Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Future of Flash - Update

By now probably everyone read about Apple's move to basically ban all applications from the apps store that have not been natively developed for the iPhone/iPad with the tools sanctioned by Apple. If not you can read more here on Mike Chambers blog.

One aspect that generally comes too short when discussing  Apple's apps store and the closure of the iPhone / iPad against installing native applications through other means is that companies who would like to integrate these devices into their corporate network and more important operations cannot (easily) do so.

For example, my current employer the European School of English in Malta is currently providing Blackberry devices to most of the management staff. We are planning to utilise the devices to access operational data through custom applications on our mobile devices. These custom applications will be (are currently) build with Flex/Flash Builder in anticipation of Flash running soon on Blackberry and other devices. The reasons for using Flash are:
In-house experience in Flex/Flash development
Open/Cross Platform of Flash.
Custom applications can easily be distributed.
Very best user experience is not so important.
Performance is NOT an issue or only with regards to the bandwidth required to get the data from the operational systems to the devices. The applications themselves are simple data grid/data form type applications. No CPU power is required as it is usually for games.

The latter is actually the point I want to make. Not all applications require top performance and hence even interpreted code will do fine, let alone cross compiled code.

In an organisation like ours, I have constantly to battle down the wishes of the top management to purchase (the more prestigious) iPhone because we cannot integrate them into our corporate requirements. Again the reasons are:
We do not have in-house Objective-C developers
We do not have in-house HTML5, CSS3 developers for web based applications
We do not want to sell or otherwise publish our development in Apple's apps store

And here is where I have poblems with Apple's closed platform policy versus Adobe's open platform policy.

It has nothing to do with open source. I couldn't care less whether the iPhone/iPad OS or the Flash platform is open source or not as long as it is open/cross platform. It also has nothing (or little) to do with the quality of software development as in our case we do not want to publish anything, we would if at all simply treat ourselves badly (hardly anything Apple would need to be worried about).

So what is consequence of Apple's last move? We won't have Apple devices at ESE. We might however add Android devices next to the existing Blackberries.

Who wins, who looses. Well, the way I see it, we do not loose anything by not including iPhones or iPads in our portfolio, except maybe for the loss in ego of some of the managers who would prefer to show off with an iPhone. No offence intended of course - just in case some of my Dear colleagues happen to read my comment ;-)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Matthias.

    As I mentioned in our discussion on LinkedIn, you do not need to go through the App Store to distribute your internal apps on iPhone.

    There is already a provisioning mechanism for entreprise apps via iTunes. No App Store gating and no clause 3.3.1 there. Plus, iPhone OS4 will bring this capability to an extra level, allowing OTA download of apps from your own entreprise server. See:
    Apple is definitely betting on getting into the entrprise.

    You may then consider using my company's ELIPS Studio tool, but we do not support Blackberry at this stage.

    You can find out more about it at