Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Are iPhone and Unity3D taking away Flash Developers

Are iPhone and Unity3D taking away Flash Developers

This item in japanese

Adobe Flash can’t run on iPhone, an emerging gaming and mobile rich Internet application (RIA) platform. Indeed, Unity3D, a cross-platform browser/mobile gaming software framework, directly competes with Flash, and it is on iPhone. All these facts form this basis for Jesse Warden’s June 25 blog post entitled Flash Player 11: Gaming Platform.

As a seasoned RIA professional who is deeply involved with Flash/Flex, Warden makes a keen observation in this post

There are still many developers who utilize multiple technologies on a variety of projects. I’m speaking specifically about the variety of developers in the Flex and Flash community who’ve publicly shifted their focus to talk more about iPhone and Unity development than Flash/Flex. Keith Peters, a prominent Flash Developer, has been doing a significant amount of Objective-C development for iPhone applications. Peters is not 100 percent converted; he hasn’t coded AS3 in six weeks. I’ve read about many others on Twitter who typically brand themselves as Flash/Flex developers that have started doing iPhone development, and some are doing so professionally.

While the rest of the post is formulating the expectation that Adobe will put more effort into Flash 11 to enforce Flash as a gaming platform, Warden’s observation on the shifting focus of many developers ignited significant discussion among readers.

For example, John Dowdell of Adobe disagrees with Warden, stating:

You may be reading too much into mailing-list presence. Factors such as noise ratio, overall volume, and new topics versus reruns all play a role too.

The phrase “the Flex & Flash community is losing developers” needs to be substantiated. It is easy for an external de-vangelist to cite this assertion as gospel.

JesterXL shares his experience:

I am seeing traditional Flash/Flex developers defecting to iPhone and Unity, while in the past, we all collectively just bashed competition. So yes, the use of SWF tools is increasing overall. I’m just shocked at seeing a small number of both stalwarts and noobs starting to defect, whereas in the past, I thought that would never happen given the landscape. To me, that says something important is happening.

Developer Jeffry Houser provides a more moderate view:

From my perspective of the world, a lot of Flex developers these days are early adopters. As the technology–and developer base–matures, it only makes sense for a lot of those early adopters to look for the next big thing. Today, iPhone development is the next big thing.

InfoQ likes to hear what our readers think about this discussion.

Rate this Article