Wild, dirty speculation on a potential Flash future.

Has anyone else noticed the discussion that’s taking place in the small, Redbull and coffee induced, corner of the web?
It’s set our minds a’cogging as to which features, or steps, we’d like to see implemented by Adobe in Flash and their other flagship products in the Creative Suite.

Is any of this in the Adobe road map? Likely, no, but we can all dream.

  • Open source Flash Player
  • Language agnostic – more languages compiling to ABC. Alchemy has shown the way, lets build upon it.
  • Two tier development model, allowing for rapid prototypes, while also allowing for high end RIAs.
    • Scripting language for the timeline – Further enhancements to AS2 with new capabilities making it simpler for designers to continue to build simple RIAs/Websites/Interactions while allowing them to keep up with industry trends).
    • Application language for RIAs – Further enhancements to AS3, making way for AS4, which could progress away from the ECMAScript standard, and start heading towards a more hybrid route combining the best of Java, .Net, and ECMAScript.
  • Multi-threading – Allow us to spawn a thread, Pixel Bender could be used here, but reduce the entry barrier by allowing developers to use AS would benefit everyone in the community.
  • Multi-touch – a must have when it comes to FP10 on mobiles.
  • Fix the NetStream issue whereby seeking between the first two indexed keyframes in an MPEG-4 AVC encoded video causes IE to crash.
  • Better documentation of the SWF file format – currently the documentation is missing vital elements, such as Vector.
  • Replace documentation with an open Wiki – Currently a lot of information is spread across blogs, Blueprint makes an attempt to bring this all into a central location while working in Flex, but a central Adobe Wiki would make a lot more sense for Adobe (Crowd sourcing documentation), and the end users.
  • Fonts – Embedding fonts in a SWF is great, but wouldn’t it be great if you could use a normal font file, which is restricted via domain (similar to EOT, Embedded OpenType).
  • Hardware acceleration
  • Private Constructors – there are cases when Singletons are appropriate, why should we have to hack these in.
  • Better integration with other CS products, for example importing a Photoshop file with filters and text, retains the same text quality, and filters. Catalyst makes important steps towards this, but there could be improvements.
  • ActionScript support server side, via an Apache mod, or more importantly Coldfusion.
  • Better code editing within the Flash IDE – this has been promised for CS5.
  • A better “Flash Player Settings Panel”
  • Lower level access to video and audio.
  • Extension “App Store” – An Adobe vetted extension store, which allows developers to submit native extensions and get them signed by Adobe for use in the Flash Player via “Adobe Flash Player Enhancement” – similar to Octoshape’s P2P video streaming plug-in.
    Uses could include:

    • Augmented reality
    • Peer 2 Peer
    • Hardware integration (RFID, Barcode scanners, Arduino etc)
  • Native support, and tools, for multi-lingual websites and translation – XLIFF support

Any other suggestions?

10 thoughts on “Wild, dirty speculation on a potential Flash future.

  1. “ActionScript support server side, via an Apache mod, or more importantly Coldfusion”

    Non of my clients are on Coldfusion servers, most use Apache and some use IIS, so I would rather like the emphasis on AS for Apache/IIS then CF 😉

  2. They need to increase performance 10x to 20x what it is now. Whether that is through a combination of AS4 and flash player, or just the player, I don’t really care.


  3. – Built-in ability to set volume via the contextual menu
    – Global exception handling

  4. Some of these are right on, some are relatively off base.

    For instance, I don’t believe there should be any consideration or effort put into advancing AS2.

    Hardware acceleration is already being done via the GPU enhancements. Also, I’d tend to say the majority of users don’t have the resources to take advantage of significant hardware acceleration.

    Server side AS would be great. Limiting it to Apache would be a mistake, there are hundreds of thousands of IIS users. Integrating it into CF would be a mistake, there’s a huge user base of Flash that has no interest in the CF platform (I am a CF developer of 12 years). Any effort to develop SSAS should be its own product as part of the LiveCycle suite. It also allows the product to be built from the ground up without being constrained by legacy code or bloat.

    Overall, great points, but I think a lot more thought needs to go into some of this stuff!

  5. I am torn, between wanting new features, and wanting many of the bugs that make up the huge bug list fixed.

    Half of me wants to see server side as3, the other side deals with bugs in the flash player (and browser integration) daily and wonders why not do an Apple, and just make the player faster and less bugs… no features.
    Can I have my cake and eat it too? I doubt it.

  6. @Hannes

    mod_actionscript is a FCGI wrapper. Its not specific to Apache, but it hasnt been run on Windows yet (I think they need to change a few parts of the code to get that).

    FCGI can be easily run under IIS.

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