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Graphics Open Source Programming Software

Flash Is Dead; Long Live OpenFL! 166

First time accepted submitter lars_doucet writes "I am a 15-year Flash veteran and nobody hates to say this more than me: Flash is dying, and the killer is Adobe. Where to now? HTML5 doesn't help me with native targets, and Unity is proprietary just like Flash was — 'don't worry, we'll be around forever! And so sorry about that neglected bug report — we're busy.' I'm putting my bets on OpenFL, a Haxe-based, fully open-source implementation of the Flash API that might just please both Flash refugees and longtime Flash haters alike. My article discusses my experiences with it and gives a brief overview for newcomers. In short: I can keep making Flash games if I want, but with the same codebase I can also natively target Win/Mac/Linux desktops, mobile, and more, without having to mess with Adobe AIR or other virtual machines."
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Flash Is Dead; Long Live OpenFL!

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @02:19PM (#46518065)

    HTML5 is dead, Long Live ________! Hard to keep up.

  • Re:Native Targets? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @02:30PM (#46518161) Homepage Journal

    So what? Perl can compile to C too, by bundling the interpreter into your target binary. Windows apps can compile "to native" as well. Neither makes it exactly native, similarly to having your app interpreted by a native HTML5 engine is.

    The most native way something can be for a platform is to be written directly for its platform, bound directly to its APIs. Anything but that gets very conceptually fuzzy. And if you're worried about this for performance reasons, you should look at the Quakelikes that have been ported to HTML5.

  • Re:Native Targets? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @02:39PM (#46518255)

    It's a lifeboat for flash developers to make, say, desktop games.

    Flash developers shouldn't under any circumstances be making desktop games.

  • by enos ( 627034 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @02:51PM (#46518379)

    Flash became dominant because it filled many real needs. Vector graphics is just one. It also brought creation tools so artists could work with it, it brought a scripting environment fast enough to use in a browser. Like you say, it also brought commonality to all the different browsers. This means that Flash brought a lot of features to the masses:
      - browser games. These were known as Schockwave or Flash games.
      - usable online multimedia. Yes there were video sites, but they became far more usable and reliable with Flash video.
      - rich design. As much as we hate them for all their inherent problems (and I do too), the fact is that before HTML+CSS caught up the only way to implement a crazy design was with Flash.
      - rich typography. We've only got proper font support very recently. That means the website can define its own font, not simply choose among the handful of Web fonts one could assume were available on the client.

    Yes you could do video with native plugins like WMPlayer. Do you remember how terrible that was? Half the videos wouldn't play because of some unknown problem with codecs or such. When FLV came in it was great. Despite its problems, it brought reliability. I don't think YouTube would have become as successful as it is without Flash. Same with audio.

    Despite its many problems, Flash brought a rich, standard interface to the web when nobody else could.

  • Re:Native Targets? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @02:55PM (#46518435)

    It's a lifeboat for flash developers to make, say, desktop games.

    That's two terrible ideas at the same time.

    Flash developers don't need lifeboats, they need torpedoes.

  • by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @03:23PM (#46518687)

    HTML 5 is not perfect, however it does give us a lot of features that we think we should use flash for, and we really should follow the standards that comes part of the browser then rely on plugins.

    HTML 5 is ideal but one of my problems with using pure HTML and JavaScript for certain tasks is that implementation can vary wildly and performance even more so. Browser A might implement only a part of the standard, Browser B might implement the entire standard and Browser C has no support and worse is when all of them fully support the standard but Browser A is super slow compared to Browser B and Browser C is basically unusable. I've also seen a few JavaScript intensive websites demand you use only Chrome and I think this is a symptom of these problems.

    As bad as proprietary plugins are at least it'll always have a consistent implementation across browsers and perform, in the case of Flash, equally bad across all the browsers.

    Its not that I don't support the idea of cross-platform and cross-browser HTML5 solutions for tasks previously only accomplished through Flash but I think people often fail to understand it isn't all unicorns and rainbows as its made out to be.

  • by Lennie ( 16154 ) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @04:10PM (#46519117)

    It also works the other way around. If people don't use the browser features, browser manufactures won't work on improving them.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham