Adobe CS6 Design/Web Premium review

Price when reviewed

Fireworks CS6

Dreamweaver’s graphics partner Fireworks is often overlooked – not least by Adobe. However, this new CS6 release sees improved memory management on 64-bit systems, rationalisation and improvements to the interface, the ability to create and edit jQuery Mobile themes, and a new CSS Properties panel that lets you copy rich CSS3 formatting ready for pasting into your code.

Adobe Fireworks CS6

Flash Professional CS6

Design/Web Premium is also able to output to Flash. This was once a huge strength, and mobile devices should have provided the perfect platform for Flash. This is no longer going to happen: Apple iOS has never supported Flash, and Microsoft won’t either in its Metro browser. In response, Adobe has cancelled development of its mobile Flash player, outsourced Flex development to Apache, making the future of Flash Builder uncertain, and ditched Flash Catalyst.

It’s bad news for Flash developers, but Adobe is keen to stress that Flash isn’t dead in the browser yet. Indeed, thanks to its desktop penetration, it can still offer a cross-platform audience of more than a billion. This is especially attractive for games developers, and Flash Professional CS6’s support for bitmap sprite sheets will help them boost performance. More effective on this front is the ability to use the open source Starling framework to target Flash’s Stage3D capabilities to produce hardware-accelerated frame rates of up to 60fps.

Adobe CS6 Design/Web Premium

Crucially, while delivering such projects in the browser won’t be possible on next-generation mobile devices, developers will still be able to output them as standalone native apps for app store-based delivery. You can take advantage of device-specific capabilities, such as vibration, and simulate touch-based gestures while debugging on the desktop. It’s easier to add and target new SDKs as they’re released, and you can now embed the AIR 3.2 runtime within the native application itself.

Adobe has also announced it’s going to provide a free toolkit of JavaScript libraries for managing animation, sound and tweens, which should help create mobile web content using Flash Professional CS6. This should enable simple Flash projects, such as rich banner adverts, to output to HTML5, with Flash SWF as a fallback for older browsers.

With the loss of universal browser support, Flash Professional has taken a huge hit. Life is a lot more complicated than it was and, with the enforced shift to HTML5, many developers will be tempted to call it a day. However, it isn’t the end of Adobe’s mission to deliver the best possible cross-platform experience across desktop and devices, and Flash Professional still has a role to play.

Click here to return to the full Adobe Creative Suite 6 review.


Software subcategoryWeb development

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