Amongst all the hoopla over mobile Flash being discontinued last week, a note from the Flex team went mostly unnoticed.
In the blog post, the future for Flex is laid out. The product’s governance will be moved from Adobe to an unspecified open-source foundation; the project’s leaders will include some of the Flex SDK engineering team, along with developers from the Flex community; Adobe will contribute to Flex, but the guidance of the project rests in the new governance committee; the roadmap has been torn up, with the new committee to decide the framework’s direction.
Adobe will honour its existing support contracts, and has pledged to continue to allow developers to create Flex applications in its Flash Builder environment. For the long term, Adobe says HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development, and that some of the team that worked on Flex will move to the company’s HTML efforts.
It would be wrong to pronounce Flex as dead, but it has definitely been taken out to the back paddock to forage on its own. This does mean that it is a chance for the community to get involved and help set the direction for the project. Although Flex and open source are not foreign to each other — the Flex SDK is already licensed under the Mozilla Public Licence (which probably saved it from just disappearing) — and until this point, its direction was determined by Adobe.
November 29 will mark the release of Flex 4.6, the last Adobe-controlled release before the process begins the new model. Its clear that Adobe sees HTML5 content creation as its future, and Flex has been cast aside for not matching the new vision. Yet, for developers invested in Flex, it will not be a simple case of porting projects and re-skilling to Adobe’s HTML5 vision.
If Flex is to continue to be a viable option, its time for the community to step up.