App Development in Flash and what it could mean for users...

App Development in Flash and what it could mean for users…

I was working on an iPhone app with Roboprez in Flash CS5 before it got banned. We/I thought that the app worked quite well, so we continued development with it in the hopes that apple would loosen their rules or it snuck through the review process.

Since it’s inception as an idea as a ball that tracks the first finger placed on screen, it has gained enemies, a timer, a menu, loading screen, losing screen and the ability to play a soundtrack. It’s basic, but functions as more than just a proof of concept or novelty. We named it Ball-TRaCK, and it is available on this site for jailbroken users and normal iDevices who ask for it.

For kicks, I wrote the game again using Xcode (the native way) and found that the CS5 cross compiler can get an app from idea to product in far less time than using traditional tools. It may be less powerful, but allows other developers with less experience the option to relies their ideas into a functioning product.

When apple loosened their restrictions, the app now can be worked on for release. It represents the start of a great development in apps for us, as working in Flash is much faster and easier. This is all good and great for a few developers mucking around, but what about the consumer? The flood of new apps can bring great opportunities for all parties, but could also compromise the nurtured environment that apple has grown.

The problem is going to be when Adobe updates the packager and the truck loads of shovelware hit the AppStore…

Many people will begin to hate the cross compiler. Many already do,thinking it will end the stores golden era or something with the influx of shovelware.

But there is already loads of shovelware like fart apps on the store, I think the quality of the crap will decrease with the cross compiled apps.

I think that if one can separate the shovelware from the app gold, or if apple did, with the use of a ‘premium’ section perhaps (where only c++ based and useful apps get accepted), both the developer and consumer would win.

A premium section would introduce more issues though. Premium apps may start to cost more, or become fewer and far between as developers jump to the easier options.

This massive set of issues is obviously what apple originally banned the compiler for, but are they ready to manage the new app influx of poorly coded flash apps, and shoddy ports of web games that don’thave proper controls or use little tricks that are learnt with fiddling, like cacheasbitmap etc? Time will tell.

Update:

Turns out not that many people have created lots of flash iphone apps… This must be due to some obvious reasons, serious and experienced developers will not use the flash compiler when they can use C based languages that run much faster on the device. The not so experienced developers probably aren’t developing in flash due to other SDK’s such as unity, titanium and gamesalad to name a few. Those using flash as an experiment (me) are also being deterred by  the lack of new iOS4 features, tricky optimisation and poor performance. Hasn’t been such a fuss after all.