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Steve Jobs publishes some 'thoughts on Flash'

cimousa

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Thoughts on Flash

Summarization and Engadget's thoughts below:

Steve Jobs just posted an open letter of sorts explaining Apple's position on Flash, going back to his company's long history with Adobe and expounding upon six main points of why he thinks Flash is wrong for mobile devices. HTML5 naturally comes up, along with a few reasons you might not expect. Here's the breakdown:


It's not open. "While Adobe's Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system." Man, that's some strong irony you're brewing, Steve. Still, we get the point -- HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript are open web standards.

The "full web." Steve hits back at Adobe's claim of Apple devices missing out on "the full web," with an age-old argument (YouTube) aided by the numerous new sources that have started providing video to the iPhone and iPad in HTML5 or app form like CBS, Netflix, and Facebook. Oh, and as for flash games? "50,000 games and entertainment titles on the App Store, and many of them are free." If we were keeping score we'd still call this a point for Adobe.

Reliability, security and performance. Steve hits on the usual "Flash is the number one reason Macs crash," but adds another great point on top of this: "We have routinely asked Adobe to show us Flash performing well on a mobile device, any mobile device, for a few years now. We have never seen it." You've got us there, Steve, but surely your magical A4 chip could solve all this?

Battery life. "The video on almost all Flash websites currently requires an older generation decoder that is not implemented in mobile chips and must be run in software." Steve Jobs is of course H.264's #1 fan, and it's hard to blame him, since he cites 10 hours of H.264 playback but only 5 hours with software decode on the iPhone. Still, those "older generation" sites that haven't moved to H.264 yet are pretty much the exact same sites that aren't viewable with HTML5, which means we're being restricted in the content we can access just because some of it doesn't perform as well.

Touch. Steve hits hard against one of the web's greatest hidden evils: rollovers. Basically, Flash UIs are built around the idea of mouse input, and would need to be "rewritten" to work well on touch devices. "If developers need to rewrite their Flash websites, why not use modern technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript?" That doesn't really address the Flash-as-app scenario (that's point #6), but it's also a pretty silly sounding solution to a developer: your website doesn't support this one UI paradigm exactly right, so why not rewrite it entirely?

The most important reason. Steve finally addresses the third party development tools situation, but it's really along the lines of what we were hearing already: "If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features." We doubt this will end all debate, but it's clear Apple has a line in the sand.
He concludes in saying that "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice." Basically, it's for the olds. And you don't want to be old, do you? Follow after the break for the whole thing in brilliant prose form.

What do you guys think about this? Do you agree with his points?

Source
 

iVan

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I don't agree with the point about being old.

Hey, why not throw out the Bible! Burn all libraries!

I'm joking.

Adobe could reprogram Flash and offer updates without having to rewrite all sites... Is that possible?
 

dks

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I thought Steve Job's Thoughts on Flash was very well written & I learned a lot.


(I think depending on Adobe to actually do updates was one of the problems Jobs mentioned in his article)
 
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Seadog

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I like his parting words:
He wraps-up with this stinger: “Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”
 

dks

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Thoughts on Flash


My favorite part was:

“...Adobe has been painfully slow to adopt enhancements to Apple’s platforms. For example, although Mac OS X has been shipping for almost 10 years now, Adobe just adopted it fully (Cocoa) two weeks ago when they shipped CS5. Adobe was the last major third party developer to fully adopt Mac OS X.â€

side note: As Jobs says “Mac users buy around half of Adobe’s Creative Suite products..†& while I am happy to see CS5 Design Standard & I will purchase it .... I truly wish Apple would develop a lean, mean, efficient creative suite of their own!
 

Takenover83

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The Rocks are still flying.
Source: http://www.engadget.com/2010/04/29/adobes-ceo-jobs-flash-letter-is-a-smokescreen-for-cumberso/
Adobe's CEO: Jobs' Flash letter is a 'smokescreen' for 'cumbersome' restrictions
There's no official transcript yet, but the Wall Street Journal just live-blogged an interview with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, in which he responded to the Steve Jobs "Thoughts on Flash" letter posted this morning. Substantively, Narayen didn't offer much we haven't heard Adobe say before, but his frustration with Apple is palpable even in summary form: he called Jobs' points a "smokescreen," said Flash is an "open specification," and further said Apple's restrictions are "cumbersome" to developers and have "nothing to do with technology." What's more, he also said Jobs' claims about Flash affecting battery life are "patently false," and suggested that any Flash-related crashes on OS X have more to do with Apple's operating system than Adobe's software.

Perhaps most importantly, Narayen reiterated that Adobe is fundamentally about making it easier for devs to write multiplatform tools -- a stance Jobs specifically took issue with in his letter, saying multiplatform tools lead to bad user experiences. Apple and Adobe and the rest of us can argue about battery life and performance all night, but that's clearly the central philosophical difference between these two companies, and we doubt it's ever going to change. That is, unless Adobe absolutely kills it with Flash 10.1 on Android 2.2 -- and given our experiences with Flash on smartphones and netbooks thus far, we'll be honest when we say that's going to be a major challenge. We'll link over to the full transcript when it goes up, but for now, hit the source link for the liveblog.
 

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