2008 In Review – My Favorite Flash Platform Advancements

It’s that time of the year. You see all the top albums, movies, tv shows, books etc lists written by critics and content producers on site’s like Pitchfork, Sterogum, etc. (BTW, I think my fave album of ’08 is TV on the Radio’s “Dear Science”). Well, I have a list of things I’d like to commemorate as well, not music or videos games, but rather a list of things that took place in the Flash ecosystem in 2008 that I feel are significant.

  1. A true defnition/clarification of the “Flash Platform” at Max – This is somewhat a marketing move on Adobe’s part, but it serves to consolidate the products, services and solutions that are available from them based around the SWF file format. They’ve even created a page just for that at their site.
  2. Continued maturation and growth of Adobe AIR – With version 1.5, Adobe has tuned some things in the runtime that needed it, like adding Flash player 10 support, encrypted databases, and adding Linux support. Just as important, though, it sends a very strong message to everyone, developers, competitors and the entire RIA community that this time, they really mean it. They learned from Central and aren’t about to let this tech languish. Great news.
  3. Twitter’s enormous growth – Tangentially, Twitter has actually been a boon for AIR. With Twhirl and Tweetdeck being two of the most popular desktop Twitter clients out there, there is no question that many people may have installed AIR just to use them. (I use Tweetdeck, BTW and love it. The ability to create groups of people is necessary for the large number of people I follow).
  4. Continued transparency in development of Flex – With a site dedicated to the open source projects going on at Adobe, you can keep tabs on Gumbo, Blaze and any other number of apps in progress. This sort of implicit trust and collaboration with the community is simply amazing for a company of this size and with a project of such obvious strategic importance. The preview release of Flash Catalyst is yet another example of this great communication with developers.
  5. Flash Player 10 – Well, of course this was a big deal. Ading a Z-axis, adding unloadAndStop, and lots of other enhancements. I’m not currently targeting Flash 10 for web content, but we do have plans to use some of the features in tradeshows and some exhibits very shortly. The player penetration survey numbers are due for an update soon, so it will be interesting to see what the uptake is.
  6. Remoting’s growth – AMF continues to take root with more and more server side platforms due to its significant performance increases it adds and the relative ease of deployment. A Zend AMF component, traction gaining in the ASP.Net circles, and with the publication of the spec at the very end of ’07, it’s clear it is not going to slow any time soon.
  7. Google Analytics Flash platform enhancements – Via External Interface, it has always been possible to do very basic Google Analytics tracking for a Flash/Flex app. There is now a dedicated Google Analytics Tracking For Adobe Flash open source project, though that adds some major improvements to that methodology and really beefs up your ability to determine what users are doing in your apps. Jesse Warden has a good write up on his site about this. Highly recommended.
  8. The Cloud and Flash – A number of cloud computing service providers have added support for Flash RIAs, with Intuit’s QuickBase offering a really feature rich API. Very interested in seeing where this is going.
  9. The announcement of a forthcoming eLearning suite – After the death of Authorware and the continuous morphing of Breeze, the eLearning strategy for Adobe seemed to be floundering. In November, however, Adobe announced the upcoming eLearning dev suite, a sort of Creative Suite with additional components and scripting add-ons to aid in producing training content. Bring it!
  10. Labs, Labs Labs – With new stuff being added every month and a continued grooming of the site, Labs.adobe.com is one of my favorite sites to visit. Cocomo, SwitchBoard, Configurator, the new Text Layout Framework, etc… it is a great resource to read and keep up with the latest news from Adobe.

So, that’s it… A list of 10 things I think Adobe got right this year. Don’t worry, I have a list of the things I think got missed this year and should be things to focus on for ’09, as well. Should be up in a couple days.

What do you think? What might you like to see added to this list?

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  1. Ryan Stewart Jan 2

    Really good list, especially number 3 and number 6. I’m excited to see what happens with AMF next year as more and more people become interested in the “real time web”.

    But what I’d like to see is a top 10 list of things we’re doing wrong and you hated about the Flash Platform this year. That’s always more interesting ;)


  2. Alex Chriss Jan 2

    Great list – I think you’ll see some great things from the Intuit Partner Platform and #8 in 2009 – Excited to see the growth of #2 as well. Love working with the Flash Platform.



  3. Tony Jan 3

    Very interesting list. I think one of my personal favorites is definitely #4. I’d love to see it developed even further, as I think that Flex has a great future ahead of it. I can’t say I agree with you on Flash Player 10… Although it’s better, it still leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. One thing’s for sure though, Flash is the best.

  4. Music Jan 13

    The new Google Analytics Tracking For Flash open source projects is the one that helps webpublishers the most. Open X is involvedfro what I heard, Jesse Warden write up is excellent.

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