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Sneak Peek at Adobe MAX Announcements

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Sneak Peek at Adobe MAX Announcements

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DZone got an early preview of the announcements being made at this year's Adobe MAX conference, which starts today, from Dave Gruber, a Product Marketing Manager at Adobe.  The theme for this year's MAX conference is undoubtedly Mobile.  Software such as LifeCycle, Adobe Acrobat, and ConnectPro will all be getting new features related to mobile devices.  Developer tools like AIR and Flash Builder along with the Flex Framework are getting new mobile capabilities as well.  HTML5 features are another common thread in the announcements today, especially in CS5 which recently added new capabilities for Illustrator and Dreamweaver.  This  post will focus on developer topics.  Let's take a look at each of the specific announcements by category:

AIR 2.5

The next version of Adobe's Integrated Runtime will be released during this week's MAX conference.  AIR 2.5 will include the entire Flash Player 10.1 feature set and be gaining support on multiple smartphone platforms.  AIR 2.0 was more of a first-step towards mobile compatibility for nativized Flex/Flash apps.  2.0 is already supported on Android, but 2.5 will gain much wider support across mobile platforms.  AIR 2.5 will include support for BlackBerry's tablet OS, Android, and Apple iOS.

Dave Gruber says that AIR 2.5 will be the version that Adobe pushes for comprehensive mobile support.  AIR 2.5 will also have support for apps on the new set top boxes including Google TV, Apple TV, and Samsung's upcoming Smart TV.  These devices, and upcoming smartphones will ship with AIR 2.5 pre-installed.

Here are some major enhancements for mobile coming in 2.5:

  • Multi-touch and Gesture support
  • Geolocation support
  • Copy/cut/paste
  • Camera and Microphone support
  • Device debugger
  • StageWebView
  • tel:, malt:, maps:, and video:
  • cacheAsBitmapMatrix


Flash CS5

Although it was Flash's app bundler for the iPhone that got the most attention because it was blocked and then unblocked, Adobe hasn't forgotten about making app packaging easier for other platforms as well.  Flash Professional CS5 has also gotten an AIR for Android extension and is adding packagers, like the one for iPhone, for more smartphone platforms like Android and Blackberry.

Flash Player 10.1

Gruber expects Flash Player 10.1 downloads in the Android Market to hit 2 million this week, silencing critics who said the technology could never be highly performant on mobile devices.  The plugin was also rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by over 50k users.  Adobe has gotten many smartphone vendors such as HTC and Motorola to start shipping their current and upcoming devices (including tablets) with Flash 10.1 pre-installed.  10.1 will also be shipped with Google TV.

In-Market

Adobe has announced a new method for getting apps out to the multitude of app stores that have emerged over the years.  By putting apps in Adobe's new In-Market, developers will automatically have their apps distributed to every app store that participates in Adobe's In-Market program.  Adobe will be adding more stores to the program in the coming months, but currently Adobe already has Intel's App Up store as a participant.  

Flex

A new version of Flex 4.x is being released with new mobile-ready UI components and support for mobile UI patterns and screen transitions.  Some performance improvements have been made so that Flex apps can compile and run in an optimized state on mobile platforms.

The Spark architecture in Flex 4.x is also getting four new spark components that were requested most by users.

Flash Builder

T he Flash Builder tool is being brought up to speed to support these changes to the Flex 4 Framework.  Development will be easier in the next release of Flash Builder because of "code templates" which includes a library of best practices.  Developers will also be able to create custom templates to share across their teams.  New debugging and preview capabilities have also been added to run applications through a mobile platform's emulator or a connected mobile device, so developers can put their apps through an even more intense testing cycle before delivering their finished product.  

The delivery will also be a lot easier because Flash Builder is adding app packages for various app stores.  Flash Builder will also make it simple to share application code libraries and backend logic with desktop, mobile, and TV.  

Lastly, the designer-developer workflow between Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder has been upgraded to support bi-directional workflow.  This means that Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst can send designs and UI logic back and forth for prototyping and revisions.  A project can also start in Flash Builder with UI logic and then go to Catalyst for skinning.

Adobe is releasing preview releases for the Flex framework update and the new version of Flash Builder.

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