There we are, after giving you access to some of the latest features coming in Flash through the Incubator program, I am happy to announce the availability of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 in public beta (for desktop). You will find below the list of features available in this release. Please test your content against these builds, report any bug you find, log bugs, and if you want, you can also send me a message on Twitter (@thibault_imbert), I will follow up.
Some nice awaited community features are shipping here like removing BitmapData restrictions, Socket progress events, native JSON, etc but also other awaited features like native 64-bit support or Stage3D (aka Molehill). Of course we are working hard on mobile builds too, at this time the AIR 3 SDK is not available in a public beta; however you can apply for the private prerelease program here : https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=prerelease_interest
For those curious about why we do not provide yet 64-bit debugger builds, answer is : Flash Player is supported on 64-bit platforms for content playback. Given the architecture changes required for 64-bit debugging, support for content development will be made available in the next generation of Flash Platform tooling which is currently under development.
Finally, as 3D and security have been a topic of interest lately, Emmy Huang's is also giving some more details on her blog post about security and Stage3D (Molehill). Our statement below :
Because two of our primary design goals were to ensure Stage 3D will run great on mobile devices without compromising security, the Stage 3D implementation exposes a specific set of GPU features, resulting in a small API surface, making it easier to secure. We also added restrictions that help mitigate many of the security concerns around accessing OpenGL. For instance, we limit the number of calls per frame, minimizing the risk of denial-of-service attacks. We also designed a simple shader language (AGAL - Adobe Graphics Assembly Language) with restrictions such as prohibiting loops or functions inside shaders. The simplicity of AGAL makes it also easy to verify and validate compared to the GLSL dialect that is used by other solutions like WebGL.
Finally, I really want to emphasize that we are so excited about this release, we hope you guys will build amazing things with it, we had so much fun creating this, so enjoy!
Make sure you check the Adobe Beta documentation for Flash Player new API's : http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FlashPlatform/beta/reference/actionscript/3/index.html
New Features in Flash Player 11 and AIR 3
- Stage3D Accelerated Graphics Rendering — Stage3D ("Molehill") is a new architecture for hardware accelerated graphics rendering developed by Adobe. Stage3D provides a set of lowlevel APIs that enable advanced 2D/3D rendering capabilities across screens and devices (desktop, mobile, and TV). It gives 2D and 3D app and framework developers access to high performance GPU hardware acceleration, enabling the creation of new classes of rich, interactive experiences. Note: These pre-release builds include Flash Player and AIR desktop support; AIR for Android and iOS support will be enabled in a future pre-release build.
- Flash Access Content Protection Support for Mobile — Flash Access content protection support is now available on mobile devices.
- H.264/AVC Software Encoding for Cameras (desktop) — Stream high quailty video from your computer's camera with higher compression efficiency and industry-wide support, enabling both immersive real-time communications (e.g., video chat and video conferencing) and live video broadcasts.
- G.711 Audio Compression for Telephony — Support interoperability with legacy phone systems via the Flash Media Gateway (FMG) and other third-party clients (through the open RTMP protocol) without the need for transcoding.
- Garbage Collection Advice — Provides smoother, more responsive user experiences by allowing developers to provide hints (through System.pauseForGCIfCollectionImminent) to optimize garbage collection scheduling.
- Cubic Bezier Curves — The Graphics.cubicCurveTo drawing API allows developers can easily create complex cubic Beziers without requiring custom ActionScript code.
- Secure Random Number Generator — Developers can now take advantage of cryptographically secure random number generation to build more secure algorithms and protocols.
- Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) and Flash Access Enhancements — Protected HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS) provides protection for streaming video across screens while eliminating the deployment complexity of a license server. New Flash Access content protection features include key rotation support, V3 license chaining, domain support, and enhanced output protection and device filtering.
- Socket Progress Events — Improve management of data transfer using the Socket class by providing a new property to determine the number of bytes remaining in the write buffer and a new event for when data is being sent to the network layer. The new APIs (Socket.bytesPending, Event.OutputProgressEvent) allow applications can easily track progress and provide responsive feedback.
- Native Text Input UI (mobile) — Mobile apps can now take advantage of the native text input controls on mobile platforms, including platform-specific user interaction behaviors such as magnification and text selection. Native text controls are available on Android, BlackBerry Tablet, and iOS operating systems.
- JPEG-XR support — Flash Player and AIR now include support for the JPEG-XR advanced image compression standard (International Standard ISO/IEC 29199-2). The computationally lightweight JPEG-XR format provides more efficient compression than JPEG, enables both lossy and lossless compression support, and adds support for alpha channel transparency.
- Enhanced high resolution bitmap support — BitmapData objects are no longer limited to a maximum resolution of 16 megapixels (16,777,215 pixels), and maximum bitmap width/height is no longer limited to 8,191 pixels, enabling the development of apps that utilize very large bitmaps.
- High efficiency SWF compression support — Developers can now take advantage of LZMA compression for their SWF files. LZMA compression can reduce SWF size by up to 40%, enabling users to benefit from richer experiences with shorter download times and reduced bandwidth consumption. Use Tinic's tool or a custom one to compress your SWF's.
- DisplayObjectContainer.removeChildren and MovieClip.isPlaying — DisplayObjectContainer now implements a removeChildren API allowing developers to quickly remove all of a container's children using a single API.
- Sound.loadCompressedDataFromByteArray and Sound.loadPCMFromByteArray — Developers can now inject compressed or raw PCM sound data into a Sound object to play sounds.
New Features in Flash Player 11
- Native 64-bit Support (Flash Player desktop) — Take advantage of native support for 64-bit operating systems and 64-bit web browsers on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.
- Asynchronous Bitmap Decoding (new for Flash Player) — Improve app responsiveness and deliver smoother animation by decoding images on initial load instead of on demand. Images are cached as needed.
- TLS Secure Sockets Support (new for Flash Player) — Enables secure communications for client/server applications.
New Features in AIR 3
- Stage Video Hardware Acceleration (new for AIR) — Leverage hardware acceleration of the entire video pipeline to deliver efficient, best-in-class high-definition (HD) video playback experiences. Decrease processor usage and enable smoother video, reduced memory usage, and higher fidelity on mobile*, desktop, and TV devices (*supported on Android 3.1, BlackBerry Tablet OS, and iOS).
- Captive Runtime Support (AIR for desktop and Android) — This popular feature from AIR for iOS is now available for the desktop and Android device. Developers now have more control over the use experience with this new packaging option. Simplify the app installation process by packaging the AIR runtime with your app on Windows, Mac, and Android. Developers can now control exactly which version of the runtime an app executes against. Deploy AIR application in tamper proof /hardened operating environments (e.g. medical diagnostic equipment, government, military).
- iOS Background Audio Playback Support — Developers can now write multitasking iOS applications that can play audio while in the background, including music or voice chat from a conferencing application.
- Android Licensing Service Support — Provides developers access to the Android Market Licensing Service which lets publishers enforce licensing policies for paid applications that they publish through Android Market.
- Android Front-facing Camera Support — The front-facing camera support available with AIR for iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS is now available on Android devices. Take advantage of the front-facing camera to connect users with rich video conferencing and chat experiences.
- Encrypted Local Storage for Mobile — Extends encrypted local storage support to mobile devices. Allows applications to more securely store sensitive data on a user's device, enabling support for storage of sensitive data such as passwords, certificates, and auditing information.
Now, for those wondering why do we have this picture in the middle of this blog post, then you need to have a look at this