I went over to the Barbican to have a chat about what the major aspects of Adobe Max were; a quick update. I wasn’t sure in the end whether to go, but I’m glad that I did. It gave me a reason to have another look at the Flash Builder update that has just arrived. I have been pushing more Flash free web interfaces since having the iPad and using it to develop interfaces with. It just seems so much cleaner than all that code and project set up in Eclipse, but I was also feeling guilty. I had slipped away from the testing and structure that the Eclipse environment gives and slipped into using the odd bit of notebook or textWrangler to update some of the files. I really need to get back to moving to a path of unit testing and one button deployment with rollback.
Mike Jones stared the ball rolling. He has joined Adobe as an evangelist, but I would hope that he keeps his worldly wise sense of humour and practical advice. He’s certainly easy to listen to. He went straight to the message that Adobe seem to be pushing at the moment, there is no clash between flash and html5. The even had a muppet type video showing the characters and the reasons that everything is still cool, despite not being on the iPad yet, and despite being dropped by the installs of several major devices. Flash is in a tough position and Microsoft are certainly trying to take advantage by pushing html5, even to the extent that they would prefer Flash to lose, rather than Silverlight win. It’s an interesting dilemma for all. Flash will change to become more efficient and to use less background power, but also Adobe are transitioning their tools quickly to the HTML5 camp.
They show a video from Mark Anders about another new tool, Adobe Edge (not the Adobe newsletter) that will bring the designer the ability to make CSS animations easily, create multiple timelines and fire them from html. It was a brief look, but very interesting. I must find out when the beta is due. It will be interesting to watch the development of Microsoft Expression, Edge and how Flash Catalyst will evolve. Flash Platform services will be more centre stage. It handles video and Flash content now but will become more important in the html and ajax future.
Adobe are certainly pushing toward the other mobile platforms. Android is the first and the Droid comes with Flash 10.1 loaded. This version of Flash gives access to all the smartphone facilities, multi touch, gestures, text input, accelerometer, etc 10.2 will bring the GPU video access to bring better quality viewing. Adobe Air may be central to having all these facilities and the Flash Builder tools will be the easiest way for developers to access them. It’s a development environment that they are familiar with. We can now just select New…Flex Mobile Project, add a few buttons and run in seconds in one of more than ten Android emulators. Again, this beta, Burrito, is on the labs site.
Flash Catalyst is now a round trip tool. Lots of people seem to have tried the previous version, but relatively few were still using it. The latest beta, Pannini (!) is on the labs for download.Maybe this latest release will be more productive.
Rob Bateman was there showing a video of real time output from their latest Away3D release. Looked great. A thousand times more polygons may be rendered with the same CPU load as they move more to the GPU routines. The demo looked a little monochromatic for me, but it showed pixel shaders etc so when it gets used by some production team there will be some cool graphics from this. After looking at Unity, I still think that Away3D is more of a programmers’ tool. It needs a GUI. Unity and maybe Alternativa will be up there with the GPU facilities and there workflow is so much easier. I moved to Away3D for leading edge features such as normal maps, at the time, so I hope it finds it’s own niche.