Flex Open Source Thoughts

Posted on May 2, 2007 | Comments Off

I am listening to Matt Chotin and Ely Greenfield talk about the Flex Open Source announcement again to some of the Community Experts. There are of course many questions and comments about what all this means. I’ll provide some of the insights I have gained by hearing the pitch a second time, an maybe a little of what it means to me.

There is mention of Charts and Advanced Data Grid that will still be closed source. So Adobe will still be keeping certain components closed and provide them with a license. In a sense this is creating a market place for components. And if the base is open then it will make more people apt to create better components. I hope this will help a real component marketplace take roots.

Governance is a part of this whole open source Flex plan. Although we wont really be able to interact with this governance model for a while, second half of 2007, we will be able to help out with submitted bugs into a database by June of this year. The second phase of the governance model will be fully implemented sometime in 2008, this is where we’ll probably see the opportunity to share our code to the code base.

What do they expect by doing this? Gain a bigger community of developers and help spread Flex. Also in that cycle it should make Flex a better product. I like David Zuckerman’s comments about taking on other products that will integrate Flex compilers and compete with the Flex Builder.

Another area of questions is about IP review of code submissions. This is an area where Adobe wants to engage the developers and figure out what they need to do to make it work.

So it was thrown out there that since the compiler is open you could right a VB interperter that would compile SWF….? I don’t think this is the point of the open sourcing but in some regards this does open the compiler for some interesting projects in the future.

When Flash Lite (Dave George is on the Flash Lite team, went from Flex Builder to Flash Lite) has AS3 then Flex compiler will look at providing tools to compile SWFs for that platform. That is a lot of factors and Flash Lite has its on issues, like device differences and speed of those devices. I’ll be surprised if they can get a good AS3 Flash Lite player that implements the full set of features of Flash Player 9. But everything changes with time.

The new Flex profiler will not be open sourced and will be tied to a license of Flex Builder. I am excited what the end profiler will be because its a much needed tool for many application testing and performance benchmarking.