The average Flash platform developer is mystified by what Flash can (or cannot) do in the mobile space. There are very few coders in the community that can speak to it, and speak to it well. Flash Lite 2.x came so abruptly, and is being trumped by its successor so quickly, that there have been few ground-breaking apps to show developers what Adobe’s mobile platform entry can really do.
When you compare the enthusiasm and activity against other Adobe juggernauts like Flex 2 and AIR (formerly Apollo), it’s hard to explain the absence of leadership for Flash Lite. Those in the space that do post often, are usually informing us of their most recent trip to Asia, or showcasing for us the latest Flash-lite capable device they’ve found in a cereal box. Seriously, there seems to be more constructive commentary on Flash Lite 3 from uber-gadget sites like Engadget than http://www.flashdevices.net/, the self-proclaimed “flash development resource for mobile devices”. I’m not saying that sites like these aren’t good, but they fall short of the frequency and depth of coverage found in many Flex 2 and AIR coverage sites.
My expectations for Flash Lite are soaring, but I need help from you mobile enthusiasts and evangelists to get really excited. Here’s what I’m looking for:
1. SITES: A one-stop-shop that lists each and every device that ships and/or can support the Flash Lite platform. Don’t be shy about having a section that tells me about future devices coming out, and when those devices will be available. Please don’t ‘occasionally’ do a blog post just showing me photos of an array of devices I can’t recognize. A master list, showing the device, model name/number, carrier and availability date, updated even weekly, would be perfect.
2. VIDEOS: Follow the lead of video.onflex.org and show me compelling Flash Lite apps and how they work. Profile those cutting edge developers who love to show off their work and their code.
3. BOOKS: There is one book on Flash Lite. I own it. It is pretty cool. But it reminds me of another Macromedia/Adobe platform that only had one book covering it, and that was the now-notorious Flex 1.5. Publishers, I’m sure, are more than willing to fund and publish some Flash Lite books, and I know there must be a handful of authors looking to write well on the subject. Although there is a sufficient amount of documentation on Flash Lite (there was, I believe, for 2.x), nothing says ‘really learn me over the weekend while sitting by the pool’ like a nice book on the subject.
4. more SCOTT JANOUSEKs: Has there been a more single throttling force for Flash mobile (outside or inside Adobe)? Can he be cloned and put through whatever superhero evangelist training program that folks the likes of Mike Downey or Ted Patrick go through? Got to mention Mario and Alessandro here too, for their decent and frequent postings and presence in the field.
So, I don’t think I’m asking or expecting too much. Flash Lite 3 (according to the now ancient February 2007 press release) is expected first half of this year. There is still time to get this going right and I promise you, Adobe, if you provide and nurture resources for the platform as I’ve suggested above, you’ll have a quite the significant following.
Personally, I worked a lot with Flash 2.x and I am very excited about FL3. Like so many developers though, I am super busy with Flex 2 and AIR-related projects. It really will take more than just a cool and novel factor this time to draw me into the Flash mobile world, again.