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Alan K Holden

Accomplished Internaut

Anxiety in the I.T. Department
Mass Anxiety in the I.T. Department

I'm not a doctor, but I played one once. That means I totally know what I'm talking about...

Not all Flex is Flash

Not all Flex is Flash

There's a persistent and frustrating tendency for many IT folk to exchange the terms "Flex" and "Flash". To me, this is similar to trading the term "HTML" with the word "browser".

"Flex" is a framework that groups two linked development languages: ActionScript and MXML markup.
"Flash" is presentation. It's a (swf) file running on specific software (most frequently a Flash browser plugin, the most common being that made by Adobe).

One could argue that - in light of Adobe's announcement to discontinue development of their Flash browser plugin just for mobile browsers - that the adoption of Flash plugins on other browsers will wane as well. As the kinks are ironed out of HTML5 (and enough features are added), I might be inclined to agree with those arguments...

But FLEX is not enmeshed with FLASH, and one can not assume that the demise of the later will doom the former. The source code produced within the Flex methodology can compile into other "things" - besides the outcast swf file for the vilified player.

Flex source can also compile into iOS, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile app's; and it can do it without using AIR - or buying anything from Adobe. Flash is just one presentation layer, the one Adobe designed & promoted first. The migration of Flex to the Apache foundation may very well produce even more avenues for presentation output, like embedded devices and other clients we haven't even thought of yet. Companies like OpenPlug, Alcatel-Lucent were pioneers in this space.

So please, let's do our best to be accurate in targeting our predictions of doom... as appropriate as they may someday be.

 

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