So, adobe were at the Devoxx 2009 conference presenting a number of their new tools and giving an brief overview of future releases. A number of interesting things came out of the talk, some of which I was aware of, others of which I was not.
So starting off at the more general sort of stuff. It is widely assumed that Flash is not accessible, but in reality this statement could not be further from the truth! Flash Player 10 is installed on 93.5% of internet connected PCs according to Christophe Coenraets & Serge Jespers from Adobe. Flash gives the same sort of benefits attained through the use of Java when developing applications since it is cross platform and cross browser compatible. The fact that it is available in almost every internet connected computer in the planet is great!
Flash Player 10.1
One of Adobe’s greatest problems of late has been the availability of Flash on smart phones such as the Blackberry. To solve this problem, Adobe are releasing FlashPlayer 10.1 very shortly. This new version of Flash Player will offer numerous additional features including:
- Multitouch, accelerometer, screen orientation
- Peer assisted networking
- Optimised for memory, power & hardware acceleration
- HTTP video streaming
- Content Protection
The most important feature here is performance, since this was what was making it difficult to put flash onto smartphones: it simply required too much CPU time for animations. Many enhancements such as frame dropping have made performance much better than before, and intensive usage of Flash apps on your smartphone would on average result in a battery life of 3.5 hours…seems crap but this is fairly comparable with playing a native iPhone game for the same period of time.
Flash on the iPhone?
Now, getting on to the iPhone. You may have noticed that I didn’t give the iPhone as an example of a smart phone (alongside Blackberry that is). This is because the new version of Flash Player 10.1 will not be supported by the iPhone, so you won’t be able to view Flash applications in Safari. However, for Flash developers, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Flash Professional CS5 will allow developers to create a flash application and use a converter to convert it into a native iPhone application.
Rapid prototyping, providing you can use Photoshop and/or Illustrator
One of the coolest things I’ve seen so far at this conference is Adobe’s Flash Catalyst. This tool allows you to do a mockup of your application’s user interface using Adobe’s Photoshop & Illustrator products, and then import of the respective file types (PSD & AI respectively) into the Flex Catalyst application to create an actual tangible application. Pixels into code was the phrase coined to describe this process, and I was extremely impressed. So impressed in fact that I will demonstrate this application in a few weeks time (date will be announced shortly) at an Interfaces presentation! The product is still in beta stage and does have some bugs, but this is certainly one of the most exciting products I’ve seen!