A nice "one more thing" announcement at Adobe MAX this morning: Flash Professional CS5 will enable you to build applications for iPhone and iPod touch using ActionScript 3. These applications will be delivered to iPhone and iPod touch users through the Apple App Store.
So while this is extremely exciting (as in, I just became an iPhone developer in 5 minutes this morning exciting) there are a few things to note:
1. This is only for standalone applications - meaning iPhone/iPod Touch applications that you download from Apple's App Store either on your phone or via iTunes. It does not include Flash played via the Safari mobile web browser. So no online Flash video just yet. Ryan Stewart, an Adobe Platform Evangelist tweeted the following today during the keynote: "When Apple is ready to bring the full Web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari."
2. You cannot load external SWFs into the apps you compile for the iPhone. The official line on this is: "iPhone applications built with Flash Platform tools are compiled into standard, native iPhone executable packages and there is no runtime interpreter that could be used to run ActionScript bytecode within the application." But in reality, Adobe is just staying within the limits imposed by Apple and their "no running other bytecode in apps" rule.
3. This won't be available until Flash CS5 is released. The good news here is that a public beta of Flash CS5 will be released before the end of 2009.
While I certainly didn't grow any fonder of Objective-C today, I did learn quite a lot. During the eight hour session we covered a pretty wide range of topics and tasks. First Julian gave us a few hour Objective-C overview before we all took the virtual pet example from Colin Moock's Essential ActionScript 3.0 book and coverted it to Objective-C. This was a great task since everyone in the room knew AS3 and was more than likely familiar with the virtual pet example.
After a break for lunch we all jumped into some quick equivalents of ActionScript 3 code in Objective-C, and then used those examples to build a sample application with some animated images, touch events (taps and dragging), audio. Lastly Julian gave an overview of Interface Builder and then went over some general tips and tricks.
I'm excited to be heading over to Brighton, UK once again this year to attend Flash on the Beach 2009. Besides all of the wonderful speakers and catching up with everyone, I'm equally excited for a new addition this year: The Elevator Pitch.
The conference website describes it as "...exactly what the title suggests - 20 'newbies' / 'oldies' / whatever you want to call them, get 3 minutes to show their best work, a new idea, live coding, live drawing, whatever."
This is great for two reasons. First, for the past two years the most well attended sessions were the 'filler' sessions where several speakers got up and free-formed it for five minutes each to fill an hour long session left blank by a speaker who had to cancel last minute. This always leads to exciting presentations about small projects these guys are working on, rather than some topic that takes an hour to present. Second, one of my favorite events in Portland is Ignite, where presenters have only 20 slides that automatically rotate every 15 seconds to get their point across. When you are forced to distill a topic down to only a couple of key points, it often ends up being a much better presentation.
I also think it is great to be giving some up-and-coming talent a chance to speak. Most people (myself included) find it difficult to put together a presentation on a topic that would fill a whole hour. You either end up having way too much content or way too little content. And the prep time pre-conference can be a time consuming nightmare. But if you only need to prep for a three minute talk, there are no excuses.
I've been using the update for a few hours now, and it certainly makes Flash seem a bit snappier. In addition, my initial tests are showing that the OS X Spaces bug with Flash has been fixed. This was a major annoyance for me, and several other developers based upon the popularity of my blog post on the subject.
Thanks to Adobe for listening to customer feedback and working hard to get this update out as soon as possible.
Update: Based on comments below and other feedback I have received, it appears that the Flash CS4 update alone does not fix the Spaces issue for everyone. However, the combination of the latest Apple OS X 10.5.7 update (released 5/12/2009) and the Flash CS4 update seems to do the trick.