *only* on the BlackBerry side and then telling us to go try our hand at building our apps for Android.  

 

It really isn't thinking things through lol. With the skills I've seen from the AIR devs on this platform - recommending they test the waters in Android is suicide in of itself. But I digress.

 

In the nature of the article - AIR is extremely powerful and crazy quick to code beautiful and complex UI's. I can do things in AIR that HTML5 simply can't. And when it does it isn't nearly as smooth. 

 

Not to bash HTML5. But it is unequaled for somethings (cross platform jqueryy apps for example). Complex unique UI's and interactive games not so much. Doable. But not the right fit. 

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New Contributor
Mayinali
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎01-04-2014
My Device: Z10
My Carrier: Telcel

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)


Xandrex wrote:

I am just a mere user, and at least for my Windows systems at work and at home, back a month ago I had not installed the AIR runtime at all.

 

and I did that just for one app that was coded in AIR for BB10 and Windows (Polarbear).

 

So at least from a normal user point of view, AIR for Windows is non-existent, and on the other hand I have plenty of apps that run either in QT or webapps that either incorporate Flash, or as much HTML5/javascript they can.

And it is enough for me.

 

****

 

Now, reading the Adobe blog article, I understand that Adobe has never really been able to highlight any coding technology other than Flash for more than a few months/years.

 

I also notice that every single major entity related to how coding trends develop, focus on HTML5 and everything that could make it better.

 

From a user perspective, I believe it is a good thing. If let's say every developer in 5 years, all know how to code in C++, and in HTML5+javascript, then it's good for me. They will be able to switch from one platform to another (if we stick with just the mobile dev business) and it also means that Cordova and other friends will eventually become bigger in terms of features set, and in terms of usage.

 

Sometimes, it is better to lose some incredible features, in order to steamline things and get a broader standard.

 

That being said:

  • I indeed would not want right now to be an AIR developper for BB10.
  • Acceptance of that fact (no more AIR in 10.3.1) highly depends on the timeline before the 10.3.1 OS goes gold for consumers.

First of all, as KermEd and UberschallSamsara have said, the main problem here is how poorly this transition is being handled. Now, for a more personal opinion about HTML5:

 

From a game developer point of view, AIR and HTML5 (taking HTML5 as HTML5+CCS+JS) are very far away. HTML5 is a patched amalgam of 3 old inconsistent tecnologies without great IDEs support, sold as 'the future'.

 

While I can simply say, use this Flash app to dessign my particles and effects and be sure that they will perform exactly like that: onebyonedesign particle editor

 

Or play around and produce some fonts on this flash app and use it for my game: littera

 

Or use consistent bone animation  or pack texture atlases with this AIR app: shoebox to use with the starling engine.

 

Or produce music and effects in real time: Sion

 

....and much more. The ability to manage binary data means that you are not limited by any format. The ability to extend flash means that you don't have to wait for extra features, should you decide to create them. Flash/AIR

 

There are other innerent problems in javascript which become obvious to any experienced developer after trying to build large projects. One of these problems, is the lack of typing, which makes writing good IDEs hard to impossible. On Flashbuilder, you can write ASDocs as you go, refactor your code, manage it nicely in classes and relations and interfaces and lots more. Working on teams is easier too. And profiling is great with flashbuilder and Adobe scout.

 

 

On HTML5, the large majority of libraries that you will find is for patching features which work differently on several platforms, and for emulating features which should be on the language. And then, there are some things which you simply can not do.

 

HTML5 is fine for websites, and for small enter text-save notes app. But try to find big non laggy apps or games made using only HTML5. And I mean, crossplatform, standard compliant HTML5, not 'if it works on chrome it's fine'.

 

Until some serious work is done with javascript to turn it into a modern language, and on HTML5 so canvas is more than what flash was 10 years ago, HTML5 slogan could be 'waste double time to do the same, half as good'.

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Developer
jtegen
Posts: 6,541
Registered: ‎10-27-2010
My Device: HTC One, PlayBook, LE Z10, DE Q10
My Carrier: Verizon

Re: An Open Letter to Adobe (and BlackBerry)

-----------------------------------------------
There are other innerent problems in javascript which become obvious to any experienced developer after trying to build large projects. One of these problems, is the lack of typing, which makes writing good IDEs hard to impossible. On Flashbuilder, you can write ASDocs as you go, refactor your code, manage it nicely in classes and relations and interfaces and lots more. Working on teams is easier too. And profiling is great with flashbuilder and Adobe scout.
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TypeScript resolves alot of OO aspects that are not a part of the JavaScript language. There are a couple of IDE's that makes coding JS a lot easier.

However, I still prefer AIR/Flash over the JS any day for development.
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