Author Archive: Emmy Huang

Flash Bug Report

As has been pointed out by the community, there is an existing crash bug that was reported by Matthew Dempsky in the Flash Player bugbase (JIRA FP-677) in September of 2008 that still exists in the release players. It is fixed in Flash Player 10.1 beta, and has been since we launched the beta in early November 2009.

I want to reiterate that it is our policy that crashes are serious “A” priority bugs, and it is a tenet of the Flash Player team that ActionScript developers should never be able to crash Flash Player. If a crash occurs, it is by definition a bug, and one that Adobe takes very seriously. When they happen, it can be the result of something going on purely within Flash Player, something in the browser, or even at the OS level. Depending on where an issue occurs we work to resolve the crash internally or with our partners.

So what happened here? We picked up the bug as a crasher when it was filed on September 22, 2008, and were able to reproduce it. Remember that Flash Player 10 shipped in October 2008, so when this bug was reported we were pretty much locked and loaded for launch. The mistake we made was marking this bug for “next” release, which is the soon to be released Flash Player 10.1, instead of marking it for the next Flash Player 10 security dot release. We should have kept in contact with the submitter and to let him know the progress, sorry we did not do that. Having that line of communication open would have allowed him to let us know directly that it was still an issue. I intend to follow up with the product manager (or Adobe rep) who worked on this issue to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It slipped through the cracks, and it is not something we take lightly.

The team is actively reviewing all unresolved crash bugs in JIRA and will reach out to the submitter if we need their help. We have been updating JIRA bugs with status when we ship pre-release and release players with fixes, but will be focusing on scrubbing these more vigilantly so the community will be able to get status on their issues earlier. Again, FP-677 is fixed in Flash Player 10.1 beta on Adobe Labs and was made public in a regular bugbase scrub that happened yesterday.

The community is an important part of making Flash Player great, and is one of the reasons why we created the public bugbase in 2007. You have been instrumental in helping us improve the quality and feature set of the runtime, and we are committed to looking into what happened with FP-677 and making the necessary improvements and investments for our part of the relationship. So please download Flash Player 10.1 from Labs and play a role in identifying and reporting issues so that we can live up to our commitment to ship the next version of Flash Player without any known, reproducible crashers.

Private browsing with Flash Player 10.1

With the focus on mobile and other exciting new features, you may have missed that Flash Player 10.1 supports the private browsing modes in many of the latest browsers.

End-users are becoming increasingly savvy about their online privacy, and private browsing lets you browse the web without storing any history on your computer. With Flash Player 10.1, the plugin will now automatically clear stored data in accordance with your browser’s private browsing settings.

See the new Private Browsing in Flash Player 10.1 article for more information about how private browsing mode impacts Flash Player behavior for local storage and settings. If you’re a developer, there is a section that describes how this feature may impact your use of local storage and content when a user is in private browsing mode.

Apple Mac OSX 10.6.2 is out, fixes video issues

Last week there were several reports that users on the new 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs were having issues playing Flash-based video. By the end of the week, most of the posts and forums had resolved themselves to believing that the issue wasn’t limited to Flash Player, but appeared to be an issue with the AirPort driver.

Apple released the Mac OSX 10.6.2 update yesterday, and the release notes state:
“this update addresses video playback and performance issues for iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2009) and iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) computers that may occur in some situations while AirPort is turned on”

If you’re having video playback issues on your new iMac, try the 10.6.2 update. If you still have Flash Player issues after the update, please file a bug.

Flash Player performance – we need your input

Flash Player performance seems to be a popular topic on the Web these days. Although it’s been awhile since I’ve written here, I thought it would be a good time to check in and provide you some info from the source. I also want to remind folks of the resources that are available to you if you are having issues with Flash Player, and — maybe most importantly — where to report the issues to us.

A NY Times writer posted a blog about how the Flash videos he was watching got “slower and jerkier” the longer he watched them. According to the post, in a very short conversation the writer had with us, we confirmed there was a Flash Player memory leak. I wasn’t on the call so I can’t say exactly how the conversation went, but I do know that although a memory leak is a possibility we couldn’t say we knew for certain until we were able to reproduce the issue and make that determination. When people report a problem to us, we ask for the usual list of information we need to determine what type of issue exists: what browser is it working in; what operating system is the user on; what version of Flash Player is being used, what site is being accessed that causes the potential issue, what other software might be running, etc. Once we have this kind of information, the Flash Player team can “reconstruct” or reproduce the situation where the potential issue occurred and we see if we can make it happen again. If we can reproduce the problem in house, we are better able to diagnose the issue and create a fix.

At this time, we don’t know of a specific memory leak in Flash Player or what is causing the writer’s issue, but we are looking into it. We are also constantly looking into Flash Player performance and other issues and this is how you can help:
– If you are an end user having issues with Flash Player, and you’re not super technical or aren’t sure about filing an official bug, the first place to go is the forums. Although it isn’t an official support channel, many great community users and Adobe employees troll the boards to help people out (Bentley and Darren on our support team do their best to help here in their free time), plus you can search and see if there is a fix there for your particular issue.
– If you can’t find your issue/fix on the forums, you can also search our public bugbase to see if it is a known issue or tell us your story by joining our team of bug reporters. Go here to learn all about it. If you think there may be a bug and you just want to peruse the list we’re working on without signing up first, go here to learn how. Then if you don’t see the bug listed, please sign up. Don’t forget to include as much info as possible when discussing your issue. This is one case where ‘less’ isn’t more!

As a side note, we’re in the process of re-doing our blogging system and this summer we’ll be launching the Flash Platform blog. This new blog will unite all the Flash Platform conversations into one easy-to-read/search blog. More people will be writing, more updates, more info. Stay tuned…

Update on installation issues on the Player Download Center when unselecting the toolbar offer

For those of you who have reported issues with not being able to install Flash Player from the Player Download Center when you choose not to install Google Toolbar — we’ve fixed the problem. The problem was that some users that unchecked the Google Toolbar offer were sent into a loop and not able to install the player. The issue occurred for machines that do not send http referrer information (possibly because of personal firewalls, ISPs that block sending HTTP referrer, etc). The download center was checking referrer information to make sure the users were directed to the right landing page for Flash Player installation, and we’ve now modified it to handle this case more gracefully.

Thanks to those users who worked with our support team to gather the information we needed to find and fix this problem. This fix went live on 2/17, so if you are still experiencing the same problem please leave a comment.

Improving live video experiences

Some of you have noticed that CNN Live recently began offering users an option to view an enhanced live video experience for their Flash video streams. The experience is enhanced by using grid delivery technology, which promises to enable more efficient distribution of live video by allowing clients to receive a single live video broadcast from both streaming servers and other clients connected to the same live video stream. This is different from P2P communication where clients communicate amongst themselves without passing the data through the server. Grid delivery is intended to provide a scalable solution for live events that helps content providers reach larger audiences and maintain a high quality of service at a lower cost than many existing solutions. For users, this should mean faster start-up times and a smoother live video experience.

Live events are important to our customers, and grid delivery is one of the technologies we are exploring to improve live video delivery. As you know, we take great care in determining the features of Flash Player because once something is in, it is in forever. So we are piloting the technology with a few pilot sites and live events to see how it performs and measure its effect on video delivery efficiency and the end-user video experience. Note that initially not everyone that visits the pilot sites will be given the opportunity to view the grid delivery enhanced video, but those that do will be asked to install an Octoshape grid delivery add-in. The add-in is delivered by Adobe through Flash Player express install, but don’t take that to mean we’ve opened up the feature as a general purpose installation mechanism. We wanted to ensure that we got large enough samples for the trial and that users received the best user experience possible, so the add-in is delivered by Adobe through express install specifically for the pilot. CNN Live has done a nice job with the implementation so that users that decline to install the add-in will still be able to view the standard Flash video stream.

Being able to pilot a technology like this with a partner like CNN Live is a great opportunity. The pilot will allow us to measure the experience at a large scale and determine if we truly are improving live video delivery and the end user experience. If it is successful, we will be exploring how to bring the technology to the player for broader use. We’re interested in user feedback on the live video experience, so if you have the opportunity to try out the enhanced video on CNN Live, leave a comment and let us know how it worked for you.

Text Layout Framework beta available on Adobe Labs

The Text Layout Framework beta, an extensible library built on the new text engine in Adobe Flash Player 10, is available on Adobe Labs today! The Text Layout Framework (TLF) delivers advanced, easy-to-integrate typographic and text layout features for your Flash and Flex-based content and we have a lot of information and examples to help get you started.

In addition to the cool feature demo created for us by the guys at Bluefire Productions (Thanks Micah and Patrick!), we have an online version of the Text Layout Editor component for Flash CS4 Professional, so you can check out the new typographic and text layout capabilities right away. You can download the source code for the feature demo, and we have also provided the source for the Flash MXP for the component. TLF is also already integrated into Flex Gumbo in the Gumbo components.

The Text Layout Framework and the new text engine in Flash Player 10 and Adobe AIR 1.5 bring some amazing new capabilities to the Flash Platform, including:
* Bidirectional text, vertical text and over 30 writing scripts including Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, and others.
* Selection, editing and flowing text across multiple columns and linked containers, and around inline images
* Vertical text, Tate-Chu-Yoko (horizontal within vertical text) and justifier for East Asian typography
* Rich typographical controls, including kerning, ligatures, typographic case, digit case, digit width and discretionary hyphens * Cut, copy, paste, undo and standard keyboard and mouse gestures for editing
* Rich developer APIs to manipulate text content, layout, markup and create custom text components.

Check out the release notes for a full list of the new features.

The Text Layout Framework team has started their own blog, so be sure to check it out as you start to work with TLF. Give it a whirl and give us feedback on the Labs forums.

SWF 10 spec available AND Flash Player alpha for 64-bit Linux on Labs

This week is the Adobe MAX conference in San Francisco, and along with that we have a few special treats for you.

First, the updated SWF and FLV specs are now available! I think this is the fastest we’ve gotten updates out post release, and special thanks to Mike who worked on the spec update. He has more details on the changes on his blog.

Also available today…64-bit Flash Player alpha for Linux on Adobe Labs. It’s one of the most popular player requests, and we’re happy to deliver a preview to the Linux community. More details on Tinic’s blog. Why Linux first? Because they were the loudest…mostly kidding. 64-bit Linux doesn’t ship with a 32-bit browser and trying to do 32-bit emulation for the player isn’t that simple or a great experience. So, this time, Linux gets to be first!

Win and Mac will be in a future prerelease, and when we ship 64-bit it will be for Win, Mac and Linux at the same time.

I think I’m going to miss all those comments requesting 64-bit for Linux (ha!), but you can fill the void by filing and voting on feature requests at bugs.adobe.com/flashplayer.

A small improvement to our version numbering (aka Why there won’t be a “Flash Player 10 Update 1″)

Some people have noticed that our Flash Player 10 release last week had a “funny” version number. Funny in that the fourth digit wasn’t “0″ for the final release as it has been in the past.

No, it isn’t a mistake — we are using a new numbering system! Ok, not new as in totally-different, but new as in tweaked-and-better. In the Flash Player world, where backwards compatibility and legacy behavior are important, making a change like this is a big deal. Big enough that this particular change was proposed a few times until we finally felt comfortable enough to give it a shot. There are a few good reasons why we wanted this change. First, the old system, where the third digit was basically our build number, created some internal havoc. You can imagine the pain we caused to our documentation team and other internal products that had to wait until we were done to find out the final version number. The other pain was to marketing and our customers. We weren’t able to version dot releases in a meaningful way, which is how we ended up with a name like “Flash Player 9 Update 3″ delivering something as juicy as H.264 in a product with a 9.0.115.0 version number.

Enter the improved system that allows us to predict the final build numbers through the first three digits but takes into account that the third digit always has to increase for legacy detection scripts in the wild. For Flash Player 10, our developer builds were 10.0.10.b, betas were 10.0.11.b and release candidates/GM builds were 10.0.12.b. (b is the build number, so take note that we want you to continue to ignore the fourth digit for detection purposes.) The important information about the version is the first release of Flash Player 10 = 10.0.12.*

This new numbering system allows us to move towards more meaningful release numbering where the first, second and third digits actually mean Major, Minor, Bugfix. For example, the next bugfix or security release should jump up and use the series 10.0.20/10.0.21/10.0.22, and we can use “10.1″ (e.g. 10.1.30/10.1.31/10.1.32) when we do a feature-bearing dot release instead of “Flash Player 10 Update 1.” Old detection kits will continue to work, but moving forward you could detect for minor releases for a specific feature more easily. And it’s not a tongue twister.

So, there is the explanation for the Flash Player Trivia files. :-)

* 10/22/08 tiny correction. The first release of 10 is actually 10.0.2.54, which ships in CS4 (because of lockdown schedules). That build is only in the tools and was never available from the player download center for users. You should update your players to the first web release of the player for development and testing.

Flash Player 10 has launched!

Flash Player 10 “Astro” has launched! Justin has a nice write up of the release here, so I won’t repeat what he’s already put so nicely. The player bits went live last night with the press release, and a LOT of content that you should check out.

The product page has a new look, and resources that might be useful to you:
* At-A-Glance – which is a overview of the highlights of this release. A nice little thing to leave on your boss’ desk as a hint that you want to use these awesome new features…
* Datasheet – a more detailed description of this release
* Features Page with interactive demo – try out the new features live, and see what is new and enhanced in Flash Player 10
* Flash Player in Action – has a rotating pod of quotes from developers, and links to some cool Flash Player 10 content you can look at today. There are some cool 3D, sound and Pixel Bender demos to check out.
* Pixel Bender Exchange – check out and upload your own cool filters and effects

Other important product resources:
* Release Notes – check these for a list of known and fixed issues
* Support Downloads page – you can get the debug players here
* Flash Player Support Center – Check here for new tech notes and issues to be aware of
* Flash Player Bugbase – and of course…if you find any issues, or want to make a feature request please file it!

Developer Center
* Introducing Flash Player 10 – Justin’s intro article has been updated with video snippets showing demos (used to be on Labs)
* Detecting Flash Player versions and embedding SWF files with SWFObject 2 – Adobe contributed to and supports SWFObject 2. We tested it with this release, and plan to make this the standard detection kit moving forward (replacing the Adobe Detection Kit)
* Security Changes in Flash Player 10 – There are a series of important articles to review here. Start with Trevor’s article Understanding Security Changes in Flash Player 10, then review the Working with policy file changes in Flash Player 9 and Flash Player 10.

I started on this team four years ago right as we were launching Flash Player 8. Flash Player 9 was already in the wings – so although I have launched quite a few releases and dot releases, this is my first full player release cycle. This is an incredible release, and I am extremely proud to be a part of this amazing team. This is going to be another industry changing release, and we eagerly await the next wave of fabulous, wondrous, and innovative experiences you will create for the Web with our technology.