Summary of Adobe Flash Tour 2012 in Chicago

Adobe made a stop in Chicago for their North American Flash Tour.

The Flash Tour took place on May 16, 2012 at the Leo Burnett offices, and Adobe evangelists Mike Chambers and Lee Brimelow were on hand to talk about the future of Adobe Flash and what’s new and upcoming for the technology. Flash is widely used for online advertising, the videos on YouTube, among many other uses like online games.


Mike Chambers and Lee Brimelow both spoke on topic of Flash’s official future roadmap whitepaper.  For all of those Flash enthusiasts who are still asking questions about the future of Flash, please take a look at that link for many updates and details on its’ specific uses.

Basically, the rundown of information that was discussed on the Flash Tour is that Flash will continue to be around in some forms for quite a number of years. Specifically in the areas where it’s best at: online video (which will still remain a major use for Flash as it’s still the most robust in that area), and online gaming.

In fact, Lee also spoke about some advancements of Flash into the realm of obtaining true 3D graphics in the Flash Player, with partnerships and use of Unity, as well as the Unreal graphics engine advancements.

Some other important additions to the newly released Flash CS6 include an option to export to HTML5. On export, a canvas element is created and all associated code libraries will be included to create the HTML5 equivalent.  The code libraries will include CreateJS, the suite of JavaScript libraries with tools that imitate Flash animations and other functionality.

Also in Flash CS6 is the added option to embed the Adobe AIR runtime into an app, so that users of the app won’t have to download it separately may be key to the AIR runtime’s continued success.

Flash itself will continue to be used for professional projects and online advertising. This is based on the fact that many systems for serving and tracking ad success online are built around the technology.  With so much time put into building on Flash to make it a solid runtime, the large developer community that was built over time, and it being part of 99% of users’ computers, shows why Flash has been quick and efficient at doing best what it was meant for.

There were a number of other important topics discussed that night. One of the more interesting things mentioned was the fact that both Mike Chambers and Lee Brimelow mentioned that perhaps for certain projects, Flash probably shouldn’t be used in some cases. There are other technologies emerging now that are possibly better suited for specific parts of projects, and more compatible for mobile viewing, such as the richer features of HTML5.

Also present at the Flash Tour, and introducing/hosting the event, was Miles Green, the VP of Creative Technology at Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide. When asked about the current technologies the agency is utilizing, he shared some useful comments that explained in a clear fashion of what is currently being used in a real-world creative agency setting for interactive digital projects. Here are his words:

“Our team delivers the rich front-end interaction and motion design aspects of digital projects. We work with Flash, Unity, iOS, Android, a little Processing, OpenFrameworks and now an increasing amount of the richer features of HTML5. We work on websites, banners, mobile apps, Facebook apps, games, digital signage, interactive kiosks, video production, data viz, augmented reality…. Lots of fun things like that. Essentially, any technologies and devices that people can interact with, we want to find fun and engaging ways to leverage them to enable interaction with our brands. Flash has traditionally been a significant component to our work. We definitely started branching out into other technologies a while back. But Flash is still one of our go-to tools.”

So for those Chicago technology enthusiasts and Flash enthusiasts who missed out on that night of the Flash Tour, hopefully this recap answers some of your questions. Personally, I felt it provided some recent insight and answered some questions that many professionals seem to have with the direction and Future of Flash runtime. The Flash Tour also showed that Flash CS6 introduces other combinations of Flash with other technologies, such as HTML5, CSS3, and new JavaScript breakthroughs, to provide the Internet with truly rich media experiences.


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