Posts in Category "Labs"

Updates from the Lab

Customer feedback helps us evolve Flash so that we can help developers and designers push what’s possible for over a billion people on the web. Adobe Labs is an invaluable channel for us to engage with our community, and it’s where we share some of our early investigations, showcasing unsupported previews of experimental technologies. Some of these previews go on to become fully supported features or products, and others are phased out after we’ve had the opportunity to learn from them, allowing us to prioritize new product innovations.

In advance of releasing the next-generation Flash runtimes, Flash Player 11 and AIR 3, we want to share that we will soon be winding down our Labs preview of “Alchemy.”

We released Alchemy on Labs over two years ago as an experimental prototype that allowed developers to leverage C/C++ code in Flash Player and AIR. We have not updated the original Alchemy prototype, and while we noted from the beginning that it should not be relied upon for production content, we’ve received persistent requests from developers asking for official support in the Flash runtimes.

We’ve been listening and have decided to invest in creating an improved version of Alchemy, which we plan to release as part of a paid production offering for commercial development. We intend to make non-commercial use free of charge.

The production release will offer significantly better performance and productivity over the Labs prototype. By re-architecting major portions of the technology, we aim to enable code execution approaching native performance, scalable support for large code bases, full debugging support, up to 75% reduction in code size, and seamless integration with ActionScript – all while reaching virtually every connected computer on the web.

This new offering will be available with a future update to the Flash runtimes, and we are temporarily including the prototype in the initial releases of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3. We continue to advise developers not to use the prototype for production content. Content created with the prototype for Flash Player 10.x and AIR 2.x will continue to work in future versions of Flash Player and AIR. The new production version of Alchemy will be needed to deliver Alchemy-enabled content that requires Flash Player 11 or AIR 3 and beyond.

In other Adobe Labs updates, we’re excited about today’s announcement that Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will be available in early October. They introduce full GPU-accelerated graphics rendering with the new Stage 3D API previewed on Adobe Labs, providing 1000x faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Stage 3D takes the throttle off developer and designer creativity, enabling stunning content that can animate millions of objects with silky smooth 60 FPS rendering. Check out our announcement blog post to learn more about this and the other advanced new capabilities in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3.

We’re using the spirit of innovation behind Adobe Labs to change what people can do on the web, and technologies like Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 will enable a new class of incredible immersive experiences. We have a lot more in store as we continue our work to enable millions of developers to reach over a billion people with stunning applications – from games and premium video to sophisticated, data-driven content. We look forward to sharing – and showing – more about the future at Adobe MAX next month.

Update – Nov 22, 2011: Starting with Flash Player 11.2 and AIR 3.2, content targeting Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 (i.e., content using SWF version 13 and above) will not support the experimental Alchemy prototype. Existing Alchemy experiments targeting Flash Player 10.x and AIR 2.x are unaffected. We’re continuing work on the new production version of Alchemy for next year that will allow developers to publish Alchemy-enabled content targeting Flash Player 11 or AIR 3 and beyond. And if you’re interested in Alchemy, we invite you to participate in our survey. We appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback!

 

Adobe AIR 3 and Flash Player 11 Desktop Beta for Developers Now Available!

Today we are excited to announce the availability of the Adobe AIR 3 beta and the Adobe Flash Player 11 beta for desktop platforms on Adobe Labs.  AIR and Flash Player continue to drive innovation for rich, engaging digital experiences with new features for cross-device standalone application development and expressive rich internet applications, games, and videos in the browser.   Some of the features from the Flash Player Incubator, such as Stage 3D and 64-bit support, have been moved into this beta release. Developers can test and provide feedback on the new features, and should also focus on testing existing content for compatibility and stability.

Some of the features and performance enhancements included in the Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 betas:

  •  Captive Runtime for AIR*: This popular feature from AIR for iOS will now be available on AIR for desktop.  Simplify the app installation process, reduce testing and certification cost by encapsulating the AIR runtime in your Windows, Mac and and Android apps.
  • Native 64-bit support for Flash Player: Take advantage of new 64-bit operating systems and 64-bit Web browsers on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.
  • Stage 3D graphics rendering: Stage 3D  (“Molehill) is a new method of 2D and 3D rendering and is supported with a new Stage3D API. The Stage3D API is a set of low-level GPU-accelerated APIs enabling advanced 2D and 3D capabilities across multiple screens and devices (desktop, mobile and tv). These new low-level APIs will provide 2D and 3D engine developers the flexibility to leverage GPU hardware acceleration for significant performance gains.  You can view examples on the Stage 3D page.
  • H.264/AVC SW Encode for camera encoding: Higher compression efficiency and industry wide support for real-time communications and non-real-time broadcast scenarios, like webcasting, livecasting, etc.
  • Native JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) support: Enables ActionScript programmers take advantage of fast parsing and generation of JSON-formatted data. Take existing data and integrate it with minimal or no modification into your ActionScript project.

* The AIR 3 desktop runtime beta is provided to ensure current AIR 2.7 and AIR apps targeting older version of AIR are compatible with this upcoming release of AIR 3. At this time the AIR 3 SDK and AIR 3 specific features (e.g. captive runtime) will not be available in a public beta.  To learn more about the new AIR 3 mobile and desktop features and develop apps with AIR 3, please apply for admission to our private prerelease program

We’re also pleased to announce a new public bugbase system where you can file bugs and feature requests for both Flash Player and AIR. The new bugbase is a public front end to our internal bugbase, which will improve tracking, communication, and responsiveness for issues and feature requests. The former bugbase will remain as read only, and we are in the process of transferring over all relevant issues and feature requests to the new system.

Finally, as 3D and security have been a topic of interest lately, I want to touch on a few points about how Adobe is bringing 3D to the Web in Flash Player and apps through AIR. Because two of our primary design goals were to ensure Stage 3D will run great on mobile devices without compromising security, the Stage 3D implementation exposes a specific set of GPU features, resulting in a small API surface, making it easier to secure. We also added restrictions that help mitigate many of the security concerns around accessing OpenGL. For instance, we limit the number of calls per frame, minimizing the risk of denial-of-service attacks. We also designed a simple shader language (AGAL – Adobe Graphics Assembly Language) with restrictions such as prohibiting loops or functions inside shaders. The simplicity of AGAL makes it also easy to verify and validate compared to the GLSL dialect that is used by other solutions like WebGL.

This first beta is a desktop release, and we’re hard at work on mobile, which will be coming soon. The runtimes team is looking forward to your feedback during the beta period, and the amazing experiences that will be delivered through Flash Player 11 and AIR 3!

To learn more about the Flash Player 11 features, and for compatibility testing, please participate in the Flash Player 11 beta.

To learn more about the AIR 3 features and for compatibility testing for AIR desktop apps, please participate in the AIR 3 beta.

Announcing Adobe AIR 2 Beta 2 Now Available on Adobe Labs

Today we are making available the second beta of Adobe AIR 2 on our Adobe Labs website. Since our first beta release of AIR 2 back in November, our team has been focused on improving the quality of AIR 2 as well as adding a number of new capabilities to the runtime.

Since we are very close to shipping AIR 2, we would like to request that all developers download the AIR 2 beta 2 runtime and SDK, read the release notes and developer FAQ for important changes and known issues, and test out their 1.0 and 2.0 applications. If you run into an issue, our team would like to hear from you. Please submit a bug using our feedback form. You can also post questions to the AIR 2 beta 2 forums if you would like to connect with other developers using the AIR 2 beta 2 runtime and SDK.

Two new features that developers mab be particularly interested in are the following:

  • Print Job Enhancements
    New properties and methods have been added to the PrintJob class to give you better control of the way content is printed from an AIR application, including the choice of printer, paper size, and number of copies. New properties also give you more information about the printer, such as printable area, whether the printer will print in color, and whether the print job is currently active. The new PrintJobOptions.printMethod property allows you specify whether to use bitmap or vector printing. The PrintJobOptions.pixelsPerInch property allows you to specify the resolution of print jobs. The new PrintUIOptions class allows you to control how much the end user can change the page range to be printed. See PrintJob, PrintJobOptions, and PrintUIOptions.
  • TLS/SSL Sockets
    You can now connect to a server that requires TLSv1 or SSLv3 for socket communications. See SecureSocket.

If you are interested in learning more about the new printing capabilities in the AIR 2 beta 2, please be sure to watch Adobe platform evangelist Ryan Stewart’s interview with Rick Rocheleau, the developer that led the development of these new features.

Important: Applications built against Adobe AIR 2 beta 1 will not run using the AIR 2 beta 2 runtime. In order for an AIR 2 beta 1 application to run on the AIR 2 beta 2 runtime, the namespace of the beta 1 application descriptor file must first be updated to "2.0beta2" and compiled against the AIR 2 beta 2 SDK. .

We have updated all of our AIR 2 beta sample applications to be compatible with the AIR 2 runtime.

Thank you for your continued help and support. In addition to our blog, please be sure to follow us on Twitter for AIR-related updates.

Rob Christensen
Product Manager, Adobe AIR