The Flash Platform: Expanding the richness of rich Internet applications

Flash has always been at the forefront of user experiences, thanks to the capabilities of the technology and the incredibly creative community that pushes the envelope of traditional design practices. The resulting advances in user experience design are often immediately available to Flex developers. Take, for example, the recent explosion in the use of Flash Player for online audio and video.

Flash Player is the most widely deployed audio and video player on the market. It allows video elements to be seamlessly integrated into the surrounding content or application, such as triggering video cue point events in your RIA. It supports progressive download of short-form video files and integrates with Flash Media Server 2.0 for streaming more interactive, higher quality, long-form video.

The community has leveraged these capabilities to create rich Internet applications that break down the silos that exist today between applications and rich media. Instead of having their applications launch a separate media player—thereby creating a discontinuous experience—Flex developers can truly integrate video into their application’s user interface and workflow. For example, training videos can navigate and highlight particular user interface elements of your application and your application can cue specific portions of a video to play based on a user’s actions. Flash video and audio streams can be incorporated into Flex 2 applications by using Flash Media Server 2 or Flash Video Streaming Service, a hosted service for delivering large-scale Flash Video deployments developed by leading CDN (Content Delivery Network) partners in conjunction with Adobe.

Lastly, now that the merger of Adobe and Macromedia is complete, you can expect to see interesting new innovations to work their way into the Flex product line. As we look forward, some of the areas we are investigating include support for real-time collaboration, improved designer-developer workflow, and greater support for offline applications and documents. Look for more on our future direction on Adobe Labs in the coming months.


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