Writing Mobile Apps with DreamWeaver or Flash Professional?

curiouswebster used Ask the Experts™
DreamWeaver seems to create apps for iPhone and Android. Using PhoneGap these can run as native apps on each platform. How does Flash Professional work?

I understand DreamWeaver would use jQuery Mobile, HTML and CSS.

- What language would Flash Professional use?
- What  mobil platforms does Flash Professional support? BlackBerry also?
- Are there any memory problems on the cell phones, which plague other web-to-mobile IDE's?

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The language that Flash Professional uses is Actionscript 3.

But I'm not sure that's *quite* what you mean (or it may only be a part of what you want to know)...

The thing that allows Flash to compile apps for iOS (iphone etc) and Android is called Adobe AIR. So a fuller answer is you write your code in Actionscript 3, but then Flash professional can then *publish* your code as an iOS or Android app, using Adobe AIR.

The process of publishing is pretty transparent to you - you get a dialog box that asks you which platform(s) you want to publish your application to, and there are tick boxes and a few other options to set, but pretty much it's as simple as doing a 'File, Save as...'

I've left Blackberry until the end because I want to be specific about this. The only Blackberry device that is supported in this way is the Blackberry Playbook tablet. You can use the same 'publish to...' dialog to compile for BB Playbook, but you cannot compile for 'regular' BB mobile phones / smartphones.

As a long time user of Flash, I have to say that the workflow of having a very 'visual' place to create content (you can create a lot of visually compelling stuff very easily in Flash), as well as having a very capable programming language, AND have the ability to cross compile for the two major smartphone platforms from a single source document - I find all that very appealing.

The one early setback was when, after Adobe announced all this cross-compile goodness, Apple changed their terms of service in response to deliberately prevent apps created this way from being published in the iOS app store. In a very un-Apple move though, they reversed this decision some months later, and said that apps created in this way would now be allowed. To the best of my knowledge they never explained that reversal, and although where Apple is concerned I guess you show never say never, it seems unlikely that they would reverse that reversal (!) and begin blocking them again...

Hope that all helps.
Oh forgot to add...

As well as cross compiling for iOS and Android, Flash being, err... Flash... you can just change the settings again, and publish your content for the web if you want to. (98% of all regular computers still using Flash)
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer


My app does not need much in the way of fancy graphics, AND I need to strengthen my use of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery. So, I decided I am better off with Dreamweaver CS5.5.

(I mainly want the iPhone and Android markets, and expect BlackBerry to stay a minor player.)

But I need to strengthen my web skills for my day job, so DreamWeaver seems like the natural choice.

Make sense?

P.S. Where can I read about Apple's reversal? I'd like to be sure dropping Xcode and Objective-C is the right move....
Here are a couple of links to read more



It does seem likely that HTML, CSS, Javascript and Jquery are going to be a good investment for the long term, but I'd throw in a few caveats there too.

i) HTML5 (which Apple encourages web development in) is not due to become a standard (accepted / approved by the W3C - the body that sets web standards) until 2014 - it is, at the moment, very much a 'work in progress' and *not* a standard.

ii) the way in which different browsers implement these technologies *differs* so from the same code you can get pages that look / behave differently. With Flash / AIR, because everything happens *inside* the Flash player, and not under control of the browser, it looks / behaves the same on everything.

iii) There are some things that Flash does *enormously* more efficiently in terms of filesizes. Achieving some 'flash like' effects in HTML technologies can result in very much larger filesizes.

iv) If you are at the bleeding edge of Flash development, Adobe now provide tools to use a technology called stage3D - http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/stage3d.html. I don't see anyone talking about doing 3D in HTML / CSS technologies. (If I weren't so conservative in my opinions I might say something stronger like '3D isn't possible' in HTML).

One thing is sure - competition over web standards / technologies sure makes for interesting choices for developers :-)
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer



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