James Governor's Monkchips

Adobe Gets A Clue, Pragmatism Returns. Flash as a Feature. MAX day 1

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Yesterday at its MAX keynote Adobe made a strong argument for its continuing relevance to web developers, with a couple of crowd pleasing moves that should help silence some of the anti-Flash haters. Talking of Flash- perhaps the most telling think about the keynote was that Flash didn’t even get a mention until 47 minutes in.

The show kicked off a demo of Dreamweaver tools for creating HTML5 and CSS3 apps. I say apps rather than websites because that’s the promise of HTML5 – more interactive, slicker user experiences… the kind of experiences, frankly, that Adobe has spent years pitching Flash as the best platform for. But yesterday Adobe remembered that user experience is way more important than than a runtime, no matter how cool it seemed originally.

Adobe has to be about tools. HTML5 is going to be huge, and its going to change the shape of Adobe’s business dramatically. And Adobe needs to be an arms supplier for the open web, not a competitor.

So Adobe is supporting HTML5 across its tool chains. Things got cooler when Adobe showed off prototype visual tools for jQuery design. win. well done adobe.

The Flash haters, and they are legion, are probably still not convinced.  Well its worth noting that Adobe also made a significant contribution to Webkit yesterday – some code to make text layout around arbitrary shapes a hell of a lot easier.

So Adobe is supporting HTML5 and jQuery, and making contributions to Webkit. Maybe its not trying to fork the web after all. Anyway John Resig is on stage right now for the Day 2 Keynote. So expect more updates later.


  1. Why all this “Adobe gets a clue”, “Adobe remembered that user experience is way more important than than a runtime”, etc?

    When haven’t they had a clue? Have they ever fallen behind their competitors in terms of HTML5 support? No, you could download the HTML5 pack for Dreamweaver in May. What else was around then (or now)? The Illustrator pack is available now too. Adobe has used WebKit in AIR since AIR 1.0.

    Full, bells-and-whistles HTML5 apps are not yet cross-platform. Where’s important features for these apps in IE (more than half the browsers out there)? Some of the eye-candy you can hack with JS but that’s about it.

    Given this, why shouldn’t Adobe push Flash? It’s the most cross-platform, full-featured solution to web apps available now. I think HTML/JS should be used in preference to Flash where suitable but you make it sound like Adobe is somehow wrong and/or stupid for promoting what is clearly the best option for web apps in many cases.

    1. i can see your point Darren, but the issue is pretty straightforward. Flash has sucked up all the oxygen Adobe had for marketing and management attention, which meant Apple was in a position to frame Adobe. By expressing a more open web friendly story Adobe has reasserted control of its own destiny. Adobe should of course keep pushing Flash forward, and innovating accordingly. But its very far from being the only important story to tell.

  2. OK James I take your point. It’s very hard to push ahead on two fronts equally. This does seem to be a smart move by Adobe to reposition itself.

  3. […] similarly, seems to be deprioritizing Flash. RedMonk’s James Governor notes that Flash wasn’t mentioned until 47 minutes into the MAX keynote. Adobe, however, was more […]

  4. […] similarly, seems to be deprioritizing Flash. RedMonk's James Governor notes that Flash wasn't mentioned until 47 minutes into the MAX keynote. Adobe, however, was more clear […]

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