As Microsoft (and Apple and Google) have done before it, Adobe today has released a public preview Adobe Edge, a motion interaction design tool for the creation of animated Web content based on Web standards.
Over the last year, Adobe has made a big investment in HTML5, supporting the Web application standard in its DreamWeaver website design and creation tool, its Digital Publishing Suite, its contributions to jQuery and WebKit, and now Edge.
“Our goal is to provide customers with the tools and technology they want to work with,” said Heidi Voltmer, the group product marketing manager for Adobe’s Web Pro segment. That said, Voltmer added that “we believe there are areas HTML can’t address today.”
In today’s world, Adobe sees Flash as the best solution for creating games, media and rich data-driven applications, while it views HTML5 as the better answer for rich ads on the Web, branded experiences, interactive Web pages and add-ons to HTML embedded in the browser.
“HTML5 doesn’t have it all worked out,” Voltmer said. “We’re continuing to innovate on Flash for now.”
Josh Hatwich, a senior computer scientist at Adobe, said the company tried to take the best features from other tools in Adobe’s Creative Suite to create in Adobe Edge a familiar workspace and design controls.
Adobe Edge uses WebKit on its staging page, and as edits are made to content, they are adjusted on the page in real time, he said. “It will look the same way in the browser as it does on our stage page.”
Edge “has no proprietary file format,” Hatwich explained, and developers can open preexisting HTML in the tool to add animations from a library built on top of jQuery. The jQuery composition is dropped into the Web page HTML at runtime. This type of standard support eliminates the current practice of Flash developers creating animations in Flash and then handing off to a developer to recreate it in HTML.
“Sometimes, people who do the animations and the Web pages are different,” Hatwich said. “The content might even be delivered by a content management system.”
At the end of the day, Voltmer said, it’s about making the content accessible. “The end user doesn’t care about any of this,” she said. “People need to see content on any device they choose.”
A 1.0 product release that will add functionality around coding, interactivity, expressivity and graphics is due out in 2012, according to the company.