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.