Today at FITC Hollywood Richard Galvan, Adobe Flash Product Manager, gave a sneak peek at an upcoming feature in Flash 10 / CS4 / "Diesel". I am really surprised that I haven't read about this new feature anywhere else, so I thought I would post for those who couldn't make it to the conference.
That said, I was by no means expecting anything big to come from Adobe at FITC, mainly because they just held MAX where they previewed dozens of new applications and technologies. But, we were blessed with one new sneak:
The next version of the Flash IDE, Flash 10 "Diesel", will feature a brand new timeline animation model. What's the difference? There will no longer be a need for keyframes. Yes, it sounds drastic, but based on the demo, this is going to make timeline animations _much_ easier to work with and make Flash much easier for beginners.
In short you will be able to select an object on the stage, right-click and choose "Add Motion/Shape Tween", and the timeline layer with the object will turn red to signify that it now contains a tween. Then you move the object (if you want to animate its motion) to create the end state. Want to extend the length of the tween? Just drag the timeline layer out over additional frames. Basically, this model completely fixes broken tweens -- you can no longer have a tween that is "broken" because it is missing a keyframe because tweens are no longer tied to keyframes.
An additional cool feature with this is that when you move the object to the end state, a dotted line shows up along the path of the tween, showing you exactly where the object is going to move to. Want to change the path? Just move the object and the line automatically updates. Not good enough? Adjust the line just like any other curved line in Flash/Illustrator making it more rounded, or increase the length by adjusting the end point to your liking. You can also choose the Transform tool and use it to squish/expand or otherwise transform your tween path.
Maybe I missed something and this had been announced at MAX as well, but if not, I am really surprised that I haven't seen this up on MXNA yet!