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Iphone Programming Apple

Adobe Stops Development For iPhone 497

Posted by timothy
from the flash-in-the-pad dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Adobe's principal product manager Mike Chambers announced that Adobe is no longer investing in iPhone-based Flash development. The move comes after Apple put out a new draft of its iPhone developer program license, which banned private APIs and required apps to be written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine. According to Chambers, Adobe will still provide the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5, but the company is not currently planning any additional investments in that feature." Daring Fireball points out approvingly Apple's rebuttal to the claim that Flash is an open format, however convenient it might be for iPad owners. Related: The new app policy seems to be inconsistently enforced. Reader wilsonthecat writes "Novell have released a new press release in response to Apple's announcement that none-C/C++/Objective-C based iPhone application development breaks their SDK terms. The press release names several apps that have made it past app review process since the new Apple SDK agreement."
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Adobe Stops Development For iPhone

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  • Title (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:07PM (#31930166)

    I think the title should reflect the article and contain "flash development". It is slightly misleading.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:3, Informative)

    by alen (225700) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:08PM (#31930174)

    flash is not speedy on windows either, but the fan starts up on my laptop anytime i access flash content. it's like it's hard coded into the flash client to heat up the CPU and start up the fan

  • Re:who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

    by samkass (174571) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:17PM (#31930318) Homepage Journal

    This has nothing to do with the current and prospective feature set of the iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. It relates only to the features available to the developers on those systems. This article does not discuss Flash in a browser or embedded web content, but rather Flash as a development environment that can be compiled down to native iPhoneOS binaries. So it really only matters to developers of existing Flash games who want to port their content to the iPhone easily. Given the market share of the App Store in the mobile space, though, my guess is it won't put much of a dent in app availability, and thus not affect end-users at all.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:23PM (#31930418) Homepage Journal

    animated, audible, CPU-eating hellhole

    HTML5 authoring tools will bring this to your iPhone.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:26PM (#31930476)

    Before apple switched to Intel, they warned developers they ought to stick to the cocoa coding guidelines uber strictly. Those that apps that did were nearly just a recompile away from being native fat binaries for intel/ppc after switch.

    Adobe took over 2 years to release native photoshop and acrobat readers. The only reason those apps even ran was because Apple had purchased the company Rosetta to make an emulator. If no emulator had existed then they would have lost photoshop!! Even then graphic arts folks were not thrilled to be having to retain their PPC computers just to run native.

    You can see why apple would not want to have an adobe flash layer running apps on the iphone. Assuming adobe did not update the flash player for two years, apps would not even run on the platform switch. There might not be a suitable emulator that could run on a resource starved iphone.

    Apple would lose a lot of apps. Consumers would be confused. And Developers would blame apple for the platform switch going so ugly.

    Now is it reasonable to presume that Adobe is not using Xcode to develope their apps? yes. One might even speculate they are using adobe AIR or some other cross platform API since their apps run on many more platforms than xcode supports.

    Why bet the farm on adobe's good will when they screwed apple over photoshop and Acrobat

  • by mujadaddy (1238164) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:32PM (#31930602)

    I was never really into Farmville and Mafia wars, but I don't think they use flash.

    My wife and her 5 fake accounts beg to differ. Farmville is a Flashbeast.

  • Re:Something deeper (Score:4, Informative)

    by feepness (543479) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:35PM (#31930652) Homepage

    I think Apple (rightly or wrongly) have decided their mission is to drag the tech world kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    ...kicking and screaming into their dedicated storefront you mean.

    This has nothing to do with whether the iPad runs on fusion and unicorn farts or coal fired steam engines. It's about making sure people can't develop any apps or consume any content that will compete with what you can buy in the App store.

  • by Stan92057 (737634) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:43PM (#31930810)
    If Microsoft tried to pull this off, lawyers would be tripping over each other to be the first to file an antitrust lawsuit,along with adobe and the slashdot community be up in arms. I really don't understand that because apple is anything but an open company and very much controlling. Is it just because they use open source as there OS that makes whatever they do OK here at slashdot?? To me whatever is wrong is wrong no matter who does it.
  • Re:Something deeper (Score:5, Informative)

    by _Swank (118097) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:48PM (#31930918)

    All your points relate to a completely different issue than what this article is actually about (don't worry, it looks like 99% of the 'techies' posting to this article fail to understand what Adobe actually announced related to Flash and the iPhone).

    In short: THIS IS NOT ABOUT FLASH IN THE BROWSER ON THE IPOD/IPHONE/IPAD.

    Let me repeat: THIS IS NOT ABOUT FLASH IN THE BROWSER ON THE IPOD/IPHONE/IPAD.

    Adobe released a feature that allows you to export an app created in Flash CS5 (not the Flash Player client) as a native iPhone app. This meant you could export an iPhone app that includes ZERO bits of Flash that could then be submitted to Apple's AppStore and appears like every other app.

    What Apple said in the their license is, essentially, you must not use 3rd party tools to create native iPhone Apps. XCode and Objective-C are your options.

    What Adobe said is that they will no longer work on the above feature for the Apple devices. But will work on it for other devices.

    So if you want to create an app that targets the web, the desktop, Android, iPhone, etc. You will be able to target all these platforms with a single code base -- except the iPhone...that you will have to write separately in Objective-C as a completely different code base. Because of Apple's whims.

    Note that, according to the license, this also applies to all other non-Apple tools that can be used to cross-compile to a native iPhone app.

  • Re:Something deeper (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsborg (111459) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @04:53PM (#31931024) Homepage

    Is there some deep, personal clash going on here?

    I'd say, yes, it is personal, but here's the backstory [wordpress.com]. Here's the lede:

    In 1996 when Apple was seemingly on the ropes, Adobe made a crucial business decision and one that is coming back to bite them in the ass. They declared that their primary development platform would be Windows; subsequently, every new application or major revision of a product was introduced for Windows first and followed months later, sometimes never at all, by a Mac version.

    Personally, it's just business, but Jobs has a long memory, and although I think Adobe made the right decision in 1996, fast-forward 14 years, they haven't adapted. Their business to lose, Apple is ascendant, and Adobe sounds like they're a poor loser. I guess we'll see how Android+Adobe+HTC competes with Apple (since Palm is looking like it's flaming out, and well, Microsoft has been bad at mobile since day one).

    Exciting times.

  • Re:Hallelujah! (Score:4, Informative)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:10PM (#31931364) Homepage

    Get a Macintosh.

    I have a MacBook Pro, 2.4 GHz, 2 GB of RAM. It's 2 years old, and doesn't support GPU help decoding video (it's a GeForce 8600M GT). Someone at my work was questioning why I think Flash is so evil, today I was able to show them. I watched three videos today. Let's compare the experiences.

    1. Video one was an MPEG-4 720p trailer for Super Mario Galaxy 2, played in QuickTime Player. When it ran, both of my cores were at 15-20% usage, playback was perfectly smooth.
    2. Video two was an MPEG-4 video played through an HTML5 demo (first demo on this page [craftymind.com]). According to the article, the video is played onto an HTML Canvas, which is then used to draw on another canvas which is displayed. This video, while smaller, took about 10% of one core and 40-50% of another on Safari, with little hit clicking on the video having it explode. The playback was nice and smooth.
    3. Video three was an old video on YouTube. It wasn't very big (maybe 360px high), and used 75-80% of both cores. Playing this causes my laptop to heat up and fans to kick on. It's pathetic.

    Now not all YouTube videos are that bad, for some reason that particular video was just really bad. Many small videos like that will only use 30-50% of both cores. Even smaller videos will have occasional hiccups where it will drop 2 frames. 480p videos will usually use up a good chunk of my CPU (~80%), and 720p videos can drop frames when a lot changes in the scene (like a pan). If I change from Flash to HTML5 video (MPEG4), 720p stuff plays back no problem. OK Go's recent video of a Rube Goldberg machine? My Mac can't play it reliably in Flash at 480p without dropping frames when a lot of action is going on.

    It's not just videos, although that's where I usually run into it. Flash sites with animation just suck down CPU, little games can really heat up my Mac. I think the problem is the way Flash displays things, but that's just a hunch.

    If you know anyone with a Mac (the older the better), go play around with Flash content. It's almost impressive how poorly it performs. Faster and faster Macs help cover it up, but that's no excuse. I'm pretty sure that I could have played Flash content through Parallels at the same or lower CPU usage, but I don't have Parallels installed anymore to test with.

    If Adobe spent any time optimizing Flash on OS X, people wouldn't hate it nearly as much. Apple would still hate it (Steve likes control), but people wouldn't have the "kill it now" attitude.

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:11PM (#31931392)

    Now that Apple has had some success outside of their previously small, niche market, they seem to be taking a big crap on one of their largest supporters. It is an interesting example of power dynamics in the real world. Apple apparently doesn't lend much weight to their long term relationship, or what Adobe has done for them in the past. It seems to be all about Apple saying, "What have you done for me lately?"

    It's because Adobe really hasn't done much for Apple lately. I might be out of the loop because I use gimp for mac [gimp.org] full time now, but as far as I know Adobe never actually ported Photoshop to become a cocoa app. This [tuaw.com] is another bad problem: no 64 bit for macs, only windows. And that's been the Mac user's cross to bear for a long time now, companies like Adobe (or Bungie) that used to focus on the mac platform have made the calculation that when one OS manufacturer owns 90% of the market (MS), even if all of the remaining people buy their products, it's still only 10% of the total base and more sales could be had by focusing on the monopoly OS. In the past Apple had to bend over and take it. Now they don't. As a guy who started using macs in 1997, all I have to say is: Revenge is sweet. I hate flash anyway, slow as molasses.

  • Re:I hope (Score:3, Informative)

    by Amouth (879122) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:32PM (#31931730)

    Like say

    http://www.apple.com/aperture/ [apple.com]

  • by StuartHankins (1020819) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:32PM (#31931734)
    Adobe left Mac versions of PhotoShop lacking new features they offered only on the Windows versions, and dragged their feet offering new Mac versions. What once was a blissful romance soured quickly.
  • This is different. (Score:5, Informative)

    by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:33PM (#31931744) Homepage

    Your friends are poor researchers because the iPhone and iPod Touch have never supported Flash. That's why the iPad flap was always so funny to me. It could be summarized as "Adobe is angry that Apple won't start supporting an app that it's never supported on its other portable platforms".

    You don't understand what just happened between Adobe and Apple, then.

    Apple's said plenty of times that it won't support Flash as an interpreter/runtime on the iPhone. I think everybody understood that.

    What happened here is that Adobe took them at their word, and did something totally different: they wrote a compiler which takes content written using CS5 and targets *Apple's* runtime. FLA file in, iPhone Binary out. Not SWF, iPhone Binary. Doesn't need the Flash Player to run. Apple wouldn't have had to do a damn thing to "support" these applications.

    So Apple changed their license terms and banned apps from the store that were created by another toolchain to target Apple's runtime.

    And, for good measure, they also banned apps that are made by targeting Apple's tool chain from another language. So that way, Adobe knows they can't decide to build a version of Flash that takes a FLA file and emits an XCode project that's ready to build.

    Of course, that means you can't do something like write in Scheme that compiles to C [jlongster.com], either. Or for that matter, generate any code, really. If you're going to target the iPhone, you'll write all your C, C++, and Objective C code by hand like a real man, buster, and you'll like it.

  • by beakerMeep (716990) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:36PM (#31931816)
    Every time a Flash story comes out someone pushes this anecdote about cocoa but where's the evidence? You're complaining it took two years to rewrite Photoshop in a completely different language? How many times have you re-written something as complex as Photoshop in the past two years?

    Btw here's what one of the photoshop engineers said about the switch to intel based Macs: http://blogs.adobe.com/scottbyer/2006/03/macintosh_and_t.html [adobe.com]

    Here's another quote from the Photoshop Product manager (John Nack) in 2008:

    No one has ever ported an application the size of Photoshop from Carbon to Cocoa (as I mentioned earlier, after 9 years as an Apple product Final Cut Pro remains Carbon-based), so we’re dealing with unknown territory.

    ...

    1) Writers gin up controversy about Apple vs. Adobe, portraying this as a case of some tit-for-tat ("This one time, Steve wouldn't play golf with Shantanu, so Adobe is sulking!"). Oh, come on. This is why Lightroom x64 is a such a nice counterpoint: Adobe's decisions are pragmatic, not ideological. Look, Apple and Adobe share the goal of maximizing Photoshop performance on Mac hardware, and we're working together on all aspects of that story--64-bit included.

    "If it bleeds, it leads," however, and writers looking to drive ad impressions will try to fabricate a grudge match. Please don't let them.

    2) Adobe gets castigated for "dragging its feet" on Cocoa/x64. This charge will be inevitable, I suppose, but I want you to know that we started work on the problem immediately after WWDC '07. We started peeling senior engineers off the CS4 effort, and we'll keep pouring on the muscle in the next cycle. This work comes at the expense of other priorities, but so be it.

    3) We start hearing all about "Cocoa Über Alles"--about how Adobe should have known that Cocoa is the One True Way and should have started the move years ago. Most Mac users don't know Cocoa from Ovaltine, and nor should they: it's just an implementation detail, not a measure of quality. I think Brent Simmons, creator of wonderful Cocoa apps like NetNewsWire, put it most elegantly: "Finder + Cocoa = Finder." That is, rewriting one's app in Cocoa doesn't somehow automatically improve its speed, usability, or feature set.

    I'll also note that Apple's Carbon Web site says, "Carbon is a set of APIs for developing full-featured, high-performance, and reliable applications for Mac OS X... The Carbon APIs are also well-suited to cross-platform development." I don't mention it to detract from Cocoa; I mention it to point out that each approach has its pros and cons, and in hopes that we don't hear all about how Cocoa is clearly the only way to write "real" Mac software.

    Read more here: http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/2008/04/photoshop_lr_64.html [adobe.com]

    This whole cocoa vs carbon drama is stupid. It seems only to suffice as some PR dig from Apple fanboys against Adobe. Or some shit-stirring controversy for tech blogs to get hits or slashdotters to whore karma. Anyone who has used Adobe apps professionally on mac in the past ten years knows at no time were they ever not available on Macs.

    Nobody screwed anybody. It's just what happens when platforms change.

  • by Altus (1034) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:59PM (#31932164) Homepage

    Don't go making the mistake of thinking that anything that happens on Slashdot is relevant to or important in the real world. Some of it might be, but not most of it.

  • Re:Something deeper (Score:2, Informative)

    by tyrione (134248) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:11PM (#31932322) Homepage

    I don't think so. I think Apple (and Steve Jobs) are ruthless about killing what they see as legacy tech. And they're pissed at Adobe for dragging their heels in adopting the new Cocoa APIs for UI development.

    I think Apple (rightly or wrongly) have decided their mission is to drag the tech world kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

    Let's qualify, the new Cocoa APIs. Adobe was told in 1997 that Carbon was a transition API made for Adobe, Macromedia and Microsoft, primarily, to give them what we said at Apple was a couple of years to migrate to Cocoa APIs. It's been 13 years and they still haven't done it lock, stock and barrel.

    The iPhone OS platform isn't going to be held back like the OS X Cocoa proper platform. End of story.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:34PM (#31932632)
    "because it's pretty easy to map ActionScript to the Objective-C object model"

    Too bad that would now violate Apples updated license agreement. Which is what Adobe (and others) are kinda miffed about.
  • by washu_k (1628007) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:47PM (#31932790)
    Ummm, third parties, cannot directly access the video hardware on Windows or Linux either, but apps running on them seem to be able to use the provided video APIs just fine.

    Read the up on the problems VLC and others have on OSX. Yes the APIs are there, but they DON'T ACTUALLY WORK!

    Flash, VLC and the rest don't need direct hardware access on OSX, just playback APIs that aren't crippled.
  • Good riddance.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:16PM (#31933148)

    And I still stand by my assertion that buying a iPhone for the explicit purpose of running Flash apps is a fundamentally bad decision

    Right you are. I've had an iPod Touch, an iPhone and a whole string of other mobile phones none of whom supported Adobe Flash. As far as I am concerned the absence of Flash is a feature, not a shortcoming.

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