Anyone who has been following the Flash community closely would have noted that there is a “sign” of paradigm shift which we see in the Flash community. I am not sure if we can yet call it so, but there seems to be some early indicators of such a change.
From Flash to iPhone
As we have seen in the recent past, a few Flash enthusiasts who have been quite active in the Flash community have started developing apps for the iPhone. A few prominent of them being, Keith Peters who released his game on the App Store recently (heard that it’s doing fairly well), he also has written a few AS3 to iPhone Tutorials and not to miss out our good old Mike Downey (though he is no more with Adobe) who is also planning to release a website which has tutorials for ActionScript developers to develop apps for iPhone. Apart from these two there are a few more from India and as well as from elsewhere who are actively working on iPhone apps.
The recent “Flash On Tap 09 Pre-Interview with Keith Peters” where he spoke about developing apps for the iPhone, for instance saw around 85 people participate from different parts of the world at odd times of the day. We at least knew of a handful of them from India. Note that most of them attending the seminar where Flash/Flex developers and the numbers does indicate that people are actively looking at developing apps for the iPhone.
Now, is that enough data to justify that there is indeed a paradigm shift? The answer is a big NO. But yes, we cannot ignore the fact there is quite a lot of enthusiasm among the Flash developers in building apps for the iPhone.
The very simple and straight forward answer to this question is – M-O-N-E-Y. Once you actually get a good understanding of Objective-C and underlying Cocoa framework you can quickly build a nice app and put that for sale on the app store. Believe us for this, there are quite some crappy apps on the app stores which people pay money for, which you wouldn’t even care to look at otherwise.
Now, that’s easy said than done considering the Apple’s complex approvals process, the $99/$299 you need to shell out for the developer program and such, but at the end of it, its worth the pain is what most of the “been-there-done-it” guys say. Some developers out there are making 2 or 3 digit figures every hour for apps which you wouldn’t even care to install on your machine even if it were free. This quick money (and fame) is what attracts most of the people to iPhone development.
In our personal opinion, we don’t think that this gold rush might last very long, its only until Apple holds close control over the app store which by itself might not last for long. There are already sites which have most of these paid apps available for download and there are ways by which you can get these apps installed on your iPhone without jail-breaking (voiding your warranty) your phone. Though the procedure to do so are a little trickier for the non tech savvy crowd, it just might be a little longer that those become accessible to everyone. There still will be a fair share of legitimate buyers who would pay for the apps but the numbers may actually fall significantly over a period of time. We have all seen this happening with the Symbian apps – there were times when people paid a whole lot of money to get these apps on their devices and now your get 1000’s of such apps in a CD for less than $2 all over the streets.
It’s always good, as a programmer to understand, learn and adopt new technologies which adds value to our customer, offerings and ourselves. But a trade-off of what you have a mastery on already, might not be that good an idea.
In our humble opinion, if you want to make some quick bucks, capitalize on the mad rush for iPhone apps and have an great idea which people may actual love and pay for – developing for the iPhone may make sense – but it always, always pays to continue as a Flash/Flex developer and do that in parallel as well.
Having seen and worked with Flash almost through a decade now, without a thought we can say that there is no better development platform than Flash that currently exists. The contexts, platforms and possibilities may be different but the idea continues to be the same.
This is probably the most spoken about topic in the Flash community in the recent times and Apple hears its loud and clear that this is one of the most requested feature which not only the Flash community but almost everyone who owns an iPhone, is looking forward to. And when Apple says “Flash Player is not powerful enough to run on the iPhone” we all know that they actually mean “iPhone may not yet be powerful enough to run Flash Player”. It’s just a market strategy of Apple to keep it’s dominance of the app store intact but sooner or later they would have to pave way for the Flash Player in the iPhone and that’s the day which we eagerly look forward to.
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