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I'm leaving Flex and it's not because of HTML5.

Note I cross posted this entry on my new blog.

Flex has been really good to me for many years. In fact I moved to the US in 2002 and started working on a Flash project and we jumped on Flex before it was 1.0 with Royal which was the beta code name of Flex. Flex had a long road since and I delivered many fun and successful customer projects. Many of which were internal enterprise projects and I also worked on a few pretty visible public ones like the Australian Open Tennis Vault, the NCAA Vault. I even co-authored a Flex on Rails" book.

You would think I would leave Flex based on the flux it is in right now after the catastrophic public relation announcement from Adobe in November. That’s not it, as I actually believe Flex has a bright future and is in great hands with the Apache Flex Team. My realization happened a couple of weeks ago with the announcement of Rubymotion. The cheer fact of being able to build iOS apps with the iOS SDK in Ruby was that moment for me and it opened my eyes and pointed to a turning point in my career. I’m going mobile full steam ahead. This is the future. Note just RubyMotion, just the mobile sector in general. And many mobile apps need to be backed by great server side services. So mobile and the cloud are really an exciting combination.

So what do I mean by “I leave Flex”. Actually it already started, I’m not taking on new Flex Desktop Project, I cancelled of few customer Flex projects that where on my radar and I’m canceling several internal project I was working on. In addition I will not attend Flex user groups or conferences and I’m not giving Flex speaking engagements or trainings. That’s it, done!

So what about my current engagements with Flex? I currently have two great customer for which I provide product development, mentoring and consulting services and I would like to continue working with them for the foreseeable future. In fact these two customers have many Ruby on Rails projects and will start doing more mobile development. So it seems to be a good match.

And what about Flex mobile which is pretty awesome and is a great way to build iOS and Android apps for the enterprise? You may not know this, but I have been an Objective-C developer in the mid-90 on NeXTStep and followed the WWDC conference since many years before the iOS SDK was announced. Again I love Ruby and the iOS SDK, I just wasn’t very fond of Objective-C anymore as Ruby spoiled me. RubyMotion is my gateway drug to iOS and I’m just ready to dive fully into iOS. Mentally I don’t want to master two different environments and the iOS ecosystem is large enough to sustain me professionally.

Now will I still recommend Flex to anyone? The answer is clearly yes as there are still many situations and projects where Flex is a great match. At least until a good HTML5/JavaScript framework can provide the same productivity than with the Flex SDK. All the current HTML frameworks will evolve and morph drastically over the coming years. Which is a good reason to choose Flex if you want stability. These HTML frameworks will take several years to mature. This said I really enjoy Backbonejs, Spinejs, Ember-js and how they try to make development of Rich HTML Applications easier.

So, here we go. Good bye Flex!

- Daniel Wanja

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