Author Archive: Andrew Shorten

Flex: where we are headed

It has been about three months since we shipped Flex 4.5 SDK and a corresponding update to Flash Builder, in which we delivered exciting new capabilities to build and deploy applications for Google Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS platforms. The feedback on the release has been fantastic – with customers blown away that they can leverage one tool, one framework and one codebase to deliver apps across leading mobile platforms, not to mention web and desktop as well.

Since then the product team has been heads-down working on our future plans for Flex SDK and Flash Builder, and although we’re not quite ready to share all the details, we wanted to provide you with some insight into what we’re focusing on, and where we expect to make investments going forward.

Investing in Flex, Flash Builder, Flash Player and AIR

Adobe is continuing to make significant investments in Flex, Flash Builder, Flash Player and AIR – we have hundreds of engineers who are actively working on exciting new tooling, framework and runtime features and enhancements to be included in upcoming releases.

Our teams are currently working on a free update to Flex SDK and Flash Builder for release later this year that will further demonstrate our commitment to delivering a complete solution for building and deploying mobile applications to multiple platforms.

Beyond this update we’re already working to deliver our next major releases.

Recognizing the role of Flex has changed

Since its inception, Flex has been highly leveraged as a leading solution for building “rich Internet applications”– potentially applicable wherever a rich, expressive and engaging user experience delivered via the browser was required. We’ve seen product configurators, e-commerce sites, games, e-learning experiences, banking services, business dashboards, photo editors, audio/video channels, productivity tools, line-of-business applications and more, all built with Flex.

We’re at a point now where it is incumbent upon us to focus on where Flex provides unique value in the marketplace.

There are countless examples where, in the past, Flex was (rightly) selected as the only way to deliver a great user experience. Today, many of those could be built using HTML5-related technologies and delivered via the browser, and at Adobe, we will provide tooling to help designers and developers create those experiences – Edge and Muse are two such examples.

That doesn’t mean, however, that HTML5 is the right choice for all use cases – the performance, framework maturity and robust tooling provided by Adobe are cited as critical factors by enterprise customers as to why they continue to select Flex.

We firmly believe that Flex is already the best technology for building complex, high-fidelity enterprise applications such as business dashboards, line of business tools, real-time trading applications and desktop replacement applications, and see leading companies in healthcare, financial services, communications and other industries standardizing on it. We will continue to heavily invest in strengthening Flex for enterprise use, ensuring that you can deliver expressive, robust applications. As we share more details about our upcoming releases, you’ll see our commitment to tackle areas such as Spark component completion, accessibility, build system integration, performance analysis tooling and integration of a next-generation compiler, making Flex the #1 choice for building enterprise-grade RIAs.

Mobile – the next big thing for Flex

But we’re not just investing in the enterprise. The explosion of mobile devices has opened new doors for end users, enterprise organizations and developers, while at the same time introducing a new set of development challenges. As you’ve already seen with Flex 4.5, we are making big strides in providing developers with a single framework for building and deploying mobile applications to a range of different devices and platforms.

We’re continuing to focus on runtime performance, native extensions, new components, declarative skinning, adding more platforms and improving tooling workflows, such that in our next major release timeframe we expect that the need to build a fully-native application will be reserved for a small number of use cases.

The growth of the mobile market and the challenge of building out applications that work on a range of different form-factors and platforms present us with a huge opportunity to expose Flex to an entirely new audience of developers, while continuing to be relevant for existing Flex developers who are extending their applications to mobile.

The perception of “Flash”

All of this is no good of course if there are misperceptions or lack of awareness about what Flex (and more broadly Adobe) offers for enterprise and mobile application development. With all the FUD about Flash that has been in the marketplace over the past many months, we are highly focused on demonstrating just what Flex is capable of, both in the enterprise and for mobile app development.

On the enterprise side, we’re continuing to build meaningful relationships with large organizations as we introduce them to Adobe’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions. Flex is a core part of our CEM technology offering and the dialog we’re having with customers allows us to intelligently position Flex, Flash Builder and our runtimes as a way for them to deliver exceptional customer interaction through rich Internet applications and easy-to-use interfaces on web, desktops, tablets and mobiles (including Apple iOS devices).

For mobile, while we’re relatively new to the market we’ve already seen a great response to our offering – trial downloads of Flash Builder are higher than they’ve ever been before and we’ve already seen hundreds of mobile apps built and deployed to app stores, including several applications that top their category in the Apple App Store. As we roll out additional mobile development capabilities later this year, you can look forward to seeing stronger mobile-focused developer marketing from Adobe, including a series of case studies that highlight the success customers are having with Flex.

We’re excited to be working on the next generation of Flex and look forward to getting continued feedback and input from both new and experienced Flex developers. Be sure to register for Adobe MAX, October 1-4 in Los Angeles, to learn more about our Flex roadmap.

Andrew Shorten,
Group Product Manager, Developer Tools, Adobe

Updated guidance on Flash Builder 4.5 compatibility with Mac OS X 10.7

Following the release of Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) last week, Adobe issued guidance recommending that Flash Builder customers should not upgrade to the latest version of the operating system due to compatibility issues.

This guidance was based upon testing with earlier pre-release builds of Lion made available to Adobe and other software vendors. Now that we have had an opportunity to undertake further testing with the final release of Mac OS X 10.7, we are pleased to report that there are only minor usability issues when using Flash Builder 4.5.1 on Mac OS X 10.7 and, as such, we will be updating our previous statement to confirm compatibility of these releases.

Known Issues

There is one issue that affects new installations of Flash Builder 4.5.1 on Mac OS X 10.7 – before running the Flash Builder installer, you should install Java for Mac OS X.  Failure to do this will result in Flash Builder 4.5, rather than 4.5.1 being installed on the system.

There is also one usability issue that will affect all users of Flash Builder on Mac OS X 10.7 – right-clicking in the package explorer may stop working after prolonged use of Flash Builder. To resolve the issue Flash Builder must be restarted.

Finally, the Flash Builder installer includes a version of Flash Player that is not recommended for use with Mac OS X 10.7. Rather than installing the default version, you should download and install the latest debugger version from Adobe.com.

Please note that Flash Builder 4 remains incompatible with Mac OS X 10.7. Upgrades from Flash Builder 4.0 to Flash Builder 4.5.1 are available for $49.

Flex SDK and Flash Builder updates available – adds iOS and BlackBerry PlayBook support

The Flex SDK and Flash Builder teams are extremely excited to advise that the previously-announced June updates are now available for download – that means you can now build and package Flex mobile applications for Google Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS devices!

Flash Builder 4.5.1 includes Flex 4.5.1 SDK, AIR 2.6 SDK and the updated iOS Packager that provides for great performance of Flex and ActionScript applications on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

Flash Builder 4.5.1 also includes RIM’s plug-in for packaging applications for the BlackBerry PlayBook (requires BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK). Note that an over-the-air update to PlayBook devices is required before Flex 4.5.1 applications will run on the device.

If you already have Flash Builder 4.5 installed then an updater is available from Adobe.com or through Adobe Application Manager (AAM). New trial downloads of Flash Builder are version 4.5.1, so don’t need to be updated after installation.

If you haven’t yet seen how Flash Builder 4.5 enables you to build mobile applications then check out Serge Jesper’s video on Adobe TV. Also, check out the Adobe Developer Center for articles, sample applications and more…

We look forward to seeing your apps in the Android Market, Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World!

 

 

Meet the new Flex Product Management team

Last year we announced that a number of positions on the Flex Product Management team were open – whilst we still have one position available, I wanted to confirm that the core team is now in place and that we’re actively planning for future releases of Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst.

New additions to the team are Adam Lehman, who joins as Flash Builder Product Manager and Jacob Surber, who has taken on responsibility for Flash Catalyst.

Many folks will know Adam as the Product Manager for ColdFusion – readers of Adam’s blog will be aware that he announced last week that he is moving to a new role at Adobe, and I’m happy to confirm that he brings his experience and passion to Flash Builder. In addition to blogging, you can also follow Adam on Twitter where he’s @adrocknaphobia.

Jacob has moved across from the XD team at Adobe, where he has spent the last couple of years using Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder to prototype and implement user interface elements in a number of Adobe’s products, including the recently launched Acrobat X. Jacob truly understands and represents both the designer and developer viewpoint, which will be a big asset as we continue to refine the workflow between Catalyst and Builder. Follow him on Twitter where he’s @jacobsurber.

Regular readers need not fear about Deepa and myself – we’re still here, with Deepa leading Product Management for Flex SDK, whilst I take on a Group Product Manager role overseeing both Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder.

The entire team is heading out to user group meetings and upcoming events over the next couple of months (including FITC in Amsterdam and 360 Flex in Denver), as well as meeting with specific customers so as to get feedback on our plans for Flex for 2012 and beyond. If we don’t manage to meet with you in person then we’re always interested in your feedback and thoughts – you can get in touch with the team by sending us a comment on this blog or by joining our pre-release program.

Flex SDK and Flash Builder pre-release program

At Adobe MAX last year we made public previews available of upcoming Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst releases . Since then we’ve continued to work on new features, as well as improve performance, fix bugs and respond to feedback received.

In addition to the public preview release, we also have a private pre-release program running that delivers updated builds to participants. We’re now ready to open that program up to some more people, so if you’re interested in trying out newer builds of Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst and are prepared to invest time providing our engineering teams with feedback, please complete the pre-release program survey.

Access to the pre-release will require you to agree to a non-disclosure agreement.

Thanks,

Andrew Shorten, Group Product Manager, Developer Tools
Deepa Subramaniam, Senior Product Manager, Flex SDK

The Flex product management team is hiring

Even though we’re hard at work on the upcoming releases of Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst, preview releases of which we made available just recently, the product management team is already working on plans for the next generation of the Flex framework and tooling.

To support this effort, we’re now looking to hire three new product managers to the team and we’re hoping that you could be the right person for one of those positions!

As a product manager you will play a critical role in defining product features and communicating requirements with multiple engineering teams, you will be responsible for approving engineering specifications and validating that completed features meet customer requirements, and you’ll be the person who drives consensus on product requirements and ensures decisions are made in a timely manner.

The positions we have open are as follows:

Product management is an all-encompassing role that is both exciting and demanding – if you’re ready for a challenge and want to be a part of the team that defines the future of Flex, designer/developer workflows and developer tooling then we’d like to hear from you.

All positions will be based in San Francisco, CA.

To express your interest in one or more of these roles please send your resume to shorten at adobe.com, or apply using the Adobe career opportunity website.

Thanks,

Andrew Shorten, Group Product Manager, Developer Tools
Deepa Subramaniam, Senior Product Manager, Flex SDK

Public Preview Releases of Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst available for download

For the past 9 months the Flex team has been hard at work building the next versions of Flex, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst. We are proud to announce that you can now download preview releases of all three products from Adobe Labs. You may have also heard that we also released Adobe AIR 2.5, which extends AIR to run on a number of mobile platforms. Together, these releases open up a significant new opportunity for Flex developers to build applications that span the web, desktop and now mobile. Here’s a quick snapshot of the new major feature sets:

Flex SDK “Hero” provides new mobile features for building standalone applications for mobile devices, additional Spark components and capabilities as well as infrastructure improvements that target large-scale applications.

Flash Builder “Burrito” provides integrated workflows for building multi-screen applications, improved designer/developer workflows with Flash Catalyst, provides enhancements to core performance, and includes a wealth of new coding productivity improvements for Flex and ActionScript projects.

Flash Catalyst “Panini” provides improvements which enable bi-directional workflows between Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder, adds support for resizable applications and components, provides improvements to project-defined interactions, and includes a newly designed Components panel.

You can learn more about these exciting new releases by reading our intro articles written by our product managers:

Andrew Shorten’s What’s New in Flash Builder “Burrito”

Deepa Subramaniam’s What’s New in Flex SDK “Hero”

Narciso Jaramillo’s Mobile Development Using Flex SDK “Hero” and Flash Builder “Burrito”

Doug Winnie’s What’s New in Flash Catalyst “Panini”

You can download the preview releases for Flex SDK “Hero“, Flash Builder “Burrito” and Flash Catalyst Panini right now on Adobe Labs. We’ve also included numerous samples and tutorials to help you get up and running more quickly, plus a set of videos that showcase larger features and workflows.

We are all very excited to provide you with an early opportunity to evaluate in-development features and to allow us to get your feedback. Please remember that they are preview releases, so they have not undergone the same level of testing as you will find in our finals, and therefore may contain a higher number of bugs. Please also note that they are not yet feature complete.  All that said, we hope you’ll enjoy working with the new features and are as excited as we are by the improvements we’re making. Please share your feedback with us through the Adobe forums (Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst and Flex SDK) as well as through JIRA, our public bugbase.

Enjoy!

Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst Product Teams

Flash Builder “Burrito” final sneak

This is the last in the series of feature sneak videos, highlighting features currently under development for the upcoming release of Flash Builder, codenamed “Burrito”. In this video we’re showing you support for override/implement methods…

Whilst we’re done with the sneaks for now, the features highlighted only represent a portion of what we’re working on for Flash Builder “Burrito”. Stay tuned for more information about when we’ll be making “Burrito” available and what other features will be in the release…

Flash Builder Burrito sneak #4

Continuing with our weekly sneaks of features under development for Flash Builder “Burrito”, this week we’re excited to show you how Quick Assist/Fix will make you more productive when coding ActionScript.

Flash Builder “Burrito” is an upcoming version of the product that is currently in development – the final feature sneak (for now) will be posted next week. Enjoy!

Flash Builder “Burrito” sneak #3

Following on from the previous feature sneaks for Flash Builder “Burrito”, this week we’re excited to show you a quick demonstration of code templates (also referred to as snippets) for MXML, AS and CSS code.

Flash Builder “Burrito” is an upcoming version of the product that is currently in development – another feature sneak will be posted next week. Enjoy!