V | E | C | T | O | R | XD For The Future

I am writing this post after a Flash / Flex user group meeting. I am writing this post after seeing some of the unreleased or Alpha features of the next Flash player. I am writing this post after experiencing with the Molehill 3D Api.

Flash is ubiquitous, from connected TVs to handphones, from PCs to chumby devices. Yes we all know that. There have been hardships in packaging Flash lite content on Nokia phones( most widespread phone) and suffered in controversies from Apple. We also know that. But what I see is a new dimension of Flash that has emerged over the few years. Social gaming has become so big that it has overhauled Electronic Arts. Adobe saw the tablet and devices explosion coming in 2009 and started the Openscreen Project, to bring its technology on all range of devices. And today, flash is sitting on every device I can imagine. So I do strongly believe that Flash is gonna be around for quite some time in our future ( in fact, fabricate our digital future).

The number of people playing games on the internet and facebook is easily higher than those playing on their XBox, PSPs. MAC and Linux users have always felt the deficiency of mind blowing 3D games. Whereas, Windows users have the luxury of DirectX. Adobe, shortly is going to release Molehill API which was demo’ed last year in Adobe MAX, which is cross-platform. Get a glimpse, here. Can you imagine this amount of 3D content running inside the browser and being GPU accelerated ?

Google and few other companies together launched (few months back), webGL plugins on Google Chrome. But the problem with them is, the web programmer has to learn OpenGL (which is a night-mare to even hardcore coders). So, its going to take atleast half- a decade for web developers to create content on WebGl. And the only way, I see 3D games coming to the browser is through Flash. Again, here there is a challenge. Analyzing gaming trends on facebook and mobiles tells us that casual games are making it big than graphics rich, GPU accelerated games. But if you had seen the Molehill demo I saw, you would be convinced that EA Sports would soon launch the next iteration of Need for Speed on facebook or mobiles.

Flash has also moved to other streams like support for new game controller devices and also 3D Video playback( yes, no joke). These seem pretty exciting.

As many predict, the rise of HTML5 will dethrone Flash in a few ways. Flash based ads will soon extinguish. Many youtube videos might be in the new HTML5 video format. More and more, visual effects and eye-candy will be created in HTML5. It may lose to native mobile applications in performance. But from what I see, Adobe’s focus has moved. With AIR, its targeting Desktop applications. Most RIAs today are created on Adobe AIR. Adobe’s evangelists are now focusing more on showcasing Flash as a gaming and enterprise applications platform. And few years down the line, we might see Flash reigning in an all together new space.

Comments on: "Flash is not here to live, but conquer…!!" (6)

  1. Hello,

    I was wondering if you could add the following site
    http://www.flashconf.com/category/actionscript/ as a resource in your site
    http://www.flashconf.com has many examples explained step by step…

    all the best,

  2. Manikantan said:

    Also, Adobe’s transcode to Objective C has not been commercially successful. We still dont find mobile apps created on Flash and being distributed on all mobile platforms. If the transcode and all the platforms issues were sorted, we would be seeing a lot of apps in the market by now.. But definitely is their cross compile tools begin to churn great apps, its a marvel for Flash.

  3. Manikantan said:

    True, web was never more moving so fast.. The next few yrs are gonna be very exciting..

  4. linghong Hsueh said:

    Great Post! I like both Flash and Google!
    Hope They will live together and both play important role in the Web!

  5. Alex Kiriako said:

    I enjoyed your post — a clear analysis on trends.

    AS3 and Flash Player offer some strong delivery platforms that aren’t going to dissappear, especially as Adobe has shown a strong willingness to transcode to native formats like objective C, and Java for Android.

    I don’t see the current iteration of javascript offering the speed required for anything demanding ( handling large datasets, 3D, fast interactivity (games)). That means Flash has a real place in the future for sexy stuff whether its in entertainment, business, or education.

    The only thing that could crimp this is Google’s initiative to offer up native C++ support in browser in Chrome. But if Adobe is working on a C++ transcoder for AS3, (along the lines of Alchemy) then Flash is still primed for high octane delivery.

    To cement that Adobe might do well to add an abstraction layer of simplified syntax to AS3 encapsulating it into simple building block commands. This would hide its complexity for new users, and allow them to be effective in delivery out of the gate. I don’t mean Flex which is a complex programming tool.

    Interestingly, it’s starting to look like if Apple relented on “no flash” it wouldn’t change the eventual scenario that much.

    Alex Kiriako

  6. That’s nice!

    But I thought the Molehill API was also very low level, kinda OpenGL ES. I guess there’ll be plenty of 3D engines like Alternativa or Away3D. And the very much same is already happening in WebGL (Three.js, Copperlicht, GLGE, etc).

    Very interesting times for being a web developer, anyway!

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