AIR 3.2 and Flash Player 11.2 release candidates are now available for download on Adobe Labs. These latest versions have some exciting new features, including Stage3D for mobile devices, broader Stage3D support on desktop machines, multi-threaded video decoding, and better mouse support for gaming scenarios. Get ready for some incredible mobile and desktop experiences powered by Adobe Flash & AIR.
You can read more about what’s new in Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2 on the Adobe Digital Media blog, or check out the videos below to see some of the new features in action.
To complement the white paper released last week covering the future of Flex and the transition to Apache, Adobe has released a white paper covering the the roadmap for the Flash and AIR runtimes. Flash is very much alive and well, and is continuing to evolve to be able to bring uncompromising rich experiences to the web, desktop, and mobile devices. You can read the white paper online at:
Here is an excerpt; be sure to read the entire white paper for a clear outline of the future of Flash runtimes. The future is going to be awesome.
For the past decade, Flash Player and, more recently, Adobe AIR have played a vital role on the web by providing consistent platforms for deploying rich, expressive content across browsers, desktops, and devices. Beginning as a platform for enabling animation, the Flash runtimes have evolved into a complete multimedia platform, enabling experiences that were otherwise not possible or feasible on the web.
Looking forward, Adobe believes that Flash is particularly suited for addressing the gaming and premium video markets, and will focus its development efforts in those areas. At the same time, Adobe will make architectural and language changes to the runtimes in order to ensure that the Flash runtimes are well placed to enable the richest experiences on the web and across mobile devices for another decade.
Back in the summer, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some early builds of Stage3D for mobile. I built some simple examples, including basic geometric shapes and simple 3D bubble charts inside of mobile Flex/AIR applications. I have been asked numerous times for the source code, and I’ve finally given in, and am sharing some source code.
I am not posting the full mobile application source code, since Stage3D for mobile is not yet available. However, I have ported the 3D bubble chart example to run in a Flex application targeting the desktop (Flash Player 11). The bubble chart example extends the concepts explored in the basic geometric shapes example.
Before you say “shoot, he didn’t give us the mobile code”, let me explain… When I ported the code from the mobile project to the desktop Flex project, all I changed was code specific to the mobile Flex framework. I changed <s:ViewNavigatorapplication> to <s:Application> and the corresponding architecture changes that were required, and I changed the list item renderers to Spark item renderers based on <s:Group> instead of mobile item renderers. In the mobile item renderers, all my drawing logic was done using the ActionScript drawing API. For simplicity in the port, I just used <s:Rect> to add the colored regions in the desktop variant.
That is all I changed!
The stage3D code between the desktop and mobile implementations is identical. You can see the desktop port in action in the video below:
The source code was intended to be exploratory at best… I was simply experimenting with hardware accelerated content, and how it can be used within your applications. There is one big “gotcha” that you will have to watch out for if you want Stage3D content within a Flex application… Stage3D content shows up behind Flex content on the display list. By default, Flex apps have a background color, and they will hide the Stage3D content. If you want to display any Stage3D content within a Flex application (regardless of web, desktop AIR, or mobile), you must set the background alpha of the Flex application to zero (0). Otherwise you will pull out some hair trying to figure out why it doesn’t show up.
The source code for the web/Flex port of this example is available at:
Here are a few excerpts from the official statement:
Adobe Flash Player on desktop Adobe reaffirmed its commitment to the Adobe Flash Player in desktop browsers, and its role of enabling functionality on the web that is not otherwise possible. Flash Player 11 for PC browsers just introduced dozens of new features, including hardware accelerated 3D graphics for console-quality gaming and premium HD video with content protection.
Adobe AIR for mobile Adobe reaffirmed its commitment to Adobe AIR for mobile devices, which allows developers and designers to create standalone applications using Adobe Flash technologies that can be deployed across mobile operating systems, including Apple iOS, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS.
Adobe AIR for desktop Adobe reconfirmed its commitment for its continued support for Adobe AIR applications running on the desktop. Adobe is actively working on the next version of Adobe AIR for the desktop.
Adobe Flex Adobe announced its intention to contribute the Adobe Flex SDK open source project to the Apache Software Foundation for future governance.
Last week Adobe announced information about the company’s evolution and future plans of Flex. It was also announced that Adobe Flex would be contributed to an open source software foundation. The result of which, was mass speculation, fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Rest assured, Flash is not dead, nor is Flex.
Yes. Flash Builder will continue to be developed and Adobe will work to ensure Flex developers can use Flash Builder as their development tool with future releases of Flex SDK.
Will Adobe continue to support customers using Flex?
Yes. Adobe will continue to honor existing Flex support contracts.
What specifically is Adobe proposing?
We are preparing two proposals for incubating Flex SDK and BlazeDS at the Apache Software Foundation.
In addition to contributing the core Flex SDK (including automation and advanced data visualization components), Adobe also plans to donate the following:
Complete, but yet-to-be-released, Spark components, including ViewStack, Accordion, DateField, DateChooser and an enhanced DataGrid.
BlazeDS, the server-based Java remoting and web messaging technology that enables developers to easily connect to back-end distributed data and push data in real-time to Flex applications.
Falcon, the next-generation MXML and ActionScript compiler that is currently under development (this will be contributed when complete in 2012)
Flex testing tools, as used previously by Adobe, so as to ensure successful continued development of Flex with high quality
Isn’t Adobe just abandoning Flex SDK and putting it out to Apache to die?
Absolutely not – we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with Flex and know that it will continue to provide significant value for many years to come. We expect active and on-going contributions from the Apache community. To be clear, Adobe plans on steadily contributing to the projects and we are working with the Flex community to make them contributors as well.
Flex has been open source since the release of Flex 3 SDK. What’s so different about what you are announcing now?
Since Flex 3, customers have primarily used the Flex source code to debug underlying issues in the Flex framework, rather than to actively develop new features or fix bugs and contribute them back to the SDK.
With Friday’s announcement, Adobe will no longer be the owner of the ongoing roadmap. Instead, the project will be in Apache and governed according to its well-established community rules.In this model, Apache community members will provide project leadership. We expect project management to include both Adobe engineers as well as key community leaders. Together, they will jointly operate in a meritocracy to define new features and enhancements for future versions of the Flex SDK. The Apache model has proven to foster a vibrant community, drive development forward, and allow for continuous commits from active developers.
What guarantees can Adobe make in relation to Flex applications continuing to run on Flash Player and Adobe AIR?
Adobe will continue to support applications built with Flex, as well as all future versions of the SDK running in PC browsers with Adobe Flash Player and as mobile apps with Adobe AIR indefinitely on Apple iOS, Google Android and RIM BlackBerry Tablet OS.
We are continuing to develop Adobe AIR for both the desktop and mobile devices. Indeed, we have seen wide adoption of Adobe AIR for creating mobile applications and there have been a number of blockbuster mobile applications created using Adobe AIR.
Flash Player for Desktop Browsers
We feel that Flash continues to play a vital role of enabling features and functionality on the web that are not otherwise possible. As such, we have a long term commitment to the Flash Player on desktops, and are actively working on the next Flash Player version.