"Challenges that bring great opportunities" is how I'd summarize what I've seen of the Flex summit so far. Adobe has invited some key Flex community members and enterprise partners to discuss the open source strategy around Flex and shed light on its commitment to the Flash Platform runtimes.
Here is some of the more interesting news that came out of the discussions:
- Adobe has legal clearance to submit Flex to the Apache Software Foundation, the incubation proposal will be submitted in the coming weeks
- Adobe will not be offering any commercial support contracts for Flex 4.6 and higher, though will honor existing contracts and continue offering support for the foreseeable future.
- Flash Builder is continuing to be developed, the next version will not have Design View
- Flash Catalyst is being discontinued
- Adobe is investigating HTML5 but doesn't have a framework in the pipeline that would allow migrating enterprise Flex functionality.
- Danny Winokur acknowledges Adobe's communication blunder and resulting trust deficit
- Adobe wants to continue to innovate with the Flash Platform, gaming and premium video are features that will drive it - but will not be limited to just those areas.
- There is a firm commitment to AIR on Android, iOS and BlackBerry PlayBook.
- Discussion with Microsoft is ongoing about AIR application support in Windows 8 Metro.
- Falcon compiler is under development, current timeline is early second half 2012 for AS3 support, late 2012 for MXML. Based on the discussions at the summit, there is a keen interest to get Falcon contributed as open source and have the community help work on it.
- Falcon JS is a research project and Adobe seems very reluctant in making any promises that this will turn into a viable product to cross compile real world applications to HTML/CSS/SVG/JS.
If the news about Flex going open source came at any other time, I believe just about everyone in the community would be jumping for joy. The fact that it was announced in the wake of a general sense that Adobe is starting to abandon its Flash Platform technology is what made it problematic. That said, there are certainly valid concerns - especially for the enterprise market that makes huge long term investments and Adobe wil have a tough time reclaiming trust with them.
I was skeptical about what this summit was supposed to achieve but have to say the open discussion has been great and Adobe is clearly looking to find ways to recover from the horrible communication disaster of this last month.
There's more news coming out today (here is a live stream and you can ask questions through twitter using the #flexsummit hashtag), I might follow up on developments in a later blog post. In the meanwhile there are recordings available that you can watch of yesterdays discussions.
- Discussion, Q&A with Danny Winokur - Flash Platform and Flex updates - Falcon and Falcon JS