updated 12:45 pm EST, Wed February 22, 2012
Adobe to focus on speed first for Flash
Adobe on Wednesday published a roadmap (PDF) giving a peek at the long-term future of Flash. Having dropped the mobile version, it's now focusing on games and video on the desktop and now agrees that HTML5 and other web standards are more suited for animation. Accordingly, the imminent 11.2 update would improve hardware graphics acceleration, multi-core video processing, and support for right clicks when using mice.
In the long-term 2012 schedule, Adobe was planningupdates codenamed Cyril and Dolores. Cyril would focus on games with keyboard input when going full screen, improve the response times on audio, and stream textures in Stage 3D mode to save memory and space.
Dolores would expand the range of accelerated graphics to as far back as 2005. Action Script will have the option of running simultaneously through "workers" that could put a task on each core in a system. ActionScript compiled for iOS apps would run faster, and Flash would get both more complex profiling and a programming interface to gauge performance.
Adobe would be rearchitecting Flash as a whole in 2013. The next release will be "refactoring and modernizing" Flash at its core with a new ActionScript virtual machine. ActionScript would get its own first major change since 2006 to improve its modularity and performance. The Flash changes would represent the future of the platform for the next five to ten years, the company said.
One discovery mentioned that Adobe hoped for apps based on the Flash-related AIR platform to be compatible with upcoming Mac App Store sandboxing rules by the Cyril update.
The roadmap shows a long-term narrowing of scope for Flash and a reversal of its previous mindset. At one point, Adobe had insisted Flash was a necessary component of the web and had made a close partnership with Google where both attacked Apple for not wanting to use Flash on mobile devices despite concerns about touch suitability, battery life, security, and performance. The software firm now sees Flash as a specialized tool that covers areas where HTML5 currently falls short.