Adobe Edge: 4 things you need to know

Adobe Edge isn't a Flash replacement but it's a step in HTML5's direction

While you shouldn't expect Adobe Edge to replace its Flash standard anytime soon, it will act as a gateway for the company to start using HTML5.

While you shouldn't expect Adobe's Edge to replace its Flash standard anytime soon, it will act as a gateway for the company to start using HTML5.

To help guide you through what Adobe Edge will and won't do, we've put together a quick compilation of key facts about Adobe's newest HTML-based Web animation technology.

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First: Adobe Edge will not "replace" Adobe Flash. Unlike Flash, which is the standard of choice for YouTube videos and Facebook games, Edge is designed to enable "simple animations" only, such as those used for advertisements. The significance here is that Adobe is incorporating HTML5, the standard that Apple has pushed as an alternative to Adobe Flash for Web-based video. Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone and the iPad currently do not support Flash, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed that Flash crashes too often and puts too big a drain on mobile devices' power supplies to be an efficient standard for the mobile Web.

So the big news is that Adobe is dipping its toes in the HTML5 water; whether an HTML5 video standard eventually replaces Flash is still up in the air.

Second: Edge was designed with the mobile Web in mind. In another nod to Apple criticisms, Adobe says that Edge is "designed and tested to work reliably on the iOS and Android platforms, WebKit-enabled devices and popular desktop browsers." Since the mobile Web has become more of a staple for many users over the past few years, Adobe has decided it needs to cater to mobile Web users with an animation standard that works just as well as it does on the traditional desktop PC.

Third: There's more than one way to create animations with Edge. There are three major ways for users to create their own animations using Edge: By important existing Web graphics from several different standards, including SVG, JPG, PNG or GIF; by adding "motion elements" to existing HTML-based Web pages by using a JavaScript file that Adobe says "cleanly distinguishes the original HTML from Edge's animation code"; and by creating your own animations from scratch using a combination of HTML building clocks, text and assorted graphics pilfered from across the Internet.

Fourth: Edge is still in preview mode, so don't look for it to take over the world in the next week. As we mentioned earlier, Edge represents Adobe's first dabbling with HTML5 for animations so it's not ready for primetime yet. Adobe is releasing a preview of the standard to the public to receive "evaluation and feedback that will help shape the features and future roadmap of Edge." But it's safe to say that if Edge is a smashing success with both developers and Web users, Adobe will branch out its use of HTML5 to support more standards that can support video and complex gaming applications.

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