Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Flash on Mobile: An exciting future!

Adobe has been working with engineers at many mobile companies including RIM, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Google, Palm and more. This is part of the Open Screen Project, something that keeps looking better and better. There are some very cool business drivers behind the genesis of OSP; however the one that most developers will like is the ability to deploy applications to many screens using Flash and AIR.

The Adobe AIR team has already posted some pre-release snapshots of AIR running on Google Android devices here -

If you are interested in developing AIR and Flash Applications for the Android operating system, there is a pre-sign up you can access here:
As OSP moves forward, expect to see more news about Flash over multiple screens.

Flash and Standards:

Some people have asked in the past that the Flash file format specification be placed into the hands of a Standards Development Organization (SDO), similar to what has happened with PDF going to ISO. This is something I believe Adobe would do if they could, however in the unique case of SWF and the manner in which it became what it is today, it is unlikely to happen.

A further clarification is also worthy of noting. When people say "make Flash a(n open) standard", they really are speaking of the SWF file format. "Flash" is really an entire platform since it includes development tools, runtime plugins and environments, server side tools, side channel communications methodologies for dynamic bandwidth compensation, several servers (Flash Media Server, BlazeDS for example), binary encodings (AMF) and more. The SWF file format is a standard as it sits today. The SWF file format is published here. AMF is also published as an open specification as reported by Slashdot.

I would assert that the SWF file format is a de facto standard. Adobe cannot change it radically based on the fact they care about their community. Flash has to always be backwards compatible to play older versions. It is a pure illusion that Adobe controls Flash and can do with it what they want. The community would rebel.

I would see that the OSP project becomes a collective where more than just Adobe has input into the future of Flash. It will be good to see Google, RIM, Intel and others working directly with Adobe to build improvements into the SWF specification and beyond.

Mobile also brings some unique challenges for developers. Over the next few months I plan to bring some of these to light on this blog.


  1. I am very much looking forward to the future of Flash. Not just from a developer perspective but also from a consumer perspective. Many people don't realize all the places where Flash can and is used. When I hear people bashing it, it is really frustrating.

    However, I primarily use Windows machines and rarely (less than 10% of the time) work on a Mac. In that time, I have never once had Flash player crash but I have to assume that all the people complaining that Flash crashes frequently on Macs must have some basis for saying that. So, I have to wonder if there is a real technical problem or is it the result of a bad PR resulting for an old technical problem that people just can't forget.

  2. Duane, perhaps you (or someone) from Adobe could elaborate on how this new focus on mobile will be any different from the failed efforts of the past (

  3. @Matt:

    That is a good question. In general, I feel there are a number of things which are quite different. First is that we are approaching this as a way to standardize on Flash rather than make revenue (Flash Lite). This is a core strategy for Adobe rather than an underfunded BU. Second, the technology for mobile has significantly improved and mobile web experiences are much more important than they were a few years back. The data supports that mobile is where many people will interface for the first time with the internet.

    Third - this time we are approaching mobile as a coalition with the partners, licensing fees removed, to work together to make Flash the consistent runtime for multiple screens. We are not going at this alone and do not have the option of backing down.

    Nevertheless, I am not a magician and cannot guarantee what will happen. There are significant technical challenges and people are rising to meet these.

    These are my views only of course.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Arshad: I am deleting your comment as it is an advertement for mobile handsets. If you want to advertise on this blog, please email me and I am happy to set something up.

    duane at nickull dot net

    thank you for respecting the commenting guidelines.


  6. thanks Adobe for the working with the Nokia mobile company ....
    And i think nokia is one of the best forum especially for the mobile ...

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