Blue Callisto » Flex

Possible scenarios for Flex’s future

So, now I’m sure everybody knows what Adobe said about the Flash Player for mobile and Flex last week.

The community is still discussing these announcements but their are clearly two main trends coming out of this:

  • People are disappointed by the way it was communicated by Adobe
  • There are great concerns about Flex future

I wrote an article on that subject previously, finishing by asking myself if Adobe would be strong enough to make Flash (and Flex by extension) a winner on mobiles. Looks like we now have an answer: it’s a NO.

So what’s next? Well I didn’t wrote much on twitter or here about these announcements, but know I can think of three possible scenarios for the future:

Scenario 1: Spoon gets up to speed and became really successful. Adobe slowly goes to the HTML5 path.

In this scenario, I would expect the Spoon project to be efficient really quickly and offer the required evolutions (I’m thinking of a Flex 5 with more Spark components, improved performances, etc.) at the same pace Adobe was. Adobe would keep pushing the Flex technology, though indirectly but keeping the online ressources, docs and leveraging the Flex community into conferences and events. At the same time, they would build up HTML5 tools that will be efficient in their own way.

By that I mean Flex would keep surviving, though HTML5 will step on their existing potential projects. But as HTML5 and Flex can be seen as having distincts goals, it will continue to be one of the main rich technologies for at least another five years.

Scenario 2: Spoon and Adobe just do the job. Nothing more, nothing less.

Spoon is new and not really big right now, and the handover from Adobe will be there next month. It will take some time to get all the processes up to speed and they won’t be as efficient as Adobe was. Adobe will pass over the existing knowledge in some way and we will see less and less Flex projects starting in 2012.

It will still be a valuable solution for now (with the existing) and Flex will still be a valuable solution for the next 2 to 3 years.

Scenario 3: Spoon can’t manage Flex, Adobe just drop the baby.

Many people have concerns about Spoon’s ability to manage Flex and they are right: the change doesn’t goes smoothly and Flex 5 takes much longer to come out than expected. Communication is poor as the community keeps asking for clarity and news. Adobe’s communication is reduced to silence and HTML5 centered as of now.

Developers will feel less confident and pre-sales won’t have the arguments to sell Flex projects next year. Existing projects will continue but new projects will be really rare. Within a year Flex will be avoided by many companies, forcing Flex developers to find a new path.

Conclusion

Of course these are just possibilities, and there are many more in between. My personal feeling will be more towards scenario 2, even if I wish for scenario 1. But there are two elements now that will decide Flex’s future:

  • The community support and help to the Spoon project
  • Adobe’s way of communicating to enterprises for the next few years

Regarding recent events, I’m more concerned about Adobe right now. Is there going to be anymore conferences / events about Flex promoted by Adobe? If yes, for how long? And what about all the convenient side projects, documentation and ressource centers? If Adobe vanishes from the Flex landscape within a year, I will be really worried about it.

The next months promised to be really interesting for the Flex community.

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