|By Rich Tretola | November 16, 2011|
The following was posted last night at http://blogs.adobe.com/flex/2011/11/your-questions-about-flex.html
What specifically is Adobe proposing?
We are preparing two proposals for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS at the Apache Software Foundation.
In addition to contributing the core Flex SDK (including automation and advanced data visualization components), Adobe also plans to donate the following:
- Complete, but yet-to-be-released, Spark components, including ViewStack, Accordion, DateField, DateChooser and an enhanced DataGrid.
- BlazeDS, the server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real-time to Flex applications.
- Falcon, the next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler that is currently under development (this will be contributed when complete in 2012)
- Flex testing tools, as used previously by Adobe, so as to ensure successful continued development of Flex with high quality
Adobe will also have a team of Flex SDK engineers contributing to those new Apache projects as their full-time responsibility. Adobe has in-development work already started, including additional Spark-based components.
Isn’t Adobe just abandoning Flex SDK and putting it out to Apache to die?
Absolutely not – we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Flex and know that it will continue to provide significant value for many years to come. We expect active and on-going contributions from the Apache community. To be clear, Adobe plans on steadily contributing to the projects and we are working with the Flex community to make them contributors as well.
Flex has been open source since the release of Flex 3 SDK. What’s so different about what you are announcing now?
Since Flex 3, customers have primarily used the Flex source code to debug underlying issues in the Flex framework, rather than to actively develop new features or fix bugs and contribute them back to the SDK.
With Friday’s announcement, Adobe will no longer be the owner of the ongoing roadmap. Instead, the project will be in Apache and governed according to its well-established community rules. In this model, Apache community members will provide project leadership. We expect project management to include both Adobe engineers as well as key community leaders. Together, they will jointly operate in a meritocracy to define new features and enhancements for future versions of the Flex SDK. The Apache model has proven to foster a vibrant community, drive development forward, and allow for continuous commits from active developers.
How will the open source governance work? Where will it be hosted? Who will manage the project? Will Adobe still effectively control the Flex roadmap? How can I contribute?
We are actively working on getting the Flex SDK and BlazeDS projects accepted as incubator podlings at the Apache Software Foundation. We expect to have more information to share on progress in the next few weeks.
We are actively working with members of the Flex community to ensure they are involved in the project management along with Adobe engineers.
What guarantees can Adobe make in relation to Flex applications continuing to run on Flash Player and Adobe AIR?
Adobe will continue to support applications built with Flex, as well as all future versions of the SDK running in PC browsers with Adobe Flash Player and as mobile apps with Adobe AIR indefinitely on Apple iOS, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS.
How will open source Flex development continue against Flash Player and Adobe AIR?
Flex SDK development will continue against released versions of the Flash Player and Adobe AIR runtimes, providing a stable and supported environment for Flex applications.
You said Adobe is committed to Flash Builder – what exactly does that mean in the context of future Flex SDK support?
Future versions of Adobe Flash Builder will continue to provide code editing, compilation, debugging and profiling support for Flex applications. Adobe will undertake the required work to ensure Flash Builder is compatible with future releases of Flex SDK.
Previously communicated road map features, such as enhanced code editing, real-time error highlighting and compile-as-you-type support will be available to both ActionScript and Flex developers.
Is Flex SDK still a viable technology option for existing and new projects?
Absolutely. Flex SDK will continue to be developed, maintained and released as an open source project that Adobe actively contributes to.
You said that you believe HTML is the “long-term solution for enterprise applications” – can you clarify this statement?
However, Flex has now, and for many years will continue to have, advantages over HTML5 for enterprise application development – in particular:
- Flex offers complete feature-level consistency across multiple platforms
- The Flex component set and programming model makes it extremely productive when building complex application user interfaces
- ActionScript is a mature language, suitable for large application development
- Supporting tools (both Adobe’s and third-party) offer a productive environment with respect to code editing, debugging and profiling
Our announcements relating to changes in the way Flex SDK is developed do not change the fundamental value-add of Flex or make HTML5 suddenly more capable than it was last week.
We intend to make investments in HTML-related technologies, so that we can help advance HTML5 to make it suitable for enterprise applications.
We have undertaken some experimental work in this area, but remain unsure as to the viability of fully translating Flex-based content to HTML.
The Falcon JS cross-compiler, referenced above, represents this early work and we intend to contribute this to the open source project.
What happens next?
We are actively working on the callback proposal for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS at the Apache Software Foundation. Once the proposals have been accepted, both Adobe and community contributors can begin committing contributions. We will share an update when the callback proposal has been posted – we expect this to happen over the course of the next few weeks.
We are working on providing you with more detailed information relating to the open source contributions we are making, how you can contribute to Flex SDK and BlazeDS through Apache’s contribution model and our HTML5-related plans.
We’d like an opportunity to talk to as many Flex developers as possible in person about these changes – to that end, members of the Flex product team along with Adobe evangelists will be organizing a multi-city international tour to enable more direct discussions. Stay tuned for more information.