Flash has evolved over the past several years from strictly being an animation tool, to Actionscript 1, 2 and now 3. But what will it morph to in the upcoming years? Based on what I’ve been reading and following on Adobe labs, this is my interpretation of what Flash is becoming.
In the next release of Flash player there are 2 major changes. StageVideo and Molehill. What are these changes? You ask.
StageVideo is essentially a new way to render video on the web using the computers GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), not the CPU. This means very little processing power to render video, while still having the ability to layer Flash assets on top. For a full description of StageVideo you can visit Abobe labs (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/stagevideo.html).
MoleHill is a new 3D rendering API, using the GPU and not the CPU. (Sound similar to the StageVideo right?). For a full description of MoleHill, visit http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flash/molehill/.
So what does this mean? Simple, Flash is making a shift to where its strength has been in the past, Games and Video. Abobe is making a fundamental shift away from Animation tools and moving into a more gaming and enterprise realm. This includes the enterprise cloud gaming model (a la WoW). The significance of using the GPU over CPU is the ability to deliver the same content to mobile devices, that’s why Adobe has placed such a huge focus on using the GPU for rendering.
This isn’t a bad thing for developers. It will now allow smaller development companies to create better online gaming experiences, but I think it’s the being of the end for Flash based websites, and Flash Developers focused on website development. (Although I think that’s a LONG way off).