Tag Archives: max 2010

Sneak peeks at Adobe Max 2010

I’m at Adobe Max 2010 where Star Trek actor William Shatner is presenting the “sneak peeks” for this year’s conference. These are demos of Adobe research which may or may not make it into a product.


1. Rik Cabanier showed a tool called “Wallaby” which exported a Flash animation to HTML 5. We also saw an individual animated graphic extracted from the exported HTML and added to a web page. Finally, he showed the demonstration running on an iPad.

I would be glad to see Adobe work further on this concept.

2. Kevin Goldsmith demonstrated Pixel Bender 3D, generating animated 3D images using an extension of Pixel Bender shading, and running on the new “Molehill” 3D API in Flash Player. Pixel Bender is an existing Adobe shader technology. Even more impressive: the Pixel Bender 3D compiler has been converted to ActionScript so you can do this dynamically in Flash applications.

3. Anirudh Sasiikumar showed live Flex design and development. This is a live view in Flash Builder which compiles and runs code changed on the fly, reminiscent of Edit and Continue in Microsoft’s Visual Studio, though this looks even more seamless.

4. Dan Goldman showed Video Tapestry for finding a location within a video. The idea is that even showing selected frames does not give enough information, particularly if there is a lot of action. The video tapestry shows a continuous tapestry-like sequence, with the ability to zoom in and out, and pop-up key frames. This strikes me as both fun and useful.


5. Sebastian Lans and Lalit Balchandani showed a tool for performance testing a .swf, a Flash movie file. You can see performance metrics frame by frame making it easier to find the cause of performance issues.

6. Shilpi Khariwal demonstrated ColdFusion doing dynamic adaption according to the client being used, and using location data from a mobile device. Not the most spectacular of demos but useful.

7. Sylvain Paris showed a Photoshop tool that applies the style and optionally the colours from one image to another. The tool is also able to fix camera shake to some extent.

8. David Durkee showed the Typography of Code.  The ides is that programmer’s editors do not take advantage of all ways you can use typography to make text easier to follow. Not sure about this one, though Durkee is correct: programmers generally put up with ugly layouts, and “pretty” generally just means getting the spacing, line breaks and indentation consistent. Would more advanced typography improve productivity, or just get in the way?


9. Hartmut Warncke demonstrated Noise to Meaning, analysis of an audio file to identify audio events – not text to speech, but “phone ringing”, “man speaking”, for example.

10. Tinic Uro showed Stage Video, which improves performance by extracting video to a separate layer than can be executed on the GPU. The consequence is much lower CPU usage. This will apparently come to all versions of the Flash Player, not just mobile.

There was some compelling stuff on show here, though some of the presentations, which are necessarily short, did not fully convey their significance.

Adobe aims to fill mobile vacuum with AIR

Today is day one of the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. In this morning’s keynote CTO Kevin Lynch focused firmly on devices – both mobile devices and living room devices including Google TV. There was a nod to HTML 5 in the opening demo, a prototype of a new product called Edge which is a motion designer that extends JQuery, but the Flash player remains the heart of Adobe’s platform. The proliferation of incompatible devices is an opportunity for cross-platform runtimes, and Adobe intends to take advantage with Flash and AIR – the Adobe Integrated Runtime, for local applications that fun on Flash.

Released today in public preview, the Flex “Hero” SDK includes support for mobile development, among other things, and is backed by an updated Flash Builder code-named Burrito.

Right now the only mobile platform which is supported is Google Android, but others are promised. In particular, we heard a lot in the keynote about the Blackberry Playbook,  the forthcoming tablet from RIM, including an appearance from RIM boss Mike Lazaridis.

An interesting aspect of the Playbook is that the user interface of the device itself is built in part with AIR. As a RIM exec observed in a later Q&A, it makes sense for the OS to use the same framework as that used by third party apps, so that any issues are sorted early.

AIR popped up again in a a different context, as Lynch described Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. This suite targets magazine publishers creating publications for the Apple iPad, such as publisher Condé Nast, also represented at the keynote, which is adopting the platform for many of its publications from Wired to the New Yorker.

The Digital Publishing Suite exports publications from Adobe InDesign to a dedicated format with a .issue extension, played on the iPad by Adobe Content Viewer. Adobe will now implement the content viewer on AIR, so that digital publications will render on the new wave of Android tablets, Blackberry tablets, and others in future.

Also worth noting is that Adobe plans to insert itself into the distribution process beyond just providing the authoring tools and the runtime. The Digital Publishing Suite includes Adobe hosting for the content. More broadly, the Melrose project, now called Adobe InMarket, is a service where you host your application on Adobe’s servers and Adobe handles deployment to the various App Stores out there as well as credit card processing.

Of course Apple is working, it seems, to undermine Flash. The runtime is not allowed on iOS, Apple’s mobile platform. Apple is not including Flash by default in the latest Macs, and the forthcoming Mac App Store will not allow AIR (or for that matter Java) applications. You will still be able to install Flash and AIR on a Mac, but Apple will no doubt be encouraging users to go the App Store route.

It is a fascinating tension, particularly since Apple’s devices fit so well with other aspects of Adobe’s strategy.

Despite Steve Jobs, Lynch announced today that the number of Flash platform developers has grown by 50% over the last year, which is huge. I also wonder whether the Java turmoil, especially on the Mac, could work in Adobe’s favour as it builds support for its Flash runtime.