Today is a pretty big day for Adobe developers. We’re officially announcing Flash Player 11, AIR 3, and Flex 4.6 and Flash Builder 4.6. The bits will be available in early October, but we’re announcing things today to help provide developers with information on what’s coming. I’ve been at Adobe for 4 years now and it’s been a very interesting 4 years as the landscape has evolved. It’s definitely been an up and down ride for Adobe developers, but the world has never been a better place for interactive developers, and these set of releases provide a ton of functionality aimed at helping Adobe developers create content in the most cutting edge places.
We’ve been doing a lot of work to help enable console-esque games on top of the Flash Platform. Flash Player 11 includes Stage3D, which is going to open up a whole new world for game developers. Zombie Tycoon and Tanki are initial examples of what can be done and I can’t wait to see what comes of it. I’m reminded very much of the early days of Flash where a bunch of creative people were given a technology that was pretty open-ended and poked and prodded to create a bunch of very cool things. I think we’ll see that kind of revolution with Stage3D because of the ubiquity of Flash and the creativity of our developer community. Also in the gaming bucket is a framework we’re working on called Starling, which leverages Stage3D to create a super-fast way of doing parts of 2D games. It’s a great merger between the underlying technology/performance benefits of Stage3D and the kinds of things people want to do in 2D games. I think it’s also going to see some traction beyond games as agencies start to use it to enhance 2D content.
Flex and AIR have really found a great place in mobile applications. The performance enhancements in 2.7 made building native-experiences with AIR possible and we’ve seen some great examples of that in action including Machinarium and Caltrain Times. I’ve been impressed with performance on my 100 Days of Exercise application on iOS. I’m incredibly, incredibly excited by what this means for Flash. There’s a definite need to create mobile apps that can be deployed to multiple application stores. The Flash Platform provides a way to create great looking, high-design applications with near-native performance that can run on multiple devices. That’s a big deal.
And this release of AIR 3 goes where we haven’t gone before on the Flash Platform with native extensions. Now if there are features that aren’t included in AIR, like access to a credit card reader, you can build those extensions in native code and then link them to your AIR applications and leverage those libraries. It’s a great mix of native for specific use cases and AIR/Flash for fantastic user interfaces. It’s a big, big, big deal to be able to extend the platform and it’s a huge step.
I also think we have one of the best mobile-tool chains out there. Flash Builder 4.6 is going to help with creating those native extensions while also enabling the use of captive runtime in AIR so your applications don’t need to rely on the external AIR runtime on Android. Combine that with the enhancements that are coming in Flex 4.6 and it adds up to a world class mobile development platform that lets you reach more devices that matter. Flex 4.6 is especially exciting because of the new components that have been added. Flex and AIR are far and away the best toolset for interactive developers or any mobile developer who needs to create content for multiple devices. The apps you can build with Flex and AIR are going to stand out from the boring, standard apps that have started to litter app stores. Creativity will win the day and creativity is at the core of Flex/AIR.
So this is a huge release, and I’m excited. But I’m also excited about the future of Adobe and how we are responding and will continue to respond to the evolving marketplace. As Danny Winokur, VP and GM of the Flash Platform, said recently:
“We’re not so concerned about what the right technology is for that as long as we’ll be able to deliver those experiences. We’re working with Microsoft and other members of the HTML community including Google, Apple, and others to enable rich experiences on HTML5.”
This is not a technology war. Adobe is about enabling developers to build the best possible experiences with the technology they want. We want to build tools and services that cater to that ethos. That takes the form of cutting-edge gaming features like Stage3D and world-class mobile app features with Flex, AIR and Flash Builder. But HTML5 is exciting for a lot of reasons, and Adobe will help developers there as well. If you’re an interactive developer, the future is very, very bright for you.
So you better get a good pair of sunglasses.Tweet