The battle between HTML5 and Adobe's Flash technology took a new turn Monday with the release of an HTML5 tool from Adobe Systems. The company announced the first public preview release of Edge, a tool for web motion and interaction that uses the standards-based HTML5.
Adobe said it's adopting an open development methodology for Edge, and the software is being released on its Adobe Labs site earlier than it might normally be, before a beta version is available. The intent, it said, is to get user feedback to influence the direction of the final product.
Apple in particular has favored HTML5 technology over Flash, but Adobe said it sees Edge as a complement to its Flash Professional and Flash Builder software.
Paul Gubbay, vice president for design and web engineering at Adobe, said the company has delivered "several significant HTML5 milestones" over the last year, including contributions to jQuery, code for WebKit, and enhancements to HTML5 in the company's flagship product, Creative Suite 5.5.
The new Edge tool, he said, is "taking our HTML5 tool to a whole new level."
Edge works natively with HTML and allows motion to be added to HTML documents without affecting layouts based on CSS. Additionally, visually rich content can be created with drawing tools that create HTML elements governed by CSS3 styling.
Standard file formats, such as SVG, PNG, JPG and GIF, can be imported and styled. WebKit is used for design, preview managing content, and a timeline feature -- a standard in many multimedia tools -- enables precise movement and control.
'Another Step Forward'
Adobe said the results are intended to work on contemporary browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer 9, and on a wide variety of mobile Relevant Products/Services platforms, including Google's Android, Apple's iOS, Hewlett Packard's webOS, and others.
While Edge is HTML5-specific, Adobe has been clear about its intention to appear as a champion of open-standard technologies. Its Creative Suite 5.5, announced in May, went farther than earlier versions in its support of creating HTML5-based content as well as Flash.
In fact, when 5.5 was released, Senior Vice President David Wadhwani said Adobe saw its role as "leading the charge for HTML5 authoring with new capabilities that will enhance the delivery of HTML content across multiple browsers."
Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with industry research firm Forrester Relevant Products/Services, said the release of Edge is "another step forward" in the evolution of HTML5. He pointed out that there are not currently "a lot of good HTML5 tools," even while a significant number of organizations that "do a lot of Flash are also beginning to use HTML5."
He expects both technologies to be around for the foreseeable future.