no sleep for the wicked – flash player 8.5 and new flex 2 product line

We announced some exciting developments for the Flash Platform today – Macromedia Flex 2 product line and Flash Player 8.5. With Flash Player 8.5, we are introducing ActionScript 3.0 – an object-oriented, ECMAScript compliant programming language – and a new ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM) designed to execute the new language orders of magnitude faster than the original VM. Both AVM2, the new virtual machine, and AVM1 are supported in the Player for backwards compatibility with existing and legacy content.

The other exciting news is that for the first time ever, we are making alpha versions of Flex Builder and Flash Player 8.5 available in conjunction with this year’s MAX event. If you want to sign up for early notification of when bits are available for download, you can go to: http://www.macromedia.com/go/flex2notify.

For more detailed information about the products in today’s announcement, read the Dev Center article Introducing the Flex 2 Product Line.

12 Responses to no sleep for the wicked – flash player 8.5 and new flex 2 product line

  1. Tony Hsieh says:

    As a person ever-hungry for performance in Flash, are you required to use AS3.0 features to gain optimal performance in the 8.5 Flash player?If so, will the Flash 8 IDE recognize AS3.0 syntax or is this Flex-specific?Thank you!– Tony

  2. emmy says:

    Hi Tony,In order to get to the performance we wanted, we built AVM2 from the ground up–AVM1 was maxed out and would have limited us too much. So, the performance gains are a combination of the new VM and the new language. If you write AS1.0/2.0 code, it will execute in the original VM and will perform as well as it does in Flash Player 8.For your second question: per today’s announcement, the Flex 2 product family will be the first to use AS3 through the public alpha. You can actually build ActionScript only apps with Flex Builder, so if you’re interested in playing around with AS3, sign up for the early notification. We’ll have alpha level docs to go along with everything. With Flash Player 8.5, AS3 is now part of the Flash Platform — but I’d have to defer to the Flash authoring folks for what their roadmap will look like.best,e

  3. Stephen Buckley says:

    Actually Emmy, that should be no rest for the righteous! I remember one of my protestant aunts telling me the original phrase was “no peace for the wicked” since they are always plauged by conscience, and that the righteous always have to work hard Keep up the good work

  4. Tony Hsieh says:

    Thank you for the reply.Do you know if there is going to be forthcoming answer on a (I pray) free plug-in update to Flash 8 IDE to allow AS3 development?Or is it a tactic to drive interest towards Flex? Or towards Open source Flash (FAME et al.)?Thanks!– Tony

  5. emmy says:

    First, I have to correct myself (because I should know better) on the “orders of magnitude” comment. I should have said an order of magnitude, or up to 10X speed improvement, for script execution of AS3. That is our target and “orders” would be *way* overstating it :-)On the Flash authoring roadmap: We will have a public alpha in the spring of the next version of Flash authoring that includes support for ActionScript 3. However, Flash Authoring will not contain support for AS3 (in a full commercial release) until the next full version is released (which, since we just released Flash 8, is some ways off).The Flash Player is the runtime for the platform, and the addition of AS3 is an expansion of the capabilities of the platform. The Flash platform is growing to the point that it is no longer a simple task to keep all of the projects, products and technologies strictly in sync (and maybe doesn’t need to be as we continue to push forward). The timing of when the various tools and servers target a particular runtime profile probably won’t synch up like it has in the past.For example, Flex 1.5 currently doesn’t have support for all of the cool features in Flash Player 8. And Flash 8 won’t immediately have AS3 support with this public alpha. But, we are already working on AS3 support in authoring and the next full version will support everything that AS3 (and everything else in the player) has to offer.The goal is to expand the reach of the Flash Platform, by providing tools and servers that are attractive to a wider audience of developers.beste

  6. Francis Gabon says:

    Hi Emmy,Can we expect a patched release of Flash Pro 8.5 with AS3 support, or do we have to wait until the release of Flash 9 for using all those new great capabilities (ie: in 18/24 monthes) ?Thank you and keep up the good work.

  7. emmy says:

    Francis,Nope, no patch — it will be the next full commercial release that will have support for AS3. But, you can look forward to the public alpha next spring, which will allow you to check out how to use AS3 within Flash authoring.I know we haven’t done this in the past, but some of the benefits to Flash developers are 1) you can take this time to check out AS3 through the docs provided in our public alpha at MAX (and Flex Builder if you wish to get a jump start), and 2) you can enjoy higher Player penetration at the point Flash authoring is released, which hasn’t been the case in the past.best,e

  8. Francis Gabon says:

    Emmy,Thanks for the reply.Ok, I see… It’s just too bad that we, non-Flex users, have to wait for something like 18 monthes in order to be able to code non-RIA flash sites for FP8.5.

  9. emmy says:

    Well, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always check out the Flex Builder alpha, read the docs and go through some samples, and try your hand at building some standalone AS3 apps. No server required.best,e

  10. Lee says:

    What is the earliest version of Flash Player (FP) that supports AS3? I think I read above that it was FP8.5 with the new AVM, but I just want to hear/read that specifically.If this is correct, then FP7 will not work with AS3 right?THANKS!Lee

  11. emmy huang says:

    @LeeFlash Player 9. Flash Player 8.5 was renamed to v9 between beta and the final release.best,e

  12. Lee says:

    Thanks Emmy. I didn’t think Actionscript 3.0 would work on flash player 7 and will only work on flash player 9.Have a great day!Lee