OMG AS3: Some thoughts on AS3 & Adobe/Community relations

kid_sullivanIs AS3 any good at all? JavaScript keeps getting better – well, faster, anyway. C# is kicking ass in raw programming language chutzpah. haXe isn’t bad, either, and then there’s Objective-C for iPhone and Java and C/BREW on other mobile devices. And don’t forget the guys slaving away on AS2 and Flash Lite content!

What’s the Flash community been saying about AS3 recently?

I’ll be honest about where I stand on this. Flash 9 is great, 10 even better. For desktop/web interactive apps I am very happy. There are a lot of things that would be nice to see, and a few things that need to be fixed. But I would not have stopped doing C++ 3d game development unless Flash was good.

I hope to see Adobe releasing a lot of improvements to AS3 (perhaps even an AS4 someday!), and there are some features, like generics, delegates, overloads, and enums, that would make my daily life easier. But the fact is that being able to target a single, mostly consistent platform with AS3 is great, and that there are nearly a billion people with Flash Player makes it very worthwhile. It is easy to create quality interactive content accessible by hundreds of millions of people in Flash, and that is a huge win.

If I had to agree with one complaint out of all the comments by my fellow Flash developers, it would be that Adobe is having some trouble getting the community involved in what they are doing. I can’t blame them – the Flash community is hugely varied in skill level and interest area. You have artists using it to create TV shows, web content, and deliver video. At the same time, there are skilled coders building DAWs and 3d renderers. There are developers making games and building business applications. I’m not sure there’s a broader set of users out there.

The best thing to do in a situation like this is to stop treating Adobe like a big faceless company and start to get to know the people who work on Flash. In the last two years I’ve had opportunities to visit the Player VM team, the Flash Builder team, and several of the Flash community managers and members. Everyone on those teams is, in my experience, willing to listen to your problems and interested in improving their product. Obviously, they don’t implement every hair brained idea that I propose. But they listen and there is forward motion.

So what does this come down to? I have to agree with Ted’s advice from his The Future of Flash – be public about it. But also make sure you are reaching out to Adobe. They are human and they respond a lot better to respectful conversation from people they know than they do to internet rage. 🙂

Author: Ben Garney

See and @bengarney for details.

3 thoughts on “OMG AS3: Some thoughts on AS3 & Adobe/Community relations”

  1. Ben,I am a complete fan of writing to Flash Player for the same reasons that you mentioned.How and what I use to do this is my own quest. For sure I am interesting in HaXe and improving my scripting abilities. I don't point blame at the dev teams at Adobe for not dumbing down the language to suit me, I like the complicity as it allows for more expansion and possibilities. I don't like the slow reaction at fixing bugs (the textfield inline image issue is one that I don't understand why it hasn't been fixed but I understand the complicity of it!) The Flash IDE is for those not competent at scripting – how can you expect to create complex efficient interactive multimedia experiences without learning how to do it.I compare making as3 more friendly to beginners as letting flase == false; Yeah good idea to except typos! 🙂 (I do that all the time with my finger latency). I do feel for Lee Brimelow and Mesh, being important public faces to the company is hard. Passion is passion. I have been in the position (swishzone) where products I was responsible for having issues or not being able to do what or how a customer does things! It is the worst way to stay a day dealing with grumbles.For the future of as3 the small percent of people truly pushing the agenda are worth listening to, even if they feel incensed! I am sure Adobe's people are listening but lets be realistic about how and if Adobe can action these changes with a business model. Patience and lets keep this up!PeaceElliot

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