ADOBE DEVELOPER WEEK

Ben Forta started Developer Week with his introduction to the Adobe Flash Platform session on Monday this week. There were hundreds of attendees, and thousands more in sessions that followed. In fact, there have been over 3,500 attendees these past three days and we expect even more for the rest of the week.

Presentations have covered multi-screen and mobile app development, the Flex framework, new features in Flash Builder and much more. All of the sessions from the past few days have already been posted on the Adobe Developer Connection and the page will be updated daily as more sessions go on throughout the week.

Presentations for later this week include Advanced Features in Flex, AIR 2.0 development for the desktop, AS34J for Java Developers, and a lot more. If you have missed them, check out the recorded sessions.

Flex 4 SDK and Flash Builder 4 final releases are here…

On behalf of everyone on the Flex and Flash Builder product teams, it is with great pride that we can announce that the final versions of Flex 4 SDK and Flash Builder 4 are available for download today!

We’ve been working hard on these releases to make the Flash Platform the best RIA development platform ever and one that you can confidently bet on when you are asked to create your next generation applications.

In the Flex 4 SDK, we’ve implemented a completely new component and skinning architecture (Spark) that supports a level of expressiveness in RIAs not seen previously. With the new Spark component and skinning architecture, component logic is “divorced” from component visuals such that customizing either the behavior or look and feel of the component is much more straightforward. Additionally in the Flex 4 SDK, we have improved the Flex compiler performance, enhanced numerous language and infrastructure features and provided first-class support for the new runtime capabilities in Flash Player 10.

In Flash Builder 4, the team has made it easier than ever to connect to back-end services with a complete set of data centric development features, enabled new design and development workflows with Flash Catalyst and Flash Professional, as well as enhancing the core code development features that are essential to developer productivity.

In this area alone, we’ve implemented new refactoring options, improved the debugger to support conditional breakpoints, watchpoints and expression evaluation, added code generation features and made it easier to test applications with the new network monitor and FlexUnit support. It’s worth remembering that most of these improvements are available to developers building applications that use either the Flex 3 or Flex 4 SDK, so Flash Builder 4 will help in your overall development even if you aren’t yet ready to use the new Spark components.

As you can see, there are lots of great new features and enhancements in Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4 – too many, in fact to list here. We recommend that you read the “What’s New in Flash Builder 4?”, “What’s New in Flex 4?”, and “Introduction to Spark” articles, as well as check out the rest of the new content published on the Adobe Developer Connection site to learn more. Additionally, you can watch David Wadhwani, Vice President and General Manager of the Flash Platform Business Unit describe the new set of products being added to the Flex product family.

If you’re just getting started with Flex then we hope that the new TestDrive content will get you up-to-speed on Flex and Flash Builder in just a couple of hours. If you have a little more time then you should review the Flex in a Week video training materials, which have been completely revised for Flex 4. There are plenty of other resources you can draw upon as you work with Flex and Flash Builder, including the new community-based in-product Help, Tour de Flex, the Flex Cookbooks and a completely re-vamped Flex.org site.

As excited as we are to ship these new products, we are already getting started on the next versions – if you have a feature idea that you’d like the product team to consider then we’d love to hear from you! You can now submit your feature ideas on the Adobe Labs Ideas website, as well as review existing ideas and vote on the ones you’d like to see us work on.

We couldn’t have delivered the new features in these products without the feedback received from everyone who participated in our public beta process or our pre-release programs. Thank you so much for helping us to create an amazing release! For those that did install a beta release of Flash Builder, be sure to uninstall the beta before installing the final release, otherwise you may find that your trial period has expired.

We think you will agree that these products will allow you to develop truly compelling user experiences that exceed your clients’ expectations. The entire team is excited to see what you build with Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4 over the coming months and we look forward to receiving your feedback on these releases in the Adobe Forums.

Andrew Shorten & Deepa Subramaniam,
Flash Builder and Flex SDK Product Managers

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!

Enterprise Apps in the Cloud Just Got Better: Salseforce/Adobe Partnership

Today we announced an interesting partnership between Salesforce.com and Adobe. As Tim Anderson noted, there has always been a surface integration because Flash Builder could consume WSDL’s and Salesforce.com has always exposed them. But this goes quite a bit deeper. One, we’re working with the Salesforce.com team to make sure their IDE is completely integrated into ours. You’ll be able to get a combined Force.com and Flash Builder tool so you never have to switch environments to create Flex applications on top of the Force.com platform. The new tool exposes a new project type, the Force.com stratus type, and lets you automatically connect to the Force.com platform using a WSDL file. Then you can use the data features of Flash Builder to connect your data in the cloud with Flex components. It also has support out of the box for creating AIR applications that support online/offline synchronization.

The new tool and the partnership really simplify the process to connect to the Force.com platform so that you can focus more time on building a really great user interface that exposes those services. A “consumer-link” user experience is becoming more and more prevalent in the enterprise and is seeing a lot more demand. As ReadWriteWeb notes this is going to do a lot to help merge the consumer world of Flash with the enterprise back end of Force.com as well as some of our enterprise functionality in the form of LiveCycle Data Services. I think there are also some cool use cases here for integrating LiveCycle Collaboration Services. And of course the Force.com platform now gets access to over a million Flash developers who can target the cloud.

You can check out the video below for some getting started information. There is also a fantastic Force.com quickstart on Adobe’s Developer Connection and a lot of other information on the Force.com section of Devnet. Finally there will be a live webinar on November 3rd with James Ward and Markus Spohn where you can get a demo and then ask questions about how it all fits together.