Flash Pro CS5.5: Publish to Mobile, Tablets & Everywhere Else

That’s right. Creative Suite 5.5 is here and I want to give you a rundown of the exciting new features in Flash CS5.5. It is a very exciting release filled with shared assets, quick graphics optimization, and publishing for Android and iOS platforms.

Mobile and Tablet Content Creation

  • Scale Content When Changing Stage Size
    A new UI has been added to allow you to change the scale of your FLA file contents when you change the size of the Stage. Access the option in the Document Settings dialog box. Enter new FLA file dimensions, and then select the Scale Content with Stage option (you can choose whether you want to include locked and hidden layers when scaling). This will scale all FLA file content in all scenes!
  • AIR 2.6 SDK
    AIR 2.6 SDK is integrated in this build which. It includes the latest API for iOS such as Microphone, reading from Camera Roll, CameraUI, and Retina display support in which a Resolution dropdown is added to the AIR for iOS settings dialog box to support Retina display, just to name a few.
  • Shared Project Format
    This feature provides better integration between Flash Professional and Flash Builder by unifying their project file formats in such a way that Flash Professional can open projects created in Flash Builder (of the Flash Professional nature) and Flash Builder can import projects created in Flash Professional.
  • Authortime Shared Assets
    Create a project, and every FLA associated with that project can share assets! An AuthortimeSharedAssets.fla is created upon creation of a new project. The project name appears in the document tab. (for example, Android.fla : Meridien Project).  Define which symbols you want to share using the Library panel.
  • AIR for Android Support
    This feature provides a new publish target, AIR for Android, that allows you to publish an application that can be de­ployed on an Android device. To start, create a FLA file from the AIR for Android template!
  • Export as Bitmap
    You can use this over movie clips on Stage to enhance runtime performance. Unlike Cache as Bitmap, which creates a bitmap at runtime, this feature exports a bitmap at publish time. If you have complicated vector shapes in a movie clip, the runtime performance is better than ‘Cache as Bitmap’. You can apply this to a movie clip with shapes, TLF or Classic texts, and 3D objects. You can access it in the Property inspector/Display section. You can still edit the movie clip. There are options for Transparent and Opaque with background color.
  • Convert to Bitmap
    This feature converts anything selected on Stage to a Bitmap. The default image format is PNG, but you can change it to JPG in the properties of the bitmap created in the Library. Once you convert it to a bitmap, you cannot edit it in Flash, but you can edit it in Photoshop or other image editors and update in Flash. You can access this feature via Modify > Convert to Bitmap, or from the context menu on the element on Stage.
  • Debug movie on device via USB
    For an AIR for Android target FLA, you can debug the movie on your device via USB by selecting “on Device via USB” in the Debug Movie menu.

Type

  • TLF Performance Improvements
    Performance for TLF has been improved. Scrolling speed has been improved exponentially as well as creating TLF text blocks and populating them once they are created. These enhancements make the use of TLF on mobile devices work really well, since changes made were to the underlying text engine. Flash CS5.5 has optimized the export of TLF text to SWF. This will result in a decreased SWF file size and generally better performance in Flash Player. Note that you will not see any difference when working with TLF in Flash and on the Stage. The only difference will be in the resulting SWF file.
  • TLF Tab Ruler
    One of the features of TLF text that we didn’t take advantage of in CS5 is the ability to add tab stops and align text to them. We have added this feature in CS5.5 with the ability to enter tab characters in TLF text fields on stage. Note that different paragraphs can have different sets of tab stops. If a single paragraph is selected, the tab ruler displays mark­ers for all tab stops in the selected paragraph. If multiple paragraphs are selected and each paragraph contains differ­ent tab stops, then only the tab stops from the first selected paragraph are shown and edits are applied to all selected paragraphs.

ActionScript

  • Code Snippets for Mobile and AIR
    We have added a variety of new code snippets for making mobile AIR applications. These snippets can allow you to easily use the accelerometer, handle multi-touch gestures, save/load data and more to get you started building your own mobile apps.
  • Snippets HUD Feature
    The Code Snippets HUD will greatly speed up the process of inserting ActionScript 3 (AS3) code and learning how it works. Upon selecting a snippet from the Code Snippets panel, you can view a description or the underlying AS3 code on a heads-up-display or HUD. We have made some “radical” changes to how the AS3 code is formatted and these are intended to help novice and inexperienced programmers parse the code and apply it quickly. This view is primarily read-only, but key areas are interactive, such as instance names, frame numbers, and target objects. Typographic formatting and rollovers indicate areas of interactivity.

Animation

  • Cut, Copy, Paste and Duplicate Layers
    Flash Professional CS5.5 gives you more control over the contents on timeline through the Copy and Paste Layers feature. You can copy and paste any type of layer, such as Motion, IK, and more, with all contents on the layer on the same timeline, to a different timeline or to a different FLA document. And, the structure of the selected layers is kept intact; for example, Mask and its Maskees maintain their relationship in the pasted layers. You can also select a folder, copy it, and paste it and all its contents are pasted along with the folder. In addition to Copy Layers and Paste Layers, you can use Cut Layers and Duplicate Layers depending on your needs. Access this feature from the layer context menu invoked by right-clicking (Windows) or control-clicking (Mac) on a layer.
  • Integrated Controller with Loop Range
    You can now control author time playback (and quick navigation in your animation) using a new integrated controller at the bottom of the Timeline and the Motion Editor. In addition to the controller there is now a Loop button, which will bring up markers for you to specify which frames you want to loop playback over. This Loop Range will make it easier to repeatedly review a particular part of your animation.
  • IK Pinning
    This new setting allows animators to pin the tail of IK bones to the stage to allow greater control while posing the armatures. The pins exist at author time only.

General

  • Auto Recover
    Auto Recover is enabled in the preferences panel. At the specified time intervals (by default 10 minutes) it will create a copy of the current open file(s) and name them RECOVER_<filename>. Those copies will be saved in the same location as the actual file. Flash will not create multiple copies, but only one copy that gets overwritten every time the auto recover copy is generated. This copy will be deleted once Flash is closed properly. In the event of Flash closing unexpectedly, a dialog box will prompt you to recover the files that were open once you restart Flash.
  • Auto Save
    Auto Save is enabled per document. You can turn this feature on/off in the Document Settings or when creating a new document. When this feature is on, Flash will automatically save your document at the specified time intervals.
  • Visible Property
    Every display object in Flash has a visible property. In the past, the only way to set this property was to use ActionScript. We have now added support to toggle this property on/off directly in the Property inspector for such a display object.

But I don’t want to leave you hanging with the other releases. Greg Rewis talks all about mind-blowing Dreamweaver CS5.5 and web standards, Jason Levine has posted about video enhancements, and Terry White will show you design and digital publishing solutions that are super easy.

I’d say that if you’re on CS3 or CS4, Adobe just sweetened the pot for upgrading.