Comparing Flash Player to Apple

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-06-22 Print this article Print


Discussing the relevance of Flash Player 10.1 for Mobile as compared with Apple's mobile platform, IDC's Hilwa said: "Well, today there is no uniform way to code an application for all major mobile platforms (I am counting at least 6 for smartphones, plus countless Linux derivatives). If you are a developer or content owner and want to bring your ware to these platforms, you have to have a separate effort for each platform. With Flash 10.1, at least you can use one effort for multiple platforms, except for the iPhone, which you then have to decide whether to address or how to address. For now, Apple has huge momentum, and it is likely to be supported with a separate effort, which will make it even more pressing to use a common way to target the other platforms to lower development costs."

Moreover, Hilwa notes that he recognizes that HTML5 is in some ways a competitor to the Flash Player, "but the browser makers, who have to implement HTML5, will have to do the same optimizations on HTML5 to bring it up to speed, including doing whatever remedial work on the new codec from Google to make it comparable with H.264. Flash and Silverlight will remain the choice for high-end RIA apps for a long time to come, but as HTML5 gets more broadly implemented over the next five years, it will see more usage for sure."

On June 10, Adobe delivered Flash Player 10.1 for the Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. In a blog post describing that release, Paul Betlam of the Flash Player engineering team at Adobe, said performance and power management were two key concerns for the latest release. Said Betlam:

"With Flash Player 10.1 we aligned our development efforts to create a single run-time that works across desktops and devices. Performance and power efficiency was a huge focus since different devices have varying sized processors and memory, and we needed to ensure Flash Player 10.1 would work across all of them. So we made a number of changes to Flash Player that directly translate to faster execution and reduced resource consumption. We achieved some large gains in reducing the amount of memory used at runtime, particularly for bitmap-intensive apps."

Adobe also announced the availability of Adobe AIR on June 10. Developers can now deploy applications built for AIR 2 on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. The Adobe AIR run-time is already installed on nearly 300 million desktop computers. AIR provides developers with a feature-rich environment for delivering rich applications outside the browser-mobile or otherwise-and across multiple operating systems.

In a June 10 blog post, Arno Gourdol, director of engineering for Adobe AIR, said:

"We have made huge improvements in the overall performance of the run-time. Without changing your AIR apps, they will now use less CPU and up to 30 percent less memory.

"We are also introducing dozens of new features and hundreds of new APIs for developers to take advantage of. For example, our much improved networking APIs will make it possible to build new apps, from multiplayer games to enterprise collaboration apps. AIR is now even more tightly integrated with the operating system, including better interaction with the file system, detecting mounting and unmounting of volumes, improved printing APIs, support for native installers and, of course, one of our most requested features, support for integrating native code with your application using the NativeProcess API."

Moreover, Lee Graham, co-founder of TRImagination, which uses Adobe AIR, said, "Adobe AIR 2 is the most robust and versatile yet. With minimum development effort, I was able to convert my AIR for Android app into a desktop app that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and even Linux. Being able to reuse 90 percent of my code to build an application that runs on desktops, as well as mobiles, is truly an amazing feature. AIR 2 has evolved into a ubiquitous platform." 

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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