Disappointment No. 3

I created a couple of programs like AS3doc and AS3V. Both have never really gotten any adoption because I canceled their development. The reason was that Adobe shortly before or after I finished my tool released a competitive tool. Given the fact that I work fulltime on audiotool.com it is hard for me to find some time off to develop those applications. Some of them are even not written for myself — like the FlexMojos code coverage.

However it happened again. I write a tool that is not even fully released yet and there comes Adobe around the corner with something that must have been in development for a while. Enough time to tell us that we can decide if we want to continue working on it or not.

I have no problem with Adobe developing such products. In fact I second that they have a Flex QA team which develops tools like FlexPMD and the recent coverage plug-in. However the way this process happens really frustrates me. Why would I want to work on something that Adobe is already developing somewhere silently and release it without giving anyone notice? But they do not owe me an explanation for what they do. It would also be arrogant to say that I demand to know upfront.

I am just sad that there is no dialog at all. This happened three times now. I will not continue doing this.

That does not mean I will stop working on Apparat and JITB. Only no more enterprise releated open source software.


  1. Lionel
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Since they won’t tell the public everything they are working on, maybe they should make available a way for developers to check prior to starting a project if it is something Adobe is working on or not.

    That could lead to opportunities for collaboration instead of frustration.

    Your work is appreciated.

  2. Jake Lewis
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I think you’ll be safe with Apparat and JITB – Flash has a rich tradition of producing sub-par compilers :)

  3. Babo
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Do you ever tell Adobe what you are about to develop?

  4. Alan
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Lately there’s a lot of criticism being made of the Flash Builder team – most of it negative.

    It’s things like this that reinforce those criticisms.

    No doubt, the guys in the trenches of the Flash Builder team work hard, and it’s most likely the polices being made by project / product managers that end up crapping on everyone. These policies and general behavior of these members present Adobe as low-class and insecure.

    ‘Open At Adobe’…? Well perhaps only as long as they don’t accidentally tip their hand to any competitors.

  5. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    I think adobe should have better relations w/ the community!

    Joa is my idol.

  6. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Way to go Adobe! :/

  7. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Babo: Oh yes. But as I wrote in the post I do not think that they would have to tell me anything.

    Alan: I think finally they are getting it right. Which means that developing software which was missing before is now even more of a minefield :)

  8. Alan
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Excellent point.

  9. felix
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    sounds like adobe should hire you.

  10. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    On one hand, it’s great that Adobe is finally making such tools, but obviously they could’ve whispered something in your ear :( What I’d like even more, is if Adobe would actively support or contribute to projects such as Apparat. But I suppose I’m just dreaming out loud now :)

  11. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I am new at Adobe but longtime in the community – so this is my opinion not anything official. Here’s what I am wondering though, all the criticism that Adobe isn’t sharing is about them releasing stuff on Labs. Isn’t Labs designed as a “pre-release” thing? Many projects released on Labs don’t ever come to fruition as full products – so isn’t this a means of more open communication rather than waiting until this is potentially pushed out as part of an official product release?

    My point is, I get the sense that the community has moved the bar on communication from Adobe. Now public pre-release software isn’t enough, Adobe needs to do public pre-pre-release betas to avoid criticism?

    Joa, I understand your frustration and I think most anyone who’s done open source (Flex related or not) has hit similar situations (the best ideas are rarely unique). I also get that your criticism is much more tempered than some of the responses.

  12. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi Brian,

    maybe you cannot do anything about it. Last but not least this could be the way you want/have to operate and also software like Chromium has not been announced or opensourced before it has seen its first release if I am not mistaken.

    So in that regard we might just have to live with it and accept that it is already the best option. But as you said some ideas are replicated more often and fulfilling obvious needs could have been my “mistake”. I am also not the only person that wrote a way to do code coverage.

    Really no offense. I mean I get that this probably is the best you can do and I appreciate that Adobe is releasing software on labs. But it gets frustrating when it happens so often. I will simply continue working on software that is useless but fun :)

  13. Jeffrey Gilbert
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    What would be better is if Adobe would allow for open source development on more projects, especially ones where prior work in the field could be utilized to improve the overall experience and bring in lots of really sharp people who would work for free on the project to better it. Joa is a prime example of just that person. While putting out a project that overarches his own is dissuading him from working on his own, opening up a project which trumped his as an open project for everyone to contribute to could/even likely would result in free very sharp workers for adobe. Considering the bad press Adobe’s had lately due to Apple and the poor performance of Flash, giving the community a little ammunition to fight back with wouldn’t be the worst thing they could do.

  14. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with you Joa and understand your frustration. But we often refer to “Adobe” as some vague (god-like almost) entity – who is Adobe? Are their employees/engineers not on Twitter/forums etc. Are they sitting and coding somewhere in the dark forest with cut off Internet access? There’s a bunch of guys (i.e. Mike Chambers, Thibault Imbert, Lee Brimelow) who does communicate with us, developers on Twitter on the daily basis and they know what’s going on in AS3 community. It’s not 1994 when Adobe programmers could hide – world has changed. Have they not following your blog? Or is this a conspiracy? They’re watching you to get fresh ideas, and secretly develop behind our back?
    What the hell is going on here? Someone please explain.

  15. Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    FWIW – I think there was a hint of this happening released on the FlexCover mailing list early in the year. After I saw that thread go out, I noticed forward progression on FlexCover stopped except for an update to work with Flex SDK 4.

    Apparat seems to have the only coverage tool that is reasonable to work with in build scripts and the CI process, so I’m going to keep using it and pushing it in the FlexUnit Ant task. I know you’ve got a backer in FlexMojos, so I wouldn’t worry about a tool built for FlashBuilder that probably won’t ever make it out of the IDE. Keep up the great work!

  16. Daniel
    Posted Oct 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Joa, you’re an inspiration for so many developers. Please don’t let this put you off continuing your amazing work.

  17. Edwin
    Posted Oct 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Your work is appreciated. :)

  18. Posted Oct 3, 2010 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with brian, this tool of adobe seems IDE only. But your approach is usable with CI. This is a huge advantage! Especially the combination with flex-mojos is awesome!

    Same goes for reducer. Ok, adobe lets you specify compress in an embed tag these days. With reducer you can leave it alone and do it for all images in one call and you can specify the compression rate too.

    So for now i think the stuff you build has some unique features that are highly useful and appreciated.

    Thanx and i hope you will keep it up!


  19. Posted Oct 3, 2010 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Hi Joa,

    I’m not sure if it’s always been the case, but you definitely have the attention of some important people at Adobe, at least the FlashPlayer engineers! But I wonder if the rest of the various Flash Platform teams are up to speed?

    I would certainly say that it’d be hugely in Adobe’s interest to reach out to you, get you to sign a zillion NDAs and talk to you about their plans. I would even pay you as a consultant if I were them!

    Has anyone there ever contacted you? Are you on any beta programs? But yes, keep up the good work. :-)


  20. Static
    Posted Oct 6, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    In my opinion there are ways to do such things that can avoid any confusion regarding current projects so I hope Adobe get in touch with you asap because your work is valuable to the community. Echo what Seb wrote above too.

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