The Future of Web Publishing and Media Playback

Today Adobe announced two exciting new Flash Platform open source initiatives that will help media companies and publishers reinvent themselves and jumpstart innovation on the Web. Specifically, we have released as open source the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF), previously part of the “Strobe” project, and the Text Layout Framework (TLF). Both are now freely available under the Mozilla Public License as part of our broader strategy called Open@Adobe, which Dave McAllister describes below.

OSMF gives developers standard video player functionality, like playback controls, video navigation, buffering and Dynamic Streaming, including an API that partners can use to drop in plug-ins to add advertising and reporting features. The flexible OSMF framework embodies best practices for media player development, allowing the developer more time to focus on the overall user experience. With OSMF, content publishers can build advanced and feature rich media players, along the lines of what Hulu has created or CBS TV player, with much less work than it takes today. It is now available for free at

TLF is an extensible ActionScript library that runs on the new text engine in Flash Player 10 and AIR 1.5. Leveraging the publishing expertise of the Adobe InDesign team, TLF offers a level of typographic control and sophistication that goes well beyond what can be done with HTML and CSS.

TLF is being used today in The New York Times TimesReader 2.0 and The Boston Globe’s GlobeReader Adobe AIR applications, and represent an excellent use of TLF’s reflowing text, multiple columns, and top notch typography features. The new text layout features in AIR are enabling the New York Times and Boston Globe to create an experience like the real paper and opening up new types of apps and subscription models.

makebook has built a community content creation, collaboration and collection platform that makes extensive use of TLF, BlazeDS for remoting to a Java backend, the Flex framework for the frontend, and other open source technologies. With this online authoring network, makebook users can create content and write stories using advanced text capabilities, add multimedia content, and publish content to a library or share content with friends–all within the browser. Subscriptions are available for collaboration and co-authoring.

makebook application.png

Adobe is also practicing what we preach by using TLF for all text objects in the new Presentations service that provides a great way for people to collaboratively create and share presentations.

I look forward to seeing the next generation of Web applications that the OSMF and TLF projects will enable.

Two New Open Source Projects at Adobe

Today we’re announcing two more projects going up on and becoming part of the open source family at Adobe. The first is the Text Layout Framework, which comes from some of the advancements we made in Flash Player 10 to improve text support in Flash Player. The other is the Open Source Media Framework, which was known by the codename “Strobe” and provides a robust framework for media playback of any kind (video, audio, dynamic SWFs).

The Text Layout Framework (TLF) is something that’s going to be a huge boon to developers. If you’ve been working with text in the new Flex 4 components then you’ve been working with the Text Layout Framework. If you haven’t seen the demo you can check it out over on Labs. It was created by a group that is just a few blocks north of me and does a great job of showing off the features of the new TLF. Now that the Text Layout Framework is open source you can push, pull, and extend it to your heart’s content. A great example of this in action is the New York Times Reader and the Boston Globe Reader – both of which wouldn’t have been possible without the Text Layout Framework.

The other project we’re releasing is the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). I’ve been digging into the documentation a bit and I’m excited about what this means for rich media and the Flash Platform. The OSMF includes hooks for any kind of media type the Flash Player supports including images, audio, SWF content, and of course video. Using the framework you can create your own media players and the OSMF provides a set of powerful baseline functionality. It has hooks for creating your own plug-ins for metrics, advertising, and other functions. It has support for both progressive download and streaming built in as well as all of the video controls and functionality. And there isn’t any UI associated with the OSMF so you can integrate it into your application however you want.

I encourage you to download the source code and check out the samples. There are some good examples that show how to go about building plugins, how to use the composite media features (so you can support a number of different media types in one player), and how to build UI components on top of the framework.

Open at Adobe

What is “open”? It’s a question I’ve been asking for quite a while now and I can’t seem to find a definitive answer.
Dave McAllister (Adobe’s Open Standards Evangelist) actually sums it up nicely: “Open is the currently most misused word in the IT space,” he says. “Open really comes down and says it’s accessible, extensible […]

New York Times Reader – Why AIR?

This morning, the New York Times launched a new desktop application for reading their newspaper built on Adobe AIR.   At first glance, you may ask, “What’s the big deal? – I can read the New York Times online already”.  When I first heard about this application, I asked the same question!
I’ve seen a few […]