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From Harbs <>
Subject Re: Flex 5 in haxe
Date Wed, 21 Nov 2012 19:40:09 GMT
I'm probably not the standard Flex developer and my focus is very narrow at the moment.

I agree with most of what's been said, but I have not seen my biggest concern for the future
addressed: TLF.

The lion share of my time is taken up right now by my w2p startup Reliable rendering
of text is critical to the application -- not just across browsers, but everything must match
the rendering in InDesign which we use for both initial document creation and output rendering.
For us TLF and FTE was a godsend, because we had:
a) reliable rendering across browsers
b) quality reproduction of advance typesetting including many OpenType features
c) Built in support for international languages
d) Rendering that was very close to InDesign's native text rendering that only required minor
tweaks to get a 100% match.
e) a framework (TLF) that allowed for easy translation between InDesign markup and our web

Right now, non-desktop support is not a major concern for us, and smart phones is not a concern
at all because I really don't see editing documents on a smartphone. However, tablet support
is something that keeps coming up and we've had countless discussions on which way to go.
None of the options are really appealing. I'm leaning towards a port to AIR, but my two big
concerns are performance and long term ubiquity. As Alex said, who knows how many devices
Adobe can support before they just throw in the towel. I plan on doing some performance profiling
to see if I can get the app performant enough for tablets. I'm not sure because there's a
lot of TLF thereā€¦

If there was a good way to go to HTML, I'd definitely like to explore that avenue, but consistent
rendering of text on browsers without Flash just doesn't seem to exist. I've seen some experiments
of writing a composer in JS, but not much more than simple experiments. I'm really struggling
with how to handle the text rendering on tablets, and if anyone has something useful, I'd
love to hear!


On Nov 21, 2012, at 8:22 PM, Alex Harui wrote:

> On 11/21/12 8:53 AM, "Kevin Newman" <> wrote:
>> From what I see, the HTML5 everything push is ending - mostly because
>> of performance issues on the native app side.
> Here's my take: sometimes when you buy into the hype to early and the
> technology isn't ready, you get burned, and then there is a move away.  But
> if you don't keep watching you may miss when it does become ready.  I don't
> know HTML5, but for sure, there is a lot of smart people working on it.  It
> may not be ready today, or even 3 years from now, but will get faster as the
> hardware gets faster, and folks will eventually settle on Dart or some other
> OO language to migrate to from JS.  Could be 10 years from now, but I'm
> pretty sure it will happen.
> Meanwhile, all of you on this list are in different circumstances, but I can
> think of a three buckets: 1) You are employed by an enterprise that is going
> to need desktops with keyboards for quite some time (although watch out for
> keyboards to go away as natural language input gets better).  The
> availability of fast networks and the lower maintenance of zero-install,
> browser-delivered apps is attractive, and you can control whether Flash is
> used or not.
> 2) You are an independent consultant that builds apps for companies.  You
> can't control whether Flash is used or not.
> 3) You are building an app that just plain needs Flash (maybe premium video)
> or requires a lot of input so you can assume folks will have keyboards.
> Flash on a desktop with a keyboard will be around for a very long time.
> There are too many desktops with keyboards in companies who will complain
> loudly if any of the companies involved (OS, browser, Adobe) screws that up.
> But some projections say that laptop sales in the home/consumer market is
> doomed by tablets just like pocket cameras were doomed by smartphones.  If
> your target customer is not a business worker with a need for a keyboard,
> you can assume they will soon be using a device that doesn't run Flash in
> the browser.  And, what isn't clear is how well AIR will run on that device,
> if at all.  There are so many devices it will be hard for AIR to keep
> running well (in captive runtime of course) on all of them.
> This is why, even though Flash will be running in browsers on desktops with
> keyboards "forever", more and more of the folks most of you are targeting
> won't be using a browser/keyboard combination that is Flash capable.
> And, eventually, the network speeds and prices and device speeds will reach
> the point where zero-install browser-delivered apps on those devices become
> the predominant paradigm again.
> For sure, there are plenty of reasons to keep maintaining the current code
> base, and I will invest time there.  But I see it as my mandate to try to
> shape a next generation of Flex that is designed to be ported to other
> platforms.  By going to JS, we get the most coverage for the least amount of
> work, but we have to give up fidelity and performance.  Over time, with
> enough resources, we may be able to target other platforms natively, but
> that will take a lot of time and effort.
> I am starting a re-write that prioritizes different things than the current
> code base.  It won't use things that are hard to port like weak references
> and Dictionary so you may have to do more work managing memory.  It will
> have other deficiencies and trade-offs and will never match exactly what you
> have today.  But it should still feel a lot like current Flex.  By starting
> now and trying to get to critical mass over the next year or two, the goal
> is to have a softer landing for those who have a lot invested in AS3 and the
> current code.
> Those of you who are Haxe fans should definitely start your own rewrite.  We
> can't just keep talking about it in email.  We won't know how it will truly
> be to move to Haxe until there is something to actually play with.  We don't
> have to decide as a community which language to use for a re-write without
> actually trying a couple of different angles.  For me, I will stay on AS3
> unless I get strong signals that there is no value to any of our current
> Flex developers by staying on it.
> -- 
> Alex Harui
> Flex SDK Team
> Adobe Systems, Inc.

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