Tag Archives: open source

open flash happiness

This morning, Adobe announced that they are open sourcing Flex (under the MPL). Their FAQ is pretty informative.

Slashdot‘s gallery of morons is lambasting the announcement as just a PR stunt, as a scared response to Microsoft’s recent announcement of WPF/E Silverlight, and likely as a joint conspiracy between Sony, the Bush administration, and Jack Thomspson to steal their mp3z. But you can’t make some idiots happy, no matter what you do.

I couldn’t be happier with this news. It’s a major win for not only Adobe (who gets fresh innovation and lots of good karma out of the deal) but also for the community in general. Flex is a tremendously powerful platform, it’s a serious platform. While Flash is just for pretty pictures, Flex is for content. It is fast to develop for, it is more reliable than AJAX (since it runs under a consistent VM that doesn’t change from browser to browser or OS to OS), and it looks better and runs faster than Java Swing (well, it doesn’t take much to look better than swing, or be faster than swing, but Flex does both, at the same time, and does it for less effort on the developer’s end).

Fact of the matter is, Adobe is open sourcing their compiler, their debugger, and their core language api. Really, the only thing they’re not opening up is the VM itself… but they’ve already done some of that. Adobe is also keeping control of the project, it’ll be hosted on their servers, etc… So between that, and their keeping the Flash 9 player closed source, the platform isn’t in danger of rapid death spiral type unreliability.

Ted Patrick has more details on his blog. Namely, the release schedule:

Starting Summer 2007 we will be posting daily builds of the Flex SDK and providing open access to a bug database online. The Flex community will have direct access to the same tools developers use internally to manage Flex quality and this will allow the Flex community to improve the quality of Flex directly.

In December of 2007 after the release of “Moxie” (aka Flex 3) we will be posting all software assets into a public Subversion repository for public access. During this transition period we will be clarifying governance on the Flex SDK and how contributions will be handled in phases.

Naturally, I’ve got more questions about this, but… I’m too excited to care at the moment.

I have the sinking suspicion that as one of the few groups on the planet to adopt Flex 2 as a development platform from its launch, a few of my comrades and I will be among the first to actually contribute code to the new Flex 3 project. We may none of us be compiler jocks… but I tell you what. We are going to fix a few broken/clunky UI classes and are gonna give the native data classes a good jolt of needed features.

I giggle at the thought of how much work DataGrid is going to see the first month 😉