Yes, I have been away for blogging for quite sometime now and my apologies for the same. The last few months have been quite happening with new launches of innovative products by some companies like Adobe and some new events and work at an induvidual front as well. Now that I got a little bit of time, I thought I would post a recap and my perspective of it.
Flash 11 and Adobe AIR 3 is on its way. Molehill will be present full-on in this release. Also coming is Captive runtime for AIR, meaning you can package the runtime along with the app and users don’t have to download AIR separately before installing the app. There are some other cool features in this release as well.
With respect to Adobe, we saw the launch of Adobe Muse(codename). For those who missed it, it is a tool for interaction and experience designers and artists to create highly interactive webpages with no programming. It runs on Adobe AIR technology and from its early impressions, it is likely to mature or get integrated into a big software like Adobe Dreamweaver. Why is it amazing ? Cuz you only need a design or aesthetic sense to create rich webpages and don’t have to know jQuery, or <html> tags. You simply design on a canvas and it gets reflected into a website.
Another fascinating tool that has garnered some early interest is Adobe Edge, that makes animating HTML components or elements easy. In the dawn of HTML5, it is important it’s learning or adoption is smooth. I would say, this is Adobe’s yet another attempt in capturing the supply chain. The idea was very simple, if HTML5 was gonna make animations, transitions smoother, then it also has to be simple for designers to create those rich animations. It was pretty much the premise in which Flash started gaining momentum. Good designs can be planned and improvised only on a canvas and not from a HTML or text editor. So, Adobe Edge provides a canvas for animation which gets translated into HTML5 codes, making life the way it is meant to be for designers.
Seeing such tools emerge, I think interaction designers are gonna be key players in moulding tomorrow’s internet media future. As things evolve, my prediction is that there will only be two major kinds of techies in internet companies – interaction designers (who do all the art/design and basic interaction level coding) and back-end developers (those responsible for data engineering behind the scenes). My argument is that if more and more code components and tools/frameworks( like ones mentioned above) are readily available to make apps/websites quickly and easily, then the work of a front end UI programmer is gonna diminish slowly. With people advocating MVC programming, interaction designers don’t have to bother about data, their schema etc. All they need to do is make sure they have space(real estate) and navigation modes(scrolling and moving between) through that data.
What about HTML5 and Flash ? Yes it’s a hot question. With Flash now available as a tool to develop for iPhone/iPad, does it mark its dominance again ? Not necessarily, because it is not available on the browser yet. Consumers or developers don’t know if the app is running off Flash(translated objective-C bytecode) or native code. With the absence of Flash for 3-4 years on mobile platforms, developers have to an extent learnt to live life the hard way, writing native code. And the huge base of 4 million and 2.5 million apps and games on iOS and Android devices are an evidence to that. On the contrary however, we have seen Flash/Flex apps (like Politifact or Machinatum) top the charts of AppStore. Hence, we are getting positive response for using Flash to develop engaging mobile content. However, on the broader context Flash is beginning to disappear. I even heard recently that Slideshare adopted HTML5 leaving behind Flash. Microsoft (announced during showcase of Windows 8) that only a very small percentage of popular websites have Flash content (other than ads). Slowly, we should begin to accept that HTML5 will be the medium of delivery of advertisements on the internet. Adobe has also understood that and pushing its bet on Rich media applications like 1024px Video rendering, extensive use of GPU rendering for improved performance and 3D content as well. Hence we are seeing a shift in roles, the laggard HTML has caught up with Flash Player of ,say early 2000s.