Apps in iTunes via Flash and how a developer feels about it

Unless you migrated here from the planet formerly known as Pluto, you are no doubt aware of the previous battle waged between Apple and, well anyone who didn’t know Objective C and wanted to make an app. Apple has since released its strangle hold on that and allowed for developers to use Flash to create their iPad and iPhone apps.

So what does this mean? Well likely game developers will be incredibly happy with this. There is no doubt this significantly helps them out.

If you are a designer by nature and have a thin grasp on Flash but want to make apps, this also definitely helps you out tremendously.

If you, as a general rule, don’t want to learn a completely new programming language, this also helps you out. The frustration of spending years learning Actionscript just to be slapped in the face with needing to learn Objective C is quite understandable.

In the end however I cannot help but to disagree with backlash towards Apple on this one. I absolutely think Apple is guilty of quite a lot of things but in this particular point, I don’t think so. After a healthy dose of articles and speaking with colleagues alike, it would seem the two primary reasons for arguing in favor of Flash are quite simply twofold: we have been using it for years and the tools are mature and robust, it only makes sense to allow us to use Flash; and second, “it just looks prettier”.

I have to say I argue both. Let’s start with the later. As a designer I don’t disagree that Flash can be more amusing, more polished, and yes, prettier. However, as someone who deals in function I could not disagree more with using this as an argument. While it might look better some of the worst designed, most terribly “thought out” websites on the internet happen to be in Flash. As many of my students have displayed over the years, when given the opportunity to make something slide, rotate, fade, blip, beep, or bop, they do, in excess, to the detriment of intelligent design.

Arguing the former is almost equally absurd. Simply because a toolset exists, and has for a long time, is not an argument to crowbar it in to another output. Yes, there are a plethora of tools available for Flash but in the end, good old fashioned Ob C has come through for us time and time again.

It should be noted that we were without question not an Objective C shop prior to the advent of iPhones and iPads. Not even close. It took us quite a bit of research and development time to polish up our chops, figure out the new toy, and start applying this knowledge to our client’s work.

It should also be noted that we still use Flash for client work and will continue to do so until the need no longer exists. That being said, we segment the two according to best use. Sometimes there is not, or should not, be a shortcut.

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