Adobe MAX 2010 Retrospective

I am currently in Latin America for the Latin Flash Tour but I wanted to jot down my thoughts on the amazing experience that I had at Adobe MAX this year. Out of the four that I have attended this was definitely the best one. First we announced many exciting things that I will talk about in a moment. We also did a really nice job with the production this year and both keynotes were entertaining and informative (I may be biased as I made a cameo in the day 2 keynote).

As I mentioned we announced some truly exciting things that take Flash to the next level. In addition to that we also showed that we are taking HTML5 very seriously as well as embracing popular web technologies like jQuery. This approach falls in line beautifully with what I have been trying to tell people for a while now. The feature set of web standards is increasing and the same holds true for Flash. Flash is the tool you use when you need to go beyond the standards. This year’s MAX should make you comfortable in the knowledge that regardless of what technology you choose, Adobe will be there with tools to help make it easier for you. But enough jibber jabber, let’s look at what we announced at MAX and why it’s important.

Flash gets a real 3D engine
Probably the most exciting thing that was announced for Flash developers is a new 3D API codenamed Molehill. This is a hardcore, low-level API that can run entirely on the GPU and can render millions of triangles at 60 hertz. Kevin Lynch demoed the new API using a 3D racing car game that was built by the team from Alternativa3D. This demo is truly amazing and it shows how 3D in Flash is approaching that which you see on game consoles. So what is the message that we are trying to send with this feature? It’s that we are finally taking gaming very seriously and we plan on keeping it the defacto platform for creating games for the web and beyond. Check out this video that goes into more details about the Molehill API.

Game controller support
As you read in the last section, we are taking gaming really seriously at Adobe. More proof of that is the addition of game controller support that is coming in a future version of the Flash Player. In Kevin’s racing car demo he used a Logitech steering wheel and pedals. We will be adding support for many popular USB game controllers that you are used to using on your console games. This is a big move for Flash gaming.

New HTML5 animation tool
As I mentioned, Adobe is taking HTML5 very seriously and because of that we have been working on a new tool that is focused on doing animation using jQuery and HTML5. The prototype that we showed, codenamed Edge, gives you a timeline similar to Flash Catalyst where you create your animation using a time-based timeline. Look for a lot more details on this soon but until then you can watch this video. I think that this will be the basis for a tool that will be a game-changer for building interactive HTML content.

Adobe embraces jQuery
One of the highlights of the conference for me was getting to see how much we are incorporating jQuery into our future web tools. John Resig, the creator of jQuery, was a part of the day one keynote and I was excited to see an early demo of jQuery Mobile support inside of Dreamweaver. As I mentioned in the last section we are also using jQuery as the basis for the animation that is generated using the Edge tool.

Other announcements
There were too many other things announced so I’m going to just list them. We debuted AIR on televisions by showing a set-top box and a new Samsung TV with AIR built right in. Tinic demoed some amazing performance increases coming to video with the new StageVideo API. Blackberry did the first public demonstration of the new Playbook tablet that makes heavy use of AIR. Google gave away free Google TVs and Motorola gave away free Droid 2 phones. I know I’m missing a lot but I have to end this blog post now.

Pimp My App
Paul P-Train Trani, Duane D-Nick Nickull, Ming Ming-Ding Cho, and myself, MAXibit, performed a modified version of the show Pimp My Ride to open the day two keynote. There is no setup needed for this one. Just watch.

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