Adobe Announces Starling Framework

 As you should know, the new Stage3D feature of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 provides powerful low level APIs to create high performance 3D graphics in Flash, the issue with this API is that it is of an extremely low level nature that makes it extremely difficult for average developers to pick it up and use it in their projects, and the expectation is that frameworks will be built on top of the Stage3D APIs that will be easy to use and are tailored for specific project needs.

Starling is the first framework built on top of Stage3D and is ready for use right now, this framework aims to help Flash developers create GPU powered 2D graphics that run at the high performance provided by Stage3D. The main highlight of this framework is that is uses convention display list architecture which means that you can pick it up and use it without having to spend a lot of time learning how things work.

Starling Framework projects will run on AIR 3 and Flash Player 11, unfortunately you will not be able to create high performance 2D games for mobile using Starling when AIR 3 comes out because the mobile version of AIR 3 does not yet support Stage3D, but Adobe announced that Stage3D will be introduced to mobile AIR in an upcoming update.

You can watch a video tutorial by Lee Brimelaw that showcases how easy it is to use this frame here, and you can also download a PDF handbook on the basics of Starling written by Thibault Imbert at this link. You can learn more about Starling Framework, look at the samples, and download the framework for your own use by visiting its official website.

Google Deprecates Maps API for Flash

 Google has recently announced on its Geo Development Blog that it will deprecated the Google Maps API for Flash, this means that Google will no longer invest in the development of this API, but will keep it accessible and will try to respond to any problems with the API for up to three years in accordance with its terms and conditions.

While this is a sad announcement to Flash developers, it should be mentioned that it is still possible to use the Google JavaScripts Maps API within Flash projects by loading it as an HTML page, which may just work for some projects even though it cannot be controlled as easy using ActionScript.

There are other alternatives to the Google Maps API for Flash such as the excellent MapQuest AS3 API which is optimized for both the web and Mobile (something not currently provided by any other AS3 Maps API). Make sure you check out MapQuest if you are interested in building a mobile map application using Flash or Flex for iOS or Android.

Adobe Announces Creative Suite 5.5 Web Premium

Adobe has just announced the new Creative Suite 5.5, a new mid-cycle upgrade to CS5. The new version of the Creative Suite will have significant updates to Flash Professional, Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, and Dreamweaver. The updates seem to focus on mobile and tablet platform and the cross-development of mobile applications across Android, iOS, and other modern mobile operating systems. The new updates seem to be restricted to the mobile development application and no updates were made to Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks.

A very interesting announcement is the available of CS5.5 through a monthly or annual subscription method instead of paying the full price for a permanent license.

The new CS5.5 Web Premium is expected to be released next month. You can learn more about it at Adobe’s official website.

Adobe AIR 2.6 Released with Major iOS Updates

Adobe has just released version 2.6 of its AIR SDK and runtime. This version of Adobe AIR now supports iOS microphone, camera, multitasking, StageWebView Class to enable embedding web pages in iOS applications, access to soft keyboard configuration, Retina Display, and also provides enhanced performance. In addition to all these iOS enhancements, AIR 2.6 provides support for Amazon Android Market, on-device debugging over USB for Android, enhanced text support on Android, and a few other updates on the desktop version of AIR, too.

All these new features of Adobe AIR 2.6 can currently only be used through the AIR Development Tool as no update has been made to Flash CS5 authoring tool.

You can download the AIR 2.6 SDK and runtime from here.

Adobe Launches Wallaby – Flash to HTML Conversion Tool

Earlier this week Adobe announced a new technology called Wallaby that will enable its users to convert Flash projects into HTML5. Unlike the Flash iPhone Packager, Wallaby will not be able to convert any ActionScript into interactive HTML5 content, instead the tool simply makes it possible to convert Graphical content in FLA files into HTML5 ready content that may be displayed on webkit browers and iOS devices such as the iPhone and the iPad. Wallaby conversion works only with FLA files written in AS3 format.

You can learn more about Wallaby and download it from Adobe Labs, but you should note that this is an early technology showcase, so do not expect it to be bug-free.

Device Central Updated with New Profiles

Adobe has added new profiles in Device Central including those for the Samsung Galaxy S and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. These profiles can help you easily create projects that target these devices and test them in Device Central. To see the new profiles simply launch Device Central and browse the Device Library.

[via Scott Janousek Blog]

Molehill Interview at theFlashBlog

Lee Brimelow of theFlashBlog recently posted a video interview with Adobe Product Manager Thibault Imbert to learnt about the latest updates of Molehill – the new 3D API of the Flash Player. The highlights of this interview is that this new powerful 3D API will be a highlevel API that will (1) provide 3D developers with deep access to the 3D capabilities and (2) make it difficult for AS3 developers to work on it directly meaning that they will have to use frameworks built on top of it in order to easily use it.  The interview suggests that those interested in learning Molehill can start off by reading material on OpenGL as it uses the same 3D concepts. According to Imbert, the public beta of Molehill is expected to be out in the first half of 2011.

You video interview taken from theFlashBlog can be seen below:

Molehill FAQ Video with Thibault Imbert from Lee Brimelow on Vimeo.

Flash Player 10.2 Beta Released

Adobe just released on Labs the beta version of Flash Player 10.2, the beta  is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and provides a number of new features including a new StageVideo class that greatly improves the display of GPU accelerated video, a new API for customizing native mouse cursors, support for full screen with multi-screens, and Internet Explorer 9 hardware accelerated rendering support. You can learn more about this new beta and download it for yourself via this link.

Flash Player 10.1 Most Widely Adopted Version

According to a statement made by Adobe CEO at the Web 2.0 Summit two days ago, the Flash Player 10.1 is the most widely ever adopted version in the history of the Flash Player and that, in disregard of what the press says, the use of Flash video on the internet is strongly increasing.

It is worth mentioning that the Flash Player 10.1 is available for desktop operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux as well as Android OS. It is expected to be released for Microsoft Phone 7, BlackBerry OS, and Symbian OS.

You can learn more about the statement Adobe CEO made at TechCrunch.

Flash Media Gateway – VoIP For Flash

Adobe just announced a new server platform called Flash Media Gateway that will enable Flash and AIR developers to communicate with traditional telephone networks. In addition to regular voice calls, Flash Media Server will support video calls, flexible telephony APIs, customizable call flow, audio mixing, and real time transcoding. Using the Flash Media Gateway will require using a Flash Media Server and an SIP account to connect to the telephone network.

This is a great development for the Flash platform as it will now allow Flash developers to make a wide set of new communication applications.

You can learn more about the Flash Media Gateway and try it out the prerelease version for free at Adobe Labs.