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i-Technology Viewpoint: Does Adobe Flash Need Re-Branding?

"I do not work for Adobe, but I like their Flex technology, and often play a role of a volunteer Flex evangelist..."

In my opinion, one of the Adobe’s most important goals in regards to adoption of Flash-related technologies is to get attention of the  enterprise architects and developers.

I often speak about Flex in front of the Java audiences. At the time of this writing I do not work for Adobe, but I like their  Flex technology, and often play a role of a volunteer Flex evangelist. During such meetings I’ve  noticed that  the vast majority of the enterprise developers assumes that Flash is useful only for creating and playing  animations, splash intro screens or online ads. They do not  see it as a serious tool applicable for running GUI of  enterprise Web applications. The press speaks about  Flash Player, Flash Animation Engine, Flash media authoring tool…  Not too many people realize that Flash is a virtual machine, that runs literally on each available platform, has a small footprint and runs compiled program files. These files can be produced by pure Flash developers, by developers that use Flex, or by people using Open Laszlo. I’m sure there might be some other less known tools that can also generate these .swf files for Flash virtual machine.

To change this perception, Adobe should modify the name of the Flash Player to something like Flash VM or Flash Player VM. Their marketing department should find a way to add  these two letters to all product brochures and other advertisements. It won’t happen overnight, but people need to start getting used to the fact that it’s not a toy, but a VM  that plays a role similar to Java, offers an easy integration with Java, and is also a cross-platform programming environment.

posted Sunday, 11 June 2006
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More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

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Most Recent Comments
Aviao 06/19/06 09:56:22 PM EDT

I could not agree with the author on the "Flex" product. I am both a Java and Flash programmer for years. I have develop software using Flex. The result is very disappointing. That product is handicapped that it could not acheive the same effect of Flash even with the same code. I like Flash but I really hate Flex. For any serious developer, I would advice you to use Flash directly, Java or even .Net (Expression) to replace Flex. Seriously.

ShadoeKnight 06/19/06 05:57:04 PM EDT

I don't think its really necessary to change the consumer portion of the framework just to change the developer perceptions. The developers will read about the changes in Flash or see them in conventions and bring them back to their respective businesses. We don't need to confuse the downloading public with the details of our world. Word has a way of getting around. Our team is already contemplating a complete rewrite of our site in Flash and it hasn't even been released yet.

Dev Lord 06/16/06 04:25:15 PM EDT

With the emerging of the Flash Platform, it should be re-brand the Flash Player to something like Flash VM or Flash Engine to better describe the potential power of Flash and Flex technologies.
I am expecting the launch of Apollo project and hence I think it is necessary to re-brand the Flash Player to match the upcoming universal client.

James Simmons 06/16/06 12:27:08 PM EDT

As a Linux user, Flash is the bane of my life. Not because Flash isn't supported on Linux, but because it IS supported, and supported very very badly. When I'm surfing the web on my home computer if I come to a site that has Flash more than half the time the browser crashes. You cannot imagine how frustrating this is. To give just ONE example my wife wants to print off recipes from the Food Network site, which has Flash advertisements. What I have to do to accomplish this in Linux is to use dillo, a very minimal browser that does not support Flash, JavaScript, or printing. I use dillo to open the printer-friendly version of the recipe, then copy that URL to Mozilla and print it out.

I have tried uninstalling Flash and installing the latest Flash from the website. Basically none of this works. The browser crashes when it encounters Flash. This affects every browser that supports Flash in Linux.

With so many websites using this abomination I now have a home network with a second computer running Windows ME and printer sharing using Samba.

In sumnmary, Flash seems to need debugging more than rebranding.

ark 06/16/06 03:55:02 AM EDT

Many of us already are well aware that Flash is 'not a toy'. In the last 2-3 years the (large) organisation where I work has adopted a 'Java or Flash' policy for writing apps that will be delivered via a browser, with development teams being free to choose the best tool for the job. In 90% of cases Flash is now being chosen and I expect that to rise to closer to 100% in the next year. In short, no rebranding is required, Flash has already won this battle in the minds of many of us.

ark 06/16/06 03:54:17 AM EDT

Many of us already are well aware that Flash is 'not a toy'. In the last 2-3 years the (large) organisation where I work has adopted a 'Java or Flash' policy for writing apps that will be delivered via a browser, with development teams being free to choose the best tool for the job. In 90% of cases Flash is now being chosen and I expect that to rise to closer to 100% in the next year. In short, no rebranding is required, Flash has already won this battle in the minds of many of us.

SYS-CON Australia News Desk 06/12/06 08:31:59 AM EDT

To change this perception, Adobe should modify the name of the Flash Player to something like Flash VM or Flash Player VM. Their marketing department should find a way to add these two letters to all product brochures and other advertisements. It won't happen overnight, but people need to start getting used to the fact that it's not a toy, but a VM that plays a role similar to Java, offers an easy integration with Java, and is also a cross-platform programming environment.