AS3, AS2, Silverlight, Actionscript in Google Trends for Vector Wars

Here is an interesting look to start the new year at Google Trends for some common keywords to this blog audience. Comparing AS2, AS3, Silverlight and actionscript you can see that there is some pretty interesting things happening.

as3 as2 actionscript silverlight  

First off, AS2 and AS3 are clouded because they are also related to EDI and EDI-INT so they get a bit inflated. Silverlight though is pretty unique in the naming. So from this graph we can see this happening:

  • Silverlight and AS3 are growing rapidly
  • Silverlight is crossing over as3 or meeting it
  • The market looking for Silverlight is about 8-10 times as large as actionscript/as3/as3
  • Silverlight and AS3 are growing, AS2 has no growth left and is an EOL language (end of life)
  • AS2 (even with crossover to EDI trends for “as2″) leveled out, where AS3 is starting to lift to a larger market. This is strongly due to it being a fun language based on ES4 and interests programmers.
  • The as3 effect started right in March-April 2007 (hrm I started this blog in April 2007 coincidenc? j/k :))

Another chart including Flex shows a better picture of the keyword wars between flex and silverlight.

as3 as2 actionscript silverlight flex

So from this graph we can see this happening:

  • Flex has a large buzz
  • Adobe’s marketing efforts are many while silverlight is more unique and focused
  • Flex, as3 and Silverlight are popular, and growing in their support (the growth market for technology is in these areas, not in tech from Flash 8/as2)
  • AS2 still taking a nosedive

Flash and Flex programmers and designers should know that with Silverlight 2.0 release coming and the capabilities of Silverlight 2.0 more competitive, flashers should be working on Flex, Flash9 or at least AS3 if not Flex. The RIA competition market will heat up immensely this year with Silverlight 2.0 and possibly Flex3 and coding and programming for Flash and Flex is becoming more involved. It also has a very strong competitor in Silverlight 2.0 coming that will drive this market.

This is all great news if you are ready for it, if you are still coding actionscript2 (AS2) and paying no mind to Silverlight, Flex or at least actionscript3 (AS3) then you will see your market slowly start to fade as things are ramped up and more of a programming focus in the vector wars. If you are a flash coder and ignoring Silverlight, your solutions will suffer. If you are a silverlight coder or .NET coder and ignoring the Flex and AS3 rise your solutions will suffer. I have been playing in AS3, Flex and Silverlight for over a year on both now and they are an entirely new platform with great programming models. The competition puts focus on this market so it is a great time to be skilled in these areas.

  • Robin Debreuil

    err, “AS2″ is a language, or an abbreviation for one anyway, while “silverlight” is a technology, so that is a really bad comparison. Flex is a little better, but that is a small part of flash work. Try “Flash” and “Silverlight” – that is closer to the true picture.

    I work in both, and Silverlight is so far dead, while Flash isn’t. Of course that may change one day, but not very soon that I can see.

  • John Dowdell

    When searching on single words, it’s good to examine the results. A term like “flex”, for instance, has a couple of meanings. A term like “flash” is even worse.

    Google Trends measures search queries, so it isn’t blown out by newspaper copies, as regular blogsearch now is. But when people search for topics in ActionScript, they may or may not add the term “actionscript” to their query. These trendlines can be tricky.

    “Flash and Flex programmers and designers should know that with Silverlight 2.0 release coming and the capabilities of Silverlight 2.0 more competitive, flashers should be working on Flex, Flash9 or at least AS3 if not Flex. “

    Let them ship it, then let’s see what happens.


  • drawk

    Yes to clear up confusion this is in no way representative of the market or penetration of the current technologies. This is simple a gauge that can create a baseline and relative check on terms or keywords. John is right I did not put “flash” in because it is largely a word that is used on many things. The terms I chose were more unique to the actual technology (but I even mention that as2 has lots of EDI content). What I was trying to illustrate is that the momentum is on as3, silverlight, flex as technologies as far as Google trends can give us a baseline.

    I was also trying to illustrate that the Adobe products and paltforms have many terms that describe them where microsoft only has “silverlight” maybe “DLR” but c# or .net is too broad for the RIA type terms I was looking at.

    IN all I was trying to highlight that the interest and trends are turning towards as3 specifically over as2 (driven by flash9 and flex) and silverlight is growing.

    Microsoft has yet to include many key features of Flash such as sockets, shared objects, lots and lots of toolkits that make a great market and compiled formats that make Flash the leader for some time, but the competition should be good for solution providers at least that are able to make the most of both platforms and understand the pros and cons.

  • drawk

    I also wanted to highlight that as3 and the success is tied to bringing programmers into the technology. AS2 will not be able to compete with Silverlight for long. AS3 is a winner, and a programmer favorite being based on ES4. It shows by the type of toolkits and frameworks that appeared in 2007 from 3d engines, to physics engines, to layout and many other areas of fun. But Microsoft had the outside change with xbox vs playstation and scored, they also had the outside chance at .net vs java and scored, now they take on vector worlds, I am saying they are capable. What I want is a competitive market that gives solution providers and programmers the best tools from either side to make great applications, games and other stuff.

  • Pingback: AS3, AS2, Silverlight et Actionscript dans Google Trends - Formation Flex, exemples, tuto, news et conseils en développement Adobe Flex / AIR

  • flex air

    Flex rocks !!!

  • Robin Debreuil

    while I’m all for AS3, I suspect AS2 google queries have dropped off because people understand it now, while people are still learning the nuances of AS3. I use both a lot, and search with “AS3″ much more – this is also partly because I don’t want AS2 results for AS3 queries. I don’t use AS2 as much, as so much of what is online is AS2 already…

    That being said, I’m sure AS3 will get traction over AS2, as it is just an improved version of it. AS1 will probably remain popular though, as it is easier for designers.

    Silverlight, I have my doubts. The key stats there will be player penetration and of course content, imo.

    Anyway, interesting to look at things in different ways, so thanks for the post : ).

  • frmad

    This post is very hot, it is high ranked at our site (daily weblog, weblog post ranking site). See for more infomation

  • mak w.

    it was surpirising to me that, comparing “adobe flash” and “silverlight”, flash grew more in 2007:

    i was expecting silverlight growth to be more visible, given the amount of paid evangelizers writing about it everywhere.

  • franksz

    Put “adobe flex” in goole trends and you will see…

  • Pingback: AS3, AS2, Flax, Silverlight 的戰爭 « 網上可有好玩新東東?

  • Kevin Cannon

    drawk “AS2 will not be able to compete with Silverlight for long. ”

    Actually, It’s my belief that AS2 will continue to kicks Silverlight’s ass for a long time to come. AS1/AS2 are far more suited to beginners and designers learning the basics of flash and using the timeline.

    Silverlight just can’t compete with how easy it is to learn the basics of Flash, because Silverlight pretty much _requires_ a 2 persons design/dev team to get started. That’s the great benefit of it’s workflow, but also it’s greatest achilles heel.

    Unfortunately, Adobe have now copied that approach with AS3 which is clearly aimed at developers, and just not suited to small-mid sized websites, CD-ROMs and animations. Let’s hope in their rush to compete with Silverlight and reinvent the web, they don’t forget the people who made Flash the success it is.

  • drawk

    Hey Kevin,

    I understand you angle but mos of what I do here is track the market. Think about this Adobe bought all the AS2 stuff from Macromedia but what they really bought was the future, AS3/Flex/Flash etc. Better programming platforms turn into create creative platforms. What I am saying is if you were Adobe and you have all these new frameworks and tools, do you still want people using AS1/AS2? Are they making any money with that? Don’t you think 90% of their focus is on AS3 and even AS4 now? You have to listen to these things and understand that AS2 had a great run, but AS3 is here and there are lots of great libraries and tools that are helping creatives get into AS3. Opening up flex and flash has only made Flash finally get respected in programmer circles (since actionscript 3 is a real language based off of javascript ES4 – the javascript2 spec). This has already inspired great apps like buzzword, picnik, engines, game platforms etc. I understand holding out, I kept buying tapes well into the CD revolution but eventually you gotta understand the market is moving that way. The only way Adobe can keep flash competitive is to do these things and stay ahead.

    Silverlight 2.0 is launching later this year with Oprah. I am not saying they are going to be successful but it is one more tool that you will have to learn as a solution provider. AS3 should already be your flash scripting language of choice (mainly for company support, adobe makes hardly any money on AS2, how long will it stay up to date and competitive). ALready AS3 virtual machine is 20 times as fast at a minimum. AS2 stuff is going to start looking really old really soon. Especially when competitors are making physics and 3d and cryptography and secure and engines were never even possible in AS2. It is just evolution. I think AS2 development will still be here this year and maybe next but this is the year of AS3.

  • Kevin Cannon

    drawk – Thanks for the response. I do understand why Adobe is treating AS3 the way they do. They’ve got the new VM, the massively increased potential and all the excellent Flex tools.

    You are wrong about 1 thing though. Adobe makes tons of money from AS2. Lots of Flash work is small mid-sized websites, Interactive CD-ROMs, Kiosks etc… and they’re created by designers who add small amounts of AS to move around, scroll and things like that. Flash development is an emerging market, but that audience is a solid market at the moment, and is largely being ignored.

    AS3 is great for developers, but it’s not suitable for beginners and it hasn’t been created with designers in mind. Just try put some code on a button in AS3 vs AS2 or 1. It’s clear where their target market is.

    The way I see it, I have two choices, neither of which appeal to me. #1 Keep using AS1 and 2, but be ignored by Adobe and not get any benefits of new components and features that are AS3-only, or #2 Spend time learning something that’s not aimed at me and doesn’t actually improve the projects I work on.

    Point is, that AS3 isn’t aimed at me and with the exception of the speed boost and AS3 eco-system there’s no benefit on the scale of projects I work on. I’m not a developer and if I’m working on a big enough project, I’ll call in a Flash Developer who’s fluent in AS3, but for all the beginners, the animators and the designers creating small-medium sized flash work, AS3 is too complex for them, and there’s no other path being suggested for them other than to stay in the past. It’s a terrible way to treat a large chunk of your business.

  • drawk

    Hey Kevin,

    I hear you. I have lots of flash designer friends that are not too happy with AS3 but it is only because they are overestimating AS3 and Flex etc as it is different syntax but it is actually providing you more power to create. Take for instance a banner even that plays video, or a game that has enemies, in AS2 you will be able to have that much more extra processing for graphics and transitions etc.

    The language itself when coming from just AS1/AS2 looks daunting (programmers see it as a small leap down from C#,Python etc). So it is a bigger change for creatives for sure. The thing you have to remember is that programmers in your space will make tools that help you. For instance check out Tweener in AS3. It is almost the same as in AS2 (except property differences like _x to x or _alpha to alpha and instead of 1-100 it is 0-1 etc). I got some creatives using Tweener, Fuse (back in teh day with AS2), Tweenlite, etc. These are really low bar entry tools that wrap all the complexity of tweening and transitioning. Try those out. Just start nibbling on the tools that have emerged in the while since AS3 was released, many of them have designers in mind.

    Adobe has let the community thrive and what will happen is you will be using tools that you dont’ have to wait for Adobe for but from programmers in the flash community.

    Also, Adobe is not making much money from AS2. Flash was added to the CS3 package and that is their future (updated guis, cs3 frameworks). Selling a bunch of Flash 8 copies might work for a while but they are making money primarily off the new tech. Remember Flash 8 was actually released under Macromedia.

    Also, remember this, no company, community or individual owes any other individual anything. It is a skills based/service based world and not a loyalty world. I think if you really just read through the docs and started small (like implementing a Tweener tween or the like) you would be quickly over the hurdle of what seems to be a monstrous wall.

    Keep this in mind as well. There are a million ways to code in actionscript (some quite frightening to a programmer) but you just do what works. You can still even put your code right in the FLA if you want. You dont’ have to use document classes or external classes to start even. If you are content with doing small banners and animations you can still do those in the FLA. Before you know it you will be off to the races and other people will be looking to you for AS3 help. But you are not alone, almost all my designer friends are fearful of AS3 but you can’t fight progress.

    One other market element you might want to consider. Making banners and small scripts in AS2 even AS3 is not that specialized of a skill. The more power you can wield the higher you will be paid. Noone fears a competitor that is better at marketing, they can reproduce because they can see it, but they fear one that is better at technology, because it is the unknown and a new plane of advancement. Your marketing is more powerful when it is hooked to technology. Adobe is just making the move they will need to to compete in end of ’08-’09. They do hope you come along.

  • Gats

    The only trend this represents is Microsofts exhorbetant expendiature on partnerships and press releases to push their product to market. This news is often business related as well.

    I’m a Microsoft developer and swear by it for backend, but I’m keeping an eye on Silverlight in the “news”, but only ever use flash for interactive content. I have never seen frontpage news that says “German boy solves problem loading remote image into movie” which is what flash devs usually search for (.

    I also did a bit of digging on the peaks on this graph and searches for news are related to AS3 the company rather than the tech.

    Perhaps a more interesting trend is looking at the Adobe, Microsoft graph… shows a slow, but slightly different trend over the last couple of years…. maybe I should go back to dreamweaver :)

  • drawk

    Yeh Gats,

    Like mentioned above these can only really be relative measurements. There is also an AS3 EDIINT standard that is FTP based. The point it to capture a relative view and see if it trends based on the release of as3 or silverlight. Both were affected but how much higher one is than that other is not really apples to apples.

  • Gats


    I can back you up on the apprehension about AS3 in your earlier comment. It might take a little getting used to, but it is definitely going to speed users up in the long run.

    You can also put your friends mind at ease as it is based on the ECMA standard which ain’t gonna change anytime soon. I had a flash dev friend say “Why would I bother when AS4 is coming out?” and the reality is that AS4 will not change the code style, but will instead add libraries and make it a little closer to the ECMA standard when it’s complete. That’s great news for everybody.

    To quote Colin Moock at a seminar yesterday: “AS3 is here to stay for 5/10 years. By removing all the quirks and following a standard, it is good news for everybody. Adobe have finally got it right”.

  • dhiraj

    I am devloping silverlight Mind-Map control.
    Please vist my blog for more details.