Adobe has released the first public preview of its Adobe Edge application for creating animations and other interactive web content using HTML5.
Adobe also said it is trying a different approach to development with Edge, opening up the application to its user community at a very early stage in the hope that feedback will help hone the tool to better meet customer requirements by launch time, currently scheduled for sometime in 2012.
"We saw that web developers are struggling to find tools with the capabilities they need as far as web standards go," said John Cole, creative solutions architect at Adobe.
The release available today shows off its simple user interface, which Adobe said draws on the most popular interface elements from other tools such as After Effects. It is based around a timeline to which the user adds elements and applies transitions to produce the desired effect.
"In a designer's hands, it's as good as Flash, and you get Flash-like animation quality," said Cole.
He also demonstrated how Edge could be used to take an existing web page, and update it by animating some elements on the page.
But there is no support for creating interactive content at this stage of development, Adobe promising this in a later preview release.
"We're actively looking for feedback to guide the development process, so it's up to users to let us know what they want," said Cole.
However, once Edge enables developers to put together animated content that will work directly in a browser, will there still be a need for Adobe's Flash technology?
Not surprisingly, Adobe said it expects developers will need both Flash and HTML5 for the foreseeable future.
While Edge will be used to create animations, interactive web sites and lightweight content-driven applications, Flash will still be required for content such as games and multimedia applications, according to the firm.
Adobe Edge is being developed for Mac and PC, and the preview can be freely downloaded from the Adobe Labs web site.
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