Adobe Releases Tools To Build iOS Apps In Flash… But Will Apple Even Let Them Through?



Adobe just released an update to its Flash Builder and Flex development tools, and for the first time developers can use the programs to create apps for distribution through the App Store for iOS devices. But are cross-platform Flash apps on the iPhone and the iPad really a good idea?

Announced on the company’s official Adobe Flash blog, these applications now allow developers to “quickly build and distribute apps through the Android Market, BlackBerry App World and Apple App Store using one tool chain, programming language and code base,” which Adobe notes is a first for developers.

In a video accompanying the post, Flash Platform evangelist Serge Jespers demonstrates the software’s ability to create applications for Apple’s devices, and compares a stock market application running on iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.

Apple changed its App Store guidelines back in September 2010 and decided that it would no longer reject apps for iOS devices that weren’t built using Apple’s own developer tools. Theoretically, that means applications built with Adobe’s software shouldn’t have a problem entering the App Store, however, as Razorian Fly notes, unless the applications meet Apple’s strict standards, they won’t get through the gate.

When defending Apple’s previous App Store guidelines and the decision to reject apps built with third-party tools, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that allowing Flash conversion tools would result in “sub-standard apps.”

From a developer’s standpoint, I can only imagine this is fantastic news. The ability to create applications for three platforms with just one programming language must mean the task of developing for all mobile platforms just got a lot easier. Adobe’s vice president, Ed Rowe, said:

The reaction from developers to the new mobile capabilities in Flash Builder 4.5 and the Flex 4.5 framework has been absolutely fantastic. They are amazed by how easy it is to create great mobile apps for Android devices, BlackBerry PlayBook, iPhone and iPad. Companies can now effectively reach their customers no matter what type of device they have.

In addition to support for iOS devices, the recent update also allows developers to create applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.


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  • Nings

    I think this will only result in more crap on the App Store, if you have a great idea nowadays you either have to spend a lot of money hiring a developer or you could spend a lot of time learning iOS SDK, Objective-C and Xcode. The term “a lot” is the thing that filters out all bad quality stuff that today ends up in Android Market.

    Flash is so easy to implement stuff in, everybody can make apps in very little time. They will probably be in lesser quality because its a “converted” app. So if Apple allow this, I hope they show this in the App Store: “This app is made with Adobe Flash and may not be as high quality as with apps made with Apple software”.

  • CharliK

    They won’t require any kind of warning because they will be accused to being nasty to those developers and the negative press will go all over the blogosphere. 

    I actually wonder how many folks actually go this route to make apps, I suspect not that many. Making this a carrot for a donkey that only likes potatoes. 

  • huyett

    If the apps are that crappy, apple can just reject them with a list of things they need to address before re-submitting.

  • Earl Ferguson

    There are already many apps in the app store that use Adobe Air. Including HBO GO, the Grammy App, some Sony Apps, the new ESPN app and many others. Really all this is, is an upgrade to the tool set to support packaging iOS and Blackberry apps using Flash Builder, it was already capable using Flash Professional (and using command line with Flex). Their is actually no Flash involved, what it does is cross compile to efficient Objective-C and Xcode bytecode. So it’s all native code in the end. Know because I had to use the tools to create a Sony app at the company I work for. It’s cool cause I was able to easily get like 60 fphs in this game I was working on even on a 3gs.

  • Al Mor.

    this is really a challenge to microsoft since they adopted html5 and java script as standart for there all devices windows 8….As google and Apple are united around html5 along with microsof I don’t think this good idea will last long, if it arrived 2 years ago would be great!

  • Daniel Macias