We spoke to Danny Winokur, VP and GM, Platform, Adobe Inc. a while ago. (Edit: Post this insightful interaction, there were a couple of developments we've been closely following. Among them, Adobe Flash support would cease from Jelly Bean beginning August 15. The rationale behind these decisions have been explained in the conversation below.)
Danny Winokur, VP and GM, Platforms, Adobe
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the future of Flash. Tell us a bit about the transition from Flash to HTML5.
Realizing the growing presence of HTML5 in the web, Adobe has pulled back on its Flash development slightly. Rather than focussing on developing Flash for multiple platforms, Adobe is trying to better integrate Flash with desktop web browsers. Flash development though cannot be ignored completely in favour of HTML5, as there still are a few things that can be done better and faster with Flash. However, two areas where Flash is seeing an increased adoption is in the areas of advanced gaming and premium video. Many Chinese gaming companies have invested heavily to create Flash-based games that run inside browsers, and these games are just as stunning in terms of their visual quality and graphics as a native game on a console like the XBox.
At Max 2011, we had communicated that we were focusing from an interactive and platform perspective around both Flash and HTML5, and enabling choice for the developer-designer work flow. In the time that followed, we've made a number of changes as a follow up on that. We announced the acquisition of Nitobi and TypeKit and brought them to the Adobe portfolio. We made some changes on what we were doing on Flash, pulled back from the focus we had on the Flash player on devices. This was to enable us to focus instead on the in-browser experience with the PC and the application experience on mobile devices using AIR as the packaging technology. Also, from a future investment perspective, we also have really begun to focus our innovation with Flash around two particular areas that we believe Flash has the greatest opportunity to innovate out ahead of the natural pace of the browser and the HTML ecosystem. These are in the areas of advanced gaming and premium video!
So, those are the two innovation themes in which we are continuing to invest with Flash because we believe that there are a number of reasons why with even our best efforts and the best efforts of the rest of the web community and the browser vendors, it is going to naturally take a quite a while before HTML5 and associated technologies are able to do all that can be done with Flash. So we are focusing Flash more narrowly than we were in the past, on specific opportunities and at the same time we are working very aggressively with HTML5 across a number of different areas in order to make it the richest possible and most capable top form for both developers and designers.
For all kind of other general purpose use cases, Flash used to be the only way to do things. Now HTML5 is able to do some of these tasks just as well. However, there is still a small gap left to polish in order to finish up and so we're seeking to really accelerate that last little bit of work across many different areas in HTML5 to really make it as rich, expressive and capable as possible and also to make sure that there is world class tooling, and services integrations capabilities explored as well. So, we've been doing that across a number of fronts. We have been doing it at the base platform level, meaning the run time itself (WebKit) and also to standards of W3C. We have invested significant engineering resources into both of those open efforts: W3C and associate standards into the web project and we have been focusing on three themes of our work and our standards and our WebKit to really enhance the core platform itself. One of those is around expressivity, making the web able to as expressive as the imagination of the designer which is something that really goes into the core competence that we as a company have throughout our history and we wanted to bring that to the web and contribute that to the web community.
We have had a lot of early success with some of the things we showcased at Max 2011 around CSS Regions
and CSS Exclusions, CSS Shaders and some other work we were doing in that area with which we’re delivering magazine such as layout cinematic visual effect in a beautiful and expressive way. On the web, the area that we are naturally focusing on is around applications. So we obviously have a lot of experience as a company in designing-cum-application capabilities. These, not just relate to content but richly programmed, logic expressive and interactive application which can be in
the browser or out of the
browser. The other area is one that may not be as visible to the end user in terms of features, but is very important to the web developer community, which is around testing infrastructure and testing frameworks. We want to make it easier for browser vendors and the WebKit community to test compliance with W3C and other standards as they go through the development process. We are doing some work around testing frameworks at run time layer. We ventured to go up a layer from that and have also of course been doing a number of things with respect to frameworks and other associated framework technologies. We continue to contribute to jQuery, and jQuery Mobile in particular
Coming to tooling, which is the HTML side, we're doing a number of things. We obviously have continued to invest and brought further innovations into Dreamweaver CS6. Things such as Fluid grid layouts and other capabilities that are kind of equipped with responsive design, integration or application packaging – PhoneGap in particular support for, the new PhoneGap build service which makes it very easy to have application packaging from multiple different mobile target which occurred in the cloud. So you don’t have to set up all the different tool chains on your local machine and go through that process. We invest there. We have seen that Dreamweaver continues to be the leading product and very well positioned for a class of web developers who are really sort of producers who prefer a complete all in one tool. It lets them do much of all what they want to do in the all in context of that single Dreamweaver tool.