21 packages, 188 classes, 20,000 lines of code
Automatic unit testing , Automatic daily builds,
Does this sound like a Flash program to you? Because it is.
Flash gets a bad rep among programmers. The programming model is very different from typical programming languages, and the uses of the technology have typically been annoying (banner adds, skip-intro splash pages). More recently, AJAX has emerged as an extremely popular way of introducing dynamic behavior into web pages. So why do we even need Flash?
The new Yahoo! maps (released just over an hour ago) is amazing. The app is very smooth and slick, and makes heavy use of yahoo yellow-pages data. It’s integrated with real-time traffic info as well. The experience of dragging and dropping the map, and zooming in and out, is _nearly_ as smooth as google maps (hey for day one that is terrific. There’s lots of room for optimization with this kind of code).
Yahoo! is playing the fast follower game, and playing it well (see also an earlier post on the new Yahoo! email client). And they’re obviously thinking hard about using the right technology for the right job, rather than simply copying the google approach.
Why don’t more people think of using Flash in this way? In a word, positioning. Bosworth writes: I do think there’s a very distracting red herring here, and that’s Flash’s rich user interface abilities. Every flash demo I’ve ever seen focuses on great looking shiny buttons that look like you took a slick win32 app and plopped it down in a browser window.
In a recent post, Cringly describes the Flash VM is a perfect trojan horse, a platform for getting the software that Adobe/Macromedia needs distributed out to the internet at large.
Let’s say Adobe/Macromedia had some little bit of code – a VoIP client, for example — they wanted to bring to market. Just make it part of the next version of Flash. Over the course of a few months and practically without effort, that little program would be installed and ready to go in hundreds of millions of computers. Then all Adobe would have to do is to announce it and the service could be up and running practically overnight.
Amit Ranjan (the head of Uzanto’s India operations) has a great post describing the Macromedia MAX conference in Delhi (a conference I went to last year).
The conference happened mere weeks before the announced merger with Adobe. His report gives insight into the spirit of Macromedia immediately pre-merger, describing a marketing/technical team with “a swagger in their walk”, feeling they have the potential to be the “Microsoft of the web”. Pride goes before the fall, boys!
A new web email client (with the unfortunate name of goowy) has just hit public beta. Regular readers of jonathanboutelle.com will know that this kind of thing is right up my alley. The movement of desktop applications to the web is one of the big trends in rich internet applications right now, and email clients are leading the way (think gmail, earthlink, and oddpost).