Seems straightforward to me. Adobe is in at the center of print production (PhotoShop & friends, InDesign, PDF), while Macromedia’s DreamWeaver is the single most important Web-design product. Dave Shea says this might be about Flash, but let me suggest exactly the opposite: if you’re hitching your career to Flash, it might be a good time to look at alternatives. Why’s that? Because, near as I can tell, Macromedia has never made any serious money with Flash. They’ve accomplished one of the great, heroic, marketing coups of all time, getting the plug-in onto substantially every desktop on the planet; and this bought them, uh, what exactly? They sell authoring tools, but seriously, how many Flash designers does the world need? Anyhow, most of the good things you can do with Flash, you can do about as well with DHTML (oops that’s called AJAX now) and your “back” button still works. I guess there’s no reason to actually shut Flash down, the tool revenue must about cover the engineering costs. But Adobe, historically, has been good at focusing on what works and dropping the distractions. (Can you remember PageMill?) Flash is a distraction. [Update: Smell something burning? That would be me, sizzling in a torrent of Flash-flavored flame.]

Reasoned Debate · Some people took the time to compose and post coherent arguments as to why I might be wrong. For example, Pete Freitag writes “I think Macromedia makes most of its money from Flash, so I don't think that they will be cutting it anytime soon” and if he’s right, then I’m wrong. John Dowdell of Macromedia offers an example of something that he says is beyond DHTML’s reach and says “Funny, you'd sorta think Sun would be bullish on a cross-platform, cross-browser ‘write once play anywhere’" kind of thingy, wouldn't you...? ;-)”.

Get Yer Flames Here! · Hoo boy, those Flash faithful are, what’s the word I’m looking for, um, articulate. Here’s a sampling:

“I assume his comments are an ill-tempered and unprofessional anomaly.” -Brian Lesser.
“Sun could only dream of a day when Adobe guts Flash so that we might return to those great days of clunky Java applets that never actually fulfilled their purpose within the development community.” -Justin Everett-Church.
“Johnny Script kiddie not knowing about stuff like that I can understand, but the director of web technologies at Sun should at least have some sort clue.” -Stephen Milligan.
“Today’s ‘Whistling Past the Graveyard’ Award goes to Tim Bray, Director of Web Technologies at Sun, whose apparent focus on Java renders him incapable of understanding the value proposition of Flash. No wonder Java continues to stagnate!” -Ray Everett-Church.
“Mr. Bray must not be spending any time with the users *I* see. Those under the age of 45.” -Kim Cavanaugh. [Ouch!]
“In my opinion Timothy Bray is a Pillock of the First Water.” -Gerry Marshall.
“I think it's all rubbish of course.” -Daniel Freeman.
“I think it deserves to be marked with the ‘Don't post after a large bottle of wine’ metatag.” -Cort Winters.
“What is Bray smoking???” -Phill Nacelli.
“Bray is full of FUD and nothing else. He does work for SUN (no bias,ha,ha...;) who have ‘crappy’ applets on their side. He’s just jealous, since Flex, CFMX, Dreameaver, Flash, Breeze and other will make Adobe superior to M$ and Sun in the market and quality.” -Patrick Whittingham.
“Must've got his beard caught in his sandles again.” -clark.


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April 18, 2005
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