Adobe Flash Professional Cs5


THE IPHONE PACKAGER

When this feature was demoed at the Adobe MAX conference flashmagazine.com
everyone thought that Adobe had nailed it. Many think the iPhone export is the main new feature of Flash CS5, but we were soon taken down to earth by a certain head of Apple inc and his new SDK rules techcrunch.com
The feature will however debut in FCS5 as planned despite the fact that it is very likely that Apple will not distribute any applications made with it. We will just have to wait and see how this plays out, but the start is looking far from good techcrunch.com
Flash fans like ourselves may think this is foul play by Apple, but truth is - Adobe never asked Apple for permission. Last week, before Apples new line was known, we asked Richard Galvan, Product Manager for Flash authoring if they had any guarantee from Apple that Flash-generated iPhone apps would be allowed access to the App store.



Richard replied that theres no indication from Apple that they feel this way about this. He also said that 130 apps made with Flash are in the app store already. All we can do is hope Apple and Adobe can work this out as it would be a very handy feature. Then again - its no crisis.


The list of mobile businesses that want to include Flash on their devices is solid and growing openscreenproject.org
business, its decline in the market has already started blogs.com
To quote Flash developer Kevin Suttle kevinsuttle.com
amounts of Flash/Flex work we had before MAX 2009?". Adobes Kevin Lynch has also made an official statement adobe.com
that "the ability to package an application for the iPhone or iPad is one feature in one product in Creative Suite". Luckily theres lots more in this release and the rest of this review will focus on that. Well also highlight more of the mobile specific features later in the article.

CODE IMPROVEMENTS



The code editor in Flash has always been kind of a stepchild. So many used external code editors that Adobe didnt find it important to spend on it. FCS5 changes this! The editor now has full support for code hints and auto-completion, also for external libraries.


Just write "var mySprite:" and as you type, all object types from linked libraries will pop up. Just as in Flash Builder, when you then take that further and write "var mySprite:Sprite = new ", the Sprite class will be at the top of the list of code hints so you can just press Enter to accept it.





The code hinting works for all methods, properties and parameters Other nice additions are automatic adding of import statements and closing of brackets, so expect a solid speed boost if youve been coding using the Flash IDE up until now.

THE NEW FORMATS FXG AND XFL



CS5 also sees the debut of the XFL file format, a new format that several Adobe applications now can export to. By saving your project to a folder with all the assets within and a XML file that describes easily add your projects to version control systems such as SVN or GIT. The graphics are described in the XFL file using the new FXG format and can be exported from InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator. The spec for this file format will be published and open, so other applications may be used to author FXG files as well.


Who knows? Maybe someone will use this to create a competing Flash authoring tool using FCS5? Anything is possible with open formats.

DEVICE CENTRAL



Modern mobile phones have things such as accelerometers, gestures and in Flashplayer 10.1 and AIR 2.0. To support this FCS5 comes with an updated version of Device Central that lets you test all these things without having to deploy the application to the mobile phone. Its not a replacement from tesing on the device, but it makes the development process so much easier. Keep in mind that while we may not be able to target the iPhone, well soon be able to target many, many more devices based on the Android platform created by Google.


Its not quite the same, but HTC, LG, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson all creates phones based on will support Flash Player 10 or AIR 2.0 and many will even support both. While I couldnt get this to work at all with the Beta build I had been given, Device Central will let you test against emulated versions of all of these phones.

WORKFLOW IMPROVEMENTS



Improving the workflow has been one of the main themes for the CS5 release and while you cant move files between Flash and Flash Builder up FCS5 to use Flash Builder as its main code editor. You can also do this the other way around, by referencing the FLA from Flash Builder.



When you have edited your code in Flash Builder, just press CTRL+Enter as youre used to and FCS5 opens up to display the file. Close the preview and youre right back in Builder.


This is a very nice implementation that Ive gotten used to very easily. In theory, Flash Builder can be used to debug and profile files created in FCS5. The files supposedly share breakpoints and all but I was unable to get this to work. Ill keep looking for the way to do it as this is something Ive wanted for a long time. The debugger in Flash has become less and less valuable with every release flashmagazine.com
and being able to use the one in Flash Builder would be great.

LOST FEATURES



Yes. FCS5 has actually lost some features with this release.


In every release, some features are regarded as outdated and are thus discontinued. From now on we wont be able to open Freehand, PICT, PNTG TGA and SGI files. We also wont be able to export EMF, WMF as well as sequences of WMF, BMP or TGA images. Version Cue support is also well that you can find in the release notes.

SMALL BUT NICE ADDITIONS



Theres a host of other new features in FCS5 as well. While not all important, theyre still very handy for those that need them. * The FLVPlayback component now has a better Cue Point editor that integrates nicely with the CuePoint snippet, making it easy to make quite advanced video applications without much programming.


* FLVPlayback also gets a new series of minimal skins that take up less screen estate * Video can now be played back directly on stage. This supports alpha-video so aligning alpha video to graphic assets are now much easier * SWF size history, shows how your SWF has grown over time based on data gathered every time you compile your file.

A LITTLE FOR THE DESIGNERS AS WELL



FCS4 was huge for designers with so many cool new features. One of these were Inverse Kinematics and FCS5 takes this a bit further and adds some physics to the mix. For each joint, you can now set up springs to make the motion more natural. Apparently, theres more then just this one physics feature added and I cant wait to see what will happen when someone hacks this so it can be used via programming. The Deco tool has also gotten an update with more effects available.


Direct edit of assets in Photoshop from the library is another timesaver. No need to Edit, right click image symbol, click update, close dialogue.



As a designer, youll also love the next main feature on our list that gives you total control over text.

THE REST OF THE CS PACKAGE



Weve not had the time to play around with much of the rest of the CS5 package but I have to say that Photoshop CS5 is my absolute favorite this release. Adobes Bryan Hughes gave me a demo and its been quite a few years since Ive said "WOW" that many times during a software demonstration. By now, youve probably seen the video sneaks of "Puppet Warp" and the "Content Aware Fill". Truly amazing stuff, but wait - theres more! The new Remove Noise feature will fix those grainy images you took in low light conditions.


Its almost like magic to see it do its stuff! The HDR simulation and new artistic paint tools are simply brilliant! Seriously - anyone with above average interest for photography will want this version after seeing the demos! If you use Premiere for video, this release is an absolute must as fast and it can now utilize any number of cores in the CPU. The speech analysis features are also killer. InDesign CS5 users can also author actually possible though I have not explored it more.

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