Grant Skinner is the developer of Spelling Plus Library, a spell checking engine for Flex, Flash and AIR. He is displeased that Adobe has now released Squiggly on Adobe Labs – a free component that does the same kind of thing. Skinner refers to the general lack of commercial Flash components:
One of the things that the Flash world really lacks is a strong commercial component marketplace. We have a thriving OSS culture, which is awesome, but while it is very prolific it rarely creates highly reliable, documented, and well-supported libraries. It’s a weakness of the platform, especially when you look at the hundreds or thousands of enterprise class commercial components available for languages like Java or C#.
It is an interesting point. I have always found it intriguing that the commercial component market is so much dominated by Microsoft, thanks perhaps to its early success with VBX and then ActiveX controls for Visual Basic. Despite the maturity of Flash and its popularity among developers, I can more easily name companies with commercial Silverlight components than Flash equivalents – companies like Devexpress, Infragistics, ComponentOne, and Telerik.
Skinner is therefore upset that Adobe has picked a spell checker for its free offering:
When Adobe spends a large amount of resources building a spelling component that directly competes with one of the few successful commercial components in the Flash world, it frustrates me.
though I imagine the impact on his sales is a large factor in his reaction.
The truth is that component vendors always have to play this game of trying to stay ahead of what developers can get for free, either from open source or from what is bundled into the core SDK.
Note that Intel’s just-announced AppDeveloper program for Atom netbooks includes a component marketplace for AIR. I am not sure how significant it will be, but it is another outlet for Flash component vendors.