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It Done Broke.

Adobe: Too Little Too Late?

I’m not particularly fond of Steve Jobs’ accusations that Adobe devs are lazy.  It sounds a bit peevish and personal and just because he thinks he’s Superman doesn’t mean he gets to be a dick.  I did like him calling BS on Google, though, there are a lot of things that Apple’s done under his command I think were questionable (“evil” even).

I’m also not saying that Adobe is a shining star when it comes to some of the choices they’ve made but overall, I’d say they’ve done a pretty good job at holding up the bar in the design world (even if they’re responsible for making drop-shadowed text ubiquitous).

It takes a lot of guts for Emmy Huang, the Project Manager for Flash Player, to write this post.  It displays a humanity, although I’m sure Jobs wasn’t implying they’re lazy robots.  It also highlights problems in their process.  But I do wonder about this:

“I want to reiterate that it is our policy that crashes are serious “A” priority bugs, and it is a tenet of the Flash Player team that ActionScript developers should never be able to crash Flash Player. If a crash occurs, it is by definition a bug, and one that Adobe takes very seriously. When they happen, it can be the result of something going on purely within Flash Player, something in the browser, or even at the OS level. Depending on where an issue occurs we work to resolve the crash internally or with our partners.”

She then goes on to outline the timeline of how the wheels fell off the wagon.

Some points:

  • crashing bugs should be fixed and released immediately, i.e. the day they fixed it.  Telling me that it was fixed 3 months ago and we’re only going to see it with the next release which is…when?…only makes me froth.
  • it’s not as if Flash 10 is the first version where the player has had serious issues and caused crashing.  It’s almost a defining characteristic of the platform since version 1.

No amount of denials from upper management is going to make the existence of problems untrue and no amount of apologies from the developer level is going to change the fact that if it’s not in our hands, it’s not fixed.

Adobe needs to fix their process, like a decade ago.  I know it’s complicated, and I know the software’s a crazy rat’s nest.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Flash will ever completely go away.  Flash as a video delivery vehicle always kind of bother me as over-engineered and overkill.  But as a platform for other things I think it will still have a place, albeit with a much lesser presence.  Nonetheless, Adobe, I don’t think it had to be this way.

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    Category: Complaining, Web

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