An outline of Flash Runtime installation options

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From time to time, we receive questions and concerns from our customers regarding their options for installing and deploying the Flash Runtime components.  This blog post will provide a high level overview of the options available.  For additional information, please see the links below.

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Flash Runtime 14 is now available!

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Today we’re releasing Flash Player 14 and the AIR 14 Runtime and SDK.  This a major quarterly releases that includes new functionality, bug fixes, and security updates.  We recommend taking a look at our release notes or visiting the Flash Player announcement or AIR announcement page for download links and additional details.

 

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ActionScript rises to #14 on the Tiobe Index

 

ActionScript History on the Tiobe Index

 

Thank you to Jonathan Hart (@jonathanhartsf) and others for the heads up on the recent resurgence of ActionScript on the Tiobe Index.  Last month ActionScript broke into the top 20.  The June numbers are now out and it’s moved up to the 14th spot!  None of this would be possible without the awesome support of our AS developer community, creating and inspiring us with their applications and games for both mobile and desktop platforms!  Thank you!

Source: www.tiobe.com

Instant Game Previews for Mobile

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Adobe AIR technology has made it possible for developers around the world to create some of the best and most stunning mobile games available today. You can now use this versatile technology to promote your games to a much larger audience. The new Instant Game Preview capability  (for Android platform only) lets users try your game and experience it first hand without downloading and installing the application.

For a quick demo, open this link in your Android browser –

http://www.adobe.com/gamepreview/?game=Games2WinDemo/TF.html

The fact that AIR would allow users to try your games and applications very quickly, chances of your app getting eventually installed increases manifolds. Instant Game Previews are better than video based previews because they let the user actually ‘play’ the game instead of just ‘watching’ it.

For details on how you can quickly create a preview for your game, refer to the following devnet article –

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/air/articles/air-mobile-game-previews-android.html

AIR app installs cross a billion

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We are extremely pleased to announce that earlier this month the number of AIR applications installed across the world, on different devices and desktops, surpassed the magical “ONE BILLION”* mark!  We’d like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our entire developer community!  Your work allowed us reach this spectacular milestone.

The Adobe AIR platform is stronger than ever.  The technology which originally started with the desktop, now powers almost a hundred thousand unique applications on desktops and mobile devices.  These applications and games are published on app stores across the globe.

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Adobe AIR now supports x86 Android

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During the last few months, several device manufacturers have released Intel Atom based mobile phones and tablets. Momentum has been developing in the market for x86-based Android tablets, and with Intel committing that there will be 40 million tablets shipping by the end of the 2014, we knew the time was right to deliver native AIR support.

We have been listening to our AIR developers and we are very excited to announce support for packaging of AIR applications for Intel x86 based Android devices. This support will allow AIR developers to directly target the x86 Android platform, providing the best performance possible from their AIR applications.

With this new support, developers will be able to package their applications in captive mode. This capability will soon be available in the AIR SDK on Adobe Labs, so check back soon! The final version will be made available in one of our upcoming major releases.

The Adobe AIR platform is stronger than ever.  Today, Adobe AIR powers more than 50,000 unique mobile applications on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. These applications have been installed more than a billion times by users across the world. By adding support for x86 based devices, our developers will be able to reach out to even more users, thereby making their applications succeed in this highly fragmented space.

Update (June 10th) – Android x86 support is now available in AIR 14 release.

Update (July 8th) – Before publishing x86 version of your AIR app on Play Store, please refer to this article to understand versioning.

Flash Player and AIR 13 Released

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Yesterday we released Flash Player 13 and the AIR 13 Runtime and SDK.  This was one of our major quarterly releases that includes new functionality, bug fixes, and security updates.  We recommend reviewing our release notes or visiting the Flash Player announcement or AIR announcement page for download links and additional details.

AIR developers and users will notice that the AIR version jumped from 4 to 13.  This was done specifically to bring AIR and Flash Player in sync with their version number.  The two share common code and we believe this should help unify perception of both products under the Flash Runtime umbrella.

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Feathers updates to 1.3.0

Feathers Framework UI

Congratulations to Josh Tynjala and the Feathers project which was updated last week to version 1.3.0!  Feathers is a key framework included in the Adobe Gaming SDK and is a light weight, skinnable and extensible UI framework for both mobile and desktop applications and games.  Feathers leverages the devices GPU to create a smooth and responsive experience.

With the 1.3.0 release, Josh was able to add the much anticipated support for percent dimensions in layouts.

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In addition, Feathers has added a TextBlockTextRenderer built on the Flash Text Engine (FTL), support for Mac HiDPI, improved support for multiple Starling instances, and the example themes are now built as easy drop-in SWCs instead of source code.

The full release notes are available on the project’s Github page and developers can also download the latest version directly from the Feathers website.

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.