When the iPad was announced in January, I wrote a piece at FreshDV employing some contrarian thinking — everyone else was saying “the iPad and HTML5 will kill Flash!” — and stated, “Flash is suddenly valuable again:”
With Flash, you can develop your rich-media experience once, and then output to web, iPhone, iPad, set-top boxes, and Blu-Ray platforms all at once… For productions with smaller budgets, being able to output to several different platforms without incurring huge costs will be… well, huge. And the iPad, I suspect, will be the crown jewel in Flash’s cross-platform strategy.
Now here’s Christian Cantrel from Adobe AIR (of which Flash is a key part) demonstrating this in action, on many different platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, Droid, and, yes, iPad.
“There isn’t a single line of code that I had to change to get this application to run on all these different operating systems and all these different devices.” For indie creators who may be working on a story world that includes mobile apps and multiplatform games connected to a feature film (like, ahem, me)… well, I already said it. Huge!
The interesting thing is that, through this multiplatform strategy, Flash and AIR are becoming more of an authoring platform that outputs desktop or mobile apps — without relying on the Flash player. So I think those who state that Flash has peaked are right — but only if you’re talking about Flash as a plugin that lives on your desktop. If Adobe pulls this off, even if you don’t (or, in the case of the iPhone/iPad, can’t) install Flash, you’ll still be running Flash-based apps — without even knowing it.
Time will tell just how perfectly this “write once, publish many” approach works for more complicated applications, and how efficiently they run (I’m not a huge fan of TweetDeck because it uses AIR and is more sluggish than it would’ve been if coded natively), but for the budgets many of us are looking at, this is probably the only way to go multiplatform. And it’s arriving at just the right time.1