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Flash CS6: What's New?

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The newest Adobe Creative Suite has been announced. It'll be available to purchase on May 7th; let's take a look at what's new for Flash app and game developers.


What's New in Flash Professional CS6?

Most of the big new features in the flagship Flash software do not involve Flash Player at all; the one exception seems to be integration with Starling, the Stage3D library for 2D assets which we've covered before. Other than that, the emphasis is on mobile and HTML5 development.

A new mobile simulator lets you emulate tilting and rotating a phone (affecting the acceleromoter and the screen orientation), as well as touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom. There are also new debugging features. I'll let Mobiletuts+ go into more detail on these additions!

Flash Pro CS6 also has the ability to export to the HTML5 library CreateJS, which we've also covered before under the name EaselJS. No, this doesn't mean you can take an existing Flash app or game and create an HTML5 canvas version, but you can export animations, images, and sounds, both from the stage and from the library, into clean JavaScript format.

Along similar lines, movie clips can also be exported to sprite sheets, which will be useful for game development in both HTML5 and Flash Player (as well as pretty much any other platform, for that matter).


What About Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst?

Flash Builder is not a "Creative Suite" product - it doesn't have the CS name - so it runs on a different upgrade schedule. This means it's not going to be updated to coincide with the CS6 launch. It has been dropped from the Web Premium suite, however, since the Web Premium suite no longer exists (it's been combined with Design Premium to form Web and Design Premium), but it's still available in the Master Collection.

Flash Catalyst, on the other hand, has been dropped; there will not be a Flash Catalyst CS6.


Creative Cloud

CS6 in general also sees the launch of the Adobe Creative Cloud; in brief, this allows you to pay an ongoing subscription fee to get every single CS6 app. For some people, this will be a much more attractive or convenient option than buying the entire Suite as a set of software - especially as there's no additional fee to get future updates.


What Do You Think?

Personally, I think it's interesting (but not at all surprising) that CS6 does not have much to offer programmers. I feel that's been the case with Flash Professional for a while now; the Flash Platform and AS3 are not constrained to the 18- or 12-month Creative Suite release schedule, and FlashDevelop, Flash Builder and FDT are far better tools for coding anyway. (With that in mind, I am surprised that Flash Builder is not included in the Design and Web Premium bundle.)

The new sprite sheet and CreateJS export features will be useful for developers that want to port old Flash projects to Stage3D, mobile, HTML5, or other platforms, as well as for designers that work with non-Flash developers but want to keep their familiar Flash workflow. This isn't something that interests me enough to upgrade, personally, but I don't think it's a bad idea.

What about you?


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