Alright Adobe, here’s what you do: Cross compile Objective C to run on the Flash Player

Ooooh, I think this may actually be a good idea.

We know that Apple is trying to keep its developer base isolated from the rest of the mobile world. If you have to choose a platform between iPhone and Android, an indy developer will probably choose the iPhone right? Thats where the people are. This has nothing to do with the Flash Player, but everything to do with making the iPhone a hard ecosystem to leave for a user.

Now Adobe, imagine you release an Objective C library that developers can use that will also cross compile to Flash Player bytecode that can run on Android, web etc. You already have done some work for compiling C/C++ to Flash Player bytecode in the Alchemy Project, and I am assuming you now have a bunch of of LLVM experts in your team. You will have to mandate that developers use only that library since others may not work with the cross compiler (there may be dependencies that are not ported). As an indy developer trying to get to the maximum audience I would use that library in a heartbeat. Now suddenly a lot of games are being automatically ported to the Android platform (with AIR). Except that those games appear on the Android immediately, rather than wait for the few weeks/months of sitting around waiting to be approved. The Android now suddenly looks like a better platform doesn’t it. Meanwhile this works nicely for you again. You need some IDE (maybe Flash CS5) to cross compile the Objective C to ActionScript bytecode so you have a market for a tool again. Get Google to help you by replacing the iAd system with one that uses Google ads, I am sure they’ll get behind that.

[update] This is not really a solution for people who dont know Objective C and dont want to learn it. But it does give iPhone developers more options, unties their dependence on that platform only and makes AIR on other devices a lot more viable.

Hopefully you like this idea, I’ll expect a check from you soon 😉

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

11 thoughts on “Alright Adobe, here’s what you do: Cross compile Objective C to run on the Flash Player”

  1. I dont understand. What would adobe get out of this? They make money from selling content creation tools, so allowing obj c to compile into flash bypasses that and gives even more power to apple – for free and damaging there own market!
    If you want to develop for iphone use obj c if you want to develop for flash use as3 – simple. Remember apple is only a tiny proportion of the rich media consumer market and once they start to lose share to the new 10.1 devices they’ll be begging adobe to allow the flash player onto their platforms.


  2. no they won’t. That’s a pipe dream if you actually think apple will beg adobe to do anything! See this is exactly the kind of yesterday thinking that has all of us in the predicament in the first place. Adobe, and flash for that matter, needs to really start thinking differently (pardon the pun), this blogger’s idea is one of the first great ideas I’ve seen in a long time. Opening things up like this gives more to the DEVELOPER, and opens apple’s closed ecosystem up to supporting other platforms like google. I can’t believe this isn’t totally blatantly obvious.


  3. I would seriously hope Adobe is already working on this. If they’re not, they could become obsolete quickly. There are many technical challenges to making this happen of course. Threading comes to mind as a difficult issue since AS3 does not currently provide direct support to multithreading (despite a lot of begging).

    Apple’s behavior concerns me a great deal as a developer. I used the be an enthusiastic fan of Apple’s products but I am growing concern that they are no longer acting in the best interest of consumers (or developers). As a developer I feel like Android appears to be a better model, although the market share currently resides on the Apple side. As a developer my job is to look forward into the near future. So the question is will Android-based tablets and phones soon amass enough market share to put pressure on Apple’s dominance and create a viable market for a more “open” platform? I sure hope so. I believe that when that happens Apple will reconsider their unrealistic position and open up their platforms.

    I’d be willing to pay a thousand dollars or more for an object oriented programming language/platform with a Flash Builder-type IDE that allowed me to target a wide range of mobile devices if it included Android-based and Apple OS X-based tablets and phones.

    “you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” John Lennon


  4. Pingback: paradox1x
  5. I wouldn’t mind this, but I wouldn’t want Adobe to spend any significant time on it. If Flash pushes Actionscript to the side, and opens the platform to some cross-compilation orgy-fest, allowing developers to compile any growing number of languages to SWF, IPA, APK, etc, I foresee a huge mess of juggling too many shifting platforms/language API’s etc. Basically it sounds like either a huge mess if such a path is fully taken, or a small waste of time that will likely eventually be dropped or forever be a small thorn in the side.


  6. This is a fantastic idea. I hope someone at Adobe is listening. Loosen Steve’s strangle hold on Ipad/Iphone app code base in a way that not even Steve could whine about or block. It won’t help Actionscript developers get on the iphone (scale Apple’s wall from the outside), but it will help those on the inside scale the walls. Plus, as a bonus, Adobe might sell some copies of Flash Professional or Flash Builder…whichever one they decide to use. Great idea.


  7. For those app developers that don’t know Objective-C and Cocoa Touch and don’t want to outsource development, check out localbeacon (an iphone app builder) at Full integration of Twitter and Facebook, multiple ways to add content into system, off-line access, robust infrastructure including a CDN for all rich content, ability to merge in audio/video and photo galleries, and push notifications. Great for those who want to build just one app or developers interested in white label.

    Here’s an example of one of our apps – L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival at

    We would like the chance to earn your business.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: