Developers Praise, Scold Adobe's Flash Spat With Apple

Adobe's decision to quit developing Flash technology that can be used by developers of apps for Apple's iPhone and iPad is drawing praise from developers who see it as an opportunity to explore other platforms, including the Google Android.

However, other developers worry that Adobe placed too much focus on the iPhone and iPad platform, and now may pay the price for taking a stance against Apple instead of finding a better way to work with that company.

Mike Chambers, principal product manager for developer relations for Adobe's Flash platform, wrote in a blog post that Adobe will no longer continue to develop software tools that support Flash apps on the iPhone platform.

The decision comes about a week after Adobe released its Creative Suite 5 software, a primary use of which is for the development of Flash-enabled rich media applications.

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Adobe CS5 includes Flash CS5 which allows designers and developers to create, test, and deliver Web content across multiple mobile platforms and mobile devices including, in theory, apps for the Apple iPhone and iPad.

Chambers in his blog wrote that Flash CS5 complied with Apple's licensing terms during its development, but that Apple later changed those terms because Flash-based apps can run on multiple platforms.

"However, this is the exact opposite of what Apple wants. They want to tie developers down to their platform, and restrict their options to make it difficult for developers to target other platforms," he wrote.

Many developers who responded to Chambers' post praised the decision to stop future Flash development for the iPhone and iPad platforms, and said it opens the door to focus on the Google Android and other platforms.

One developer, Omar Gonzalez, a senior application developer at Almer/Blank, wrote that he is looking forward to targeting open platforms like Android with Adobe Flash.

"The upcoming Android support and Flash Player plugin coming to TV set top boxes and who know what other screen devices makes me much more excited than trying to develop for a single, closed, restrictive platform, like iPhone OS," Gonzalez wrote.

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Another developer, Joseph Labrecque, wrote that he is concerned that Adobe focused too much on the iPhone and not enough on the Android or other platforms, and that Adobe's move away from that focus is good for the community.

"Many thanks to Apple for pushing so many creative developers toward a more open and respectful platform," Labrecque wrote.

Brian Sexton, a Cupertino, Calif.-based developer, wrote that he is excited about the future of Android, and looks forward to seeing Android-based tablet PCs being released.

"I would love to be able to use my Flash and AIR skills to deliver great content to SOME KIND of cool mobile device," Sexton wrote.

For some developers, however, Adobe's stance against Apple is misguided.

One developer, "Buggles," wrote that Adobe seemed more focused on Flash vs. the iPhone, and not enough on Flash vs. the HTML5 and CSS3 standards on which iPhone and iPad apps are written.

"Apple are saying use our framework natively, or use an open W3C standard. You are saying use Flash or we'll focus elsewhere," Buggles wrote.

Chambers responded to Buggles by noting that there are no guarantees that Apple will always support HGML5.

"I think that given Apple's recent actions on this and other areas around the iPhone, it would be naive to expect that if HTML 5 (a cross platform development technology) were to begin to threaten Apple's close system, that Apple would not also take moves to restrict it," he wrote.

Another developer, Scott Barnes, who described himself as a former Microsoft Adobe compete lead, wrote that Adobe was warned to knock off "immature passive aggressive behavior" or risk Apple doing the same.

Adobe needs to stop attacking Apple an instead work with technologies from other platform developers like Microsoft or Google in order to secure the future of Flash, Barnes wrote. "[K]nock off the anti apple campaign and you guys may pickup some lost ground," he wrote.