Total speculation alert. I don’t want anyone to read further into this than what I say, since I have no insider knowledge. But I was just re-reading a post of my own from December, Macromedia No More, and one paragraph particularly jumped out at me this time ‘round.
I got to thinking that if I were to go back and re-write it, I’d probably clarify and say that “…I’d expect to see a lot more effort toward making Flash application development easier.” And then I got to thinking even more.
Now, there are methods of creating Flash content other than through
Macromedia’s Adobe’s Flash IDE (Integrated Development Environment). But as far as I’m aware, you’re still chained to the official software if you want to do much more than simple timeline-based animation.
What could possibly give Flash an edge over open source technology? An injection of the open source philosophy. If the IDE were opened, and Flash movies were View Source-able, wouldn’t life be a lot easier for the average Flash application developer?
It has been pointed out numerous times in the comments that there are ways of viewing source on a Flash binary. In fact, Adobe themselves are trying to facilitate this even further — check out this demo and right click for the option. There you go.
I highly doubt Adobe will do it quite like that, if at all. Flash is a big money-maker, always has been. And imagine the out-cry of thousands of content creators who are relying on Flash’s inherent closed nature to protect their creation. It’s not a likely move, but if the goal is a platform with which to compete against open source technologies and the upcoming XAML/Avalon combo from Microsoft’s camp (and that’s what it looks like from where I’m sitting), it might be the only way to capture developer mind share.
Of course, it sounds like the new Flash/PDF client is likely to be a new thing, existing “in addition to” rather than “instead of” stand-alone Flash and PDF. Were that different enough to avoid the existing content problem, and were it an open source technology, and were Adobe to somehow figure out a way to quickly get it out to the existing huge install base of the two current technologies, well… I think they might just have something. Big ifs, but this one should be interesting to watch.