February 21, 2011, 7:47 AM — Once upon a time, the path to the Apple App Store was very simple for Adobe Flash developers: Put aside your childish ways and devote yourself to the pure complexity of Objective-C. Your fancy tools and rendering libraries are nice for beginners, but only those who master pointers and malloc were welcome to feast at the table of iOS. Everyone else had the door slammed on their fingers.
The reason was simple: Apple refused to accept code with libraries or interpreters and, like schoolmarms everywhere, insisted that everyone write their own code. Perhaps Apple was afraid of viruses, downloaded code, or competition from cross-platform tools.
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That was then. Now Apple has relented a bit and is no longer completely shutting out runtime platforms like Adobe's Flash for the development of iOS apps tailored to the iPhone and iPad. This is good news for the people who've mastered a set of tools that continues to produce some of the best-looking content on the Web.
"Basically Adobe vector and raster rendering are years in the making and they've perfected this technology," says Paulius Uza, CEO of InRuntime, creator of the game Alchemist. His company often prototypes ideas with other technologies such as OpenGL, but he maintains that "the Flash version always looks prettier."
Now Flash developers like Uza have several paths to the iPhone and iPad from Adobe, as well as a sharp competitor built by people who used to work for Adobe. All of them open up opportunities for those who are accustomed to working in the Flash ecosystem to use their talent and old code to create new apps.