There has been a quasi-religious debate over the value or necessity of Adobe Flash ever since Apple and Steve Jobs banned it from iOS. Adobe has stood by Flash, but now it seems to be also hedging its bets with software that developers can use with HTML5--Adobe Edge.
The war over Adobe Flash has escalated far beyond Apple and iOS, into a larger battle between the proprietary Adobe platform and the emerging HTML5 standard. Battle lines have been drawn with strong supporters on both sides of the fence.
Ultimately, though, HTML5 is a Web standard, and Adobe Flash is a proprietary development platform. That alone should eventually dictate that HTML5 will surpass Adobe Flash and reign as the dominant platform for Web-based animation and interactive content.
I am not anti-Flash, but as an end-user I don't miss it. I have had an iPhone for years, and an iPad since the day it launched, and I have maintained over the course of the whole Apple vs. Adobe battle that the lack of Flash on iOS is just not an issue. It is a sound bite talking point for Android proponents to wield against iOS, but it doesn't have any real world impact.
Adobe is borrowing a page from the Microsoft strategy book in rolling out Edge. Like Microsoft did with Internet Explorer 9, and is currently doing with IE10, Adobe is releasing Edge as a pre-beta platform preview. The Adobe press release says, "While in public preview, Adobe Edge will be a no-charge download that Web designers are encouraged to explore and provide feedback on, to help shape future preview releases."
Engaging the developer community early in the process, and giving developers a voice in how the product evolves helps create a better product when it is officially launched, and builds a sense of product loyalty in the meantime. It gets the developers invested in the success of Adobe Edge.
What Adobe is doing is just smart business. Flash may continue to be a popular development platform, and a staple of Web development, but Adobe can not ignore the rise of HTML5. Adobe wants to be identified as a company that creates the tools software developers use to create engaging, dynamic content--not just the company that fought valiantly for the cause of Adobe Flash.
To download the software, visit www.labs.adobe.com.