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Planting the seeds to potentially disrupt its own successful franchise in Flash-based animation, Adobe has released a preview version of a new application, called Adobe Edge, designed for assembling dynamic Web content using HTML5 and related open Web standards, the company announced Monday.
"This is a motion and interactive tool for designers who want to build interactive Web content
using Web standards
," said Adobe Group Product Manager Devin Fernandez.
Traditionally, Web designers have used Adobe Flash, or a competitor such as Microsoft Silverlight, to add snazzy animated and interactive content to Web pages, in the form of introductory splash screen pages, interactive charts, short videos or banner advertisements. Adobe estimates that 99 percent of all desktop computers possess the player needed to run Flash files.
Over the past few years however, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and other standards bodies have developed a handful of specifications that can be used to make similar rich content. Browser makers are incorporating these standards--such as HTML5
Also not helping Adobe's fortunes any has been Apple, whose CEO, Steve Jobs, has criticized Flash in the past for being too buggy, urging developers to move to HTML5 instead.
"More workloads that were previously reserved for Flash are now being done with Web standards," Fernandez admitted. "We see that as a huge opportunity for the company, to help people take advantage of HTML5."
Adobe does not expect that Edge will supplant Flash entirely, at least not in the near future. "Flash technology will remain a key component for specific use cases, such as high-end video or gaming," Fernandez said. "We definitely see HTML5 and Flash continuing to co-exist, and so we'll continue to work on solutions for both at Adobe. Users will decide what technology they will use."
The preview edition is available as a free download. Adobe expects to release the final commercial version sometime in 2012, Fernandez said. Versions will be available for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh computers.