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Impact - A Blog by INM

Testing Out the Adobe Packager for iPhone

October 21, 2010 by Laurent Brigaut
Flash logo in an iPhone

With the changes to the iPhone developer agreement a few weeks back, the Adobe Packager for iPhone gained new life. The packager, which is a feature of Adobe Flash Professional CS5 software and the Adobe AIR SDK, offers a way to use existing Flash code to create native applications for the iPhone and iPad. We’ve been working on native iPhone and iPad development for some time now, so we were curious as to how this application could be used to port over some of our existing Flex-developed client applications. We took a sampling of applications we’ve built over the past few months, some simple and some more complex, and used the Adobe Packager for iPhone to convert them. What we discovered is that there are some significant limitations with this tool.

If you have a relatively simple application, the Adobe Packager for iPhone may be a viable alternative. It can work well as a stop gap solution for firms that don’t have in-house expertise in Objective C, but only for simple applications.

For enterprise applications that are more complex and involve a team of developers, the lack of productivity tools makes it quite challenging. Also, if an application contains more than one .swf, or has refined transitions, then you cannot simply flip a switch and convert it. For complex applications, you really need to rebuild the application to maintain the desired functionality.

It is great that this type of packager is hitting the market and it foreshadows what’s to come. From the early announcements, it seems that the next generation of Flash development tools may deliver significant improvements. But for now, this packager does have its limitations.

I wonder if Microsoft will soon come out with a similar type of tool to convert Silverlight applications into iPhone and iPad apps?