[osflash] comments on oss authoring vs rendering?
ncannasse at motion-twin.com
Sat Jun 4 09:21:40 PDT 2005
> Howdy -- this week I saw two significant stories combining the terms
> "open source software" and "Macromedia Flash":
> -- This osflash.org effort, at http://osflash.org/doku.php
> -- The NewsForge story on GPLFlash2
> How would you compare the authoring vs runtime concerns here? If we can
> collect the different observations into this one thread (and if it stays
> concise & on-topic ;-), then I can forward the link to my partners.
Let me state my point of view about current state of OSS and Flash.
Few years ago, Macromedia Flash had two strengths : its Flash Player that
was well distributed and installed on a high percentage of computers and its
Flash IDE that was popular with Designers. Both where very important and
made the success we know.
Now with the whole RIA thing, the developers are starting evaluating
platforms not based on the IDE but on programming language features and
available tools. Let's see what Macromedia Flash have :
- a loosy typed language (AS2) which cannot compete with Java / C#
- a very slow virtual machine implementation
- a buggy and slow compiler
- an IDE that nobody want to use for coding big applications
- very few dev tools : only a debugger, no profiling, no runtime error
- no external (commandline) tools that enable users to reuse their favorite
- a closed source platform
Flash can difficultly compete as a developer platform, so the only big
strength left is the Flash Player ubiquity : I'm not sure that's enough to
convince more developers to join. MTASC for instance was born from theses
frustrations : at Motion-Twin we no longer use AS2 but we have our inhouse
programming language for writing games, our own compiler and a good set of
tools (swf linker, xml dtd checking, obfuscator...) that made use 10 times
more productive than before. If we had platform choice we would have
switched for long time !
Macromedia is too slow to adapt to its new public : developers have
different needs than designers. In particular, they have already their
favorite IDE and want good and flexible technology. Stability and
reusability are two important points and full integration is no longer
What about GPLFlash ? There's been several projects like that in the past.
Writing a SWF Player is quite an easy thing to do with current OSS libraries
avaible - and I know what I'm talking about. Macromedia should realize that
and hurry up to cooperate with such project. It's more dangerous to let an
OSSPlayer out of control than to endorse the project, give away some MM
Player sources and technology tips to help the building of a better player
that would in-fine be the replacement of official player. Look at Real and
their Helix thing.
But I'm not sure that the marketing/business people in Macromedia that are
driving the company will understand all theses quite new concepts such as
OSS joint project and beleive in it to give it a try. That lack of openness
and the long time needed to realize it might eventualy kill the Flash
Platform idea in the near future.
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