Notes from the Adobe keynote at FITC

These are the notes from the Adobe keynote at FITC. The areas in emphasis (like this one) are my thoughts and comments. The highlight of the presentation for me was the new information released on Flex Builder 3 and the latest statistics for Flash Player 9.

Latest statistics for the Flash Player to be officially released this week:

Player 9: Out for nine months. Has now surpassed the 80% mark. 83.4% now.

This is great news and the fastest penetration of any Flash Player version.

Mike shows off Papervision 3D to demonstrate the performance of the new AVM in Flash Player 9 and then demoes full-screen video.

What's next for the Flash Player?

Tamarin (the open source ActionScript Virtual Engine).

This week, you can contribute to what's going on. Tomorrow in Toronto I, you can join the Flash Player team and give them your feedback on the player. Tuesday, there's a session for Flex where you can give feedback to the Flex team.

CS3 is now shipping.

Integrating the workflows between Photoshop and Flash and Flex, Illustrator and Flash and Flex.

Mike's demoing Flash CS3 Professional. Flash, Photoshop and Illustrator now have the same user interface. The first time there's a docked interface on the Mac. This is the first version of Flash that I'd consider *usable* on the Mac -- it rocks!

You can shrink panels into icons to maximize screen real estate. The timeline itself is a full-featured panel so you can drag it out, you can put it on a second monitor, dock it, etc.

Mike's favorite feature in Flash CS3: Ability to import Photoshop files into Flash -- the new Photoshop importer. Flash can preserve Photoshop vector objects on vector layers. You can also translate certain blend modes and keep them editable. You can have text made editable when imported into Flash (won't work for text on a path or any other text feature that is not available in Flash.) Lots of flexibility in how you can import your PSD files.

You can select any layer and make that layer into a MovieClip and set the registration point. You can also put layers into a folder and then make that folder into a MovieClip. You can even nest MovieClips that way. You can also give them an instance name.

Now Flash uses the Photoshop JPEG compression engine. You can set compression per asset in the importer interface.

There's also an Illustrator importer. When you bring Illustrator vectors into Flash, the fidelity of your Bezier curves is preserved much better (even with copy and paste, which was also improved.)

Mike's second favorite feature: Automatic timeline animation to ActionScript animation conversion (Robert Penner created this feature.) He's showing an animation that has an animated blur and follows a motion guide.He selects the tween -> right click -> Copy Motion as ActionScript 3.0 and copies that timeline animation to the clipboard as code. (You can paste this code into Flex too.) The animation is described in XML and uses E4X to parse it and recreate the motion via an animation class that Robert wrote.

Also lots of innovation going on in the Flex community. Mike introduces Ted Patrick to talk about this.

Ted's been doing Flash for ten years. Ted loves the timeline. Flash and Flex have been a little distant -- too distant. What Ted's talking about is going to be released tomorrow morning: Bringing Flash and Flex together. Allow Flash developers to create high-end components for Flex. Anyone doing Flash today can create Flex components.

This is new! Cool!

Use Flash CS3 to create Flex components. The components are SWC files.

He's showing an example:

There's a car movie clip with interactions, etc. Clicks it and chooses to make it into a Flex component. Publishes it. In Flex the adds the SWC to his project's library. Then he adds the car to his Flex application and writes <fl:NameOfComponent /> in Flex to add it to his application.

This is really cool: It's going to make it very easy for Flash developers to make Flex components without any specialized knowledge of the Flex framework.

Kevin Towes, product manager of Flash Media Server, is coming on stage to talk about Flash Video.

OK, he's doing a Flash Media Server infomercial. Boring -- sounds like a sales pitch. Tells me nothing about what I can do with this stuff. There's a new video encoder that's free but is the whole thing free? Will people need to buy Flash Media Server? How is this different from outputting video from the Flash IDE? I don't get it.

Mike's back and is going to talk about Apollo.

Apollo is a cross-operating system runtime (Mac, PC, Linux) that allows web developers to leverage their existing skills to build and deploy RIAs to the desktop. He's showing the ebay Apollo app. The net connection goes down. Why can't tech conferences get the Net connection right? Or hotels, for that matter.

He's showing an example that does work offline: An HTML-based application. Entire application created in HTML and converted to an Apollo application. It caches content locally so that you can use it offline. Mike's offline. The app works. Cool. :)

Later in the year, when they release Apollo 1.0, they'll also be releasing extensions for Dreamweaver and Flash to build Apollo applications. And you can use Flex Builder today to build Apollo applications or the free Apollo and Flex SDKs.

He's showing the first Apollo application that Adobe has built called Adobe Media Player. It's not yet publicly available but he's going to show a sneak peek of it. It's coming out in beta in a few months and will ship alongside Apollo.

It works for viewing FLV files by double-clicking on them. (You can register extensions with Apollo.) It uses RSS feeds of video (including metadata like thumbnails, etc.)

He has shows that he has subscribed to. In the feed there's metadata used to skin the interface. You can also deliver ad banners through the feed.

Are Adobe taking on iTunes?

You'll be able to create a feed and distribute it through the Adobe Media Player.

With Apollo you can build full-featured desktop applications. Some of the top features:

Ted's back, talking about Flex.

The next version of Flex is going to be delivered this calendar year.

He's going to show a preview of Flex Builder 3.

What is Flex? A way to make SWF files. It is for developers. It is for making applications. You can deploy to the web (Flash Player) and to the desktop (Apollo).

Ted's showing picnik -- an online photo application made with Flex 2.

Another Flex 2 app: SlideRocket. I can't find this app online -- I must've gotten the name wrong. Anyone know the actual name? Thanks, Simon! For creating presentations. You create your slides online and then you can download your slides/assets and run them offline through Apollo.

He's now showing Buzzword.

The next Flex, code name "Moxie":

I'm very excited about the back-end neutrality and the additional language intelligence in Flex Builder 3. Refactoring support is going to be a huge productivity booster and the integrated profiler should prove very useful.

That's it! Mike Downey just made some closing comments and the keynote is over.