∞ Adobe abandons iPhone app building technology in CS5

Adobe caused quite a stir when it first introduced its iPhone app building technology in Flash CS5, but it seems the company will abandon it before anyone really gets a chance to utilize it. “We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5,” said Adobe’s Mike Chambers. “However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature.”

Adobe made the decision because of a recent change to Apple’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, better known as section 3.3.1. That section reads:

Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

In other words, developers that want to make apps for the iPhone are forbidden from using tools like Flash. Adobe apparently feels that Apple will hold developers to that section of the agreement.

“While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5,” said Chambers. “Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.”

While some believe that this is a political move on Apple’s part, it does have strategic benefits too. It wouldn’t be wise for Apple to allow another company to create a development layer on top of the iPhone platform.

If developers are all using the same tools to create apps, Apple can be sure that the user experience and any future updates to the operating system perform as expected for end users.



  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/vamsmack vamsmack

    So right now this CS5 Flash to iPhone will be out of date immediately to developers(at least the paying ones) and it won't be continually upgraded to fall into line with Apples releases of it's new SDK as and when it becomes available if thats what they mean by 'additional investments'.

    • get it

      Yes, because Apple just made it impossible.

    • mlahero

      Uhhh….. I think you've missed the point here…

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/moeskido moeskido

    I guess Shantanu Narayen didn't wish hard enough.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/zwei zwei

    Smartest move they've made lately. I wish them the best of luck on Android.

  • sprezzatura

    Sucks for the developers whose applications are already in the App Store using Flash technology. Their apps were good enough to be accepted and now they're not because Apple is being a control freak? Totally unfair.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Adobephile Adobephile

      I continue to wear my screen name proudly, but I take exception with Adobe's strategy involving its Flash converter, as I can see Apple's logic in this matter. You whiners can yap yap all you like with your "sucks", "control freak", and "unfair" rhetoric, but it won't change the fact that Apple must maintain control of its products, which in this case includes both hardware and software. They're maintaining the whole ecosystem surrounding the iPhone which is the main reason for the iPhone's desirability. It doesn't matter whether you whiners understand that or not.

      • Gary

        Not to mention this SDK agreement was in effect a week before the launch of CS5. Folks should read TOS agreements, or at least follow people on twitter who do.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/sairam Sairam Kunala

    I do not think Apple has the only Appstore on the internet. There are few others . But, if Adobe does not stop development, it would make impression that it is promoting the other AppStores :)

  • Jose

    Yeah, that's going to get the them… how far?

  • Eric

    Apple remembers when it has been held hostage by Adobe's whims. Framemaker. Premier. Intel versions of apps. Not to mention plenty of other company's apps that broke advances in Apple technology. With the iPhone, as long as Apple is doing so well, they have no reason to allow cross-platform development. You want to write for the iPhone? Use tools that work correctly with all the iPhone's public APIs.

    I'm really not happy this is the state we are in. It would be great to have Flash on the iPhone to make my life easier as development continues with projects I'm involved in that right now are heavily dependent on swf files. I'm looking at HTML5, CSS and Java to do the job. Not sure they're up to it. Not sure if Apple will continue to not support Flash in the long run. If Android starts kicking the iPhone's butt (not so likely at this point) I can see Apple admitting that Flash has gotten better (to save face) and accept it. But if not, Adobe will adapt and give us tools that let us do what we do now in Flash in newer technologies that are open and not forcing developers to be beholden to one company.

    I'm a supporter of that kind of thing in some cases. The DNG file format for one. But not for something like Flash. I would like to be rid of it. But in reality, at this point, it can't happen. I'm going to be using Flash for some things for a while yet. (In the meantime? I'm learning Cocoa.)

    • gary

      HTML5 and javascript are up to the task. check his stuff out..http://www.chromeexperiments.com/

      • FlashFan

        Don't lie to yourself. HTML5 and javascript are far from up to par with Flash. Years from being a standard. Don't let the hype fool you. Impressive Beta stuff. In the end, Apple spits a lot of fluff. Mac's are the most unsecured systems out. Same with the iPhone, so that whole flash security issue is mute. All in all, Apple has made their products less accessible than ever. Damn near impossible to repair anything but a memory stick on them now.

  • Markus

    50 million iPhones sold. 500K iPads Millions of iPod Touch's

    Clearly there are many who believe not having Flash on a smartphone to be a dealbreaker.

  • http://idobi.com Tom

    Adobe abandons flash translation because they took a look at iPhone 4.0 API and realize it would take another six months to a year to implement, proving Apple's point that using another company's compiler holds the developer hostage and prevents them from using newly implemented API. Is this really where developers want to be? Playing to the lowest common denominator?

    • mark g

      "Is this really where developers want to be? Playing to the lowest common denominator? " -Yes, if it means getting your app on as many devices as possible.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/zwei zwei

        …and when people start rating your app 2-stars because it doesn't act like a normal iPhone app or doesn't have key features, people will just buy a competing app instead.

        More targets != more sales.

  • nick

    This sucks, it will still work for jailbroken devices won't it? Come on Adobe, don't let apple get you down…

  • Rick

    I think that one of these days Apple is going to come crawling back to Adobe. And won't that be soooo funny.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/zwei zwei

      You're seeing the reversal of that scenario right now …and you are right, it IS funny.

  • Mike

    There's only one thing that you guys are missing: The Flash compiler would have allowed a single project to be deployed on a website (via Flash plugin) AND as an iPhone app. To replicate this now you would have to build one version in HTML5 / JS, and a separate one in Objective C. That would have been cool as far as portability, but no big deal. Apple has the right to make the rules since it's their device.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/zwei zwei

      We aren't missing it, that goes back to the "lowest common denominator" discussion. Being able to build once and deploy to multiple targets means you won't be getting all the features specific to individual platforms.

      • http://anesticreative.com Sawyer

        If you 're going to build one version in HTML5/JS, why not just have an ObjC wrapper for the browser, or just use Safari? There's not really much of a need to duplicate that much work.

  • AdamC

    Developers using the flash compiler are the ones who are looking for the easy way out, for them good enough is enough and going for broke is too much for them, well to this bunch good luck, android may be better for them because they can pay through their noses for for a just good enough product and being excellence is too much for them.

  • james katt

    So long farewell, auf weidersehen adieu Adobe, Flash Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

    So long…farewell…auf weidersehen goodbye… Goodbye… Goodbye…. Goodbye….

    And thanks for all the fish, NOT.

  • bilou

    Flash are actually open. Adobe flash is one closed implementation of it. Sure Adobe's flash isnt all that great but such lies and so called journalists repeating it without correcting Apple (let alone "checking".. journalist nowadays = copypaste) are retards

  • http://gabby.co.cc Manish

    Goo Android! I think they're doing the right thing.

  • Apie

    How could Adobe have not foreseen this coming. Exploit a loop hole in the licence licence agreement and expect it not to get shut.

    I have an iphone and im stoked Apple bared flash. Could you image all the crappy flash apps in the app store, it would suck.

  • http://www.gizmoji.com naresh

    it is time for android adobe is doing the right thing, the developers are the one who has to rethink

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  • Rafael Mireles

    I think there’s a similariphone application development in melbourne like this which fastens the operation and avoids errors in OS of your iphone.