Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tool: Adobe’s New HTML5 Tool Is Web-Designer Duct Tape

Adobes response to html5. A good idea, but adobe will still lose its coders to html5. Free, portable and capable wins. 

Adobe’s New HTML5 Tool Is Web-Designer Duct Tape

Nobody likes Flash. In 2011, this is an axiom.

For years, we tolerated Flash because it worked; it could do things that HTML either couldn’t do at all, couldn’t do well, or couldn’t be made to do easily.

Flash gave us YouTube. It gave us Homestar Runner. It gave us casual gaming beyond flipping cards and sweeping mines.

And Adobe, Flash’s maker, gave us powerful, easy-to-learn GUI development tools that helped generalist coders make the web a more dynamic place — even if it was also “a hot mess” of broken back buttons and skewed UI paradigms, as IBM design researcher Andrew Sempere says.

Then, about five years ago, the mobile web broke Flash.

This is the context you need in order to understand Adobe Edge, the new HTML5 animation tool the company released to public preview on Monday. Really, it’s the context you need in order to understand Adobe’s entire shift in its authoring tools, beginning with Creative Suite 5.5’s “Any Screen” update and continuing from this point forward.

The mobile web is forcibly separating creators from containers.

Before this generation of smartphones, nobody really cared that we couldn’t use Flash on mobile devices. Who had the processing power? Who had the bandwidth? Were you really going to watch animation or movies on your phone? We were happy to have calendars and email.

Then Apple’s iPhone and 3G data networks came along. When Steve Jobs drew a line in the sand, saying not that the iPhone couldn’t support Flash but that they wouldn’t, challenging Adobe to ship a mobile version of Flash that actually worked, it felt like a real battle.

Instead, Apple threw its arms around first what was then the emerging HTML5 standard — which offered new ways to do much of what Flash had done without its container — and then, decisively, native mobile apps. Apps which offered mobile developers and content creators new ways to make money and — no coincidence — Apple sold and controlled.

Rejecting Flash gave Android and Blackberry a major selling point when they and Adobe were finally able to make it work on their platforms. But the user paradigm and creative economy of the mobile web had been fundamentally changed. Google knew it, Microsoft knew it — and yes, Adobe knew it, too.

Flash was no longer indispensable. There were UIs that were just as p...

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