Adobe's new Edge animation tool compatible with iOS, Safari, Android and more

Adobe's new Edge animation tool compatible with iOS, Safari, Android and more

eg_0Adobe isn't taking any chances. With its popular Flash tool having been framed as an either-or to HTML5 — a rivalry largely put in place by Apple and its staunchly anti-Flash iPhone — Adobe has introduced Edge, a new software design tool that it says "allows designers to bring animated content to websites, using web standards like HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3."

Adobe intends for Edge to coexist with Flash, not replace it, and is now offering a preview of the software, with a not-free version 1.0 expected to arrive next year. The early version is still undergoing development, which Adobe hopes will "allow user feedback to help shape the final product."

With ABI Research expecting HTML5 browsers to rise from 109 million in 2010 to 2.1 billion in 2016 (MDP: Apple's HTML5 Favoritism Could Steamroll Flash), largely thanks to ebullient iPhone adoption, Edge was smartly design to work on browsers including those on devices running the iOS, Android, BlackBerry PlayBook and webOS platforms, as well as Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer 9. Apple may have picked a fight with Adobe (Steve Jobs has called Flash a bloated CPU hog), but killing with kindness — or acceptance, as it were — appears to be Adobe's response tactic.

"With Adobe Edge, we’re taking our HTML5 tooling to a whole new level and look forward to getting some really useful feedback from the community over the next few months, as we refine the product," Paul Gubbay, Adobe vice president of Design and Web Engineering said in a statement.  

The current version, according to Adobe, is focused on "adding rich motion design" to HTML projects for desktops or mobile devices and includes the ability to:

• create new compositions with Edge's drawing and text tools;

• import Web graphics such as SVG, PNG, JPG or GIF file;

• choreograph animation with a timeline editor (like in Flash);

• energize existing HTML files while preserving CSS-based HTLM layouts; and

• copy and past transitions, invert them and choose  from more than 25 easing effects.

However, missing from the preview version is "interactive functionality — the ability for Edge created objects to react to user clicks and text inputs in the way that advanced Flash code does," according to Fast Company, which adds that Adobe senior computer scientist Josh Hatwich says it's coming soon.  

Does Edge ring the death knell for Flash?

"People have shown that you can do animation with HTML5, but it's not nearly as well realized as with Flash," RedMonk analyst James Governor told the Wall Street Journal.

Effective UI's Sean Christmann has also shown Flash to be better suited for gaming than HTML5. (MDP: HTML5 Beats Flash In HD Video Test)

Governor added that Flash won't disappear overnight, and its launch may be considered a defensive move by Adobe. "The ramp-up of HTML has been extremely significant," he told the Journal, "so Adobe needs to be fast to market."

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