As you might know, Aviary officially changed directions in September 2011 to focus more on helping developers of photo apps. We currently power the photo-editing of third party apps on mobile and web through Aviary’s simple plugin for iOS, Android, Windows Phone 7 and HTML5. Over the past 10 months since turning down this path, we’ve grown to 11 million active users, editing more than 150 million photos in Aviary, each month. And our tremendous growth under this new direction is showing no signs of slowing down. Even our developer showcase app “Photo Editor by Aviary” has been a smash hit, shooting up to #2 in iOS’s Photos category and breaking into the Top 25 free apps in the App Store (with a 5-star average rating).
This incredible adoption has proven to us that we are currently on the right path on our mission of democratizing creativity – making it possible for anyone, no matter what their talent or skill levels, to express themselves creatively. And it’s also clear that we need to continue to focus on this path and dedicate our development resources accordingly.
Since rebuilding our team late last year around this mission, we have effectively left the advanced suite of multimedia Flash editors for artists untouched, except for time spent fixing bugs (and with each new update to the Flash platform, there continues to be new ones introduced). With Flash’s general decline as a platform over the last few years, it is becoming more and more of a time sink for our team to fix and support these issues.
We therefore have made the difficult decision to retire the advanced suite of multimedia Flash editors for artists (located at advanced.aviary.com) on September 15th, 2012. Between now and this time period, you are encouraged to download (and/or export) any files currently residing on the system as they may not be available after that time.
We will unfortunately no longer be able to offer additional support for this suite between now and then, though you are welcome to continue to use it without support until it officially closes.
This is obviously a very difficult and sad announcement for us to make – much love, sweat, passion, investment and energy went into building our advanced suite of multimedia Flash editors. But our team, board and investors all recognize that continuing to support and develop a suite of legacy products on a platform that is declining would be a tremendous waste of resources, in addition to being too big a distraction to the success of our current focus.
To answer the obvious question: Will we rebuild the advanced multimedia suite for artists in HTML5 (or natively on mobile)? We have no plans at this time to do so. We feel that we’re currently on the right path to success and it would be too distracting to have to completely rebuild products from scratch that are off that path, at this time.
We have no recommendations for other editors you could use as alternative to our advanced suite of multimedia flash editors for artists right now, but will try to compile some closer to September when we send out a reminder notice. We do recommend that if you are a member of the artist community at advanced.aviary.com, you join the awesome community of artists at Worth1000.com.
To those of you inconvenienced by this announcement, I am truly sorry. I hope you understand why this is necessary and will continue to support the company on its current path.
CEO / Aviary
EDIT ADDED JULY 25th, 2012:
A number of commenters have asked why this change was necessary (i.e. why can’t we just leave the apps running unsupported?). I should have communicated that better in this announcement and apologize.
There are a number of reasons, which I’ll illustrate here, but first, please realize that this announcement represented a last resort for us. If there was anything that logistically made sense we would not have made the decision to close the suite.
So why aren’t we just leaving it running unsupported? There are a number of reasons, all important:
1) Lack of time / resources. Any time spent fixing bugs (or hiring staff to fix bugs), is time spent away from our new direction. The amount of work the suite requires to maintain is too big to sustain with incremental maintenance. Flash is constantly releasing new versions of their player. Browsers are constantly releasing new versions as well. Each change represents a potential introduction of bugs. If we would leave the suite running, but unsupported, it would quickly turn into a suite of broken junk. Not only would I not want that outcome for something we all worked so hard on, it would reflect badly on the company’s ability to create great software – which is crucial under our current direction.
2) It’s really expensive and we will not recoup those costs. The suite alone costs us several thousand dollars a month in hosting fees. Any time spent continuing to maintain the suite still costs us a lot of money. There is no way to recoup those costs and building in some kind of new business model to do so at this stage would be a tremendous (and probably futile) distraction. Investors in our newest round provided us with capital to focus on our new direction and we need to use those funds to maximize our traction under the new direction.
3) Flash is declining. Even if we would spent the money to continue to host AND maintain it, we would be supporting a platform that would potentially disappear in the near future, instead of building on platforms that will be around for a while (native mobile and HTML5). Sorry, but even if we were continuing on our old path, we would have eventually made the decision to retire our flash apps in favor of new HTML5 or mobile apps written on a platform that we knew would be around for a while.
There are other additional reasons too, but those listed are probably the most important. I hope that helps explain the situation a bit better.