Adobe’s Edge Lets Devs Wedge a Foot in HTML5 Door

Adobe on Monday announced the first public preview release of its Edge HTML 5 Web motion and interaction design tool.

This lets Web designers add animation to websites using standards such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS in much the same way they do with Flash Professional, Adobe said.

This public preview is Adobe’s attempt at harnessing the wisdom of the crowd. It’s adopting an open development methodology for Edge because of rapid changes around HTML 5, it said.

Edge is being positioned as complementary to Flash rather than its replacement.

“Flash and HTML 5 products will continue to coexist,” Adobe spokesperson Vanessa Rios told TechNewsWorld.

“You will see Adobe innovating in both Flash and HTML 5,” she added.

“I expect Adobe will continue to develop out Flash for some time,” Eric Leland, founder of FivePaths, told TechNewsWorld.

“Flash is very well established, and companies will not have a big incentive to jump ship until HTML 5 gains more traction,” Leland added.

About the Adobe Edge Preview

This preview focuses primarily on adding rich motion design to new or existing HTML projects.

It lets users create new compositions with Edge’s drawing and text tools; import files in widely used Web graphic formats such as SVG, JPG, PNG and GIF; choreograph animation; add motion to HTML files; and copy and paste transitions and invert them.

Edge will run on a PC or a Mac. More details about system requirements are here.

The Edge preview can be downloaded free from Adobe Labs.

User feedback will be incorporated into the product on a rolling basis until the final product is released sometime in 2012, Adobe’s Rios said.

“At this point, we have not made any more specific decisions about the final product as we are just focused on getting it out early — even well before it’s in beta — so that we can begin engaging with the community to see what features and capabilities they want added as they help us shape the feature of Edge,” Rios explained.

What Edge Is All About

Edge is aimed at designers who want to use HTML to create Web content with motion and transitions, Adobe said.

Adobe Edge will be offered as a fast, lightweight professional-grade tool that will complement Adobe’s existing Web tools such as Dreamweaver CS5.5, Flash Professional CS5.5, and Flash Builder 4.5.

Adobe demoed Edge at Adobe Max 2010, its annual designer event, back in October.

You can watch a YouTube video on the Edge presentation at Max 2010 here.

Adobe and HTML 5

Adobe’s been working on HTML 5 for some time now, and this year it submitted HTML 5 contributions to the jQuery JavaScript library and the WebKit open source project. It also enhanced HTML 5 output in Adobe Create Suite 5.5.

Further, Adobe released the Wallaby Flash-to-HTML 5 conversion tool in March.

Adobe’s support for HTML 5 in Edge is a continuation of its earlier position.

Adobe has always insisted that HTML 5 will not replace Flash. Granted, it has a stake in Flash, but that doesn’t mean its stance is unreasonable.

Back in February of 2010, Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch criticized Apple for excluding Flash from the iPad and said Adobe supports HTML and will continue to do so.

Lynch also suggested the two technologies would be complementary. Flash augments the capabilities, Lynch argued, stating that HTML could not replace the functionalities of Flash.

Designers should keep an eye on what Adobe’s doing with Edge, FivePaths’s Leland suggested.

“As the trend heads towards HTML 5, designers looking forward will have a strong incentive to learn HTML 5-capable animation frameworks, especially when Adobe develops them,” Leland said.

However, there’s no hurry to do so.

“Given the newness of Edge, the lack of professional HTML5 authoring software and the general lack of market penetration for HTML 5, Flash designers will not need to rush out to learn Edge, but they should keep a close eye on its development,” Leland explained.

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