Steve Jobs on Flash: substandard apps that limit the progress of the platform

We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.

--Steve Jobs re: Flash via

Kind of interesting. Is he talking about Flash or is he talking about Java? 

I spent a few years writing deeply complex user experiences in Java. Invariably it was a technology tax we had to pay to try to get proper native-like experiences on exactly this kind of thing -- an intermediate layer (Java Swing) between the underlying machine (Win32).

Writing desktop apps in Java was a real pain. Flash, while easier, is still another inefficient layer between you and the underlying metal. You're right, Steve. Lets not subject people to that anymore.



8 responses
If it were *just* cross-platform apps that were blocked, this would be a good point. But what if I want to use say pyobjc to write an iPhone app in python?
Hardcore hackers should just fight back the way we've always fought back against systems of control. Unlock the phone, and make an underground app store / app economy for everything else.

Or use Android.

Gruber's argument makes sense to me. The net win for almost all iPhone/iPad platform users is from a utilitarian perspective worth losing the ability to hack. Apple is saying end users and great apps matter more.

I am no technologist but logically you cannot assume no intermediate layers == great apps. The two are not equivalent. Forcing developers to write native Apple code doesn't make their apps automatically great, and vice versa I'm sure one can write great apps using Flash too. Ultimately I think it's about choice - developers should be able to choose how they want to develop. If Flash was really so horrible, I'd think people would automatically stop developing on it without Jobs' intervention.

As for your tax argument, I'd say that not all iPhone apps need to be as complex as Palantir's financial visualizations, so some developers may not need to pay such a tax.

Not true that people would stop using Flash just because it sucks. We (and/or the market) will develop anywhere there is an installed base that allows us to create stuff. ActionScript and Flash are buggy as crap. I just wasted 2 hours debugging a JS error in IE that turned out to be a poorly implemented Flash embed. Its trash, but it works, so we use it.

It is my sincere hope we won't have to in the future.

Posterous uses Flash player, does that mean our media posts, for instance our music posts - - become redundant on the iPad?
Would you consider HTML5 an intermediate layer?

Intermediate layers can be limiting, but overall isn't consistent design more important and mostly orthogonal to the technology used?

I have a friend working at Apple and he said that they are currently doing a lot of improvements on their apps as well as mixing up different prog. languages. Lets see what comes out in the future
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