Not Your Grandpa's Flash Industry Anymore
The days of Flash developers being able to write code once and deploy to a single format is coming to an end. This concept was one of the things that attracted me to Flash in the first place. With the mobile market booming and the dawn of tablets threatening a hostile takeover of notebooks, Flash developers need to expand their skill sets to be able to reach users on their device of choice. Flashers have had it good, but they are finding their developer way of life is changing. This isn’t exactly a bad thing. Like any industry, things change and you need to change with it.
In 2011 potential tablet sales are around 20 billion dollars. In 2014 its projected to increase to 208 billion dollars. With more and more consumers using mobile phones and tablets rather than desktops or laptops, and with the increase of consumers using apps to engage with brands, the game is changing dramatically for content creators. Obviously Apple’s App Store is currently leading the apps market, but it is slowly losing that market share as competitors catch up. We now have the Android Market, Blackberry App World, HP Palm App Catalog, and Microsoft App Marketplace. And yes, there is a different deployment method for each one of them. Personally I believe the Android Market place will pose the biggest threat to Apple with Android being open source and easy to create and deploy apps.
Much greater support for devices is expected to be part of the next release of Creative Suite. Currently Adobe offers ways of porting to some of these devices from either Flash or AIR.
- iPhone Packager- http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/packagerforiphone/
- Android- http://blogs.adobe.com/air/2011/02/adobe-air-2-6-for-android-is-now-available.html
- BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK for Adobe AIR- http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/adobe.jsp
The Flash community is one of the largest and greatest communities out there. Of course as a Flash developer my view is a bit skewed, but no other community that I’ve come across has the amount of active users online sharing information as freely. I believe that Flash developers will embrace this shift and proudly seek other technologies as they become available. Not to say that Flash is dying anytime soon, but it will just be another tool in the developer toolbox, blurring the line of the title “Flash Developer” into simply “Developer”.