Wednesday, April 11th, 2007
The debate and opinion around Flash, and how “open” it needs to be is a tough, and long argued one.
Ryan Stewart has chimed in on how Adobe can overcome the issues around open sourcing the Flash Player which came from a dinner that he had with Ted Leung and Bryan Zug, leaving him with a new opinion on the matter.
As Ajax developers, how would this affect you? Do you use, or not use Flash in your development because of the openess of Flash?
We also have to realise that “write once run anywhere” is much more true with Flash than Java, maybe in part owing to the fact that there is one true player. As soon as you have to code to implementations (in the Microsoft JVM you can do X, but for the Sun one…) you go down a bit of a rat hole.
My issues with using Flash are technical. I often want Google to be able to find the content. Or, I want the application to play nicer with the browser. If these issues were magically fixed, I don’t know if I would care about if it was open source (and what are we open sourcing, a full spec of SWF? the player itself?). That being said, open source, if used wisely, may be able to produce a better product.
So in the end, what does Adobe gain by open sourcing the player? The “buzz” factor is a bit overhyped. Adobe’s goal shouldn’t be to placate the zealots, so that’s not a valid reason. But they do gain the collective brainpower of a lot of developers. They can use that brainpower to fix some of the lingering issues and make use of creative solutions that haven’t been thought of before. The engineering team for the player is first rate, but by opening it up, Adobe gives a wide range of developers incentive and ownership in the project. The increase in transparency would provide a boost to Flash at a time when it’s starting to take off and pull in a some talented developers. Itâ€™s on track to do great things, and really shows no sign of stopping. But by opening it up, Adobe gets a better product. A better product means more developers which means more tools are sold. But the rise of Flash also means that Adobe has less incentive to open the Flash Player, and at this stage, I can’t fault them for keeping it proprietary. I’d love to see them open it, and after talking with Ted, I think they can do it and still keep business as usual, but I wouldn’t expect it any time soon. The path is open though, so we can wait and see.
Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:34 am