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Adobe's iPhone Hail Mary

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the do-you-believe-in-miracles dept.

Software 115

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether the move to port Flash to the iPhone isn't a last-ditch effort on Adobe's part to remain relevant in the quickly evolving smartphone market. By allowing developers to compile existing Flash apps into native binaries, Adobe believes it has found a way around Apple's requirements that no non-Apple API interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an app, a clause that has also prevented Sun from porting JVM to the iPhone. The resulting apps will be completely stand-alone, with no runtimes and no Flash Player required — if Apple lets Adobe get away with it, no small feat given how protective Apple has been about its app market. But as much as Apple has at stake here, Adobe may actually have more, McAllister writes. 'Already the idea of using Web languages and tools to build smartphone applications is taking hold. Palm has built an entire smartphone platform around the idea. Apple supports the use of Web technologies like AJAX to build applications based on the iPhone's Safari browser. And developers will soon even be able to build Web-based applications for BlackBerry handsets, thanks to a new SDK from Research in Motion. As late to the game as it is, what Adobe needs now is to convince developers that Flash is better than the other options — and that could be a tough sell.'"

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PHP for mobile phones (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29702787)

Flash might be great for action games, but I'd really like to see support for PHP in some mobile phone. There's already PHP-GTK [] and several other frameworks that let you do it in Windows/Linux. Powerful, and still easily learned and used language would make wonders in mobile development (man does Symbian C++ suck) and because PHP has so many functions and api's build-in, it would be easy to program lots of things quickly for your phone.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29702793)

I second this!

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29702823)

Please tell me this is a joke.


Re:PHP for mobile phones (2, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29702881)

While PHP was originally developed to be a server-side scripting language to generate dynamic websites, it's really capable to work in CLI and even in GUI applications. I do most of my server scripts with it instead of bash or the other popular ones, just because it's a lot more readable and quicker language to work with.

So, you might want to tell me why would I be joking? The only problem currently is that there's no support for multiple processes in PHP and you have to use hacks and forking to accomplish it (not that Flash would have it either). I except this to change at some point too, and with iPhone it's hardly a problem as you cant even run multiple apps at the same time.

Sure, you cant do the next Crysis with it, but I can think of many kinds of games especially on mobile phones that would work great. On top of that PHP-GTK's and other frameworks drawing functions are fast.

WinBinder [] is one of such extension for PHP that provides easy access to Windows API's and builds an exe from it.

One of the powers in PHP is it's huge build-in function library (+ extensions) which really makes developing and programming faster and more fun, when you dont need to hunt such functions or libraries from Google or make the functions yourself (which in most cases probably aren't as good optimized). I always wish other languages would have such by default (c/c++ especially is pain in the ass and all the dependencies just create problems when moving from environment to another).

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29702971)

No, you do all of your scripts with PHP because you're too fucking stupid or ignorant to learn a proper language like Perl, Python or Ruby.

PHP's standard library is a fucking disgrace. The only people who can "appreciate" it are those retards who haven't used a proper language with a consistent, well-organized and properly-implemented standard library.

Basically, PHP is the crayon of the web development world. It's the kind of thing you'd use at your "kindergarten" stage of learning. Unfortunately, that's about as far as many web developers get. And while a very small number of talented web developers can make works of art using their crayons, most just draw a big fucking scribbly mess.

Once you've moved on as a developer, and learned some decent languages, you'd see how much of a fetal abortion PHP is. It's literally a stillborn programming language.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (2, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | about 5 years ago | (#29703025)

No, you do all of your scripts with PHP because you're too fucking stupid or ignorant to learn a proper language like Perl, Python or Ruby.

Says the one who's too fucking stupid or ignorant to learn a proper language like C or Assembly.

Once you've moved on as a developer, and learned some decent languages, you'd see how much of a fetal abortion PHP is. It's literally a stillborn programming language.

So what? If he's quicker with it, who are you to decide he shouldn't use it? You already established you don't care about performance.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703093)

We're talking about scripting, you maggot. So of course performance isn't one of our main concerns. Fuck, you're clearly too stupid to even understand what we're discussing, let alone make any useful contribution.

I've been programming since well before your father was blowing his sperm into your mother's shitty ass, and some accidentally trickled down into her vagina and created the embryonic you through a soup of feces, spermatozoa and egg. I've worked with more dialects of assembly than the number of shits you've taken in your entire life.

If he's quicker with PHP, it's only because his foolishness outweighs his ability to learn a scripting language that would make him even more efficient. There is no such thing as an "efficient PHP programmer". That's merely a euphemism to describe somebody who is a shitty Perl, Python or Ruby programmer.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

Fanboy Fantasies (917592) | about 5 years ago | (#29703639)

People like you are why I read at -1

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703983)

Goddamn, that comment rocked.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (3, Funny)

lonecrow (931585) | about 5 years ago | (#29708365)

I feel so lonely.

Can't someone please berate me for developing web apps in ASP Classic. I know that my clients are happy because I always deliver the features they want on time and on budget and my apps always pass website security audits and are very stable and all but surely there must be someone out there who can tell me how wrong I am for using it.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about 5 years ago | (#29703215)

You really have alot of bile towards PHP. Why, if so many people are using it, and continue to use it, do you think it's a bad language? You have yet to say *why* it is a bad language, all you've spouted some blue language and shown us your vitriol.

As for Crayons. Alot of nice art can be done with crayons, if they're in the hands of someone competent.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703297)

Most people are stupid. Horribly stupid. That's why they use PHP. They're too stupid to realize that there's much better out there.

If you're even a half-decent programmer, you don't need me to be explaining to you why PHP is shit. You'll be able to see it so clearly for yourself. Or you'd be able to use Google and find the thousands of arguments against it. No need for me to repeat what should be obvious, or can be easily found.

Oh, and faggot, I know that you didn't even bother to read my post. If you had, you would've seen that I wrote, "And while a very small number of talented web developers can make works of art using their crayons, ..." That shoots your last sentence, your attempt at being a smug fartface, down to the ground.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703567)

Just admit that you can't explain why it's better and have to resort to juvie fanboy rants.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (3, Insightful)

Dr. Zim (21278) | about 5 years ago | (#29703583)

I think someone needs a hug

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29705261)

So you're saying you're really a shit programmer who can't do good PHP thus the language is bad, right?

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 5 years ago | (#29704299)

You might find the following link more informative than the vitriol of the parent as I think it explains the bafflement that some developers with experience of a few other, saner, languages feel when they encounter PHP: []

The trouble with PHP is really that it has outgrown its origins (a very simple templating language, for simple web pages), and yet has not been adapting fast enough to the new uses it is being put to. It still has a lot of legacy cruft which makes it unsuited to complex tasks like application development (IMHO), and some feel the design philosophy (exemplified by their use of three separate naming conventions for functions (under_score,jamtogether, and camelCase) and over 3000 functions in the main namespace) means it will never catch up with other scripting languages in terms of elegance or efficiency.

Here's an example of that cruft from the article:

PHP’s approach is rather different. Instead of making sure that database queries are valid, PHP chooses to ensure that the input can’t be invalid. When you enable the magic_quotes_gpc setting, PHP alters its handling of the CGI parameters, and actually inserts backslashes before ‘dangerous’ characters in the incoming data. (An astute reader might stop to wonder why this feature isn’t called magic_backslashes_gpc, but that’s rather a side issue.)

If you weren’t expecting this behaviour, the symptom is that PHP randomly throws backslashes into perfectly valid data — all in the name of not corrupting data! Lerdorf attempted to justify this in a recent interview as follows: “the worst that would happen is that someone would see an extra \ on the screen when they output the data directly instead of sticking it into the database.” I for one get rather concerned when I encounter such flagrant disregard for data integrity.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29703603)

Basically, PHP is the crayon of the web development world

That may be, but why do you take it so personally? Did your girlfriend leave you for a PHP coder or something?


Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

shadwstalkr (111149) | about 5 years ago | (#29703321)

A large portion of PHP's library is just a thin PHP wrapper around C libraries. If you just port PHP to an embedded platform, you won't get most of the library without a lot of extra work.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0, Troll)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 5 years ago | (#29703513)

So, you might want to tell me why would I be joking?

Because PHP is an awful, awful, mess of a language, in fact it's more like a framework + language, but anyway. Just because you could use it to make a GUI application, doesn't make it close to the right tool for the job.

Do yourself a favour and look into other scripting languages, like perl, ruby or python - you would at least learn why people complain about PHP.

I always wish other languages would have such by default

Taking the iPhone as an example, C, Obj-C and C++ all have extensive libraries, and many actual application frameworks available for free, which cover everything PHP does and a whole lot more. The default Obj-C for example has a huge number of built in libraries available. The fact you don't know this rings alarm bells and says to me you should try using something other than PHP just to give you a sense of perspective.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29703623)

PHP is an awful, awful, mess of a language,

Can you cite an actual example of something wrong with it? Big footprint, slow runtime, anything along those lines? Merely dialing up the rhetoric doesn't tell us anything.


Re:PHP for mobile phones (4, Informative)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 5 years ago | (#29703973)

Can you cite an actual example of something wrong with it?

Sure. I've used it, and it gets the job done, but I didn't much like it compared to the many other options - trying to force development of a GUI application into PHP is my idea of a nightmare, and comparing it to C and saying that it has far more libraries is laughable, considering that most PHP additions (image manipulation for example) are just wrappers around C based tools. My object to PHP is not that it is impossible to use, it's that it's messy and not very well thought out in many regards. It's quick and dirty, with the emphasis on the dirty.

A few problems with PHP off the top of my head:

There is no clean separation of logic and view (or MVC if you prefer that split) - the language itself encourages mixing code and presentation, often with horrendous results. You can work against this, but you're always going against the flow - see the many examples of PHP CMS etc for great examples of this kind of mistake in action. They work, but only just, and the internals are often very messy.

The naming conventions for the API are all over the map - any language that has functions named stuff like mysql_real_escape_string, as opposed to the still extant mysql_escape_string, has obvious problems with design philosophy. Maybe next year they'll come out with mysql_really_escape_the_string_this_time? It is very difficult to guess function names because there are no clear conventions, and the whole thing has grown organically to a huge bundle of disparate functions, some of which definitely do not belong in a language and should be broken out into modules or put into objects like strings. Stuff like eregi_replace, str_ireplace and str_replace is needlessly confusing because the naming conventions are inconsistent and cryptic.

Strings and arrays are not proper objects, so you have to use a mix of procedural and oo code everywhere - it'd be nice to be able to call methods on strings and chain stuff like Ruby. The object model was also weirdly broken till PHP5 and is really bolted on.

Doesn't have closures (just added to C/Obj-C by Apple).

Unicode strings are still not properly supported.

The syntax inherits everything which is bad about perl (it's quite possible to write very difficult to read code), and doesn't improve on it one iota.

I'm sure I could do a search and turn up a few more issues, but it generally just feels ungainly compared to any other language I've used (Ruby, Objective-C, C, Python). I think the author of the above comment saying everything could be done better in PHP really should explore other languages before dismissing them as somehow lacking, and understand that different languages have different strengths, and learning to use other languages could teach them something about how to write good code in PHP.

Having worked with it, PHP doesn't strike me as a very good language by most metrics, and it certainly is not more complete than the many other options in any arena. There is simply no comparison in my opinion with a properly structured API like cocoa for GUI apps.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29704131)

To Serious Callers Only:

We should all agree to disagree (i.e. everyone is allowed their opinion) but I just want to thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts in a civil, intelligent way.

You don't get this very often on the internet and this is only the second time I've written on Slashdot since I've been visiting starting in 2003.

Great to read :)

Re:PHP for mobile phones (2, Interesting)

shmlco (594907) | about 5 years ago | (#29705295)

Don't forget the archaic parsing system that requires all variables, even those in script assignments and function parameters, to be prefixed with dollar signs. Looking at a PHP script makes me feel like I'm back in the '70s writing BASIC programs. ($A=$B vs A$=B$)

Or PHP object methods ignoring the standard dot reference convention in favor of C's pointer convention. ( obj.function() vs $obj->function() )

I know I just love typing three special characters for each and every method reference when one would do.

And you mentioned function names, but what about function parameter order? Some take the target first (arsort(array,sorttype)), and others place the target second (array_key_exists(key,array)).

Or array function names, for example, some of which start with ARRAY_map, others with Asort, and still others like CURRENT() which one can only assume does something with an array, as it could just as easily be the current time.

Or the fact that decent object support came so late to the game that 95% of all PHP code extant is still an embedded procedural spaghetti mess? Rarely does a language work so hard against writing good code. Yes, you can do it, but the odds of actually doing so pretty much equate to the chances of the Mets winning the 2009 World Series. (grin)

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

Korin43 (881732) | about 5 years ago | (#29705975)

I like the way of referring to $variables in PHP. It's one extra letter and makes it much easier to read the code sometimes (especially if you use PHP's string parsing).

PHP's biggest advantage is the documentation, which is easily the best out there (well written Javadoc style + examples + comments). It's biggest problem is that you NEED the documentation. Constantly.

Also, in PHP classes, you HAVE to use $this everytime. So if you have public $foo in a class, it's always going to be $this->foo, which I find extremely annoying. Especially when putting class variables into strings, because then it's {$this->foo}. PHP objects were horrifically slow in 5.2, but supposedly they're better in 5.3.

It was probably was the easiest language I've ever learned though.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 5 years ago | (#29706183)

"It's one extra letter and makes it much easier to read the code sometimes..."

It's one extra letter each and every single friggin' time you want to type a variable name.

Most every development environment on the planet already colorizes variable names and function names anyway.

Look at the following function, for example.

function IDDF_search($array, $var, $depth=100)
                for($i=0; $i$depth; $i++)
                        if($temp = RestrictedDF_search($array, $var, $i))
                                return $temp;

11 of the 185 characters typed is a "null" dollar sign. That's 6% of the code. And for what? You think the above is more legible than this?

function IDDF_search(array, var, depth=100)
                for (i = 0; i depth; i++)
                        if (temp = RestrictedDF_search(array, var, i))
                                return temp;

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

Korin43 (881732) | about 5 years ago | (#29706599)

No, but if you consider what PHP is useful for (websites):

echo "Customer Name: $customer_name\nAddress: $st_address $city, $state\nOrder: $order_info";
is much better than:
echo "Customer Name: " . customer_name . "\nAddress: " . st_address . " " . city . " " . state . "\nOrder: " . order_info;

$var isn't bad at all compared to ".var." when writing a string (and I'm guessing more than 6% of my php code is writing strings like this).

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 5 years ago | (#29708033)

"$var isn't bad at all compared to ".var.""

So? Try #var# or %var%

Which also makes for easy subtitution of functions inline, as in #now()#

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29704047)

John, don't play stupid just for the sake of arguing here on Slashdot. You know perfectly well what's wrong with PHP.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29704475)

John, don't play stupid just for the sake of arguing here on Slashdot.

Asking someone to explain their position in other than emotional terms is playing stupid?

You know perfectly well what's wrong with PHP.

No actually, I don't. I've never had occasion to use it.


Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 5 years ago | (#29706161)

No actually, I don't. I've never had occasion to use it.

Ah, that explains your question. If you had used it, and have used other languages, I honestly don't think you would have to ask.

It's worth a look just to see what happens when a language grows rather than being designed.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29706965)

It's worth a look just to see what happens when a language grows rather than being designed.

I've seen that plenty of times. C++ is a train wreck.


Re:PHP for mobile phones (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 5 years ago | (#29703753)

I've made a good living building and maintaining php-gtk apps for Windows/OSX. However, I've never seen GTK bindinngs for mobile anything, and porting over PHP-GTK apps to mobile platforms is at the point a non-starter.

I would be looking at this very seriously - at this point I've pretty much decided to move everything (eventually) to HTML/javascript because of its cross-platform capability even if it sometimes makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a toothpick.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29704453)

PHP? Why would anyone use that outside of it's intended domain? It's not like it's a particularly elegant language.

Re:PHP for mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29705145)

Honestly, I think the Actionscript 3.0 language behind Flash apps is a far better, more modern, and more elegant language than PHP. The only thing PHP has on it is a massive API... most of which is more than a little messy.

That's a silly conclusion (5, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | about 5 years ago | (#29702791)

It's not a "last ditch effort" to remain relevant. It's just Adobe continuing the tradition of ubiquity of their platform. Apple won't let them put a runtime on the phone, so they'll deploy native code instead.

Apple supports the use of Web technologies like AJAX to build applications based on the iPhone's Safari browser.

Sorry, but there's a big difference between an AJAX app and a native app. Try writing a browser based graphical game on the iPhone; it's going to fall on its face pretty quickly.

for BlackBerry handsets, thanks to a new SDK from Research in Motion.

Hmm, convince developers to learn a whole new SDK for a single platform, when they can stick with a mature language and toolset they already know, deploy it in the browser, on the desktop (via Air), and on basically every phone on the planet that can run custom apps, including the BlackBerry?

Sorry, this whole article is bunk. Adobe isn't struggling with relevance, they're just making sure it doesn't start to slip, as Apple is so strongly trying to make it. In fact, this probably backfired on Apple a bit - Flash apps running as a native binary will probably have access to device functions which the normal Flash runtime wouldn't have.

Adobe needs now is to convince developers that Flash is better than the other options — and that could be a tough sell

I'm guessing this sale has already been made. A lot of developers like working in Flash. Actionscript is a surprisingly elegant language. Based on the number of Flash apps which already turn up all over the web, a whole new segment of developers are seeing this as access to a development platform which was previously closed to them.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

ojintoad (1310811) | about 5 years ago | (#29702933)

I agree with most of your skepticism of this article.

Sorry, but there's a big difference between an AJAX app and a native app.

Certainly, this is true, but that doesn't mean the technologies of an AJAX app can't be used to develop an app on a native platform. Appcelerator's Titanium [] is a platform that specifically compiles down javascript, css, and html into an application that can run on the Android or the IPhone, with promises for more platforms on the way. I actually found that to be a glaring omission in this article, though it did throw a bone to Rhomobile's Rhodes framework. [] I'm sure there are many other types of cross platform mobile frameworks out there though that seek to minimize the amount of relearning that individuals have to do. It sounds like you anticipate Flash taking a similar role.

Javascript is a surprisingly elegant language.

Fixed it for you. :-)

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | about 5 years ago | (#29703075)

Javascript is an OK language, but it doesn't really have anything ActionScript doesn't have. They're both based on ECMA Script, so the syntax is similar. They both have event systems.

ActionScript has strong typing as an option (though you can elect to go with weak typing if you wish), implicit getters and setters for properties (eg, function get foo():String { return this._foo; } function set foo(newFoo:String):void { if (newFoo != 'bar') this._foo = newFoo; }) which allow you to start adding data validation or trigger other behavior when you change a property. It's got method and property visibility controls. Class level constants, static properties and methods, interfaces, and a whole slew of other high-order OOP functionality that JavaScript is just missing.

I do quite a lot of work in both languages. Maybe it's a style choice, but I'm definitely a much bigger fan of ActionScript than JavaScript. Fortunately their domains do not overlap very much (and in fact I do quite a lot where the two talk with each other).

On a side note, not sure why my parent post got marked as Troll; I'm guessing someone has a beef with the politically based comments I posted yesterday in a different thread, and is trying to punish me here.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

ojintoad (1310811) | about 5 years ago | (#29703181)

Can't figure out a way to Private Message, I guess Slashdot doesn't have a system for that. Would be curious if you have any recommended ActionScript reading/reference? Or would the nearest O'Reilly book do? (Yes, I could google, but personal inquiry is the shortest distance to a quality resource; google could give me anything.) Was not aware that ActionScript had those features.

Adobe TV (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29703271)

Adobe shipped "Adobe Media Player" on Air platform and they recently converted it to "Adobe TV" which gives free videos/TV shows to Developers, designers and so on. I just checked and it has some Actionscript stuff.

As Adobe Air is available for all OS, better check it out []

Re:That's a silly conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703569)

Colin Moock's Essential Actionscript 3.0 is something I'd recommend reading.. Yes it's O'Reilly

Re:That's a silly conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29704981)


Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | about 5 years ago | (#29705769)

Yeah, there's no PM system here. I'm sorry to say I don't have any dead tree books to offer advice on. I learned ActionScript in the 1.0 days and have advanced my knowledge each time the language advances mostly through either in-program Help files or online documentation.

Today I'm working on connections to and passing data around in Flash Media Server. I'm working my way through examples in the documentation that comes with Flash Media Server, and Googling for more details on specific methods and their arguments (I don't just copy the examples verbatim, I try to fit the examples into the actual code base I'm working with).

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

mad.frog (525085) | about 5 years ago | (#29705297)

On a side note, not sure why my parent post got marked as Troll; I'm guessing someone has a beef with the politically based comments I posted yesterday in a different thread, and is trying to punish me here.

Nah, more likely it's because Adobe is a company that it's currently fashionable to bash in the open-source community, and on Slashdot in particular.

And it's *definitely* unfashionable to say good things about Flash -- heavens, it's not open source!

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

jo42 (227475) | about 5 years ago | (#29703087)

In fewer words, all Adobe is doing is greatly reducing the bar for 'developers' to put even more crap on far more devices. No frikkin' thanks.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

gaspyy (514539) | about 5 years ago | (#29703239)

I'm sorry, but based on the quality of quite a few offerings currently on Apple's app store, I don't see how it could get any worse.

As for lowering the bar... sure, if it were by me, I'd made a requirement for all code to be written in assembly but I don't see how it's Adobe's fault for creating a platform fun to develop on.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29703229)

Indeed. Whilst Flash and Java may have some drawbacks, the advantage of cross-platform applications is huge. With desktop computing, we had to go through the painful ordeal in the 80s and 90s where every platform were incompatible, making it a pain both for developers and users. Finally we've got to a stage where most platforms run the same code - but only due to having a monopoly platform of Windows, running on only Intel CPUs or clones; not because of any standardisation (well, PC hardware is now standardised, with even Macs now being simply another brand of PC, but the OS still makes a difference, and there is no standardisation there).

Mobile computing today is much like computing of the 80s - so called "smart" phones are ubiquitous - all but the cheapest phones are now Internet enabled phones that can run applications. There are many hardware manufacturers, with hundreds of different models, all running different (often custom) OSs, with different hardware. Yet, the vast majority of them are compatible, thanks to Java.

When I got my first smartphone in 2005, a Motorola V980, I marvelled at how I could download an application from any webpage, and have it run, even if it wasn't made with my phone in mine.

And then along comes the Iphone, and puts a spanner in the works. Yes, let's go back to the dark ages where an application has to be coded natively for that phone, and things like Java or Flash aren't allowed! Let's even make it so that applications can only be installed with Apple approval. It's great for Apple of course - people make applications specifically for the Iphone, generating extra publicity, and the media and fans spin the "app store" as being a good thing.

It's sad that even on places like Slashdot, people would prefer either 80s style computing where every platform is incompatible - or a possible future where compatibility is achieved only through a single Microsoft-like company dominating all of mobile computing (and what if that's a different company to Microsoft, as is likely? We'll have the absurd situation where mobile handheld/phone devices are incompatible with netbooks and desktop devices...). As opposed to having true standardisation and cross-platform applications, which had been achieved by a billion or two Java smartphones, before Apple start to put a stop to it.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703907)

Not that the iphone isn't locked down (it is), or that Apple would open it up if they thought they could (they might), but the carriers are a bigger roadblock to open smartphones than anything else.

I don't recall the same cross platform panacea you do. I remember having to edit the seem on my first Motorola smartphone to get unfettered java, and then having to pick the version of Opera mobile that would would work with my java version. I also don't see that the situation has changed all that much, and as far as I know Apple has not stopped anyone from producing a smartphone that uses java in any way it wants, or anyone from developing a java app for a smartphone. []

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

ensignyu (417022) | about 5 years ago | (#29706529)

I think part of the appeal of the iPhone to developers (not me, I don't like the iPhone personally) besides the large market, is that when you develop an app, it looks exactly the same on every iPhone. You don't have to worry about screen size or hardware capabilities. There's some divergence now since the iPhone 3GS is considerably faster than the older iPhones, but it's not nearly as big a difference as other phones.

Android has a similar problem to the old JavaME model. You have to design for the lowest common denominator. It's a little better, because JavaME had a really low common denominator (dumb phones with limited memory and CPU) while Android is aimed at smartphones with a touchscreen interface.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (2, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about 5 years ago | (#29703327)

The whole premise of the article is bullshit too. The article seems to be suggesting that apple are trying to restrict the APIs you write apps with, what they're actually trying to do is to stop you downloading random malicious code and running it, without it going through their checks.

I'm pretty sure apple will be rather happy about the fact that now *even more* developers can write apps for the iPhone.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 5 years ago | (#29703429)

Try writing a browser based graphical game on the iPhone; it's going to fall on its face pretty quickly.

I'm wondering if HTML5 SVG support is going to change that? Also, I'm wondering if HTML5 is going to have a stripped down version of HTML5 on mobile phones (just like Adobe has Flash Lite -- a stripped down & older version of Flash to put on mobile phones)?

One thing that Flash does have is excellent video-codec support... I'm sure that this isn't about to change soon, but even there I'm wondering, some of the browsers-makers have been hard at work trying to build better video support directly into their browsers. I'm wondering if Browser-makers even have a chance to match Adobe in that arena?

Question for iPhone devs (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 years ago | (#29705115)

I've got a question that I haven't seen raised yet, maybe I've just missed it.

The company I work for produces online training courses, usually written using Flash. We've delivered some of our courses in the past for use on PDA devices.

If one of our customers asks for their course to be delivered to the iPhone, what are our options? Is the only way to get one of these loaded to post it in the app store? Would it be possible to load a Flash course like this onto an out-of-the-box iPhone without making the course publicly available? Could we host an installer ourselves or give an installer to the client to host on their end?

Re:Question for iPhone devs (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | about 5 years ago | (#29705823)

You're wandering out of my area of expertise, but the way I understand it, if it's a corporate deployment, it's possible to have an internal corporate app store, and I think it's even possible to push apps to phones (so they'll have an icon on their springboard for the training without having to go explicitly install it).

If you're talking about a public deployment, then you could push your app through the App Store like any other.

With Flash, you should be able to have it load training materials from an Internet server so that users don't have to download a new version each time training materials are updated, but I doubt you'll be able to play SWFs (for the same reasons Apple won't let Adobe put Flash on the iPhone); you'd have to have your app load an XML file with all the display instructions embedded and take care of rendering the display instructions yourself.

We built that sort of training app a few years back. The customer wanted to be able to have a single set of SWFs they could reuse by modifying the data. Made a nice little web interface to create new training program slides and quizzes; it spit out XML files and stored them on the server, then when you fired up the training app, it gave you a drop-down of all the training files it found on the server.

Re:That's a silly conclusion (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 5 years ago | (#29706853)

Sorry, but there's a big difference between an AJAX app and a native app. Try writing a browser based graphical game on the iPhone; it's going to fall on its face pretty quickly.

Sorry, this is hyperbole. Lots of decent (though not immersive) games written for iPhone in-browser use before the iPhone SDK came out; During that time I had my iPhone2G, my sister would often play these web games and said there were better than anything on her blackberry phone as far as gaming went.

And that was back in 2007 before HTML5 features started rolling out in Safari. The future is bright yet for cross-platform non-flash web-based gaming.

As mentioned on other /. articles, games want fun first, graphics 2nd.

They'll lose to Gnash (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | about 5 years ago | (#29702805)

Adobe has to scramble now because otherwise the gadget makers will invest in GNU gnash [] .

Re:They'll lose to Gnash (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29702847)

Yes, that would be a real shame for Adobe. People would be replacing a free Adobe product with an open source program to run content created with... Adobe's $700/seat authoring tools. The only reason that Adobe spends money developing the Flash player is so that they have a platform that runs (almost) everywhere and works with their authoring tools. If Gnash (which can't even handle relatively simple things like iPlayer yet) achieves 100% compatibility with Flash Player, then it just saves Adobe money supporting some less-mainstream platforms.

A Flash animation writer wouldn't be far off (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | about 5 years ago | (#29702927)

And if when we have software to play the format, do you think it will be long before we have software to write it?

Oh, but free software will never have a desktop, ah.. graphical web broswer, ah.. office suite, ah.. Flash player, ah... Flash writer. Yeh, that's the application that progress will never reach.

Re:A Flash animation writer wouldn't be far off (2, Informative)

ojintoad (1310811) | about 5 years ago | (#29702985)

Adobe controls the spec. They keep on adding on new functionality in a way that has to be reverse engineered, so that there is a lag time between when they have developer tools for it and the free software makers have developer tools for it. That has a direct impact on first to market opportunity for new functionality for developers, meaning that the free software version is mostly irrelevant if developers want to stay competitive. Does that sound possible?

Re:A Flash animation writer wouldn't be far off (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29702995)

The Flash specification has been open for people writing authoring tools, but not people writing players, for over ten years. There are a few other flash authoring tools besides the Adobe ones. Hardly anyone uses them, because Macromedia / Adobe Flash is much better, and for most Flash developers / artists it doesn't cost much in terms of hourly rate (and can be offset against income for tax purposes anyway).

Flash is in the same sort of market as Photoshop. The GIMP does more than the average user needs, but it doesn't do what the person willing to pay $500-1000 for a piece of software needs. There will almost certainly be open source things for creating flash apps (there are a few things that output flash already), but none are in the market where Adobe is and wants to be.

Re:They'll lose to Gnash (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 5 years ago | (#29703003)

Just to let you know, I recently became aware of Silex [] , a competitor to Adobe's Flash creation suite. It appears to have recently gone from commercial license to Open Source. I'm not a Flash developer, no have no idea how good it is. Anyone?

Gnash is a joke compared to Flash 10.1 (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29703195)

I have, had to use Gnash on PPC Linux, on a very high end PPC G5 (quad G5) with 4+ GB of RAM. In fact, that was when I lost my hope about PPC/Linux. That Linux distro I used was entirely designed for PPC/Apple for almost a decade so I can't really claim it was badly packaged etc.

  Are you serious that Gnash is/can be an alternative to Flash? Ever used/experienced Flash Lite 3 on a high end ARM Symbian phone such as N95, new N97?

It's about the tools (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29702827)

The flash player is a nice Smalltalk VM with a PostScript-like vector drawing model. It's a (very nice) incremental evolution of the Smalltalk 80 system. The Flash authoring app, however, is one of the best rapid application development tools on the market today. You can do everything that Flash can do with JavaScript, the canvas tag, and SVG, but there aren't (yet) any development tools that are anywhere near as nice as Flash for this environment.

Adobe doesn't make much money from the Flash player; they give away the desktop one and sell the mobile one to OEMs quite cheaply. In contrast, they charge $700 for a license for the developer tools. A lot of money, but not much in comparison to the cost of the person using them.

In the long term, the flash player will probably go away. They've already made some first steps towards this, donating the ActionScript VM to the Mozilla project, and producing things like AIR which let you run Flash apps as stand-alone binaries. I wouldn't be surprised if future versions of the Adobe Flash can target HTML5 as well as the Flash plugin, and eventually just HTML6 or a native environment.

Re:It's about the tools (1)

gaspyy (514539) | about 5 years ago | (#29703257)

You can do everything that Flash can do with JavaScript, the canvas tag, and SVG, but there aren't (yet) any development tools that are anywhere near as nice as Flash for this environment.

Not only that, but based on some demos from Adobe MAX, the next version of Dreamweaver will support the canvas tag while Illustrator (and most likely Flash) will be able to output to SVG, so you'll be able to use their tools to create HTML5 content.

They don't care what you prefer, as long as you're using their tools to deliver the product.

Re:It's about the tools (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#29705019)

Illustrator has supported SVG for years. Adobe was one of the main companies behind SVGs creation. They completely dropped it when they bought Macromedia.

SVG was infact, Adobe's plan to compete with Macromedia until they purchased them.

Since then, Adobe has made it VERY clear they have no intention of supporting web standards, everything they do for the web is a proprietary version of an open standard. I don't think adobe did any of it first, unless you include postscript and pdf.

They do care what you prefer, because if you don't prefer their proprietary environments you won't have to have their tools, someone else's tools can be made to work as well if not better.

Finally, SVG support in browsers sucks complete ass. No browser renders anything more than the most basic SVGs properly. Add animation or interactivity too it and you are in for a freaking world of pain. The only real way to use SVGs in a browser is to use something like Apache Batik as a java applet to embed the SVG, otherwise you're not going to do much more than draw some lines and colored shapes, maybe embed an existing bitmap image.

Re:It's about the tools (1)

mad.frog (525085) | about 5 years ago | (#29705335)

Adobe has made it VERY clear they have no intention of supporting web standards

[citation needed]

Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Photoshop... all about as web-standard-supporting as it gets.

Flash's ActionScript3 was spec'ed to an early draft of the (sadly torpedoed) EcmaScript4 spec.

Re:It's about the tools (1)

Tanaric (868318) | about 5 years ago | (#29706221)

Very few people use the Flash IDE for serious development. Code is contained per animation frame which is absolute hell for anything more complicated than a single button banner ad, and Flash IDE files are completely unmergable via source control tools. The only people using the Flash IDE are banner ad developers and cartoon developers (of which there are surprisingly many -- even broadcast animations are often done in Flash these days, and then exported to Quicktime for delivery). If you're making games or apps for Flash, you're using the command-line compiler (either directly, or more typically, indirectly via Flex Builder). Further, if you're doing anything that requires good performance, you're using the (not very good) bitmap support, and completely avoiding the vector drawing model, as it's so slow to be unusable in most interactive contexts. Flash exists because Flash exists, and for no other reason. It's not a particularly compelling environment compared to, say, Unity3D or some of the other recent browser-and-desktop plugins. Hell, even Java is generally more pleasant to work in. The sole advantage to Flash is that everybody already has Flash installed.

Re:It's about the tools (1)

ash211 (1177227) | about 5 years ago | (#29706277)

TheRaven64, I'm interested to find out that Adobe's Flash Player is implemented in a Smalltalk VM, but couldn't find any verification of this. Do you have any links showing the Smalltalk connection to the flash player?

What's with the extreme bias lately? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29702829)

First the "boohoo, the FCC takes AT&T's bait", now Adobe is "late to the game", even though there are phones which have an entirely Flash based GUI. If I want to read a badly thought-out propaganda blog, there are a million to choose from. Slashdot used to have a little more reserve than that.

Phew. (1)

AndyJ (5954) | about 5 years ago | (#29702905)

I was really struggling getting my head round the iPhone Dev Kit.

In a fraction of the time, I have learnt Actioscript 3.0 and have workable code up and running. It is SO much easier.

I, for one, can't wait for CS5 now.


Re:Phew. (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | about 5 years ago | (#29703047)

+1 insigtful You may call it a symptomn of irrelivance to be making a way to port your app for smartphones, but it does mean that flash-devs can make apps for many more people without needing to learn all the new SDKs

Re:Phew. (1)

mgblst (80109) | about 5 years ago | (#29707225)

I still hate flash, but picked up the iPhone sdk very quickly.

Of course, this is not the point, the fact is that there is now an extra way to produce apps for the iPhone, which is a good thing.

Of course, someone dissected the app, and it is a horrible binary. But that can be improved.

Wrong audience (1)

joeflies (529536) | about 5 years ago | (#29702957)

Compiling Flash for iPhone isn't about replacing existing tools for experienced developers. What it will do is lower the barrier for entry and ensure that a new flood of crap will now be available to run on iphone.

Are we seeing same app store? (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29703253)

I got a iPod touch for free and let me tell you, Objective C and Cocoa requirement doesn't stop people from releasing crap anyway.

I was wondering why there are so many iPhone app review sites, catalogs while I didn't have the device. Now I understand, it is worse than J2ME in signal to crap ratio, that is why you need some people to hunt down good stuff for you.

Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29702997)

The coward is here Apple, so why talk about Adobe's ability to catch up with a non-dominant gadget, the Apple iphone? I would like to see Adobe push for app neutrality and against DRM.

I don't see why Apple would... (1)

msgmonkey (599753) | about 5 years ago | (#29703011)

techinically have a problem with this. As far as I understand the reason apple does n't allow virtual machines is because it allows a "back door" allowing you to potentially bypass the App store by loading new programs into the VM and there is no possibility of that with this as there is no VM. The only other issue is that these were not directly developed with the Apple SDK in ObjectiveC.

As a move by Adobe I think is actually a very, very good idea and would be even better if they created options for Symbian and Android (instead of embedding in web pages) then you actually have a pretty nice alternative to Java for multimedia type smartphone apps. Sure you're not going to get bleeding performance if you want to do anything CPU intensive but even for someone like myself who would never consider Flash as a development platform it does look attractive. So if anything maybe this is what Apple could object to as it would make apps developed with Flash less exclusive to the iPhone plus there are no native controls so there could also be "Look and Feel" issues.

With proprietary software you lose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703023)

You should be able to sell and run flash apps on the iPhone already. Sadly apple is so closed with their platform that you don't have the freedom you have on even a blackberry phone.

The fact is there are plenty of viable more freedom endowed alternatives out there now and slashdot should stop worshipping this proprietary tripe. It is now time for iPhone users to realize the mistake they have made in trusting apple to control all the software on their phones.

Freedom is a feature, BUY IT!

Article completely misses point. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703061)

"A tough sell." Really? Lets see. Write the same app for 4 different phones, then one for general web, or write it once with flash via a great toolset.

Not noted above is Adobe's announcement that flash 10.1 will be out in a few short months. The speed improvements and memory management are astonishing. Also most if not all smart phone OS will be using it except iphone. They demo'd watching movie trailers, playing games and video conferencing directly from android and existing web sites. Being able to save down to iphone app is great, and lowers barrier to entry (who wants to do objective C?) but the larger topic is how iphone was leader of pack and is about to get outpaced by Android (as per many reports predict). Hell even RIM is getting on the flash bandwagon.

The holy grail is for us to not have to worry about what the damn phone is. Instead we can write great apps and they can be used anywhere the screensize makes sense. Computers (in browser and desktop app), phones, set top boxes for TV's, netbooks, appliances, etc. This is what Flash is about to let us do. Theoretically anyway.

And no HTML5 can't do everything Flash can do YET. Least not write once and run on many OS, platforms and browsers. HTML5 will be great when it is a viable option no doubt, but it isn't. Not yet and not in the next few years due to fighting amongst the browser decision makers.

Re:Article completely misses point. (0)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29703247)

One must add that people calling themselves a "pro" or "advanced" developer must install Adobe Air to their OS (all supported) and run some non trivial application such as the stuff Adobe advertises. No worries, it is easily uninstalled later.

While trialing those apps, they should imagine what if the same application can ship for anything, down to TV set top boxes with couple of tweaks and the time people asking for a lite version of their game, app on their smart devices.

It is just some small download I talk about. If they are lazy to see it, they should not comment about Adobe. There must be a difference between regular user and a developer. Flash is even relevant to J2ME developers since one day or another, Oracle will end Sun engineers lame childish "use our GUI tools!" which doesn't work and go to Sony Ericsson's idea of using Flash Lite for GUI layer of J2ME. When I say J2ME, I speak about a billion devices. Funny that some developers doesn't even figure that number even after amazing success of Opera Mini which is nr 1 web browser on mobile market.

Re:Article completely misses point. (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#29705951)

Being able to save down to iphone app is great, and lowers barrier to entry (who wants to do objective C?) but the larger topic is how iphone was leader of pack and is about to get outpaced by Android (as per many reports predict).

Call me when this becomes reality. I heard the same swooning over Android over it's mediocre release. And the Zune for years.

analysis of a Flash app (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29703145)

Adobe is claiming that a few apps already on the store were built this way. Here's a guy that disassembled one of these apps and did a writeup:

Certainly worth a read. (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29703655)

The author of that blog, BTW, is an ex-Apple engineer, and one of the smartest people I met when I worked there. He's one of the people I'd go to if I need help with Shark or other performance tools.


Re:Certainly worth a read. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29705093)

will you just stfu? -jcr

Adobe can bite back real bad (1, Funny)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 5 years ago | (#29703171)

Recently, Mono was ported to Apple iPhone claiming to carry Apple requirements. That is "almost" .NET for iPhone, a framework which has nothing to do with Cocoa and if you ask me, it is the perfect trojan of MS for iPhone. []

If Apple says "but this is workaround", they will simply show dozens of .NET apps ported via Mono. Also Novell has a little to harm Apple on Pro Desktop but Adobe can do real evil things without Apple able to do anything against it. They can say "We have problems with almost zero backwards compatibility with Apple operating systems, we are giving up OS X to focus on Windows and we may release some of our professional apps to Linux." Apple's "this depreciated, this gone, carbon? no 64bit" really cost them millions already and they are taking the flames, PR disasters when they have to say "no 64bit yet". Apple changed their mind about 64bit carbon (non existence) in 1 day, announced it on some basic event requiring millions of lines to be rewritten in Cocoa. I am really surprised Trolltech/Nokia (Qt) could move to Cocoa that fast to get 64bit support, that framework is the reason why Skype/Google earth can ship in sync on OS X. It is not just KDE.

Re:Adobe can bite back real bad (3, Funny)

asg1 (1180423) | about 5 years ago | (#29703873)

Your post makes no sense.

Re:Adobe can bite back real bad (3, Funny)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 5 years ago | (#29704365)

Yeah agreed. If I were going to make a markov chain from slashdot articles about iphones, flash, and mono, I'm pretty sure the output would be quite like the GPs post.

It'd probably get modded up too because it'd hit all the key words to trigger the brainless mods who just scan for phrases that they like.

Performance of flash (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 5 years ago | (#29703303)

Any decient game engine should be using the GPU by default, but it seems that Flash for iPhone has some sort of problem with that: []

"Can applications take advantage of hardware acceleration?

Yes. In some cases, the rendering of Flash content will be hardware accelerated.
We will publish more information on this when we release the public beta. "

"In some cases"?
There shouldn't even be any discusion about whether something is hardware accelerated or not. If you have a GPU, then you use it.

Still wondering (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 years ago | (#29703343)

Why does Adobe have to stay "relevant" in the iPhone market?

Apple should worry more (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 5 years ago | (#29703433)

last-ditch effort on Adobe's part to remain relevant in the quickly evolving smartphone market.

The real question is how long Apple will remain relevant in the quickly evolving smartphone market, given how its "smarts" are limited by Apple's controls.

Re:Apple should worry more (1)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | about 5 years ago | (#29703699)

Sadly, they are achieving ever greater relevance.

While consumer demand can sometimes drive great things (consumer demand for porn brought us the cheap vcr)it can also be a very reckless driver.

Apple fanbois will always exist, just as will the carbon copy "alternative" crowd.

The larger danger is Apple becoming the defacto smart phone standard, while dragging it abusive business practices along.

I don't really blame Apple - just like MS they're just a squirrel trying to get their nut.

I blame the other smart phone makers and cell carriers.

The Blackberry is antiquated and suffers from poor hardware design.

The trackballs require frequent replacement if people are making much use of them.

It can't sync more than one calendar (you can munge two into one using the Desktop app, but that not a real solution.)
So, a manager can't bring up multiple calendars of subordinates.
That's a real world, high impact limitation where the Iphone is clearly superior.

About the only advantage of the BB is speed of text entry.

WM phones are technically superior in terms of power and flexibility, but availability from carriers varies constantly.

And companies like HTC are great at designing new technologies, but poor at implementing them.

Re:Apple should worry more (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 5 years ago | (#29705153)

I don't see Apple becoming the de-facto smartphone standard; I think they're going to remain stuck in the single digits worldwide. Not only is the iPhone hugely expensive, it has too many limitations: no keyboard, proprietary protocols and lack of interoperability, limited software offerings, no interchangeable batteries, non-standard connectors, etc.

Apple is already "letting them get away with it" (1)

jfruhlinger (470035) | about 5 years ago | (#29703613)

There are already compiled-from-Flash iPhone OS apps available in the app store. Apple has a deserved reputation for being hyper-controlling in many areas around the iPhone, but this isn't one of them. They don't care about the history of your code, as long as the final compiled version meets the iPhone requirements. Flash isn't the only language that's been ported, either -- there are tools that will turn your Java and .Net code into iPhone apps as well.

Of course, the ported apps tend to suck, because they don't have access to native iPhone UI widgets, but Apple isn't stopping them or anything.

They will allow it (1)

Stratoukos (1446161) | about 5 years ago | (#29703711)

if Apple lets Adobe get away with it, no small feat given how protective Apple has been about its app market.

There are already application made in Flash in the app store(list [] )

How about some efficiency here instead? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 5 years ago | (#29703773)

Let's face it, Macromedia's (Director, Flash, etc.) products have always been clunky and inefficient. Even on the desktop platforms, it takes a lot of processor power. The Flash plug-in can be pretty flaky, I think it's the cause of most of the browser crashes I experience. Usually scroll boxes implemented in flash don't recognize the mouse scroll wheel.

Web aps (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 5 years ago | (#29704217)

This could result in the merging of a lot of things and much saved pain in porting for programmers. Windows sidebars/gadgets, iGoogle gadgets and phone aps all supporting the same format? That would be genius. You could have the same todo list and clock and w/e anywhere you go. All this has lots of lovely standards and with a little effort all phones could implement them. The merging of markets would be a GREAT thing for aps because the quality (of the best) would rise dramatically. It would also allow for a much more consistent user experience.

Oh but companies hate this kind of disgusting working together. Oh well.

What about embedded Flash n HTML? (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | about 5 years ago | (#29704799)

I can't see how this would solve much. Sure, you could easily port Flash Apps to the iphone, but I don't think this addresses Flash that's embedded in web pages. For example, I've built several websites that have embedded flash. There's no way I'm going to go to all of the trouble to make an iPhone-compatible website which presumably would involve compiling flash for the iphone and editing the HTML.

Even still, it seems improbable that there'd be a mechanism to execute iphone apps imbedded in web pages. Although I guess an extension to Safari could be developed that could handle it.

Misunderstanding of terms (2, Informative)

cybereal (621599) | about 5 years ago | (#29705617)

There's a major misinterpretation of the situation regarding interpreted languages on the iPhone. Apple has absolutely no qualms about interpreted languages used on the device. In fact, a huge number of games are built around lua-based game libraries. It's a no-brainer! All you have to do is ensure a user can't add and execute arbitrary scripts by way of downloading them later.

The issue here is getting the right balance to make it through the review process. See, your game could allow for added levels for free down the road, a totally acceptable (and relatively common) occurrence. It's entirely okay if those levels are composed by your scripting language. What isn't okay is if the game will execute arbitrary scripting, to essentially distribute a target platform as an app. That's about where the line is drawn. This could be seen with the final result of the commodore 64 emulator app. They couldn't enable basic but they can allow for delivery of additional games, which are obviously interpreted. A developer might choose to use an encryption scheme or signing scheme to ensure they only execute gamescripts that should be, for example.

This relates to flash because there's nothing stopping adobe from porting the flash engine and making it possible to export individual iPhone apps that include it and execute some flash game that is packaged in with the app so long as that game can't randomly pull in more flash to execute. Of course, if you could compile the entire flash application to native code that would be more ideal in the general case assuming you have no consistency of execution problems. But that's not always the best idea. Take java, for example. Its design causes a complete native compilation effort to result in worse performance and lower reliability because the runtime optimization of the JVM is more effective than static code optimizations.

Anyway, I guess my point is that the limitations about virtual machines and script languages aren't quite what is popularly regurgitated. The issues with the iPhone and these technologies is one of post-app-install delivery of arbitrary code execution. It's not a problem with the use of VM/Script itself.

iPhone is old (1)

tsa (15680) | about 5 years ago | (#29705863)

You know, the iPhone is old stuff. The new phones with Android and especially Maemo will soon surpass it in usability and features. The Maemo browser is something terrific: Mozilla-based, and just as functional as a desktop browser. check out this impressive demo [] . BTW, I'm not in any way affiliated with Nokia. I'm just very enthousiastic about the Nokia N900. Finally something that blows the iPhone away!

If Apple lets Adobe get away with it? (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 5 years ago | (#29706007)

There are already apps available for purchase or download from the App Store that hae been made with this technology:

The applications are: Digg Pics, South Park Avatar Creator [] , Chroma Circuit [] , Just Letters [] , Trading Stuff [] , Red Hood [] , Fickleblox [] , and That Roach Game [] .

This is not going to be world-changing (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 5 years ago | (#29706039)

Some devs will develop apps in Flash and compile them for the iPhone, and other developers who care about efficiency, speed and elegance will code native apps. There are a lot of crap apps on the App Store and this possibly lowers the bar to getting a quick app up there. Now that the goldrush seems to be over, an explosion in crap apps will probably not be noticed amongst the noise that's already there.

I'm sure we'll see some good apps made with this technology that possibly wouldn't have made it to market otherwise but any serious app developer that cares about performance and efficiency will still be coding their app in Xcode.

It's a situation analogous to coding for personal computers in the early 90's - you can code in something low-level like assembly and get some serious performance and do things that otherwise couldn't be done (have a look at some of the demos from that time, and keep in mind that they were running on something considerably less powerful than your mobile phone) or you could code with a high-level toolkit that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you but you take a performance hit.

Last ditch effort? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29706589)

The article summary not just wrong, but silly.

This isn't "last ditch". Adobe has been working with Apple on the Flash issue since the debut of the iPhone. Why wouldn't they be? Apple has been the one that has been slow to get with the program and now that the Android platform is picking up, they're going to have to do something about it. That the iPhone lacks such a key component to the web experience is a massively stupid and unnecessary fail on Apple's part.

Keep playing games and see what happens.

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