Wednesday, June 8, 2005


Business 2.0's Erick Schonfeld has a good article on Lynch's vision for Flash:

"I believe there is an opportunity to create a better experience on the Internet," says Kevin Lynch, chief software architect for Macromedia. On Monday he's going to try to do just that when he lays out his plan to make Macromedia's Flash technology the platform for creating Web content.

Among Web programmers, Lynch is something of a celebrity. He developed Macromedia's Dreamweaver, the market's leading Web design software, and when Adobe (ADBE) completes its $3.4 billion purchase of Macromedia later this year, he will become the chief software architect for the much larger, merged company. For the past couple of years, he's been consumed with transforming Flash from a clever application to Macromedia's growth engine.

In a way, Lynch has already succeeded. The Flash player sits on 98 percent of all PCs and 30 million cell phones. It works in the background of browsers, where most people don't even think about it. Flash started out in 1996 as a simple animation player, with two engineers working on it. Today more than 100 engineers work on Flash, and it encompasses much more than animation. CNET (CNET), for instance, uses Flash to incorporate video seamlessly into its webpages. Nike (NKE) and Mini USA use it on their websites to let people customize sneakers and cars, down to the color of the shoelaces or the side mirrors. Every time you see some slick graphics on a website changing without the whole page reloading, Flash is likely involved.

Until now Flash has been viewed as a collection of linked technologies (the player, animation tools, software development tools, server software, and mobile software). But on Monday, Lynch is going to declare the obvious: that this assortment of technologies constitutes a platform on top of which others can build beautiful websites. "What makes us a platform," he explains, "is that we are something people can target with their applications." All of the technologies under the Flash rubric provide "an on-ramp to get on the platform," he says. In that sense Flash is already the invisible platform that powers many of the more visually compelling websites.
(full article)

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