You have probably seen the two big announcements from Adobe recently.
1. they are abandoning the Flash Plugin on Mobile Devices
2. they are contributing Flex to the Apache Foundation
Basically Adobe is moving away from Flash and towards HTML5.
As Reignite is one of the premier builders of Flex Applications in Australia you would be correct in thinking that this will have some impact on our business and our clients. However the writing has been on the wall for quite a while now and fortunately we saw this coming!
When Steve Jobs effectively banned the Flash Plugin on iOS it sent alarm bells ringing at Reignite. This was nearly 2 years ago now and at that time we were about to launch into Smart Phone App development. We had originally thought that we would simply leverage our then 5+ years of experience with Flex writing online applications to now use Flex to write mobile applications. Apple made sure this was not going to happen. After a quick assessment of a plethora of mobile “write-once-deploy-many” frameworks we realised that nothing was as mature as Flex. It became pretty clear that in the absence of Flex on the mobile that the only real alternative to write quality applications would be to write mobile apps in their native languages. Accordingly we added Objective C and Android skills to the team and we have since built many successful mobile applications.
With more and more people browsing the web via phones and tablets it also soon became apparent that even online applications built in Flex were now under threat. Accordingly we added GWT skills to the team.
So by keeping an eye on our industry and interpreting the trends and moods of developers, technology organisations and the wider Internet community Reignite has predicted the changes coming, put plans in place well ahead of time and now we are well positioned to help all our clients evolve into a HTML5 future.
Reignite will still be one of Australia’s premier developers of online applications however the tools we use to do this have changed. So now we don’t just build online applications that live in the browser but we build multi-screen applications that can run on just about any device including smart phones, tablets, desktops, browsers, smart TVs and so on. Also our partnership with Adobe will not change either, Flex may “catch a second wave” with its contribution to Apache, Adobe’s acquisition of PhoneGap was a very positive move, Adobe makes regular contributions to jQuery and Adobe’s development and graphics tools are still industry leading. All of this means Adobe is still a very relevant company in this space.
I am an existing Reignite Client with a Flex application what do I do?
There is no need to be alarmed, Adobe’s decisions will not have any immediate impact on any of our clients. All your applications will work exactly as they did yesterday and will continue to run for years to come. What we will need to do is look at the future of your applications and assess the correct time (if any) to migrate them over to HTML5. Our friends at Whotune.com wont mind me telling you that we started migrating their Flex application one feature at a time from Flex to GWT several months ago. The site as it exists today is a hybrid HTML5 and Flex application.
Will you continue to write Flex Code and provide Flex Skills to our team?
Yes! All of our developers are already multi-skilled in several languages, mostly Java and Flex. Having a Java and Flex background is the perfect foundation to become a HTML5 developer and as such all of our existing developers will be adding HTML5 to their skill sets. This will enable them to continue to write Flex Applications and provide Flex skills and provide Flex mentoring where needed.
It is unlikely from now on that Reignite will build entirely new green-field projects in Flex, however it is worth pointing out that there are still many areas where Flex is still far superior to HTML5 which is relatively immature.
Does this have any impact on the server side of my application?
If you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to contact me directly or add a comment to this blog.