The Flashbelt 08 conference started this morning with a warm welcome by Dave Schroeder, the big chief of the conference. He mentioned that there are free posters and tshirts for everyone … wooot :-).
Then the Adobe keynote started. First Mark Anders (senoir principal scientist Adobe Systems) started to talk about what already happened in the past. He told the flash player adoption is doing great by having 97.2 adoption in March 2008. Other things he talked about was the HD quality video that was introduced… Flex 3 that moved open source and the Adobe AIR runtime. He actually showed a really cool AIR example to order pizzas called the PIZZA HUT SHORTCUT. Actually it was quite funny that the application just said : “Store is closed now” … Actually normal people do not eat pizza in the morning at 9.00 ‘o clock :-).
Another great application was shown called SNACKR. It is a very nice RSS reader which lives as a scrolling bar on the bottom of your desktop.
The Mark talked a bit about the upcoming AIR 1.1 release which will be out very very soon… In this nex AIR release there will be extra language support, multilingual application support, additional enterprise deployment, critical bug fixes,…
The Justin Everett Church came on stage to talk about Flash Player 10. Justin said that three elements are very important for the Flash player: community, performance and experience. The community can make the Flash Player what you want it to be (eg: open source virtual machine Tamarin). The performance is always important because it will make your whole application faster by:
Last thing important to Adobe is expierience which can be summarized in one sentence: “Adobe gives us the tools to rock the web !“.
Justin showed some examples about the 3D support in Flash Player 10. He started to show some spinning phones example (3D caroussel thing). Actually I hate 3D carroussels because it has be done sooo many times, but it’s ok for one time Justin 😉 Cool thing was he also mentioned that the Flash player team will help to support other (more advanced in my opinion) open 3D libraries: He showed the temple example from the Alternativa 3D platform running in Flash Player 9 and in Flash Player 10. You could clearly see the performance was better, colors looks nicier, you saw more detail in the textures,… Actually the Alternativa platform looks quite promising 😉
Justin also told us that it will be possible to define a shape in one command to define more advanced 3D objects. You can use the drawTriangle method, add shading, etc.
Also the new File object possibilities are quite promising. At this moment you have to upload eg an image to a server if you want to use user content. It is now possible in Flash Player 10 to access the desktop without going to the server. This will make applications where user are generating content much more enjoyable. To end his part of the keynote he also showed some examples of the Sound and text engine which are much approved in Flash Player 10.
Important to know is that Adobe is working on an new AIR version (codename AIR COSMO) which will implement all the Flash Player 10 functionality. This AIR version will be released shortly after the release of Flash Player 10.
Then Richard Galvan (Technical Product Manager for Flash) jumped on stage to talk about THE NEXT VERSION of Flash… It’s funny that Adobe is not talking about Flash CS4… maybe because they want to call the next version Flash NXT (just a guess) ? An interesting thing was he asked the peoples in the room who was still coding in AS2, who already coded in AS3 and who of the AS2 people wanted to be and AS3 developer. A lot of the AS2 people wants to be an AS3 developer so that’s the reason why Adobe is going to invest a lot in learnability which is I think a very good decision.
Then Richard has a slide saying… You want to see a sneak of Flash ? Hell yeah 🙂
Richard showed the 3D possibilities inside the Flash IDE. I already saw some Flash sneaks in the last months and it is always funny to see that everybody is placing the timeline on the bottom… looks like the standard placement of the timeline in After Effects. Maybe it will be the standard layout in the next version of Flash with the timeline at the bottom. To make the 3D possible in Flash, there is for eg a MovieClip a new UI present that let you rotate and translate using the 3D Rotation Tool and the 3D Translation tool. (both locally and globally). The 3D possibilities are quite simple and we need to wait for even later versions to mayve have Camera views, different stage views,… All the 3D possibilities can also be programmed using Actionscript. I just hope one thing: not to much spinning logo’s in the next generation of Flash sites 😉
The 3D possibilities also will allow you to easily set up a parallax effect by animating the separate items in 3D. You can set the Focal length easily inside the “3D position and view” part inside the properties inspector of the object.
Richard ended his talk showing some example of the new Inverse Kinematics (IK) possibilities that will be available in the next version of Flash. Bones Joint Rotation, Joint X-Translation, Joint Y-Translation,… wil be all possible and the coolest thing is that even inside the IDE and at runtime this all can be done.
Then Mark Anders went on stage again and talked about Building Rich Internet Applications today. At this moment a tipical flow is that a designer starts in Photoshop and makes the visual composition and the assets/vignettes. Then the developer does the design integration and re-implementation. But the designers don’t own the design: they specify the design, they do not own it. Also on the other side, devlopers waste time; actually they can not use what a designer gives them. And also it never looks exactly what the designers wanted. What Adobe wants is that the designers implement and own the application design. They will try to do this by the next version of Flex and the upcoming new tool called Thermo.
Flex 4 will be there for developers AND designers AND applications AND content. Flex 4 will provide graphics as building blocks. Starting at the lowest level, graphics as the low level building blocks: eg:
Graphic >>Ellipse >> Radial Gradient >>Gradient Entry
Another example: Imagine you have a list in Flex 4: you will need to separate the functionality from the look of the list. So the border rectangle, scrollbar etc will be defined anto a <Skin></Skin> entry.
Then Mark showed Adobe Thermo. The workflow for Adobe Thermo will be like this:
Your different “pages” inside your design will be different states in Thermo and you can easily drill down into the layers to find the graphic piece you want to use. Imagine if you have a design for a button, you easily select the design element and right click > convert to Button. The artwork is then converted to a button and the different states for a button will be present (up, down, over, selected) so you can do the adjustments you want for every state.
Thermo actually feels like familiar Adobe Design Tools and has a very usable user interface. Important to know about the Thermo timeline is that this timeline is not frame based, but time based. You can easily add transitions from one state to another state and each effect you add can be easily altered by the properties inside the properties panel. Also you can have several timelines for animations between states.
To conclude Mark Anders said that the public beta for Thermo will be available later this year…. (yeah nothing more specific
Woow… this was quite a lot to start Flashbelt 08 with. I expected a lot more sneek peaks actually about the next Flash version but I am sure Richard Galvan will show more about Flash tomorrow during the second keynote which is only about the NEXT version of Flash. Already looking forward to it !