All posts tagged ‘adobe’

File Under: Multimedia, Software

Adobe Revamps Flash Player for Netbooks, P2P, Private Browsing

Adobe has released the first beta for Flash 10.1, the next major milestone for the Flash Player plugin.

Flash 10.1 is an important update not just for its enhanced speed and new features, but also for Adobe to show that there is in fact still a place for Flash on the web.

Flash’s ubiquity as the solution for web video and animations has been challenged recently; first by HTML5, which gives developers a standardized way to embed audio, video and animation without resorting to Flash, and also by Apple’s decision to ban Flash from its iPhone/iPad platform.

While we expect HTML5 to slowly but surely replace Flash for common tasks like web audio and video, the plugin still offers many features HTML5 doesn’t and Flash 10.1 builds on those strengths with several new features.

The two most interesting features for web developers are the new priority tag in the Flash HTML embed code and the peer-assisted networking features.

The priority tag is especially helpful for speeding up page load times on netbooks and mobile devices since it allows developers to lower the priority of a Flash movie. Set the priority tag to something low and your Flash movie won’t try to load until the rest of the page is already finished. That means faster page load times and no waiting around for large Flash movies before you see the surrounding content.

The peer-assisted networking builds on Flash’s existing P2P capabilities to offer peer-based streaming media — think BitTorrent in your Flash player. However, don’t look for Flash-based torrent clients, what’s more likely are browser-based VOIP apps, better chat features in Flash games, improved conferencing applications and possibly even P2P radio streaming.

Other new features available in Flash 10.1 include support for the host browser’s “private browsing” mode (Flash won’t accept cookies or other local objects when you’re in “private” mode), a new accelerometer class (don’t even think about using it for the iPhone), hardware video decoding, much better performance and more.

For full details on everything that’s new, be sure to check out the release notes.

For now Flash 10.1 is a beta release, so it’s a bit soon to start using the new features in the wild. But if you’d like to test them out, head over to the Adobe Labs download page and grab a copy (be sure to use the uninstaller to delete your existing Flash Player before you install the new version). The updated Flash for Mobile client will reportedly be arriving later in 2010.

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File Under: HTML5, Multimedia, Software

Flash Faces Down Threats on Adobe’s Big Day


Adobe announced details of its Creative Suite of applications Monday amid a stormy debate over its relevancy and the vitality of Flash, one of its most important products. But even though the air around it has grown chilly and the skies above have darkened with menace, Adobe went ahead and held its big parade anyway.

[See our reviews of the new Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash]

The fact is, even though it looks like the cards are stacked against the Flash platform, there’s very little threat that it will be supplanted by another technology any time soon.

Key to Flash’s success is the explosion of web video. More than 90 percent of web-enabled computers around the world have Flash Player installed, and all of those people can go to sites like Hulu or Comedy Central or YouTube right now and watch the full spectrum of clips, from viral candy to Hollywood hits. Microsoft’s Silverlight technology, which can also stream videos at a level of quality roughly on par with Flash, doesn’t have the same penetration (it’s closer to 30 to 40 percent Update: the post I previously linked to was outdated, and according to Microsoft’s April numbers, it’s actually closer to 60 percent), and there are far fewer sites using Silverlight as their sole video platform.

Also, the latest version of Flash Player (version 10.1, which came out earlier this year) addressed many of the performance, security and consistency issues that have been dogging Flash for the last year.

So, for now, Flash remains the de facto standard for video on the web.

While some proponents of the open web would have you believe that a viable replacement for Flash is already here in the form of HTML5 video, that’s not exactly the case. The HTML5 video tag does indeed allow you to embed videos in web pages without Flash. But native HTML5 video has several things holding it back.

Continue Reading “Flash Faces Down Threats on Adobe’s Big Day” »

File Under: Programming, Software

Dreamweaver CS5 First Look: More WordPressy, More Firebuggy

Dreamweaver CS5

There’s a new version of Adobe Dreamweaver on the way, and it includes new features for building sites with WordPress, new CSS enhancements and a new set of tools that let you see code changes in real time as you work, much like the popular Firebug add-on.

Adobe announced details about its latest Creative Suite bundle of applications on Monday morning. Creative Suite 5 is Adobe’s new package of apps for building websites, assembling videos and editing photos. We have a first look at Flash CS5 here on Webmonkey, and we have a first look at the new Photoshop on’s Gadget Lab.

Dreamweaver, which has been one of the most popular apps for developing websites since its debut (as a Macromedia creation) in 1998, gets a fairly substantial update in Creative Suite 5. It doesn’t have the whiz-bang new features found in Photoshop CS5, but if Dreamweaver is part of your development workflow, you’ll definitely find much to appreciate in the new Dreamweaver CS5 that makes it worth an upgrade.

Of course, whether or not to use a WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver is a debate in itself. Most can get by with a text editor, a few browsers and a short stack of reference materials. But if you’re working with a team of developers, or if you’re building more complicated sites with dynamic elements, databases and hundreds of pages, tools like Dreamweaver are essential. They speed up the workflow, keep everything organized and ease the pain of constant testing and iteration.

So, if Dreamweaver has a place in your life, here’s a rundown of what’s new in the latest version.

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File Under: HTML5, Multimedia, Software

Flash CS5 First Look: Adobe Drops a Hefty Update Into Stormy Waters


Adobe has released details about the latest version its Flash authoring tool, which arrives amid great uncertainty concerning the multimedia platform’s future.

Flash Professional CS5 boasts a number of improvements over previous versions, including better animation physics, improved typography controls, new code hints and snippets for building webapps in ActionScript, some new data formats, and better ability to add cue points to videos. It also has a few tricks for developers eager to publish apps to places where Flash isn’t allowed.

Flash is part of Creative Suite 5, Adobe’s new package of apps for building websites, assembling videos and editing photos. The new suite of apps, which Adobe says will ship mid-May, was announced Monday. We have a first look at Dreamweaver CS5 on Webmonkey, and we have a first look at the new Photoshop on’s Gadget Lab.

Adobe Flash has taken a beating lately, especially from the hurricane that Apple’s public relations team generated around the launch of the iPad. Apple’s mobile devices don’t support Flash Player, so Apple is encouraging web developers to make their sites “iPad-ready” by removing Flash elements.

Also, last week, the new iPhone OS was announced, and it includes a new rule banning applications built with cross-compilers. Flash CS5 will ship with such a cross-compiler, Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, which lets developers build apps in Adobe’s suite of tools that can be exported with the click of a button and wrapped up as Apple-native code. Well, those apps won’t run on iPhones and iPads once the devices get their software updates this summer and fall, respectively. (There’s also a note on Adobe’s website Monday noting the use of Packager for iPhone is “Subject to Apple’s current requirements and approval.”)

Continue Reading “Flash CS5 First Look: Adobe Drops a Hefty Update Into Stormy Waters” »

File Under: Browsers, HTML5, Multimedia

Apple Taunts Flash With List of ‘iPad Ready’ Websites

The iPad comes out Saturday. Apple reminds you to make sure your site is ready.

In anticipation of Saturday’s release of the iPad — which doesn’t run Flash — Apple has published a list of “iPad Ready” websites.

The sites are all big league sluggers like CNN, The New York Times, People Magazine and Surprisingly, there are also a few video-heavy sites in the mix (Vimeo, Flickr, and TED) which would traditionally rely on Flash Player for video playback.

The intro at the top of the page says “iPad features Safari, a mobile web browser that supports the latest web standards — including HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.” Setting aside the fact HTML5 is not a web standard (it’s still a draft specification, and it will be for a while), it’s clear that Apple isn’t budging in its fight to push open web standards over plug-in based web video and user interface experiences.

And why would Apple ever ease up? The more the web relies on open technologies, the more iPad buyers will be able to do with their shiny new devices, and the more satisfied they will be.

In the two months since the iPad was announced, Apple has been waging a campaign urging web developers to stop using Adobe Flash Player and to use HTML5 for video playback instead. But while the most forward-looking developers are rushing to optimize their websites for Flash-less mobiles and tablets, many are wary of embracing open video whole hog. There’s no agreed-upon video format for HTML5, and the support varies greatly from browser to browser.

It puts developers in a pickle: build a killer video experience for Apple devices, but leave Firefox, IE and Opera users out (Google Chrome offers different support on different platforms).

Some are going the route of falling back on Flash for any users not browsing with Safari. But that path — coding multiple versions of a website for multiple browsers — is precisely what developers have been trying to avoid for the last decade. It also opens up a can of patent license worms.

It’s also important to note that HTML5 isn’t just for video playback. It’s a substantial redesign of the way web pages are assembled (with an emphasis on semantic markup), and it includes various APIs for building full-blown web applications.

Not to be overly critical of Apple — anyone pushing for open web standards deserves kudos — but the company seems more deeply concerned with digging Flash’s grave than it does with promoting semantic markup. The page on Apple’s website mentions HTML5 ten times, and nine of those mentions refer explicitly to video playback.

Apple has posted some technical guides at the bottom of the page to help “ensure that your website looks and works great on the iPad.” It also has a form you can fill out to submit your site for its gallery of iPad-ready sites.

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