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Decentralise

John Dowdell (who seemingly never misses a Macromedia mention in any weblog, however small) (update: no kidding) has been collecting feedback, resulting in a Macromedia wishlist.

I again noticed the grumble that Central, their platform for distributing applications to users, should have been better integrated into the desktop, as seen in Dashboard and Konfabulator (mentioned previously). Central hasn’t inspired any developers I know, in fact I haven’t heard about anyone installing it, it seems like it’s going nowhere (or got there already).

CentralIn the interest of fair play, I grudgingly installed Central and had a quick go. An application browser/launcher with integrated purchasing must have seemed like a good idea, but it lacks the ‘wow’ factor, doesn’t convey a clear purpose, and currently has a measly 23 items listed in App Finder.

Here’s a suggestion for Macromedia for making Central a success: scrap it. Start talking to Apple and Pixoria about ensuring Flash becomes a key technology in Dashboard (which will support it) and Konfabulator (which currently doesn’t). They’ve already got guaranteed audiences and interested developers, and possibly more reasons to welcome such an approach than fear it. Produce an App Finder widget for browsing free and paid-for Flash widgets/content. Have the humility to acknowledge failure, move on, and focus on helping developers to produce things that will actually get used.

Or am I mistaken and Central is in fact a strong product with a promising future ahead?


Comments

Your thoughts here are interesting. My opinion is that Central is still ahead of its time, the need is not clearly there yet but it will be. I just hope Macromedia hangs in there with Central.

Mike Brunt, 11th Jan, 12:21am

Central has some brilliant features but while Central apps are bound within it's own small world it is of no use to me. Let Central create stand-alone apps that have their own desktop shortcuts and own window and I can find lots of use for it.

Meanwhile I'll stick with MDM Studio Pro which does create stand alone apps and will use the windows (and possibly mac) hardware to accelerate the graphics.

— Peter Wilson, 11th Jan, 7:40pm

Central is much more than a platform for desktop toys and widgets. Ok, many of the 23 first-wave applications don't impress me much either. But if the potential of Central hasn't inspired any of your developer friends - I'd suggest that they're lacking in imagination.

As for guaranteed audiences, the potential marketing clout of the AOL/AIM/Macromedia/Yahoo alliance looks pretty persuasive to me.

Daniel Freeman, 25th Jan, 1:39pm

I do think the Central concept has potential (as demonstrated by your own apps: http://e2easy.com/Central/home.html ), I just can't see it succeeding in its current form (and where's all that marketing clout been over the past year?).

It needs to be slicker, feature several must-have apps, and be clearly promoted to consumers. One possible way to do that would be to broaden the platform to run within other products (another might be to offer it as a Macromedia-hosted 'Flash desktop', which would at least offer the portability benefits of web apps).

Matt Round, 25th Jan, 6:45pm

I've no doubt that Central 2.0 will be a different animal from Central 1.5, and I'm very excited about expected capabilities of the next flash player.

The opportunity that Macromedia has offered to developers is astonishing. But even more astonishing is that developers haven't seized it. So we remain in this stale chicken-and-egg limbo where Macromedia would want more applications to be able to launch Central to the public, and developers want to see tangible returns on their development investment.

Tangible. That's what's been missing. Macromedia haven't been definite enough about Central. I want to see a road-map. I want to know how and when it will be rolled-out. Instead, Macromedia seem content with developer releases, while sitting back to see what happens. It's as if they don't know how to move forward.

It's time for them to get pro-active about Central. It's also time that they played the ace up their sleeve. People have been using flash for years, and there's a wealth of stuff that's already been written. It just needs to be ported over to Central.

Macromedia's first mistake was to launch Central to the developers with too much emphasis on Central Interface components, and too much emphasis on how to write NEW applications using them. The emphasis should have been on porting existing flash programs to Central. You only need to know a handful of techniques to do this - but that's not common knowledge. It should be.

Macromedia need to say "We are going to launch Central to the public on this specific date. We can guarantee that it will be seen by an awesome number of internet users. If you want your internet service to get this kind of airing, you should port it to Central. Here are some simple instructions telling you how."

Macromedia, what are you waiting for?

Daniel Freeman, 26th Jan, 8:39pm


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