The following article came across my G+ feed today:
To me, though, this and other sensational headlines like it is the same old history repeating itself. Did we really think that the big buzzword that is HTML5 would last forever? Sorry to tell you guys this, but people are getting bored. And when people get bored, the other camp that doesn’t like technology X comes out with pitchforks with the great big “I told you so’s”.
If the pitchfork dudes can sway opinion, then the snowball rolls and gets bigger….and bigger…and bigger.
But whatever shall replace this hole in our hearts, now that technology X has died? There’s always something, and when technology Y is announced, it’s imagined as a heroic knight riding in on a white horse to save the day. Once that happens, technology X has “died”.
Dig the grave, say your last piece and pull up the hearse.
Flash is dead, right? Nah – just fallen out of favor in the larger context. Adobe still invests resources into making Flash better and better. They’ve remarketed it towards games now, but it still does everything it did before. Yah, so it doesn’t do mobile without the help of it’s little brother AIR.
Is it dead to you because it doesn’t do mobile? Guess what genius, there are still plenty of laptops and desktops. There are still people consuming videos and games and rich media. Yes, some of this is being eaten by HTML5 adoption. What are we seeing after Flash has died? Well, it simply declined. Some folks moved on. Others didn’t. I still hear of plenty of Flash and Flex projects going on, it’s just not a compelling story anymore because there’s been a decline and headline writers are bored with it.
OK….maybe it’s too soon. Maybe death doesn’t happen that quickly and my example is bunk. How about another Adobe product? Way back in my career’s beginning, I was in love with a multimedia authoring tool called Director. That was actually proclaimed dead when Flash started gaining traction. So…..2002 or 2003, maybe?
Know what Adobe just released? Yep, Director 12. That’s like 20 years worth of Director by Macromedia then Adobe. Do people still use it much? Nope. Is it still alive? Yep.
There will always be old projects to update, workflows to continue, but if the new hotness comes along – yes, your favorite technology will decline in popular favor.
How bout another example? There was a time when people said Java will take over the world. I wasn’t a Java dev until recently, but if you got caught up in the moment, you might seriously believe it would. I was kinda guilty of thinking the same thing of Flash back in it’s prime. Tons of Java jobs sprung up, entire enterprises were taken over, it was injected into college curriculum as the real world thing you’ll need.
Anddddddddd….it declined. But shit, Java in it’s decline was probably better than most techs at their peaks. As a result, Java is still there. We still need developers for it, and Google bumped it up a little with Android development. Some people might say that Google brought it back from the dead. It was never truly dead. It just lost several percentage points in market favor.
See a pattern? I do. I’ve lived it. And I’ve freaked out when my favorite technology was being threatened thinking I’d die in a gutter doing Flash and Director work for half eaten sandwiches out of a dumpster.
Having said that, don’t use my advice for complacency. Typically when things die, you’ll still find work, but you’ll get paid less and gigs might be a little harder to find. So don’t get tied in to one tech. Explore and branch out. The biggest mistake I ever made, not ONCE, but TWICE was to think that my favorite tech was the bees knees and it would take over the world. I’m seeing it happen with front-enders today. In fact, I can recall one brain melting moment at a meeting when someone suggested that native mobile app development in Objective C and Android was the “Flash” of the mobile generation. It’s a detriment, when soon folks will see the light and we’ll all be doing HTML5.
No. Cross-platform never wins. It always takes the dive. Ride it high while it’s here but don’t expect it to last. Just simply get curious about different tools and languages, try them out – and pay attention to the market. Nothing you do will be a waste of time. Anything that dies on you will still be useful, if not in it’s current incarnation, then through the concepts and ideas it carries over to all other things in our space.