Flash Platform 2009 – Year in Review – Part 3

In part 1 of the year in review I talked about some of the great applications and content that have been created on top of the Flash Platform. In part 2 I talked about the partnerships and what that has enabled this year. Now I’m going to turn to the tools and technologies from Adobe. When I look back at my own personal history with Flex and the Flash Platform, coming with Flex 1.5 and Flash Player 7, it’s amazing to see the progress we made this year.

The biggest news came at MAX. We provided beta versions of Flash Builder 4, Flash Catalyst, and ColdFusion Builder. Three tools that cover a broad spectrum of RIA development. Flash Builder 4 built on top of our momentum with Flex Builder and introduced a new data-centric development methodology as well as some long-asked for productivity enhancements. Flash Catalyst is a completely new tool that lets designers bring in designs from Photoshop and Illustrator and turn them into working, interactive Flash content without writing any code. And of course ColdFusion Builder provided ColdFusion developers an Eclipse-baesd tool from Adobe that works seamlessly with Flash Builder and lets ColdFusion developers quickly work on ColdFusion and HTML projects. The three tools work together to let designers and developers collaborate around all parts of an RIA project. And the next generation of Flash Professional also got a sneak peak at MAX with the announcement that Flash CS5 will support creation of native iPhone applications.

We also started to lay out our vision for services at Adobe in 2009. Before and during MAX we provided betas and some new information about the Adobe Flash Platform Services. This includes things like LiveCycle Collaboration Services which lets you easily add real-time collaboration components to your Flex and Flash applications. We debuted a Distribution service that lets you track and distribute Flash content across a number of popular properties. There was also the Try/Buy service codenamed “Shibuya” which will help Flash developers directly make money from what they build on the Flash Platform.

Both of our runtimes, AIR and Flash Player, saw beta versions of the next generation. We provided beta access to Adobe AIR 2 which provides developers a lot more access to native functionality as well as adding next-generation HTML support and performance optimizations. Developers had access to a beta of Flash Player 10.1 later in the year which is the first version of Flash Player that is intended for smart phones. Developers got to see how this version of the player would run on the desktop with new memory optimization and support for multi-touch gestures. Flash Player 10.1 will be released for Mac, Windows, Linux, and smart phones like the Palm Pre and Google Android later this year.

Adobe was also busy in the server space. ColdFusion 9 was released this year and it included much deeper support for Flex and AIR applications as well as the ability to tightly integrate with Microsoft Office documents (including SharePoint) and some nice code enhancement for long-time ColdFusion developers.

And finally, this was a big year in openness for the Flash Platform. We’ve worked hard to keep the Flash Platform as open as possible by doing things like open sourcing the Tamarin virtual machine and providing the SWF and AMF specifications in addition to contributing to existing open source projects like the Eclipse foundation. This year we open sourced two new projects, the Open Source Media Framework and the Text Layout Framework. The Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) provided a standard way to create and extend the way video content plays on the Flash Platform. The Text Layout Framework (TLF) brought world-class text capability to the Flash Platform. It included support for right-to-left languages like Hebrew and Arabic and gave developers very detailed control over exactly how text was rendered by the Flash Player. Both technologies are available with all of Adobe’s open source initiatives on http://opensource.adobe.com.

Between the tools, new services, the runtimes, the servers, and our open source efforts, it’s been a big 2009 and we’ve set the stage for a bigger 2010. We can’t wait to see what our community does with these technologies. You are the ones that keep the Flash Platform moving and keep us cutting edge. Thanks for a great year!

Flash Platform 2009: Year in Review – Part 2

The partner ecosystem of the Flash Platform has grown tremendously over the past year and led to some great advancements for Flash designers and developers. Our partners have helped us bring Flash to 98% of internet-connected desktops, netbooks, smartphones, cable boxes, game systems, TVs, and other consumer devices which has broadened the reach of the platform. One of the strengths of the Flash Platform has always been a consistent experience for both developers and end users. Without our partners it wouldn’t be possible to create that consistent experience across the various chipsets, processors, architectures, and operating systems on all of those different devices. One of the biggest of those partner initiatives is the Open Screen Project which is bringing Flash content to web browsers as well as standalone applications across all of those devices.

The Open Screen Project started the year with momentum at CES. We announced partnerships with Broadcom and Intel that will bring Flash to the 3rd screen, televisions. We followed that up with an announcement at Mobile World Congress that in conjunction with Nokia we would create a $10 million dollar fund to foster the creation of content for multiple screens using the Flash Platform. In 2009 we received over 700 proposals and have funded more than 50 multi-screen applications. At NAB in the spring we moved further into the living room by delivering technology to our OEM partners that extended the Flash Platform to devices in the digital home such as set-top boxes and Blu-ray players. This included optimizations for using Flash technology for HD video and rich applications on those devices. During the summer we announced that we were working with NVIDIA to optimize Flash content and applications for netbooks, smartphones, and smartbooks that make use of NVIDIA GPUs. Finally, to cap it off, at MAX Qualcomm came and showed that their Snapdragon chipset was ready to support Flash Player 10.1 on smartphone and smartbook devices from companies like Toshiba. At MAX Google and RIM also announced they would be joining the Open Screen Project.

A big part of the Open Screen Project is making more moves to open up the Flash Platform. This year we took another big step forward by publishing the RTMP specification and releasing open source media and text frameworks for the Flash Platform.

The Open Screen Project now has almost 50 industry leaders that are working together to create a consistent platform for developers and users to create and consume cutting edge applications and high quality media. The members of the Open Screen project come from a wide section of industry and include companies. Some major companies announced their support for the Open Screen Project this year including Disney Interactive Media Group, Fox Mobile Group,Google, HTC,NVIDIA, Palm, Paramount, RIM, Texas Instruments, and The New York Times. This video provides a great summary of the goals and partnerships around the Open Screen Project.

Our partners allowed us to greatly expand the reach of the Flash Platform and take it to screens big and small as well as the next generation of computing devices. But the platform itself is just one part of the equation. We’ve also been working on enhancing the tools and workflows that let designers and developers create Flash content. In Part 3 tomorrow I’ll finish the series with the tools, services, and other platform technologies that we were working on in 2009.

Flash Platform 2009: Year in Review – Part 1

This has been a huge year for the Flash Platform and with 2009 drawing to a close we thought it would be great to go back and look at some of the things that happened this year. I’m going to break it down into 3 parts this week and next, first talking about some of the applications that you all have created. Second I’m going to focus on some of the news we made around the Open Screen Project and our partners. Last I’ll talk about some of the technical enhancements and innovation around our tools, the runtimes, and our new service initiatives.

The strongest part of our technology stack has always been you, the community. It’s the applications and content that you create which keeps pushing the entire web forward and makes our tools and technology shine. There are millions of you who have helped make the Flash Platform the absolute best way to create innovative and cutting-edge applications and in 2009 we had some great examples of that.

  • London Borough of Southwark – A great enterprise example, Southwark created the One Touch system that made it easier for citizens to access government services. One Touch was built with Adobe LiveCycle ES and deployed on the Flash Platform.
  • Marathon Technologies – Built an RIA management console that shows how RIAs can make it easier and faster for customers to get things done.
  • Tweetdeck – A great example of how Adobe AIR lets web developers take advantage of new services, Tweetdeck is the most popular desktop application for Twitter and raised over $2 million in funding this year.
  • FLARToolKit – Augmented Reality became one of 2009′s buzzwords and FLARToolKit created by Saqoosha, a Japanese Flash developer, was a big reason for that. It helped spawn great demos like GE’s Ecomagination and John Mayer’s Heartbreak Warefare video which debuted at MAX 2009.
  • TimesReader and GlobeReader – Digital publishing had a wild year in 2009 and these two applications, built on Adobe AIR, gave us a look at what the future of the newspaper might look like.
  • SlideRocket – An early adopter of the Flash Platform, SlideRocket makes it easy to create great looking presentations on the web. They raised an additional $5 million this year and showed how beautiful and functional a Flex user interface can be.
  • Flash Games – We started talking a lot more about the Flash gaming community this year and it’s going to be a hot topic in 2010. As Adobe brings Flash to more mobile devices it’s going to open up new options for deployment for Flash game developers. Continuity is one standout example of why Flash is still the best platform for game creators.

There are literally thousands of applications that were developed this year on top of the Flash Platform. You can see more examples of what people are building over at the Flash Platform site. If we missed your favorite, let us know in the comments below.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the Open Screen Project and some of the news it made this year.