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Build iPhone Apps with upcoming Flash CS5
October 5, 2009 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Upcoming Flash CS5 will allow you to publish iPhone Apps. Today at Adobe MAX, Adobe announced that the upcoming Flash CS5 will allow you to build and export Flash Content as an iPhone App. This is not the same as Flash coming to the iPhone, it just means that instead of writing apps in Objective-C, folks can use ActionScript 3. Designers everywhere are already buzzing:perhaps time to re-purpose all those old intro screens? Perhaps the real question is: Do consumers win or lose?
posted by jeremias (169 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this just this morning: "Three reasons why iPhone won't get Adobe Flash"
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:39 PM on October 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'd look at this on my iPhone, but all I get instead of the flash-video with the demonstration I geta big gap. Grrrr.

But yes, this sounds great for developers, though TBH apps that performs any kind of useful function (as opposed to games) usaully work better the closer they stick to apples UI conventions and default widgets.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on October 5, 2009


Wow, that LLVM is opening things up all over the place. I don't like Actionscript, but this is rather impressive regardless.
posted by ignignokt at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2009


I'd say a win, especially for flash game developers. If they can easily port their web games to iPhone then everyone wins (well... people who play crappy flash games do).
posted by sbutler at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2009


Great - so buggy, ugly, badly written apps that already clog up (and somehow occasionally sneak through) the Apple QC process will be no more... they'll be buggy, flashy, badly written apps :(

Flash objects (games, ads, whatever) frequently seem to be the cause of family and friends having crashes when web browsing; I'm kind-of glad that iPhone Safari doesn't allow Flash - and I'm not entirely convinced that this export-as-app will be able to improve stability and reliability.

I'm going to go and read the articles now, so perhaps my grumbly snarks are actually unfounded.
posted by Chunder at 12:45 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Opening iPhone development up to flavours of C-like language that aren't utterly horrid would be nice too.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I'm going to go and read the articles now, so perhaps my grumbly snarks are actually unfounded
posted by mazola at 12:49 PM on October 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't think porting is going to be a good outcome. A huge hurdle with iPhone games is its user controls, with no physical buttons to speak of. A large amount of Flash apps, incorrectly sized and running with a generic control scheme, is not going to fit in well into the App Store.
posted by meowzilla at 12:50 PM on October 5, 2009


Perhaps the real question is: Do consumers win or lose?

If a code vandal like me could easily publish iPhone apps, consumers definitely lose. At least a few suckers, anyway.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:51 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I just spent six hours wrangling Flash videos for a web site and Flash can die in a fire for all I care.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:53 PM on October 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


Great, now can they make flash stop crashing safari every 10 minutes, thanks.
posted by empath at 12:55 PM on October 5, 2009


This is a huge development for indie game developers looking for (1) a new audience, and (2) a vector for moving up from freeware.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 12:55 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is the first step in Adobe recognizing that their technology is going extinct. Short of extremely rich AV presentation, just about anything you can do in Flash can be done in jQuery, with less code and less headaches. Cross-compilation to ASM is basically saying "well, we're turning from a client-side software vendor into a compiler vendor". Good luck competing with Javascript, Adobe.
posted by mark242 at 1:00 PM on October 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I saw this on Steam recently, going for $2.99 as a downloadable flash standalone. I'm kind of skeptical that anyone* would buy it that way, or pay that money to continue playing the demo version online. But on iPhone it would be an App Store natural - maybe at $0.99 rather than $2.99 though.

* Actually I did, mainly out of curiosity as to how it was packaged. Basically you get a fixed size flash window, and you can fullsize it to a black screen with a flash movie of the exact same size running in the middle of it. I was a little underwhelmed.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on October 5, 2009


I'm mixed on whether this is good or bad, but its certainly an interesting development.

The app store already has a ton of games, does it really need any more? How many versions of solitaire or backgammon do you need?

On the flip side, I can see this actually being fairly useful for Apple's future tablet. A ported flash game might not do so well on the 3.5" screen but on a 10" screen you can start to make flash apps identical, maybe even superior using multi-touch, to their desktop counterparts.
posted by SirOmega at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2009


Remeber when Adobe (which was separate from Macromedia at the time) created some kind of app for creating Flash movies which was not Flash?
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on October 5, 2009


Short of extremely rich AV presentation, just about anything you can do in Flash can be done in jQuery, with less code and less headaches.

Just about anything you could have done in Flash 4, perhaps. Developers are barely scratching the surface of the capabilities that have emerged in recent (Flash 8 onwards) versions.

Flash is an incredibly versatile and useful technology. The fact that it has been so widely misused is an unfortunate symptom of its accessiblity as a platform. Usability problems are a problem with the design of your interface, not problems with the underlying technology.

It's odd that whenever there's a Flash-related post, people drop in to share some anecdote about how it crashed their nephew/uncle/mother/brother's browser once. I've worked with Flash on and off as a developer for a decade now and I can honestly count the number of times my browser has crashed running a Flash movie on one hand.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:17 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Opening iPhone development up to flavours of C-like language that aren't utterly horrid would be nice too.

Objective C is not really that hard or horrible, and it is miles better than C# and, ffs, Actionscript (!).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:22 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes, I've heard that a lot from Objective C folks. I continue to consider it indoctrinated bullshit.
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


In any case, I like that Apple is using its presence in the market to push an open standard like HTML 5, which Microsoft and Adobe certainly are doing everything they can to stop. Open standards are a long-term win for everyone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:25 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


This means that there are 5 reasonable ways to do iphone development:

1) Webapps that use the safari javascript extensions - good if you've got a server handy and can convince people to hit your site
2) Hybrid javascript apps using phonegap - good if your app can survive the platform compromises
3) Objective C - good if you've learned objective C
4) Monotouch - good if you're an enterprise developer with C# chops
5) Flash CS5 - good if you're experienced in actionscript

This is a pretty broad spectrum of development languages; even with the iphone's restrictions, it's nice to see the environment opening up to more developers, so more folks can create more cool stuff. Even if 99% of everything is crap, adding 1% of cool stuff to the platform is a good thing.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I continue to consider it indoctrinated bullshit.

Please specify, in as much technical detail as you can muster, what bothers you specifically about the Objective C language, other than your personal distaste for anything Apple makes or uses. I'm genuinely interested.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


Full Flash 10.1 is being released for Symbian, Android and Windows 6.5 so with the inclusion of the iphone actionscript will cover 90+ % of the phones out there.

And no doubt Matt and Cortex are aware that Cold Fusion 9 has also been released there. Which is a bit odd as the betas of CF9 are meant to be buggy.
posted by sien at 1:30 PM on October 5, 2009


Objective C - good if you've learned objective C

You'll be just fine if you've learned regular, old, vanilla C.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 PM on October 5, 2009


You'll be just fine if you've learned regular, old, vanilla C.

Yeah, I've found that it's not a big deal at all once you get over how foreign-looking all those square brackets make it look. I already it find it much more consistent and natural than C++, in which I spent a third of my life.
posted by ignignokt at 1:34 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I continue to consider it indoctrinated bullshit.

"Location: Seattle"
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:35 PM on October 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


This opens up the iPhone market for Windows-based flash game developers. What's not to like?
posted by Memo at 1:44 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ugh. This place can be so tiresome sometimes. Look, it's another avenue for developers to use to create new content. This is a positive thing. No one will be making you purchase or even look at apps programmed with Flash, just like no one makes you play stupid Flash games on the web. I am for anything that sees control further slip from Apple's covetous little fingers.
posted by picea at 1:50 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've known and programmed in well over a dozen languages, including C and C++. Objective C is in my top three most-hated, and on a certain days I've had to use it, might hit #1. Basic example of a language that would have languished in well-deserved obscurity it hadn't been taken up by a major company for its products.

Objective C is definitely worse to work with than ActionScript, which is basically jazzed-up JavaScript (excuse me, EMCAScript). If Flash wasn't so damn buggy, ActionScript might be a pleasure to use. This could be a significant product for a lot of programmers, good and bad.
posted by mdevore at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


just about anything you can do in Flash can be done in jQuery, with less code and less headaches.

I love JQuery, but this is just not true.

- Flash give you extremely low-level control over font-data, including the ability to work with ligatures and kerning.

- Flash lets you manipulate sound data (e.g. mp3s) on the byte level.

- Flash has built-in support for an IK animation system.

- Flash has built-in support for several video codecs. I can read cue points and metadata in videos and also provide captions for the visually impaired.

- Flash has built-in support for creating and manipulating both vector and raster graphics, including support for Perlin noise, matrix manipulations, advanced triangle rendering (e.g. for a 3D engine) and blend modes.

- Flash has a simplistic 3D engine built into it (that needs to be greatly improved).

If you want to claim that many Flash developers don't know how to use these features, I agree. If you want to claim that many Flash developers abuse these (and other) features, I also agree. If you want to claim that many Flash developers build apps in Flash that could be better built in some other technology, I agree. If you want to claim that the world would be a better place if we all started using open-source techology more, I agree.

But I disagree that "just about anything you can do in Flash you can do in jQuery." Only someone who hasn't worked EXTENSIVELY with both platforms would say that.

Also, I expect you mean Ajax rather than jQuery. jQuery is a simple and powerful meta-language that rides on top of Javasctipt. It can -- and has -- been ported to Actionscript. To mimic what Flash does, you need jQuery + HTML + CSS -- and you need the next generation of some of those tools.

One day, when EVERYONE has access to HTML5 (also assuming Adobe quits innovating between now and then), Flash may be in danger. My company deals with REAL clients in the REAL world. Try telling them that their app will be in HTML5 and that people with IE6 will just not be able to use it. Go ahead: try!
posted by grumblebee at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


Opening iPhone development up to flavours of C-like language that aren't utterly horrid would be nice too.

I don't think there's anything stopping people from writing compiler targets for the iPhone for their favorite languages, which is what Adobe did here. For some reason they don't allow VMs so you can't have code that would run on the iPhone and other devices without modification, which is pretty lame.
posted by delmoi at 1:55 PM on October 5, 2009


*crickets*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2009


I just realized that my "What's not to like?" can be read as an ironical statement, which is the complete opposite of what I wanted to express.

The fact that Windows developers will be able to port their stuff without being forced to own a Mac is great. I don't even own an iPhone and I'm excited of what can be done with Flash in that platform, even if most of the first wave of apps will be games ported from their web versions.
posted by Memo at 1:58 PM on October 5, 2009



- Flash has built-in support for several video codecs. I can read cue points and metadata in videos and also provide captions for the visually impaired.


Firefox 3.5 has built in support for Ogg theora now, and HTML5 will probably have a <video> element.
posted by delmoi at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2009


This opens up the iPhone market for Windows-based flash game developers. What's not to like?

Safari. Until Apple makes a Web browser that can run all online games (Flash), applications, and movies, the iPhone seems mostly pointless to me.

Aside from the apps that use geolocation or the accelerometer (or provide traditional phone extras like a camera, etc.), I see very little point.

Just build a phone browser that works! By the time that happens, I'll likely be using a "laptop" as my phone.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2009


grumblebee: "My company deals with REAL clients in the REAL world. Try telling them that their app will be in HTML5 and that people with IE6 will just not be able to use it. Go ahead: try!"

funny story. most of your clients had this to say:

"Who are you, and how did you get my contact information? what the hell is this about?"
posted by shmegegge at 2:07 PM on October 5, 2009 [13 favorites]


Strangely, that's what most of my clients say to me, too.
posted by grumblebee at 2:09 PM on October 5, 2009 [15 favorites]


no one makes you play stupid Flash games on the web

No, but if you want to browse around the web freely, you don't really have a choice about executing flash ads (barring plugins.) I can tell you right now, anecdotally, that the single biggest subjective speedup I've ever seen from an 'upgrade' was when I installed FlashBlock in Firefox.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:12 PM on October 5, 2009


Remeber when Adobe (which was separate from Macromedia at the time) created some kind of app for creating Flash movies which was not Flash?

Yeah, it was called LiveMotion. I used it at work and I actually preferred it to Flash for non-complicated animations and interfaces.
posted by zsazsa at 2:14 PM on October 5, 2009


I won't be happy until X.

Where X=some moving target that never actually arrives.

Solve for "I".
posted by blue_beetle at 2:15 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


- Flash has built-in support for several video codecs. I can read cue points and metadata in videos and also provide captions for the visually impaired.

Firefox 3.5 has built in support for Ogg theora now, and HTML5 will probably have a video element.

That's awesome. But I have never, ever, ever been asked to write an app that only runs on Firefox 3.5. And I never will be asked to write one that uses features that will "probably" exist in the future.

I enjoy Flash development, but I'd prefer to use open-source tools. So give me a way to GET MY CURRENT ASSIGNMENTS DONE TO THE CLIENT SPECS without using Flash, and I'll dump Flash in a second. I don't think that way exists.

It's weird to me that that the "Flash is finished" people use PROBABLE FUTURE enhancements of other technologies as evidence that Flash's time is up. This ignores three things:

1) The fact that "probably in the future" does not mean "definitely in the present."

2) The fact that Adobe will continue to add features to Flash. So the current version of Flash is also doomed because it's competing against some PROBABLE version of Flash that will most likely exist in the FUTURE.

3) The fact that Flash has considerable inertia. If I magically made AJAX capable of doing everything Flash can do and more -- and I did that NOW -- that's still no guarantee that Flash would die. See VHS and the QWERTY keyboard.
posted by grumblebee at 2:18 PM on October 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


I can tell you right now, anecdotally, that the single biggest subjective speedup I've ever seen from an 'upgrade' was when I installed FlashBlock in Firefox.

Fantastic. So take it up with the clients who insist on cramming an ostensibly 30K banner with giant-ass bitmaps and transparency effects, or sidestep their file size requirements by submitting a small shell SWF to their host site...that then sub-loads a much larger file.

To blame a development platform for the abuses people make of its technology is absurd.
posted by kaseijin at 2:23 PM on October 5, 2009


To blame a development platform for the abuses people make of its technology is absurd.

Yes, but really, what fun would there be then? Also, there are bad platforms out there.
posted by GuyZero at 2:25 PM on October 5, 2009


Forgot to mention:

- Flash has access to the desktop mic (if there is one).
- Flash has access to the desktop camera (if there is one).
- Flash can manipulate any kind of binary data (it has a built in ByteArray class).
- Flash has a feature-rich XML query language built into it (E4X).
- Flash supports PixelBender, a language that lets you write an compile Photoshop/After-Effects-style filters. You can embed (or load at runtime) these filters in Flash projects, using them to generate or manipulate visuals.

Flash does NOT have

- the ability to parse though the browser DOM, edit it, add to it, etc.

If you're trying to decide whether to use AJAX of Flash for your project, look through my list. If you need capabilities that only Flash provides, then use Flash. Otherwise, you'd be better off using AJAX in my opinion. I use Flash for complex, multi-media apps. I use AJAX for DOM manipulation.
posted by grumblebee at 2:29 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Safari. Until Apple makes a Web browser that can run all online games (Flash), applications, and movies, the iPhone seems mostly pointless to me.

Seriously? Do you guys not remember how shitty web browsing used to be on phones before the iphone came out? The fact that you can look at websites at all on a phone is a minor technological miracle.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's what I think would be really healthy: let's have access to both proprietary and open-source solutions to the same webdev problems. Let's make sure the two options compete with each other. That way, the people behind the solutions have impetuous to keep innovating. That way, we all win.

Wait! We have that!
posted by grumblebee at 2:32 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting that Adobe has just basically handed some number of millions of dollars to Apple, in the form of that percentage cut on all of the new applications that are going to be available in the app store that weren't there before. I wonder if Apple will then allow Flash on the iPhone, or just say "thanks" instead.
posted by Caviar at 2:37 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Adobe can barely write Objective-C apps themselves. We’re still waiting for an update to CS4 that makes it not crash when you move the mouse too fast. You really want to trust them to manage your memory, translate your code and keep up with Apple’s SDK? Let me know how that works out for you." Jeff Rock On Authoring iPhone Apps via Flash CS5
posted by chunking express at 2:40 PM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think possibly what's happening here is all the fanbois are letting off steam after having to bite their tounges and pretend not to be wankers for so long on the Brooker thread.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2009


Safari. Until Apple makes a Web browser that can run all online games (Flash), applications, and movies, the iPhone seems mostly pointless to me.

I'm guessing you'd probably bitch about how your jet pack uses too much gas?
posted by chunking express at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I think possibly what's happening here is all the fanbois are letting off steam after having to bite their tounges and pretend not to be wankers for so long on the Brooker thread.

*crickets*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:43 PM on October 5, 2009


I think possibly what's happening here is all the fanbois are letting off steam after having to bite their tounges and pretend not to be wankers for so long on the Brooker thread.

I think soooooomebody's project-ing! ♬
posted by mazola at 2:46 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Safari. Until Apple makes a Web browser that can run all online games (Flash), applications, and movies, the iPhone seems mostly pointless to me.

I'd settle for the iPhone being a little more stable and less flakey as a phone, TBH.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on October 5, 2009


Apple: big win, they get more revenue through apps sold at the app store.
Adobe: big win, they give developers a reason to upgrade to Flash CS5.
Developers: win, but especially if you are already familiar with Flash and ActionScript 3.
Consumers: win, more apps to choose from.
Objective C developers: loss, this means the current iPhone developers are going to face a lot more competition.
Me: big win, I don't have to buy a Mac, I don't have to deal with Objective C and I can soon say yes to building one of those apps someone asks me about building every other week or so.
posted by ryoshu at 3:03 PM on October 5, 2009


I think possibly what's happening here is all the fanbois are letting off steam after having to bite their tounges...

To be fair, at this point in the thread, it appears your complaints about Objective C are essentially as reflexive as fanboy enthusiasm, just the opposite sentiment.

By all means, feel free to criticize it. In fact, I'm sortof on the cusp of deciding whether or not to invest in really learning it beyond the barely passing level of familiarity I've got now, so I'd appreciate a critical perspective.
posted by weston at 3:04 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd appreciate a critical perspective.

I would, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:07 PM on October 5, 2009


Seriously? Do you guys not remember how shitty web browsing used to be on phones before the iphone came out? The fact that you can look at websites at all on a phone is a minor technological miracle.

I was using Opera Mini, a perfectly fine mobile browser, on a 3G, MMS enabled throwaway cheap phone for a year before the first iPhone came out.
posted by kmz at 3:10 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, you're the expert, you start - what do you like about it more than C#?
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on October 5, 2009


Well, you're the expert, you start

*crickets*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:15 PM on October 5, 2009


from adobe:
Can I use native iPhone OS Controls in my Flash based iPhone content?

No.


Without native controls these apps are going to look like web pages. It's ok for games I guess.
posted by bhnyc at 3:18 PM on October 5, 2009


Face it, if you can't master objective-c you shouldn't be writing apps in the first place.
posted by digsrus at 3:18 PM on October 5, 2009


"Location: Seattle"

Oh, is that what Blazecocks crickets were all about? Sorry, I missed it. Yes. I live in Seattle. EVIL, EVIL, SEATTLE.

I've contracted at Microsoft before as well. GASP! SHOCK! SHOCKAMUNDO!

...and I still found Objective C extremely fiddly and annoying and not all that consistent. And it seemed like there was an inordinate amount of fucking about you had to do to do even basic stuff with data. I'm sure If persisted I'd get the hang of it, and after all people do great things with it (various iPhone apps, Omin's stuff, etc... etc...) but I'd sooner not, thank you.
posted by Artw at 3:18 PM on October 5, 2009


Oh, is that what Blazecocks crickets were all about?

No, my crickets were about you trying to answer a technical question by calling people "wankers" and "indoctrinated". Carry on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:23 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


What question?
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on October 5, 2009


I was using Opera Mini, a perfectly fine mobile browser, on a 3G, MMS enabled throwaway cheap phone for a year before the first iPhone came out.

Oh please, it's not remotely the same as safari on iphone.
posted by empath at 3:25 PM on October 5, 2009


I think C# would be well served to adopt some of the message passing paradigms of Objective-C, and in fact, this is something MSR has been experimenting with forever, and both F# and Axum reflect that. This is a really pointless argument though, so I'm not going to be too quick to defend this "argument."

I think Microsoft's response to this will be the most interesting part of it for me, mostly because this seems like a new threat to Silverlight. For applications already built on .NET, it's the obvious choice if you need RIA capabilities, but if I could build it in Flash instead and get a fairly cheap iPhone app in the deal, that's pretty compelling.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:26 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, Artie boy. If you makes you feel better, I'd still offer to buy you a pint if I ever met you in person.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:27 PM on October 5, 2009


I was using Opera Mini, a perfectly fine mobile browser, on a 3G, MMS enabled throwaway cheap phone for a year before the first iPhone came out.

Um, no. I mean, if it does Flash or anything that's nice, but pre-iPhone web browsers were all lousy to use. The combination of a proper rendering and pinch zoom is a real winner,
posted by Artw at 3:28 PM on October 5, 2009


Oh Blazecock, I probably would too, but I consider you utterly incapable of not towing the PR line on any Apple related product.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on October 5, 2009


Blazecock Pileon: "
No, my crickets were about you trying to answer a technical question by calling people "wankers" and "indoctrinated". Carry on.
"

To be honest and fair, having to read your "* cricket *" posts every twenty minutes is pushing me to the "wankers" side of things; I'm still up in the air about indoctrinated, though.
posted by boo_radley at 3:33 PM on October 5, 2009


btw, Unity3D has been shipping for the iPhone for a while now. Devs can use C#, Boo, or....JavaScript.
posted by ryoshu at 3:38 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here's MonoTouch for C#->iPhone.
posted by ryoshu at 3:41 PM on October 5, 2009


I consider you utterly incapable of not towing the PR line on any Apple related product.

Pot, meet kettle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:44 PM on October 5, 2009



This is the first step in Adobe recognizing that their technology is going extinct. Short of extremely rich AV presentation, just about anything you can do in Flash can be done in jQuery with less code and less headaches. Cross-compilation to ASM is basically saying "well, we're turning from a client-side software vendor into a compiler vendor". Good luck competing with Javascript, Adobe.

grumblebee and others have already deftly addressed the Flash / Javascript capabilities gap pretty deftly, but I'm just going to spout my perspective on Macrodobe's history and potential direction.

First off, I think it's hard to argue Macromedia and then Adobe have ever really been a "client-side software vendor." They've never sold their clients. Well, I suppose they've licensed them for use in embedded setups, but by and large, they've mostly made their money selling tools for creating media and media-rich apps, with some supplementary income from server products and training, maybe. In short, they've almost always been more or less what you seem to be describing when you say "compiler vendor."

And they've actually been pretty good at it. Oh, yeah, I'll acknowledge the Flash authoring environment has never been my personal cup of tea, and I'm sure there are other developers who feel the same way, and it seems to me this is one reason why Adobe has created Flex. But they created an IDE that worked for ambitious artists. In fact, I think you could argue they created the most widely used and successful IDE for artists ever, and that's pretty awesome when you think about it: they created a set of metaphors and interfaces that let a lot of people who might have otherwise been afraid of programming essentially script vector graphics and other media into not just programmatic but also highly interactive presentations. Despite the fact it's not my tool of choice, I think that's pretty impressive. I think it shows that they're quite capable of competing on the merits of their content and application creation tools.

I also don't think that Adobe is just now recognizing that competition exists and they could be obsoleted. The Flash development tools have steadily undergone improvements over the last 10 years. Over the last five years there's been a lot of discussion about targets outside the browser before. The idea of the iPhone, among other devices, being targets for apps authored in Flash or Flex, isn't particularly a break.

In short, I think it's correct to say that Adobe realizes they need to move. But despite the fact that I think Javascript + HTML 5 and who knows what else is going to be muscling in on Flash's traditional niche, an appreciation of what they've done over their history suggests it's pretty premature to be calling extinctions yet.
posted by weston at 3:44 PM on October 5, 2009


There's also OpenFrameworks for the iPhone for C++.
posted by skullbee at 3:46 PM on October 5, 2009


Silverlights kind of like the Zune - it makes a certain kind of sense inside a sheltered MS ecosystem and fuck all outside of it. I'm sure there's people out there on the campus "squirting" songs to each other till this very day and wondering why it didn't take off (the answer: because if you are not on the MS Campus no other bugger has one of the things and so there is no one to squirt to).
posted by Artw at 3:48 PM on October 5, 2009


Macs send crash reports to Apple whenever any app crashes (unless the user opts out). Apple knows that the Flash browser plugin causes more crashes than any other app on the platform. IIRC, Flash causes more crashes than everything else put together. Adobe has had YEARS to fix this problem, but the crashes continue.

ADOBE: Remember what happened to Acrobat Reader on the Mac platform? Yeah, that's how it's going to be with Flash. So long, assholes.
posted by ryanrs at 3:54 PM on October 5, 2009


Until Apple makes a Web browser that can run all online games (Flash), applications, and movies, the iPhone seems mostly pointless to me[...]Just build a phone browser that works!

Perhaps there are important things you do that you need Flash for. I understand your point of view, but I do not agree with it.

For me, Mobile Safari is a "browser that works". I do not find the lack of Flash especially limiting, as there is not much Flash content out there that I would consider essential. There are a few sites out there that don't render well on the iPhone, but they are rare. There are also sites that don't render well on Firefox.

Perhaps I'm jaded by my previous experiences with Opera Mobile on a Treo, but I quite enjoy the browsing experience of the iPhone, and it beats the pants off of the Treo hands down and twice on Sunday.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:56 PM on October 5, 2009


To be fair, Blazecock, you didn't provide any reason why Objective C is better than C# either, and C# is a wonderful language. It's got lambdas, LINQ (to SQL, to collections, etc.), variant types, the yield statement, a good object model, garbage collection, you can use pointers when you need to for speed, the .Net framework provides a pretty great set of libraries, and WPF has some really elegant ideas about how to build a GUI application.

I'm not saying anything about Objective C here, I have no experience with it. I'm generally able to appreciate any given programming language for what it is (except visual basic, of course). But you made the assertion that Objective C is miles ahead of a very nice language, and then complained when someone disagreeing with you didn't provide factual evidence. That might have worked if you had named Fortran, but you didn't.
posted by !Jim at 3:57 PM on October 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I consider you utterly incapable of not towing the PR line on any Apple related product.

One thing I don't like about iPhone development is Xcode. The IDE's features and usability have improved massively in the last two years, but there are definitely things Apple can still learn from Microsoft's Visual Studio. So chalk that up as a criticism, if you like.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:01 PM on October 5, 2009


Silverlights kind of like the Zune - it makes a certain kind of sense inside a sheltered MS ecosystem and fuck all outside of it.

The Zune is comparably priced to the iPod and provides a fresh interface, but similar features. If you use Windows (which is still an awful lot of people), the Zune software is very well regarded. To me, it mostly comes down to a matter of preference.

As far as Silverlight, I doubt Microsoft will really do enough to ever make it work. They have a habit of saying they'll support non-Windows platforms and then not really trying.

One thing that doesn't seem to come up much in these technology debates is developers. Great developers generally build great applications, and they prefer to do it on great platforms. I suspect this is why OS X has so many really awesome applications-it's a really great platform. But, if all other things were equal (which, due to lack of platform support, they are not), I wouldn't be surprised if many developers wouldn't prefer to develop in Silverlight rather than Flash.
posted by !Jim at 4:03 PM on October 5, 2009


Oops, that first line should have been in a blockquote or em tag, I was quoting Artw
posted by !Jim at 4:04 PM on October 5, 2009


ADOBE: Remember what happened to Acrobat Reader on the Mac platform? Yeah, that's how it's going to be with Flash. So long, assholes.

When I bought my first Mac (a Mac Mini that serves the useful purpose of an RSS screensaver and cross-platform testing box) I bought it because I was running into a particularly nasty Flash 8 bug on Mac/Safari. You could hit the Flash mini-site the first time and it would be slow as hell. If you refreshed the site it would be fine. It didn't take long to track down the platform/browser combination, but the actual cause of the bug...well, I don't do Macs, so I don't have the debug tools to look any deeper. To make the story short (mostly because this was a few years ago and I don't remember the details) I showed the issue to a friend that has an ADC account and he tracked down the issue...even emailed an Apple employee friend about it. Apparently Safari was making a call it shouldn't have been making[0], but hey, Safari 3.0 just came out!

$PLATFORM_SUCKS

[0] - long deprecated UI call, iirc
posted by ryoshu at 4:10 PM on October 5, 2009


Apple knows that the Flash browser plugin causes more crashes than any other app on the platform.

Well, Quicktime used to crash on me but then people stopped using it for internet video and that solved that.
posted by smackfu at 4:10 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


ADOBE: Remember what happened to Acrobat Reader on the Mac platform? Yeah, that's how it's going to be with Flash. So long, assholes.

Heh. I'm not sure how Apple writing their own PDF reader hurt Adobe in any way. Heck, if Apple wrote their own optimized Flash player for free that was native to Safari and ran faster, Adobe would probably kiss them.
posted by smackfu at 4:16 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Silverlight... Zune...

Bing would be the other one like that. Of course, every so often they come to a market in which is dominated by another seemingly invincible product and hit it out of the park, like they did with X-Box, so there's a reason they keep trying it. The other part of it seems to be that they like keeping their toe in as many markets as possible, even if they have a product that is never going to go anywhere (windows live spaces).
posted by Artw at 4:16 PM on October 5, 2009


Garbage collection is available with Objective C for Mac OS X, but not the iPhone. I'm not sure a slow or buggy garbage collection implementation would necessarily work for something as small and underpowered as the iPhone (comparing it with a laptop or desktop, for example). I think forcing developers to learn good memory management habits (by, for example, culling crashy apps that don't manage memory properly) has resulted in better, faster iPhone applications and a better experience. I guess we'll see how MonoTouch works out.

Objective C will not have LINQ, because LINQ is .NET. However, Apple has Core Data, key-value binding, predicate and set frameworks that do the same thing as LINQ. Function pointers or Objective C++ give you lambdas, if you need them.

The second option highlights a major advantage, in that you can bring in portable C, Objective C and C++ code, as needed.

A couple things I don't like about C# and Java are that it will often take several large, laborious chunks of code to do what will take one or two clean lines in C/ObjC. I also like that ObjC method calling is more readable, in that the method more clearly identifies the arguments it takes. Instead of foo(bar, baz) you might write something like [foo multiplyMatrix:bar withTransposeOfMatrix:baz]. That example doesn't seem like much, but when you're dealing with thousands of lines of code, that kind of overall readability helps a lot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:22 PM on October 5, 2009


Me: big win, I don't have to buy a Mac, I don't have to deal with Objective C and I can soon say yes to building one of those apps someone asks me about building every other week or so.

Hmm... I didn't see it anywhere but I have a feeling you'll still need a mac to submit your app unless things have changed. There's all this packaging stuff you have to do, code signing and what not that happens within XCode, and I don't know if the tools will work on Windows at all. For making / debugging a pure flash -> ipa app, sure a Windows box would be fine of course, but once you get to the end you'll need to at least borrow one I bet. Either way will be interesting to see how they do it.
posted by neustile at 4:22 PM on October 5, 2009


Sorry, responding to !Jim's comment, there.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:23 PM on October 5, 2009


to follow up, it says at the bottom of the link that "Once you're satisfied with your application, sign it with your distribution certificate and upload it to iTunes Connect" -- not sure if they will provide a port of the code signing bits or if you still need XCode's "codesign" or if by then it'll be easier to do.
posted by neustile at 4:26 PM on October 5, 2009


I'm not sure a slow or buggy garbage collection implementation would necessarily work for something as small and underpowered as the iPhone (comparing it with a laptop or desktop, for example). I think forcing developers to learn good memory management habits (by, for example, culling crashy apps that don't manage memory properly) has resulted in better, faster iPhone applications and a better experience. I guess we'll see how MonoTouch works out.

GC works fine on Android, although I'll temper that by saying you can still screw yourself even with a perfect, infinitely fast GC system is you try hard enough.
posted by GuyZero at 4:27 PM on October 5, 2009


Instead of foo(bar, baz) you might write something like [foo multiplyMatrix:bar withTransposeOfMatrix:baz]. That example doesn't seem like much, but when you're dealing with thousands of lines of code, that kind of overall readability helps a lot.

Yeah, that's the bit where i scratch my head and say "I type how fucking much?"
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, you should hear what the Python guys think about Java & C++.

My main objection is that Objective C is like reading a language where all the words are english but the grammar is totally different. It seems like I should understand it easily, but I do not. So I go back to what I know.
posted by GuyZero at 4:30 PM on October 5, 2009


You should here me on Ruby on Rails developers. Not the language, I know close to fuck all about that, but the developers, oh yes, I know those guys - soulpatch wearing skateboard riding motherfuckers.
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on October 5, 2009


Art, be cool or be cast out.
posted by GuyZero at 4:40 PM on October 5, 2009


Objective C is better than C# either, and C# is a wonderful language. It's got lambdas, LINQ (to SQL, to collections, etc.), variant types, the yield statement, a good object model, garbage collection, you can use pointers when you need to for speed, the .Net framework provides a pretty great set of libraries, and WPF has some really elegant ideas about how to build a GUI application.

Minus LINQ and (I think) yield, and with the addition of a message passing rather than method invocation perspective and a generally smalltalk-ish object view, this seems more or less like a description of the merits of Objective C to me.

I don't know much about C#. I built a toy app in Mono 5 years ago, that's the limit of my experience. Seems to me that it's the spiritual heir of both Java and Delphi. From my perspective, Java got the world halfway from C++ to Smalltalk, so it has some merits, and Delphi absolutely had some elegant ideas about how to build a GUI and handle objects. I think the idea that C# is nice is credible.
posted by weston at 4:41 PM on October 5, 2009


Anyone care to explain why garbage collection in Objective C requires an update to the OS? I'm guessing it has something to do with the way the runtime is embedded into the OS APIs but it's seems like an unfortunate coupling to me.

In general I found MM to be annoying in Objective C. When you get the hang of smart pointers & RAII/RRID generally C++ actually starts to work pretty well. In contrast the whole autoreleasepool/finally stuff is primitive.

But I'm speaking as someone who knows C++ and is slowly/intermittently trying to learn Objective C so I’m sure I’m probably missing something.
posted by Wood at 4:47 PM on October 5, 2009


Yeah, that's the bit where i scratch my head and say "I type how fucking much?"

Xcode auto-completes the parameter names. I'm guessing you hate auto-complete too.
posted by bhnyc at 4:49 PM on October 5, 2009


Yeah, that's the bit where i scratch my head and say "I type how fucking much?"

I was describing two different matters.

In the first case, you might need a block of 10-20 lines to, say open up and read through the data in a file and handle exceptions, etc. whereas you might only need a few lines of (to me, somewhat more readable and flexible code) for ObjC. In the former case, hiding a lot of this behind more code would obviously help, but doing so can introduce its own problems, such as inflexibility and inscrutability.

In the second case, I was referring to how methods are called, in that Objective C methods (when well-named) can give you a good idea of what arguments that method takes, what the method does with the arguments, and what you ultimately get back from that method. In C/C++/Java-style languages, it's not uncommon to see the method name flailing to be as informative. I think the former approach is naturally readable and is infinitely preferable to searching through the plumbing of header files and comments. Though I'll grant this is still necessary with Objective C, if less so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:51 PM on October 5, 2009


Instead of foo(bar, baz) you might write something like [foo multiplyMatrix:bar withTransposeOfMatrix:baz]. That example doesn't seem like much, but when you're dealing with thousands of lines of code, that kind of overall readability helps a lot.

I waffle on this. On one hand, I really like short syntax for frequently invoked concepts. I love languages like Javascript and Perl with convenient literal shorthands for commonly used things like arrays and hashes/objects. And hate that PHP makes me type "array()" every time instead of "[]." Yeah, it's only 5 more characters, but I use it so much it's a pain and it swells code column width which reduces readability.

On the other hand... these days I frequently find myself writing my javascript functions to take a single object as an argument so that I can essentially use the object literal syntax to pass named arguments. In essence, I am adopting the Objective C style within the parameters of Javascript syntax. That clearly makes me have to type more on each call, and yet I don't care. I'm trying to figure out why this is. I don't even have code completion in most of the environments in which I author Javascript. I think it partly has to do with readability. I think part of it is the convenience of having both optional and unordered args. It makes the coupling between the function feel looser, that particularly reduces friction for me when I'm writing or refactoring API-ish stuff.

Yeah, that's the bit where i scratch my head and say "I type how fucking much?"

I don't think you have to do this much in XCode. Code completion appears to be omnipresent.
posted by weston at 4:53 PM on October 5, 2009


Yeah, that's the bit where i scratch my head and say "I type how fucking much?"

These days, editors make sure you type no more that 2-3 characters then hit tab.


By all means, feel free to criticize it. In fact, I'm sortof on the cusp of deciding whether or not to invest in really learning it beyond the barely passing level of familiarity I've got now, so I'd appreciate a critical perspective.

This blog is generally pro-Objective-C (but not pro-iPhone-development), but it does provide some fairly deep analysis of the language and various frameworks connected to it which can be helpful for deciding.
posted by ignignokt at 4:54 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Function pointers or Objective C++ give you lambdas, if you need them.

I know how to do function pointers in C, but I don't see how that gives you the kind of inline anonymous function convenience, and I don't know anything about how objective C++ might accomplish this....
posted by weston at 5:02 PM on October 5, 2009


In any case, I like that Apple is using its presence in the market to push an open standard like HTML 5, which Microsoft and Adobe certainly are doing everything they can to stop.

That's completely untrue. MSFT has contributed to the HTML5 process, as have multiple Adobe people. HTML5 will see at least partial support in IE9.

What's stopping HTML5 isn't MSFT and Adobe, it's the current construction of the HTML5's working group, which is essentially a personality cult around Ian Hickson and backed by Google's deep pockets. HTML5 is being written for Google's programmers. And any objection that's been offered so far has been met with anything from derision to dismissal from Hickson and his followers.
posted by dw at 5:05 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know how to do function pointers in C, but I don't see how that gives you the kind of inline anonymous function convenience, and I don't know anything about how objective C++ might accomplish this....

That was recently added via blocks. Blocks are in the runtime that ships with 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
posted by ignignokt at 5:12 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Artw and Blazecock Pileon: I honestly appreciate -- and often admire -- the contributions from the both of you.

But I would like to just put it out there that I feel strongly that if you guys would not just assume good faith but assume the assumption of good faith, this could be a far more interesting discussion.

No offence meant: I'm just sad to see a debate I'm enjoying be not as respectful as it easily could be.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


ok, blocks are melting my mind a bit. is there a vm-style runtime on the iphone?
posted by GuyZero at 5:25 PM on October 5, 2009


I like Objective C, and I like doing mac programing. However if you make a statement like function pointers or Objective C++ give you lambdas, if you need them you probably don't really know what you are talking about.

As has been mentioned, lambdas and function pointers are very different beasts. Blocks are the Objective C version of lambdas (can even you use blocks on the iPhone?) and while it's impressive Apple managed to force something lambda-like into C, they still feel like the total kludges they are when compared to a real functional language.
posted by aspo at 5:40 PM on October 5, 2009


can even you use blocks on the iPhone?

Once it's compiled, it doesn't matter, does it?
posted by empath at 5:44 PM on October 5, 2009


ok, blocks are melting my mind a bit. is there a vm-style runtime on the iphone?

Not VM-style, it's fully compiled native code. Blocks are actually an extension to C, with some extra convenience wrappers for Objective-C. There are some weird corner cases given C's fast-and-loose approach to, well, everything, but they're pretty impressive given the constraints. Given how much of Objective-C's design is modeled on Smalltalk, my (pipe-)dream is that Apple creates a full Smalltalk environment eventually; the equivalent of Microsoft's move from C/C++ to .NET. F-Script is a pretty good demonstration of what it might look like.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 5:44 PM on October 5, 2009


it's impressive Apple managed to force something lambda-like into C, they still feel like the total kludges they are when compared to a real functional language

Another option is to use Boost's lambda library with Objective C++. Exception handling is a little trickier, but it's an option if you need it. (Wouldn't people call C# a functional language, by having functional language capabilities added to it?)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:54 PM on October 5, 2009


Safari. Until Apple makes a Web browser that can run all online games (Flash), applications, and movies, the iPhone seems mostly pointless to me.

Safari on the iPhone is pretty amazing, and only now are other platforms catching up. I'm sure it depends on the user, but only very rarely do I even run into a site that needs flash, probably because I use safari on the iPhone like I use safari on the mac, avoiding flash (I won't even get into flash 'apps'. Flash apps? Really? I'd rather pay 99 cents a real app).

I was using Opera Mini, a perfectly fine mobile browser, on a 3G, MMS enabled throwaway cheap phone for a year before the first iPhone came out.
posted by kmz


I was too, and it sucked. At the time, sure, I thought it was cool. Comparing it to safari on the iPhone though is pretty humorous. I almost wonder if you were serious. I hope not.

I think possibly what's happening here is all the fanbois are letting off steam after having to bite their tounges and pretend not to be wankers for so long on the Brooker thread.
posted by Artw


Every time a conversation about platforms quickly turns into someone pulling out 'fanboi' I always think we're dealing with some pimply faced teenager. I'm always disappointed.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2009


Well, Quicktime used to crash on me but then people stopped using it for internet video and that solved that.

Yes. Quicktime is a turd. Apple is rewriting it to make it stink less (about fucking time, too).


Heh. I'm not sure how Apple writing their own PDF reader hurt Adobe in any way. Heck, if Apple wrote their own optimized Flash player for free that was native to Safari and ran faster, Adobe would probably kiss them.

Maybe you're right. I don't know how important it is to Adobe to control Flash Player. I figured a loss of control would hobble their efforts to evolve the language and compete with Silverlight, HTML 5, etc. But I guess if that really mattered to them, they'd make an effort to suck less.


You could hit the Flash mini-site the first time and it would be slow as hell. If you refreshed the site it would be fine. [..] Apparently Safari was making a call it shouldn't have been making[0], but hey, Safari 3.0 just came out!

Is this site-specific performance regression supposed to excuse Flash Player's platform dominating crash statistics?
posted by ryanrs at 6:35 PM on October 5, 2009


Welll that's some kind of weird karma or someythiong - my iPhone just fucking bricked on me. Possibly I should have paid more attention to the weird freezing issue it's been having of late.
posted by Artw at 6:53 PM on October 5, 2009


Hehe.

Flash *totally* has the ability to access the browser DOM. Back in 2007 I wrote a combined JS/Flash app that used bugs in Flash's socket security model to build a network proxy -- you came to my website, I got to browse around your corporate network. Used Flash sockets for the internal network and AJAX (XMLHTTP) for the backhaul. Worked very well.

Flash is so much more powerful than people know. HTML5 and SVG and the video tag and all these things are well and good but Flash has been doing its thing, as its been doing it, for ages. And you know what you don't have to think about when you write to Flash? Browser compatibility. Just doesn't come up.

Web guys, how's that IE6 treating you?
posted by effugas at 7:00 PM on October 5, 2009


Motherfucker WILL NOT DIE.
posted by Artw at 7:14 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm returning a little late to the party, but I had a few things to add.
Instead of foo(bar, baz) you might write something like [foo multiplyMatrix:bar withTransposeOfMatrix:baz]. That example doesn't seem like much, but when you're dealing with thousands of lines of code, that kind of overall readability helps a lot.
Well I'm not sure what foo does, but assuming it operates on baz*bazT, that could be expressed in C# as foo(baz*baz.T) what with operator overloading and all. .T would be a property that takes the transpose of baz (more likely it might be baz.transpose() to be fair).

Honestly, it's hard for me to gauge the readability of Objective C because the syntax is so foreign, and I don't know it. That of course isn't a critique of Objective C at all.

You sound like you're lumping C# and Java together, which might have been a valid comparison a few years ago, but C# is now way, way ahead of Java, in terms of being much more expressive. This link has an excellent collection of differences between Java and C#. Now, of course, more language features != better language, but having used many of these features in practice, I can say that they really do make C# a much nicer coding platform than Java.

Function pointers or Objective C++ give you lambdas, if you need them

Well no one needs lambdas, but honestly, they make things so much easier to read and to write. I mean, no one needs procedural programming either, we could all go back to writing code with gotos, but no one who has done procedural programming would argue we should go back.

Imagine you just need to sort an array by a custom function, or maybe do a quick reduce operation with an array. This code could be (this is sort of a pythonic pseudocode):
array=[]
array.reduce(sum_of_squares);

def sum_of_square(a,b):
    return a+pow(b, 2)
In C at least, this would be even less expressive, because you'd have to create a function pointer first. That would be like typedef ( (double) summer(double a, double b)); or something (my C is rusty).

or, it could be
array=[]
array.reduce(lambda a,b: a+pow(b,2));
There's no defining a function solely for this purpose (which can lead to annoying namespacing issues, and is ugly since it's only used once), there's no looking around to figure out what it's called or anything like that. It's just right there.
I think forcing developers to learn good memory management habits (by, for example, culling crashy apps that don't manage memory properly) has resulted in better, faster iPhone applications and a better experience.
I believe it is generally agreed that garbage collection is a Good Thing in terms of application stability, developer productivity, and so on. Good memory management habits in a GCed language can become bad habits, and really , good memory management habits are a set of skills that only apply to situations where one must manage memory. Now, in the iPhone case, excluding GC for performance reasons was Apple's call, and since I don't have a GCed iphone to test it on, I'm going to trust that their reasoning was sound.
posted by !Jim at 7:33 PM on October 5, 2009


Web guys, how's that IE6 treating you?
posted by effugas at 7:00 PM on October 5 [+] [!]


Motherfucker WILL NOT DIE.
posted by Artw at 7:14 PM on October 5 [+] [!]
This is what will prevent the adoption of HTML5 more than anything. Even with Microsoft pushing IE7 and IE8 (which is an entirely okay browser) for years now, IE6 usage has stabilized somewhere around 30% (IIRC). When IE8 came out, it was depressing to watch IE7 usage go down in proportion to the increase in IE8 usage, while IE6 usage stayed constant. (There is a graph of this somewhere, but I can never find it when I need it.)
posted by !Jim at 7:35 PM on October 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm uncertain that the poor miserable fuckers stuck with it in the finance departemnt of whatever hellish company they work at get to run the latest whizzo version of flash though.

Intranets can be kind of weird. My current one has a Java (not javascript) based app that ONLY WORKS IN IE. Should that even be possible? I wonder if a suffiet of money in 2000-2001, cut off after the crash and not renewed, was the cause of all the weird IE6 only stuff out there in intranet land
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Blocks are not implemented purely through compilation - there is a runtime needed for blocks (and if you think about it, C itself needs a runtime, too), which ships with 10.6, but you need PLBlocks to use blocks on 10.5 and iPhone.

To bring it full circle, Blocks were made possible in part by LLVM, just like the Flash iPhone compiler as mentioned in the first link in the post.
posted by ignignokt at 7:50 PM on October 5, 2009


Even with Microsoft pushing IE7 and IE8 (which is an entirely okay browser) for years now, IE6 usage has stabilized somewhere around 30% (IIRC).

Maybe Windows 7 will change that. I know a lot of corporate clients just skipped Vista entirely, along with any of its IE updates. Little to no gain in their eyes over XP Pro.
posted by smackfu at 7:59 PM on October 5, 2009


Is this site-specific performance regression supposed to excuse Flash Player's platform dominating crash statistics?

Not at all. Just pointing out that platform specific problems may not be the plug-in vendor's issue. That anecdote isn't the only time I've seen issues on a Mac that wasn't related to Adobe's shitty code.
posted by ryoshu at 8:37 PM on October 5, 2009


This is why we can't have nice things.
posted by kaseijin at 9:06 PM on October 5, 2009


Web guys, how's that IE6 treating you?

Not so bad, given that I know the bugs and all the workarounds from years of dealing with it.

And it was written by well-meaning but ignorant people, unlike Flash, which was written by arrogant programmers who thought they could replace HTML in the same way Java was supposed to replace HTML, then sold out to a company who loves its customers so much it forces them to use one single unwieldy and at times undecipherable UI for all their products, at least when their customers can get through the overzealous DRM that rejects legitimate copies and requires you to uninstall and reinstall the product (if you're lucky enough to be using a Mac, God help you if you're running Vista and have to reinstall the OS).

Give me having to deal with the 3px Jog or the Peekaboo Bug any day over being handed still another inaccessible three minute website Flash intro that does nothing but be a spank film for some twentysomething Flash designer whose idea of web design is deciding whether the noise on the transitions goes WHOOSH or CLICKWHURR.
posted by dw at 9:24 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


dw,

Ah. Lets back up for a second.

Flash is a collection of a couple of different technologies. It's a vector art engine, and it's a compiled ECMAscript engine, and it's a network stack.

As the latter two, it's incredible.

As the first, it's dramatically overused. Flash's vector engine is amazing for online games and advertising. It's terrible, terrible, terrible for everything else. The only thing reasonable about its vector engine is it is stable across platforms, which is more than I can say for HTML. But yes, the output for any sort of information transfer use is awful.

As a technology though, it's pretty damn good.
posted by effugas at 9:31 PM on October 5, 2009


This is what will prevent the adoption of HTML5 more than anything.

Actually, the lack of HTML5 support in IE7 and IE8 will be a far bigger block. IE6 is mainly preventing the adoption of CSS and AJAX.

Even with Microsoft pushing IE7 and IE8 (which is an entirely okay browser) for years now, IE6 usage has stabilized somewhere around 30% (IIRC).

No, it's far less than that, though it varies a great deal depending on site audiences. The site I manage for work is down to 10% IE6, while another site on campus is still reporting well over 20%. OTOH, some sites report 10% usage of ALL IE broswers.

I've had a feeling since spring that IE6's market share would move under 10% by the end of 2009, and that all this anti-IE6 sentiment was pointless since it'd be gone soon enough. Win 7 should be its final nail in the coffin, but we'll just have to see whether that will happen.
posted by dw at 9:34 PM on October 5, 2009


No, it's far less than that, though it varies a great deal depending on site audiences.

Yes, because a site specifically targeted toward web developers is a good gauge of how common their least-favorite browser is in the wild. Maybe if your website specifically targets web developers. Hitlink's statistics give a drastically different picture: 66% IE. Wikipedia has a summary table that brings several stats together that give ranges from 50%-80% marketshare for IE.

Actually, the lack of HTML5 support in IE7 and IE8 will be a far bigger block. IE6 is mainly preventing the adoption of CSS and AJAX.

I think once people upgrade to IE7 and 8, they are more likely to go to IE9, because it should be a more incremental change, and they're less likely to rely on the broken nature of IE6. But maybe that's just wishful thinking.
posted by !Jim at 10:18 PM on October 5, 2009


- Flash has built-in support for several video codecs. I can read cue points and metadata in videos and also provide captions for the visually impaired.

That sentence made me do a double-take.

What good are captions for the visually impaired?
posted by eye of newt at 10:27 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


On my current project we are not supporting IE6. Damn that feels good. That may change with the next project, we'll see. And at least it's not IE 5.5, or IE 5 mac, or NN 4 ( in any of it's many and horrible versions... Shudder)
posted by Artw at 10:32 PM on October 5, 2009


Ah. Lets back up for a second.

Oh come on, do you have to be reasonable?

As the latter two, it's incredible.

The one thing I will say is that within those two lies FLV, which is what I mostly use Flash for. Between the pervasiveness of Flash and the ease of implementation Flash is the best thing out there for embeddable video, and nothing comes close to it. OTOH, the main reason I say that is because of the JW FLV open source player. I've had serious trouble trying to get the native video players to work with videos beyond 10 minutes long.

The only thing reasonable about its vector engine is it is stable across platforms, which is more than I can say for HTML.

I'd like to say that things will change in this area soon, but given HTML5 is supporting the messy and incomplete CANVAS library over a stable SVG standard, and given that even with that CANVAS still won't be supported in IE until probably IE10, we're going to have to live with the Flash vector engine for years.
posted by dw at 10:35 PM on October 5, 2009


Yes, because a site specifically targeted toward web developers is a good gauge of how common their least-favorite browser is in the wild. Maybe if your website specifically targets web developers. Hitlink's statistics give a drastically different picture: 66% IE. Wikipedia has a summary table that brings several stats together that give ranges from 50%-80% marketshare for IE.

The question at hand was IE6 usage, not IE usage in general. None of the links you provide break it down between IE6/7/8. Overall IE6 usage is ranging between 10-15% right now.
posted by dw at 10:37 PM on October 5, 2009


Give me having to deal with the 3px Jog or the Peekaboo Bug any day over being handed still another inaccessible three minute website Flash intro that does nothing but be a spank film for some twentysomething Flash designer whose idea of web design is deciding whether the noise on the transitions goes WHOOSH or CLICKWHURR.

Give me consistent canvas adoption across all major browsers where I can do interactive data visualization and we can get back to the hurf durfing again. As is, use the right technology for the client's needs.

If Adobe can open up the iPhone platform to more developers, more power to them.
posted by ryoshu at 10:38 PM on October 5, 2009


You can simulate the canvas tag on IE with various libraries - not sure of the full extent of how far you can go with that though - probably not all that far.
posted by Artw at 10:45 PM on October 5, 2009


Ah yes, I totally forgot about just how much better Flash video is than the competition. It's not until you start spawning videos in WMP or QT or Real that you start saying...

Wait, it's possible to play video without grinding the hard drive for 15 seconds?

I might be a little down on the vector engine. When you really do want vector art -- games, ads -- wow, wow, wow. There's a reason Flash *owns* 2D in console games.
posted by effugas at 10:52 PM on October 5, 2009


I'd like to say that things will change in this area soon, but given HTML5 is supporting the messy and incomplete CANVAS library over a stable SVG standard, and given that even with that CANVAS still won't be supported in IE until probably IE10, we're going to have to live with the Flash vector engine for years.

Microsoft won't even support SVG. Why would they ever support any other standard?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:54 PM on October 5, 2009


ECMAscript engine, and it's a network stack.

I thought actionscript 3 was more "java like" rather then "javascript like", like actionscript 2. I've worked with AS2 and it was garbage. It was "kinda" like javascript, but you lose out an the useful stuff like closures (yes, javascript can do closures, it's actually a pretty cool language) because of their insanely stupid, tacked on type system. It's also impossible to debug.

AS2 was crap. Also the networking sucked, since it was event drive. I don't know if that's better now or not.
posted by delmoi at 11:19 PM on October 5, 2009


Oh, and the future, each website will just use a standard library to do all of it's rendering with the canvas tag, so we won't have to worry about browser incompatibility.
posted by delmoi at 11:20 PM on October 5, 2009


It was "kinda" like javascript, but you lose out an the useful stuff like closures (yes, javascript can do closures, it's actually a pretty cool language) because of their insanely stupid, tacked on type system.

You can still do closures in AS2 and AS3. Functions are still first class objects, duck typing is still possible, etc. ActionScript 3 is more Java-like than JavaScript-like, but the underlying flexibility is still there (AS3 is where ECMAScript /was/ going).
posted by ryoshu at 11:37 PM on October 5, 2009


It was "kinda" like javascript, but you lose out an the useful stuff like closures (yes, javascript can do closures, it's actually a pretty cool language) because of their insanely stupid, tacked on type system.

I recently had to do a substantial with javascript and was like, "Aw, maaaan." But after finding out about closures and JQuery, I was like, "Whoa!" You can even hack up objects via closures! It's still a mess, but the surprise niftiness is very welcome.
posted by ignignokt at 12:06 AM on October 6, 2009


Hehe. Y'all need to learn about HaXe, the alternative and totally awesome way to code to the AS3 engine. Put simply:

1) Unified language that outputs to both JS and SWF
2) No braindead typing
3) Access to 100% of Flash

It's really a joy to work in.
posted by effugas at 12:16 AM on October 6, 2009


- Flash has access to the desktop camera (if there is one).

I wonder if iPhone Flash apps will be able to access the iPhone camera in a similar way. The video mentioned that the accelerometer inputs will be exposed, but no mention of the camera...
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:05 AM on October 6, 2009


The big guys in the world of corporate and public sector IT hang onto IE6 because of its limitations not despite them. The locked-down desktop is still a high priority for lots of IT managers. One solution would be to release a hobbled version of IE8 with all the good rendering bits, but none of the extensibility that IT managers are so wary of, etc. But they won't do that. So most people have to develop for IE6 because it's often the browser used by their senior clients.
posted by johnny novak at 1:20 AM on October 6, 2009


All I've seen in this discussion (if you can call it that) is that there are different kind of developers with different kind of clients preferring different kind of development environments.

Me, I'm the same. Make me use the flash authoring tools and you'll have me throwing coffee mugs at the wall and cursing loudly within a few minutes, and I'm just peachy happy with XCode. Ergo, I don't do flash development if I can possibly avoid it - please hire somebody else if you need it. I can't seem to wrap my head around C#, but Objective C is great for me. Same thing.

It's the same with the whole PC versus Mac "discussions". Please use whatever tools you are comfortable with to do your job, and I'll do the same.

I won't be using this new stuff by Adobe, but I can see why others would do so. More greatness to them. I use a Mac on my desktop, and FreeBSD for my servers, but you won't find me trying to convince you it's great for you too, without first getting to know a lot about how you work and what you need to get the job done.

Can you tell that I really can't understand all the fanboi stuff happening in discussions like these?
posted by DreamerFi at 2:09 AM on October 6, 2009


I'm someone who programs for work and leisure (I had a messy break-up with Python a couple of years ago, after I was seduced by R), but I'm by no means a Programmer, but this post has been pleasing to me, because I've learnt that a lot of features languages have are just added extras, and aren't actually necessary. I gave up learning C because I'm too stupid to get my head around the idea of pointers even. I can kinda understand why lambdas may be useful, but I've never come across a situation where I've actually needed to use them. Blocks? What's that all about? This has always concerned me a little bit - is there something I'm missing out on? Some cool thing that I haven't had access to because I'm too stupid to figure it out? Reading through this thread, and some of the sites people have linked to, have confirmed that these things aren't actually necessary to writing a program that performs a certain task, they're just fancy extras for people deeper into code than I. Anyway, I digress...

given that even with that CANVAS still won't be supported in IE until probably IE10, we're going to have to live with the Flash vector engine for years.

Why? I mean, seriously. How long does it take to implement these fucking features? Have Microsoft got 3 work-experience students and a badger devoted to IE development now, or what?
posted by Jimbob at 3:13 AM on October 6, 2009


The badger has been transferred to the Silverlight team.
posted by ryanrs at 4:30 AM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Give me consistent canvas adoption across all major browsers

Problem there is that there are serious problems with the canvas standard that aren't getting fixed, and little is being done about it. The accessibility issues with canvas are so bad it's like the bad old days of Flash.

Microsoft won't even support SVG. Why would they ever support any other standard?

Because the IE team now has decided to embrace standards, and now that SVG is a standard, you can expect it will make it into IE at some point. Also, XAML is essentially DOA outside of Silverlight, and there's some serious hatred for canvas within the IE team, so the implementation of SVG seems inevitable.

How long does it take to implement these fucking features? Have Microsoft got 3 work-experience students and a badger devoted to IE development now, or what?

Ballmer cut the team in half with the last round of layoffs, then Chris Wilson moved to another group within IE. That said, it's still a group of smart people there who are trying to walk the tightrope between the standards community and their employer's desire for world domination through proprietary code, all while being tied down by a browser that's still deeply interlinked with the OS rather than a standalone app. The IE development cycle, IIRC, is now either 18 or 24 months, which is still a longer period than Mozilla, but it at least means we won't be stuck with another IE6 again.
posted by dw at 8:11 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


/reads thread slowly and with increasing disbelief
/carefully and methodically turns off computer
/climbs into attic and blows dust from big box of Lego.

Fuck you, developers. Fuck you one and all.
posted by Jofus at 8:35 AM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


CANVAS tag is a HTML 5 element based on a propriety Safari tag. I'm not aware of MS adopting any of HTML 5 yet, but seeing as it hasn't been finalized that's hardly surprising. THey don;t have greta support for the similarly unfinalised CSS3.

Should browsers be implementing standards that have not been finalized yet? That would be waht gave us the box model problems of IE6 and under (they guessed what the most logical implementation of height and wicth would be, and of course W3C went for something else, making percentage widtsh useless with borders and padding in the process).
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on October 6, 2009


Is there a better way to do sound and video on the browser than flash right now? I don't think so.
posted by empath at 9:33 AM on October 6, 2009


MIDI files!
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on October 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to try this and not be able to do it.
posted by hellbient at 9:58 AM on October 6, 2009


- Flash has built-in support for several video codecs. I can read cue points and metadata in videos and also provide captions for the visually impaired.

That sentence made me do a double-take.

What good are captions for the visually impaired?


I don't know, but from what I wrote, it seems that I have the ability to read them. I can also run any USB device, and, if you want toast, just push a piece of bread into the slot on my arm.
posted by grumblebee at 12:02 PM on October 6, 2009


Lots of people use the captions on Hulu, if their forums complaining about them are any indication.
posted by smackfu at 12:24 PM on October 6, 2009


What good are captions for the visually impaired?

Visually impaired /= blind, necessarily.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 12:36 PM on October 6, 2009


CANVAS tag is a HTML 5 element based on a propriety Safari tag. I'm not aware of MS adopting any of HTML 5 yet, but seeing as it hasn't been finalized that's hardly surprising.

CANVAS is an incomplete setup. It was created by Apple to run Dashboard gadgets, and now people are trying to extend it far beyond that use.

I'm not aware of MS adopting any of HTML 5 yet, but seeing as it hasn't been finalized that's hardly surprising. THey don;t have greta support for the similarly unfinalised CSS3.

MSFT is in wait-and-see mode on HTML5 -- when it becomes a standard, they'll start working on it, but the HTML5 process is such a mess that they can bide their time. The aim with IE8 was to be fully CSS2 compliant, and as I've understood it they've implemented 98% of CSS2, more than WebKit or Mozilla has. There is some very limited CSS3 support in IE8 as well. IE9 is supposed to bring additional CSS3 support, starting with full support for selectors.

Should browsers be implementing standards that have not been finalized yet?

It's bitten MSFT on the ass not once, but twice -- the XML working groups completely rejiggered XSL (into XSLT) and XPath in 1999, and that completely mucked with IE6 development. IIRC, they had to offer a patch for IE5.5 so it could handle the revised XML standard.

Going forward they've decided to be the browser picking up the rear for good reason -- they have a lot of business customers. They can't afford to be cutting edge when the standard is going to change continually until it's finished Last Call. They don't what to have to explain to the IT guy at Very Big Corporation why in IE8.1 it renders their Salesforce screen one way but in IE8.2 it renders it another way, and IT guy is not going to be happy with having to download IE8.3 and deploy it to 50,000 computers and then deal with all those changes.

So, they're sticking with standards that are final. CSS3 is the exception, but it sounds like they're going to stick with the parts of CSS3 that are stable, e.g. selectors.
posted by dw at 12:41 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Should browsers be implementing standards that have not been finalized yet? That would be waht gave us the box model problems of IE6 and under

Fair enough comment - I should be blaming the standards development process, not Microsoft. I just wish the process could be a little bit more fascist, so the trains could run on time, instead of 3 years from now...
posted by Jimbob at 1:23 PM on October 6, 2009


I just wish the process could be a little bit more fascist

We got that in HTML5. The result has been verging on disaster.
posted by dw at 1:56 PM on October 6, 2009


That thing with the FOOTER tag was ridiculous, thankfully they seem to have come to back to some kind of sense on that.

It's the CSS committees that seem most divorced from the realities of web page creation, with the whole struggle over getting stuff in columns to align vertically without using tables being completely fucking ridiculous (CSS3solves this problem by giving you a style that will make your DIV behave like a table. Well, that's awesome - why did we not use a fucking table in the first place?)
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on October 6, 2009


Why? I mean, seriously. How long does it take to implement these fucking features? Have Microsoft got 3 work-experience students and a badger devoted to IE development now, or what?

At silicon valley code camp this weekend, I got some interesting perspective on Microsoft's support of standards and the W3C. One of they guys running a session on new features in webkit apparently knows some of the IE8 dev team personally, and his opinion pretty much matches dw's here and here: the devs on the current IE team are smart developers, many with a greater enthusiasm for the standards and emerging standards than their management. Their management team views backwards compatibility as the highest priority and is uninterested in implementing standards that aren't finalized. And this gets really interesting once you realize that the standards bodies are far from infallible or even necessarily efficient. Sometimes they get things wrong (MS got the box model right, I've never seen any defense, let alone a credible defense, of the idea that the width dimension of a box should stop at its inner padding rather than extend to its border), sometimes they're obstructive rather than constructive, sometimes they can't behave long enough to come to reasonable conclusions.

I still hate Microsoft with a burning fiery passion for their basic abandonment of IE6 and web developers and don't think they're ever worth trusting again after that fiasco, period, if they ever were. I still get mad when I find out things that are still broken or newly broken with IE8 -- was it too much to ask to make sure your changes to VML didn't break the hacks people have used to shoehorn Canvas support in? But I have some basic sympathy for the dev team. And even for some of the issues that management faces, even if I still would like to see them trapped the unhappy part of a Hieronymus Bosch painting.
posted by weston at 2:25 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


MS got the box model right, I've never seen any defense, let alone a credible defense, of the idea that the width dimension of a box should stop at its inner padding rather than extend to its border

The W3C version makes no sense! It causes a bunch of extra fiddly work if you ever change padding, and as I said before it really becomes utter nonsense when percentages become part of the picture.
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2009


The W3C version makes no sense!

No, it does make sense, if you see the bounding box of the content to be on the same level as padding and margin. If you see it that way, then you understand that the bounding box and padding aren't getting conflated, which means padding works independently from the width and height of the actual bounding box, and it gives more specificity when dealing with box sizing.

Not that I like the W3C box model or think it's better in any way to the "old" model, but you can see where they're coming from.
posted by dw at 3:01 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


It makes no sense in terms of actually using the thing for the reasons given above. I'd defy anyone to give me a real world example where it's simpler and more useful than the IE way of doing it.
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on October 6, 2009


if you see the bounding box of the content to be on the same level as padding and margin. If you see it that way, then you understand that the bounding box and padding aren't getting conflated which means padding works independently from the width and height of the actual bounding box and it gives more specificity when dealing with box sizing.

More specificity? How? Either way you end up with the equation ContainerWidth = Padding + ContentWidth, the only difference is which one is dependent on the other two.

And I really don't see where they were coming from with the idea that the content width was the one to make explicit and the container width was the one to make dependent on the other two. When you're thinking about layout, it's much more convenient to specify the width of the container to the border-edge and padding and let the content flow to the bounds of a computed width.

The other thing is that there's a bit of a consistency problem if you're thinking of rules as properties of elements matching a selector. Why would the "width" of a given element really apply to the width of an implicit child content-bounding psuedo-element? If it's a css property of a given element, it should apply to the element itself. You get a similar nebulousness considering the term padding: what's being padded? Is padding an inner margin of the container? Or is it the first of three margins (padding, border, margin) on the (again, implict child) content box? I sure find the former more consistent with the rest of CSS as a whole...
posted by weston at 3:54 PM on October 6, 2009


Either way you end up with the equation ContainerWidth = Padding + ContentWidth, the only difference is which one is dependent on the other two.

I should have added: under the w3 model I have to solve this equation, every time the left value changes. That's assuming you're using units where you can do this. If you want to use relative units, as Artw points out, you're out of luck (well, OK, you can add scaffolding markup and do it that way, but since half the point of this enterprise in the first place was to minimize that, this should be a red flag that something is wrong). With Microsoft's model, the browser solves the equation for me whenever any kind of reflow is necessary.
posted by weston at 4:03 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's happened to Adobe over the past decade is heartbreaking to me. They were such a strong engineering company, and unlike many engineering companies they cared about all the same things I do -- design, typography, art. They invented Postscript, nurtured Photoshop, Pagemaker, and with InDesign they finally broke Quark's tyranny and genuinely made my life better.

But since the marketroids took hold a few years back, 90% of the other things they've done have been idiotic: The CS suite is a bloated boondoggle of horror, the installers are shite, there are thousands of shitty side projects and webapps of menace, and everywhere there is fucking Flash. Sure, some developers say they like it, and I see plenty of websites that depend on it to show, er, text.

But I don't give a damn, because the Mac Flash runtime blows. It's awful. It's slow. It kills the CPU, which sends the fans spinning, and kills your battery life. Watching a tiny little YouTube video should not bring my Mac to its knees -- especially when that video is little bigger than the Quicktime stamps my LC II could handle in the early 1990s. There are plenty of conspiracy theorists saying that Apple kept Flash off the phone for strategic business reasons, and I suppose there's something to that, but it's surely a much easier decision because if the Mac experience is anything to go by, the iPhone's battery life would hit 30 minutes and everything else would stop. No thanks.

I suspect a big thing was the Macromedia buyout. Those guys seem to have taken charge in there: Flash, despite being shit, is now a major component of the CS suite UI -- so now we can have native apps with broken widgets that are native to no platform at all! Hurrah! I certainly wanted that more than an improvement in launch speed or an installer that worked.

What's worse is, Adobe knows Flash is awful on the Mac. In the upgrade from 9 to 10, they were crowing about how they'd improved performance mightily. In looking closer, what they'd actually done was stop it doing some coding-horror -esque multiple expensive calls every time it wanted to draw a glyph (a character) on the screen. Well done, you actually bothered to analyse the code! It's still taking 80% of CPU to play a video. It gets better: In this blinder of a post, Adobe's Flash blogger writes off HTML5 as a threat because, hey, IE is going to rule forever, right? Those "minority browsers" aren't going to amount to a hill of beans. He then goes on to say that it's reasonable for Flash to suck on Mac because he's heard that some 3D apps perform better on Windows, and if Mac users don't like it they should use Flashblocker.

Great: Adobe's answer to Flash being shit on Mac: Block Flash. So we will. Thank christ for Click To Flash (rumoured to have been started by some Mac guys in Adobe taking pity on us) which does it smoothly.

As for this iPhone thing: I don't care. It doesn't have access to any of the native UI elements, so it's only good for games -- which I won't be bothered with -- and apparently produces bloated files to boot. And the developers? They've never cared about me as a Mac user when piling on the Flash on their sites, and they sure don't seem to have been lobbying Adobe to improve their act, so I've never been too sad at them being locked out of the iPhone. It's definitely a bonus for me that mobile webkit doesn't play Flash, as the iPhone+iPod is rapidly becoming an important enough browser that Grumblebee's clients are going to care about it more than IE6. No Flash on phone = a site without Flash that I can use on the Mac. Win.

Goddamn, I do hate modern Adobe. And it's such a pity, because there are clearly still some great guys in there, as proven by the technology that does escape: Lightroom (excuse me, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom) is a standout here, although the brainiacs in charge had virtually killed that too, until Aperture was revealed and then they scurried to dust it off.

Tl;dr: Flash sucks. Adobe used to not suck, now does. Bah. off Lawn, pls.
posted by fightorflight at 4:47 PM on October 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll say this about flash on the mac--

Unlike Sarari and Firefox, Chrome has absolutely ZERO problems running flash on my Mac. No slow down, no browser crashes, no beachballs.

When flash does shit the bed, it only wrecks the one tab, and even then it sometimes only crashes itself and leaves the rest of the page humming right along.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on October 6, 2009


Lightroom (excuse me, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom) is a standout here, although the brainiacs in charge had virtually killed that too, until Aperture was revealed and then they scurried to dust it off.

It's worth noting that essentially everything that's great about Lightroom was lifted straight out of Adobe's acquisition of Pixmantec and their flagship product RawShooter.
posted by Caviar at 5:24 PM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unlike Sarari and Firefox, Chrome has absolutely ZERO problems running flash on my Mac. No slow down, no browser crashes, no beachballs.

When flash does shit the bed, it only wrecks the one tab, and even then it sometimes only crashes itself and leaves the rest of the page humming right along.


Snow Leopard and 64-bit Safari do the same now that Flash has been ripped out and placed into its own 32-bit process.
posted by Talez at 7:58 PM on October 6, 2009


This thread should be titled "Ascent of the Apologists and the Entrenchment of Yesteryear," even though there are a couple of moments of rationale here and there.
posted by mistersquid at 8:23 PM on October 6, 2009


Huh, I hadn't examined HaXe; it looks sorta like OpenLaszlo in its targets (Flash &, er, DHTML?). Unfortunately, I think neither will benefit from the "emit iPhone app" functionality, as they emit Flash bytecode.

And if anyone's still wondering, closed captioning is for the hearing impaired.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:23 AM on October 7, 2009


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