Archive for March, 2014

Latest Updates on the Flash Runtime

There’s been talk recently on different forums regarding Adobe’s position on the Flash Runtime.  Hopefully some of the work we’re doing and items outlined below will help answer these questions.

First, let me introduce myself.  My name is Chris Campbell and I’m the product manager and customer advocate for the Flash Runtime product team.  I’ve been part of the Flash and AIR teams for the last 4 years and prior to that I worked for 14 years as a developer in our digital imaging group.  Some of you might know me from the forums, where I’ve spent a lot of time working with customers to bring issues to the engineering team.  I’m on Twitter @liquidate but you can also reach me via email at ccampbel@adobe.com.

What have we been up to lately?

Improved Packaging Engine – We’ve made massive improvements to our iOS packaging engine (Halfmoon AOT), with reduced packaging times up to 10x.  This work lays the foundation for future features like iOS workers.  This has been in our beta builds for a while (we try to make these publicly available on a regular basis) and was out in our public AIR 4.0 release.

ActionScript concurrency for Android – We knew this would be a hit with the feedback we received with ActionScript Workers on the desktop so getting this over to mobile was a priority for us.  We had an extended beta for this feature and it made its public appearance in AIR 3.9 with additional fixes based on feedback received in our 4.0 release.

Support for new versions of OSX, Windows, iOS and Android – We know that our developers and users want to use the latest OS’s and browsers.  We have made sure that the Runtime supports these targets and we’re committed to making sure that continues in the future.

Here are just a few of the new features that we’re working on this year –

ActionScript concurrency for iOS – Now that we’re finishing up with the Halfmoon packaging work, the next step is to add support for ActionScript Workers on iOS.  We know this is an important feature and we’re looking forward to starting an extended beta for this later this year.

Improvements to Stage3D – Stage3D was a massive game changer for Flash.  We want to add to this with significant efficiency improvements by supporting multiple render targets.  If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember a previous beta for AGAL2.  We’re picking this up again now that we’ve got support for all supported platforms and we should have something to share later this summer.

PPAPI debugging – A long time request has been the ability to debug Flash content on Google Chrome.  We’ve been working to bring our debugger to the PPAPI platform and we’re almost ready for a beta release.  This required a lot of work under the hood and while we’re there we’re also tackling a nagging Stage3D performance problem.  Progress has been going well and we’re optimistic that we’ll have a solution for our customers.

Game discovery – We know that there are a huge number of games available on the market and it’s hard to get the user’s attention.  We believe we can help.  One of our greatest strengths is the reach of our platform.  Flash Player is installed on over a billion computers!  The AIR shared runtime is installed on 50+ million Android devices!  We’re working to figure out how we can leverage these strengths to improve your app’s success.  Look for details on Adobe GameSpace, Playpanel, GamePreviews, and more in the very near future.

It’s certainly true that we have increased our investments on HTML technologies, but Adobe and the Flash product team are dedicated to pushing the Flash runtime platform forward.  We believe that AIR and Flash Player are excellent solutions for both the video and gaming markets.

While most of Adobe’s marketing and PR activities are focused on the Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud initiatives, we are working on the following items to help improve our messaging around the Flash Runtime.

  • Redesign, refresh and make regular content updates to our game development web site.  We’ll be retiring the gaming.adobe.com microsite and instead updates will be made to our Adobe Developer Connection page found here – http://www.adobe.com/devnet/games.html
  • Create a new Flash Runtime showcase website that allows for easy showcase project submissions by our development community.
  • Reach out to the community and promote their games and usage of Adobe tools through guest blog posts and case studies that we feature on adobe.com.   If you’re interested, please contact me via email.
  • Find additional and creative ways to allow our passionate development community to evangelize the use of Flash Runtime

Finally, in a recent Adobe post there was some confusion regarding PhoneGap and if this product was supplanting or replacing AIR.  This is not the case.  We believe both of these technologies have merit and we recommend developers pick a solution that best suits their project.  For gaming and video related applications, on either the desktop or mobile platforms, we believe the Flash Runtime continues to be a great choice.

Upcoming changes to Flash Player’s extended support release

Beginning May 13th, 2014, we will be upgrading Flash Player’s extended support release from version 11.7 to version 13.  This change impacts enterprise and IT customers that currently deploy Flash Player using the extended support releases available through our distribution channel.

Adobe makes available the extended support release to organizations that prefer Flash Player stability over new functionality.  We will create a branch of the Flash Player code that we keep up to date with all of the latest security updates, but none of the new features or bug fixes available in our normal release branch.  This allows organizations to certify and stay secure with Flash Player with minimal effort.

To ensure a smooth transition, we encourage IT organizations to thoroughly test our version 13 releases (currently available on labs.adobe.com) over the next couple of months before deploying.