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SilvaFUG, Spoon and Flex Next Steps (San Fran)

Here are some notes and the recording of the SilvaFUG meeting in San Francisco, Dec 8th 2011:
http://www.meetup.com/silvafug/events/42717952/

Important Note: Adobe is holding a Flex Community Summit on Dec 12th and 13th at which many aspects of the move of Flex to open-source will be discussed. Mike and Michelle will be coming directly from that event to speak at SilvaFUG again at Adobe HQ - sign-up for that event here: http://www.meetup.com/silvafug/events/42718242/

Spoon Project - Mike Labriola (blog), Technical Lead of the Spoon Project and Michelle Yaiser (Adobe Developer Relations and Spoon Coordinator) will be discussing the future of the Flex SDK as an open source project. Read his recent Flex Forward post and join the project.

The evening was not all serious, in fact the evening was full of hilarity, energy, great commentary from speakers and attendees with more than a few laughs, the beer and wine (a hardy Ozzie Shiraz with the name 'Ball Buster') didn't hurt. Some notable comments:


  • 'I have always said Flex should be in an open marriage with Flash Player and be allowed to sleep around' - you can imagine the comments after that one;
  • 'HTML5 is the future, but so are flying cars and when they are available I will get one';
  • Birth of a Battlecry - SPOOOOOOOON http://youtu.be/DBocp... - everyone claims the two aren't connected; and
  • Best comment on Connect for the night: 'These guys are the Comic Sans of the Internet'.


Check out the recording here: http://experts.adobeconnect.com/p1nxwz393ka/

Summary points raised and discussed

1) Relatively new things discussed

  • Flex Summit will be held at Adobe on Nov 12/13 with 20ish representatives from community (see recent post: http://blogs.adobe.com/flex/2011/12/an-update-on-flex.html ). The Summit will be focusing on governance and process (not components), Adobe's strategic vision, Adobe contributions, etc;
  • Summit will not be uder NDA so Adobe and Attendees will be communicating discussions during and after the Summit;
  • White Paper on Flex, Flash and Enterprise is being written and will be release after the Flex Summit.

2) Discussion points over recent Adobe and Spoon announcements

  • What is Spoon Project? Mike gives some history and see: http://spoon.as... and Nate Beck's presentation from MAX 2011: http://tv.adobe.com/w...
  • Is Spoon intent on building a future for Flex? Everyone should be constantly evaluating their technology choices, of Flex/Flash is the best option then use it. Flex is good today, it could even be better and it may still be the choice for 2, 3 or even 5 years. When it no longer makes sense we can move on.
  • What is being contributed to Apache? As announced (http://blogs.adobe.co...
  • -- Complete, but yet-to-be-released, Spark components, including ViewStack, Accordion, DateField, DateChooser and an enhanced DataGrid.
  • -- BlazeDS, the server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real-time to Flex applications.
  • -- Falcon, the next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler that is currently under development (this will be contributed when complete in 2012)
  • -- Falcon JS, an experimental cross-compiler from MXML and ActionScript to HTML and JavaScript.
  • -- Flex testing tools, as used previously by Adobe, so as to ensure successful continued development of Flex with high quality
  • How will Spoon address testing and quality assurance? One of the things that Spoon has been planning to do is hire triage, testing and QA resources. Additionally Spoon will utilize automated testing, either their own (Project Asylum) or the testing tools provided by Adobe.
  • What tooling will be available? Flash Builder will continue to be developed and sold by Adobe and they have committed to supporting MXML/Actionscript in the compiler. Additionally, Spoon has also been approached by other Flex/Actionscript IDE vendors.
  • Is Spoon actually getting money/support from large corporations? - Spoon has pledged from many corporations and was ready to undertake 'operations' until the recent announcements and changes.
  • Is Spoon going to continue to create components (like Advanced DataGrid)? Spoon's perspective is the Flex SDK should be oriented to 'enable' components and it is expected this will be an area where the contributions of the community will far exceed the current component library situation. Spoon wants to fix the SDK to enable a rich ecosystem of components.
  • Does Spoon have any intentions of building an open source 'Flash Player' ? This would be interesting to consider but a potentially large project and not being actively considered/discussed.
  • Will Spoon support both browser and mobile SDK aspects? Yes- it would be good to work on improving some of the aspects of both in terms of performance and functionality.
  • Flash Player for desktop and AIR for mobile will not go away soon as it is being used as Adobe's delivery means for gaming, digital publishing and video for a while to come.

3) Other discussion points

  • Consider, in the long-term, Flex (MXML/ActionScript) should be enabled to be a Domain Specific Language for UI development that can compile and run on 'any' VM including browser.
  • Actionscript > JS cross-compilation - Adobe has been working on this for a while and included in the contributions to Apache is FalconJS. There are currently constraints that prevent direct cross-compilation such as deficiencies in JS and how Flash Player works as a rendered unlike browsers.

4) Concerns of the community

  • Key among concerns raised was customer and community confidence and trust in Adobe brought about by the Flash and Flex blog posts in November. The horrible handling of the PR has caused everyone huge problems with customer perceptions of Flash and Flex. The 'behind the closed doors' planning and management of significant matters that affect the community and customers, all the while professing to wanting to be 'open' and 'transparent', is just making matters worse.
  • Isn't there a conflict of interest for Adobe over HTML5 and Flash Player? Adobe has committed to supporting the Flex Framework going forward. The player will continue to run ActionScript which is still going to continue to be supported as a core language (including improvements).

5) Expectations of Adobe in helping the community be successful with the open-sourcing of Flex SDK

  • Clear statements (press release and video interview) of support for Flex from a key and known personages at Adobe (like Kevin Lynch) rather than 'Adobe' announcements would make it easier when talking to customers;
  • Open involvement of the community in the planning and execution of this move to open source is needed;

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
SilvaFUG, Spoon and Flex Next Steps (San Fran) December 12, 2011 9:58 AM Keith S.
About Silicon Valley Web Devs December 17, 2009 1:17 AM Keith S.

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