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Photo taken at FlashCamp San Francisco 2010, courtesy of Mike Chambers.
After an in-depth introduction to Flash CS5 at FlashCamp in Adobe's San Francisco offices last Friday, it occurred to me that some of the most exciting functionality of the upcoming software's release has unfortunately been overshadowed by the Apple/Adobe hubbub of the past few weeks. The fact is that if you're a multimedia developer, designer, or marketer, the latest Flash offering will greatly increase your abilities to promote expressive websites and applications on web-enabled devices. Here are 8 reasons to look forward to the software's release and how it can enhance your rich media offerings.
1. Flash Player 10.1 Ubiquity
Flash CS5 tools enable a wide audience of consumers to enjoy seamless rich media experiences across a number of platforms including desktops, laptops, net books, tablets, smart phones, and set-top boxes. The player includes major performance enhancements, memory handling improvements, hardware acceleration, and other contextually aware features that allow Flash developers to deliver optimized delivery across multiple devices with a consistent runtime:
Flash CS5 provides built-in methods for capturing gesture events (e.g., two-finger zoom or rotate) and raw touch events (e.g., arrays of concurrent mouse events). This functionality enables Flash developers to create fresh interactive experiences for mobile, tablet, and digital signage devices. Example.
3. Text Layout Framework (TLF)
Flash's new text engine was completely overhauled with major input from the InDesign team. New features include multi-column layouts, bi-directional text fields, support for East Asian typography, and the ability to build multi-threaded text blocks (allowing dynamic text flow between separate text fields). Check The New York Times Reader AIR application to see this functionality in action.
4. Mobile Ready
The Flash runtime was re-architected to run more efficiently on a number of mobile platforms utilizing multiple performance improvements (i.e., memory management, start-up time, hardware acceleration, battery usage optimization, and CPU performance enhancements). Additional improvements to Device Central allow for testing of mobile touch, accelerometer, and geolocation without deploying to the specific devices for QA.
Whereas previous Flash source files were confined to binary FLA's, developers can now author XFL, which is essentially a XML-based FLA. XFL files are zipped versions of the entire asset library, DOM XML, and publish settings. All are completely modifiable without opening the Flash IDE. Further, users can export XFL from InDesign and AfterEffects CS5.
6. Workflow Improvements
CS5 will also offer tighter integration with Flash Builder 4, an improved IDE code editor, pre-populated and customizable snippets, project templates, and CS Live collaboration software.
7. Improved Bones
With all the programmatic advancements, you might think the product development team had neglected their animation roots. Not so. The new momentum/spring properties for the inverse kinematics are really nice. It will be interesting to see if Adobe internalizes a full physics engine, such as Box2D or FOAM, in future iterations.
8. Omniture Integration
Business measurement and analytics are a core service of Digitaria and we're extremely excited to see a tighter relationship between Adobe products and the Omniture analytics suite, including Omniture SiteCatalyst extension and Omniture panels in the IDE.