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From Alex Harui <aha...@adobe.com>
Subject Re: Flex 5 in haxe
Date Wed, 21 Nov 2012 18:22:02 GMT



On 11/21/12 8:53 AM, "Kevin Newman" <CaptainN@unFocus.com> 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.
http://blogs.adobe.com/aharui


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