The strategy for Flex 3

According to Ted Patrick, Flex 3, the next version of Adobe's Flex Framework, will be released on top of Flash Player 9 instead of requiring a brand new Flash Player. By leveraging the current player Adobe can take advantage of its penetration and not have to play the waiting game that is associated with most Flash releases. It's a solid strategy for using the player's ubiquity to full advantage.
Written by Ryan Stewart, Contributor
Ted Patrick has a post this morning titled Flex 3 - the most important feature! which gives us a glimpse into what Adobe's plans for Flex are. The new version of the Flash Player was the biggest overhaul in the history of the platform, but according to Ted's post, we may not have seen everything it has to offer. Unlike the move from Flex 1.5 to Flex 2, which required a new version of the Flash Player and other versions of Flash which also required a new player to take advantage of new features, Flex 3,4 AND 5 are all going to target Flash Player 9. That means the next three versions of Flex are all going to run on Flash Player 9.

It is a bold move and one that I think pays off for Adobe down the road. The key with Flash has always been penetration and as quickly as people upgrade, releasing a new player requires a lot of waiting on the part of early adopters. The latest stats on Adobe's page indicate that Flash Player 9 has only 35.9% penetration but at the FlashForward Macworld Keynote we found out that the penetration is closer to 60%. This is nowhere near the 90%+ that Flash Player 8 has and leaves people adopting Flex 2 how much of an impact that penetration number will have on their business. But with Flex, Ted says he believes that Adobe should always target the player that has 90% penetration:

As our market is by majority business applications, we need to focus on wide deployment and compatibility first and on new player dependent runtime features second. Flex should always deploy into the fat of the Flash Player adoption curve and it is my opinion that we should always target the player that is 90% deployed. If that means that Flex 3,4,5 ship targeting Flash Player 9 all the better for developers and companies. Honestly there are a ton of features that need to be added into Flex independent of the runtime and above the compiler. When Flash Player 10 hits 90%, Flex should target Flash Player 10 in all future releases.

I tend to agree with Ted that this is only going to help Flex adoption. Even with Flash Player 9's current 60% penetration, a lot of companies and web applications are leveraging Flex 2. It's becoming an accepted way to build web applications and using the eventual ubiquity of Flash Player 9 to deliver more features can only help Flex adoption. The recent release of Flash Player 9 for Linux only helps the story.

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