I’m happy that say that I got a response to my last message to Chris Campbell (@liquidate) regarding the lack of developer PR from Adobe and he asked for feedback that could help with regards to developers and teams marketing their Adobe based projects and how Adobe could play a role in enabling that. I genuinely think that Chris aims to support the developer community, I’m sorry for the barrage that he’s getting right now. He’s definitely not to blame and seems very supportive so I want to thank him.
Chris’s post can be read on the Adobe blog at:
Chris Campbell says:
March 30, 2014 at 11:32 am
Thank you Gary. Your open letter was read by many members of our team.
I agree that our marketing could be better. I’d love to hear suggestions on how we can leverage the strength of the community to improve this.
I’ll also work on getting blog posts created that go into technical detail on some of our upcoming feature work.
Work is still being done on the Linux version of Flash Player (PPAPI) and you can expect that to continue. Adobe is also committed to making sure the NPAPI version is updated with security fixes. There are no plans to resurrect the Linux AIR target at this time. However, we worked with Valve recently to make sure that the AIR based movie “Free to Play” was available on SteamOS so there are some options still available depending on the version of AIR required.
Below is my reply which aims to bring light to one of the biggest issues, the lack of equal opportunity for all developers that work on the Flash and Air platforms. I believe the lack of equal opportunity led to many developers abandoning the Flash platform and is one of the major topics that I personally hear about from very skilled developers, most of which are struggling to get exposure due to Adobes preferred supplier chain. I have focused on my own experience as a developer during my main project.
Firstly, it’s great that you’re listening to the community and acknowledging a lack of community support. I look forward to reading about the upcoming features and as requested, would like to offer some ideas from a developer perspective. I took you up on your offer of communication. I sent you an email a few days ago regarding this, I’m yet to receive a response.
Adobe’s singled out strategic partnerships cause a biased limitation for other developers attempting to gain attention to their products. Regardless of whether a technology is superior at a given time, to maintain a good developer community, developers must be enabled to have equal opportunities to the market. This, in turn, would say that funding should also be delivered based on the ‘potential’ merit of a given platform, including its current development state. This would in turn create a competing environment (@see open market) which would be more fair and better for both developers and end user choice.
As well as my own platform, developers of other platforms are telling me that they are also struggling because peoples inherent gravitation to your partnered products. I am just one of many developers who are feeling this effect. I am the developer of Zest3D http://www.zest3d.com, a fast, opensource 3D engine that evolved from code by Microsoft’s principal software development engineer, David Eberly: http://www.github.com/zest3d the platform is designed to be fast and performs with excellent results on mobile devices. The engine is mostly dismissed due to Away3D being your partner product, but then so is Flash as a mobile platform, when it come to 3D. So let’s see them both in action and understand why people might feel this:
- Away3D iPhone4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH4mrUagA74
- Zest3D Galaxy Tab 10.1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AoigO3GJQ0
Flare3D http://www.flare3d.com is a paid product yet that’s simply another business model, I feel that they should be supported as another Adobe platform focused product, it is a great platform. Genome2D https://github.com/pshtif/Genome2D-AS3 suffers the same lack of exposure and bias towards Starling, an inferior performing engine. MadComponents https://code.google.com/p/mad-components/ is an excellent UI component library that caters to the use cases that was claimed that Flash shouldn’t be used for, perhaps missed because of the funding of FeathersUI. An argument exists that these products have good community support, but I believe this is exactly what happens when those products have official support and is not conducive of a platforms ability.
I’m sorry to diverge a little here but I feel like Adobe have actually been going in the opposite direction and even cutting funding to some of these groups. This applies to technology that Adobe are shouting about their support. Please let me explain. I worked on the WebGL/HTML5 version of Away3D and our funding was cut after the first round. Myself http://www.plugin.io and Karim Beyrouti http://www.kurst.co.uk worked on this. The decision to mimic the Stage3D API and cross compile the AGAL to GLSL came from myself and was met with opposition, which would have been a very bad technical decision. Karim and I had to push to make that happen against opposition from your preferred supplier. Whilst I ported the math library, integrated WebGL, simulated the Stage3D API, worked on AGAL to GLSL converters, supporting classes amongst others, Karim’s attention was on porting large amounts of the AS3 codebase. We did the majority of this in 8 weeks and personally, I don’t think that it could have gone any more perfectly for Adobes small investment. You can see the results here: http://typescript.away3d.com Many would consider Away3D to be a competing engine to my own Zest3D so not only does this show my commitment to trying to push web technologies forward but it also gave me an insight to Adobes choices and left me with a lot of questions about the lack of commitment to any of the platforms that Adobe publicly say that they are supporting.
On retrospection of some of these decisions, I found myself feeling that most of them were ludicrous and started making considerations such as; Why are Adobe not realizing the huge potential for a collaborative and economic ecosystem around Adobe products. I’m sure that your users, promoters, key partners etc probably do care about the developers that use your tools as they have a dedicated interest in your tools and what people produce. Your own partners maybe interested in sponsoring, helping or working with the Adobe communities, including Flash and Air and the communities at large. Many companies are based on the continued research and development in key areas of evolving web technology, many of which can be traced directly to Flash development over the last 15 years. Perhaps this would even attract new Adobe partners, who could have an easier platform and take the opportunity to talk directly with developers about their projects. This would undoubtedly show that Adobe has a commitment to the future of the developer community. I also suspect that would make your sponsors and partners feel like those developers might not abandon Adobe platforms like they have continued to do so in the last few years due to giving them very few reasons to stay too combined with the obvious lack of trust from the developers.
Therefore, would Adobe consider working with partners/developers/sponsors etc to create an open, unbiased environment where Adobe developers (whatever the technology) can can share their projects, create investment opportunities, create tooling, engines and applications that can make good returns on those investments, helping developers to continue the great work that is so valuable to the web at large?
Will Adobe also be at the heart of this with serious commitment to enabling that community and supporting ALL of their developers by removing the currently biased preferred supplier system and continue or (as you state in your response) increase their support with additional funding on a case by case basis, with attention to the actual return on their investment and project scope?
I hope that my opinions as a developer are considered. I feel that these suggestions would undoubtedly increase the developer communities equality by removing a major barrier to entry, create an open platform, create investment opportunities, increase Adobes ethics profile, increase exposure to Adobe products, increase developer satisfaction, increase PR opportunity… the list goes on.
Many thanks for listening.
From a developer perspective, I consider this to be the most basic first step to enabling a rich and diverse developer community. To other engines, platforms and frameworks etc that I did not mention, please comment below and share your resources.