Flash

Farewell to the Edge…

Adobe Edge Preview

Adobe announced today that it was ending their Edge Tools and Services experiment. I use the term experiment, as these products were built as part of a transition period for Adobe, shifting away from the Flash Platform toward a web platform stack. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the early development of many of these tools (as an Adobe Community Professional), but their usefulness as stand-alone elements was always troublesome.

For example, there was never a simple workflow to take your Edge Reflow work into a larger web project. Nor was it easy to fully interact with Edge Inspect from your system and devices.

But these experiments did lead to some tangible enhancements in Adobe’s main product lines. The responsive media query tool in Dreamweaver CC is a direct result of the groundwork laid by Reflow. The device preview features in PhotoShop and Illustrator are based in part on Edge Inspect.

But the mother of the Edge Tools and Services was Edge Animate (for those who remember, it was just Edge at first). EA was a interesting tool, focusing on animating the DOM rather than just painting to the HTML canvas. The timeline explored new ideas for animation control. Part of its appeal was that it was not Flash, which carried a dreaded (and partially unwarranted) stigma for many. But like all technologies, the web and its tools evolve. Although you could create some incredibly rich and interactive animations, EA never seemed to fit in. That Flash Professional app kept evolving as well, supporting more formats as publishing options (Canvas, WebGL, OAM). Take a look at last year’s Adobe MAX conference, and you can see that Flash’s animation roots were still strong and growing (judging by the number of sessions).

I have given several web animation talks, and could never quite explain how both tools fit under the Adobe umbrella. With today’s announcement, I will no longer be faced with that issue. Edge Animate’s development has been ended. It is still available as part of your CC subscription (heck, Fireworks is still there!), so you can continue to use it on your projects. However, as the web evolves with new browsers, standards, and libraries, EA will not be updated.

In its place, we can turn to Animate, the renamed Flash Professional. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Flash has really returned to its roots as a first class animation tool and is now reborn.

Now, designers can use a tool that they are all probably comfortable with, without worrying about backlash from managers or clients who didn’t understand that the tool was more than just a SWF creator.

I am looking forward to exploring Flash’s Animate’s new future as part of my design toolkit. To all those at Adobe who worked on these products, thanks for the efforts and experiments.

 

Making Things Move!

ocmma-logo

On Tuesday, April 21st, I will be leading a hands on session on animating with CSS for the Orange County Multimedia Association. Although our phones and tablets may not be able to run Adobe Flash-based animations, the mobile web is far from static! This presentation is going to explore the use of CSS-based animations as a way to bring motion back into your web design.

We are going to explore using CSS to bring your web-based projects to life. I am also going to demonstrate some additional solutions that you can explore to help bring the web to life!

Details here: http://www.ocmma.org/

The Future of Flash…

FlashAppIconWith the release of Flash Professional CC 2014, the program has in many ways returned to its roots as a premiere animation and asset development tool. Let me take you back many years ago, the web was just text and mostly static images. But designers wanted to create a more expressive experience, from this Flash (then FutureSplash) was born.

For a long time, Flash served as the main solution to overcome the short comings of the web and the user experiences that so many of us wanted to create. Now the web platform has finally matured to the point where we can now create these experiences without Flash acting as a bridge for our visions. There is no doubt that the rich engaging things will use and build would not be possible without the content created by Flash.

But what about today? Most of the mobile devices sitting on my desk do not run Flash content in their browsers. But I still want to create engaging web content  that works on my mobile devices, as well as my desktop.

Some of the improvements for this release of Flash Professional CC 2014 is the abilities to publish your animation content into a variety of formats that are very mobile and standards friendly.

So now if I want to take my animation that I developed with all of the incredible animation tools with Flash Pro to play as a canvas based animation, it is not a problem. I can leverage the createjs framework (written by the incredible team a gskinner.com). If want to just use Flash to create a sprite sheet for use in another animation framework, I can just as easily publish that as well.

FlashWebGL

Last but not least, if I want to have my animation leverage the power of WebGL, the latest release has an experimental version of publishing to that format as well.

If you are looking for a tool to help you animate something for web, I would take a fresh look at Flash. There are some great tutorial on these new features on the revised adobe.com site.

AIR app installs cross a billion

Screen-Shot-2014-04-30-at-12.35.29-PM-1024x307

The AIR/Flash Player team announced that there have been over 1 BILLION installs of AIR based applications for desktop and mobile. Congrats!

I know that AIR & Flash are not the shiny kids on the tool belt of many developers, but more than once I have returned to this technology to prototype a user interface that would not be possible with web technologies.

You can read the full post here: http://blogs.adobe.com/flashplayer/2014/04/air-app-installs-cross-a-billion.html

Adobe Flash Player 11.5 and AIR 3.5 now available

The AIR SDK can be downloaded at: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/air-sdk-download.html

The Flash Player can be downloaded at: http://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/downloads.html#fp11

For more information on the release, you can read the tech note: http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player/release-note/fp_115_air_35_release_notes.html

If you forgot how to manually update Flash Professional to target a new version of the Flash Player, you can read this blog post. Flash Professional CS6 has AIR SDK management available under the Help menu.

Updating Flash Professional CS6 to support 11.4

One of the improvements to Flash Professional CS6 is the ability to manage AIR SDKs. But unfortunately you still have to manually add support for the latest version of Flash Player. Since a public beta of Flash Player 11.4 was just release, this short article might be useful.

Download Flash Player for Desktops

You can get the Flash Player 11.4 Beta from http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer11-4.html. Download the version for your operating system and install the plug in. Although you will be able to target the new player, you will not be able to test your movie by using the Run Movie command.

Download PlayerGlobal.swc

This is file can also be found on http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer11-4.html. Once this file has downloaded, rename the file to simply playerglobal.swc. Navigate to “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS5.5/Common/Configuration/ActionScript 3.0/” and create a new folder named “FP11.4”. Place the playerglobal.swc in this folder.

Player Folder (before)

Updating Player Profiles

Player profiles are xml files that define the attributes of each Flash Player’s capabilities. They are located in “/Applications/Adobe Flash CS5.5/Common/Configuration/Players/”.

Players xml files (before)

Duplicate the last FlashPlayer11_X.xml file you have, and rename it to FlashPlayer11_4.xml. Open this file in you favorite text editor and make the following three changes:

<player id=”FlashPlayer11.3″ version=”16″ asversion=”3″>
becomes
<player id=”FlashPlayer11.4” version=”17” asversion=”3″>

<name>Flash Player 11.3</name>
becomes
<name>Flash Player 11.4</name>

<playerDefinitionPath as2=”$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP10;$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP9;$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP8;$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP7″ as3=”$(AppConfig)/ActionScript 3.0/FP11.3/playerglobal.swc” />
becomes
<playerDefinitionPath as2=”$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP10;$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP9;$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP8;$(UserConfig)/Classes/FP7″ as3=”$(AppConfig)/ActionScript 3.0/FP11.4/playerglobal.swc” />

Save this file, and launch Flash Professional. You should see FlashPlayer 11.4 as an option in the Publish Setting dialog.

Publish Setting Dialog

Now go build some awesome content with the new features in FlashPlayer 11.4

Note: You test your project in Flash use command + F12 in order to publish to browser (Where you should have the Flash Player 11.4 Beta plugin installed by now).

Managing your AIR SDKs in Flash Professional CS6

One of the new features in Flash Professional CS6, is the integrated management of AIR SDKs. In previous versions of Flash Professional, this was a multi-step process of editing XML files, and managing directories. I have forgotten how many times I missed a simple attribute in an XML file and screwed something up.

Recently I was updating my copy of Flash to use the just released AIR 3.3 SDK. Currently, Flash Professional ships with AIR 3.2 as the target SDK. (I wonder if with the Creative Cloud, would we see a ‘new’ build of Flash Professional that shipped with 3,3?)

The steps to add an additional SDK to Flash Professional are fairly straight forward.

Flash Professional Help Menu

Go to the Help menu, and select Manage AIR SDK…

Note: You will need to have downloaded the AIR SDK previously. This manager does not handle that portion of the process.

Click the + icon in the upper right, and then select the location where you have decompressed the AIR SDK.

And with that, Flash Professional CS6 can now build AIR 3.3 projects. So much easier than before.

But there is a word of caution that needs to be added to this process. After adding the new SDK, I realized that I might want to create a better directory structure to handle possible future versions of Adobe AIR. Here is what my folder initially looked like:

AIR SDK Folder Before

So, I created a directory named 3.3 and moved all the contents into it.

AIR SDK Folder After

I then relaunched Flash, and it crashed with no warnings! I never even saw the splash screen come up. In a bit of a panic, as I was going to be demoing Flash shortly, I copied the AIR SDK back out of the directory I just made, and relaunched Flash. And, you guessed it, no problems. Crisis averted. I went back into the Manage AIR SDK window, deleted the reference to the original 3.3 SDK, then added the version now stored within a better file structure.

I certainly was not expecting such a hard crash do to this issue

Now to file the formal bug report in JIRA…

San Diego CS6 Camp presentations

I had a lot of fun introducing both Adobe Flash Professional CS6 and Adobe Edge (Preview 6) to full classrooms during last weekend’s CS6 Camp. I hope the attendees were able to learn a little bit more about each of the products, and how they fit in today’s ever changing technical landscape.

Here are the slides that used for each session:

San Diego CS6 Camp - Intro to Flash ProfessionalSan Diego CS6 Camp - Intro to Adobe Edge (Preview 6)

Again, thanks to all that attended my session and the entire camp!

Choosing the Right Mobile Development Platform – D2WC

I had a fantastic time in Kansas City last week at the Designer/Developer Workflow Conference. I ran a workshop  on jQuery Mobile and did a short talk on Choosing the Right Mobile Development Platform. I had a room full of great folks both times around!

I’ve just posted my slides from the talk on Speakerdeck. If you have any questions, please feel to ping me.