Open Source News

Adobe Labs Discusses Its HTML5 Initiatives

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  September 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

Adobe (News - Alert) last month took the wraps off a new HTML5-based tool for creating interactive and animated web content. Called Adobe Edge, the product initially will be free for download, during which time the company will collect feedback on it.

TMC’s (News - Alert) own Rich Tehrani says that in his recent interview with Paul Gubbay, vice president of design web and interactive at Adobe Systems, Gubbay explained that his company can’t dictate to customers which programming tools they will use. So instead, what Adobe is doing is optimizing its tools and technologies to help developers create across platforms.

“One interesting point he made is that Flash has always been the blueprint of where HTML should be going,” writes Tehrani.

Heidi Voltmer, Adobe’s group product marketing manager for web solutions, says Adobe Edge is similar in look and feel to other Adobe products, and enables easy and intuitive content creation. It can be used to create content from the ground up, and can animate existing imagery. Voltmer says the solution is likely to appeal mostly to interactive Flash Professional users as well as web designers who don’t want to write tons of Java script.

Adobe Edge will be available without charge on the Adobe Labs website until some point in 2012, Voltmer says, adding that the company will add features to Adobe Edge over time. As part of the Adobe Edge effort, she notes, the company will be looking to implement best practices around HTML5.

She adds that HTML5 is also supported in the Creative Suite 5.5 that shipped in May and was added to Adobe’s Dreamweaver tool.

Adobe also has been doing a lot of work related to its WebKit, a rendering engine for lots of browsers. New on this front is CSS (News - Alert) Regions, a spec that allows for richer page layouts by using HTML in the browser.

According to the Adobe Labs website, key highlights of CSS Regions include story threading, which allows content to flow in multiple disjointed boxes expressed in CSS and HTML, making it possible to have more complex, magazine-style threaded layouts, including pull quotes and sidebars; region styling, which allows content to be styled based on the region it flows into (although region styling is not currently implemented in the CSS Regions prototype); and arbitrary content shapes and exclusions, which allow content to fit into arbitrary shapes (not just rectangular boxes) or to flow around complex shapes.

Voltmer adds that Adobe also has been a contributor to the mobile user interface effort within the

jQuery open source project. The idea here is to make apps look better on mobile devices, and to work on the data grid related to HTML5.

And Gubbay tells Tehrani that in the future we can expect Flash and AIR to allow development of very complex user interfaces like those used in gaming. HTML5, he says, isn’t quite there yet.

“One of the greatest inconsistencies on the web is how video is played, and we will continue to see Adobe concentrate on making premium video better,” says Tehrani. “Think about applications provided by companies like Netflix and HBO. Moreover, we can expect Edge to support video in the future – sorry, it doesn’t right now.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi