Farewell, Flex

The day that I always knew would come has come.  Today, I have probably opened and closed Flash Builder to write paid for production code for the last time.  An experience that many fellow former Flex guys and gals have already experienced—some weeks and months ago.  While many devs jumped off of the bandwagon as soon as Adobe quasi-abandoned it, if not sooner, I had clients and projects going on that were all dependent on Flex.  I honestly thought I'd be using it for at least another 8 - 12 months.

Then, something strange happened.  Almost in unison, almost every single one of our clients started specifically requesting that any web-based applications we create not be done in Flash (and, by extension, Flex).  Not ones to bite the hands that feed, we complied and starting moving over to pure HTML, CSS and Javascript.  There was one holdout client, however, and a good portion of my work was for them.  I kept pumping out projects in Flex and they kept going along.  That is, until a couple of weeks ago, when I was informed that they, too, were ditching Flash.

I had one in progress project that was Flex-based.  All new projects have been scoped and designed and architected for the "open web".  Today, I made what are, as far as I know, the last changes to said project.  I committed my changes to SVN, exported a new build for posting and quickly closed Flash Builder for what may be the last time.

Although I've known for some time that this day would come, it hadn't really hit me until now.  For the last 5 years, I've been making a living mostly by creating rich applications using Flex.  We worked so well together.  We could almost finish each other's sentences, it seemed.  While I've created for other platforms during that time, I always ended up coming back to Flex.  I loved it and still love it.  We had some great times together.  I won't rehash the merits or arguments for or against Adobe's decision to do what they did with it.  That's been done and redone.

What I will say is that Flex was a dear friend who, for reasons out of both of our control, can no longer be my friend.  So, farewell, friend.  I hope the afterlife treats you well.  Who knows, maybe we'll meet again someday.

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  • Developer

    I hope this would not happen to me. I still use Flex (Mobile/AIR) for many cases. I have looked into other frameworks such as Titanium, Corona, etc;

    I am counting on Stage3D not give any reduction in quality all the while targeting every Mobile.

  • http://www.bryanbartow.com bryanbartow

    While I’m excited about Stage3D, games are not really part of my core competency, nor does my company offer game development as a service.  If I were a game developer, however, I’d be very excited about Stage3D.

  • Keyle

    I think you will come back… I mean, enjoy your trip in the past. I seriously admire whoever is going to pull off enterprise software in html 5. And I mean, proper enterprise software, with hundreds of screens and dynamic everything. I certainly tried and came back with my tail between my legs.

    Let me put it this way. Adobe = bad. AS3 = good.

  • http://www.bryanbartow.com bryanbartow

    @fa1f6a9056d66d19ef028365060f3e8b:disqus I completely agree.  I was the first to call bullshit on the HTML 5 hype train and still am.  However, my clients ultimately get to make the call on platforms.  I can, and do, make my opinions and recommendations clear.  But at the end of the day, if they decide they absolutely don’t want to use Flash / Flex, I’ve got no choice but to go along with their demands.  That or walk away from the project.

  • DarkStone

    If you still love Flex in your heart, you should not abandon it, you should change your job to mobile native application development, cuz AIR 3.2 runs very fast on iOS now. I see a bright future of Apache Flex, believe in it, don’t give up!

  • http://www.bryanbartow.com bryanbartow

    @2672caeff1761a8b5ce65646d512b9f6:disqus I do love it, and I do native mobile development, but when the client is adamant about not using Flash in any way, shape or form, there’s not much I can do.

  • DarkStone

    As long as you create a highly customized skin in Flex, I don’t think your clients can tell if it is made by Flex or sth else, unless the clients demand for source code reviewing. In that case, why bother developing apps for certain clients, you could totally develop greate apps in your own way and sell them thru AppStore by yourself.

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