I’m John C Bland II

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Founder of Katapult Media, and full-stack polyglot developer.
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I’ve talked about this a few times but wanted to put it on “paper” to hopefully spark a convo.

Pretty much all of the interwebs have heard about Flash CS5 exporting iPhone apps. Just peep the Bing results to see how many folks have already commented. With over 245,000 search results, why make it 245,001? Well…I have some thoughts and I feel as a hardcode Flash dude it might be an interesting perspective.

Beyond just pointing out + and – points I want to offer suggestions. Everything, almost literally, I’ve seen has either been HOORAH or THIS SUCKS but not much between the fold and very little suggestions on how to convert some THIS SUCKS folks to the HOORAH side. Hopefully my perspective and suggestions will help do just that, if Adobe listens.

The Typical
Company X does Upgrade Y and the fanboys go crazy! Upgrade Y makes the haters go wild with how horrible a decisionit may be and an utter waste of time.

What’s Missing?
Solutions. The one’s who love Upgrade Y don’t offer solutions. They say “That’s tight. I’d also like Upgrade Z as well.” The one’s who hate Upgrade Y say “So stupid. You should’ve spent time doing something else. Here is why it won’t work: reason 1, 2, 3.”

Where do I stand on Flash CS5 export to iPhone?
THIS IS GREAT but ehhh. Seriously…I love the idea and it excited me when I first heard. Here are some bullet points about w/ pros and cons.


  • This is going to do wonders for those not willing to learn an entirely new language which is a pain to get into (seriously, the syntax and approach is mind boggling at first)
  • I am of the belief there are way more Flash developers than iPhone so the app store will be flooded with tons of, potentially, great apps.
  • It’s easy.
  • 1 project on multiple devices (potentially)
  • No worries about learning new api’s

There are more but those are basic highlights.


  • Hands off. You don’t have any control over memory management in a place where knowing Objective-C is best.
  • I am of the belief there are way more Flash developers than iPhone so the app store will be flooded with tons of, potentially, crappy apps.
  • Performance sucks at the moment.
  • People will try to publish beefy apps to multiple devices (potentially).
  • When a new sdk comes out you have to wait for Adobe to provide an update for CS5 to be able to use any new features.

As you can see it is a ying and yang thing. Each pro has a matching con and each con has a matching pro. There are tons more but those are highlights and you can see the other arguments on Bing (or Google).


My biggest concern with the export to iPhone is the black box. By this I mean there is something converting your graphics/ActionScript to an iPhone app and if there is an error you can’t do anything about it. By error it could be an actual failure causing major application issues or something as simple as not releasing a variable, poor memory management.

My suggested solution is to get rid of the black box. Many people will have many different ways of doing this but I’m thinking a bit more on the simple level.

On export, do the following:

  1. Provide the App Store ready file (ipa)
  2. Provide the source code ready to open in XCode

#2 is the biggie. If I could open Flash CS5, write some ActionScript, do my thang w/ the timeline, export to XCode and take my app to the next level w/ native api’s, etc in XCode…I’d be a happy camper.

There are iPhone apps in the App Store published by Flash CS5 already. Many report them as sluggish and Adobe is aware and are addressing. If Adobe implemented the solution above, each of those sluggish apps could be improved by the developers taking the Adobe generated code and improved the performance themselves, if so desired.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m wishing for more than Adobe can offer but you have not because you ask not! 😉

Thoughts? What could Adobe do to make this a great success?