Adobe is changing. The once-great giant of web and web tools has fallen, and is poised to rise again — albeit in a much different form. What does this mean for us web developers?
For starters, let’s go over some recent news. Adobe made three major announcements in the past six weeks that will have sweeping implications on their image. See if you can spot a trend in these headlines:
- On October 3rd, Adobe acquired Nitobi, makers of PhoneGap.
- On November 9th, Adobe announced that they will cease development of Flash Player for mobile to focus on HTML5.
- Two days later, Adobe announced that Flex is going open-source.
What do these press releases have in common? If you caught that all three are about open technology, give yourself a pat on the back. Let’s dig into the facts before discussing the ramifications.
Adobe has seen the light, and open source is sparkling.
Closed formats are dying across the web. The days are numbered for plugins like Silverlight and Flash; they’re simply not necessary anymore for the vast majority of sites and applications. HTML5, on the other hand, is thriving. We’re starting to see open fonts pick up, and even longtime-stalwarts MP3 and MPEG-4 are starting to lose their grasp of the online audio/video markets.
Adobe isn’t blind. They know they need to transition away from closed platforms. Picking up PhoneGap shows their commitment to this cause.
Finally, releasing Flex to the community is a smart move. There is a very vibrant community around Flex, and there are still niches where RIA will matter for a little while longer. If Adobe can’t support Flex on its own, enabling the community to take control of it’s own future simply makes sense.
Adobe’s intentions are clear. Proprietary formats are out, the open web is in.
What does this mean for web developers?
Second: If you’re a Flash/Flex dev, start looking at Sencha. At SenchaCon last month, the number-one answer I got back when I asked people what they worked in before switching to Sencha was Adobe Flex. And I believe it. I’m a Flex guy too, but that market’s shrinking quickly. Sencha is going to be a major player on the web for a while to come, and it’s a relatively smooth transition.
This is an exciting time to be in web development. Let’s keep on top of the constantly-changing platforms and tools. Let’s keep building wonderful things. Let’s make this an age to be proud of when they talk about the day Adobe changed their ways.
Who’s with me?