Adobe Puts Focus on HTML5 for Digital Publishing: Collaborates with JQuery and WebKit

There has been a lot of talk about the perceived conflicts between Adobe Flash and HTML5 lately, but during it’s annual developer conference MAX today, Adobe announced a new product for building interactive HTML5 content and highlighted some of the advantages of developing in HTML5. Adobe Edge, as the new tool is called, will allow developers to easily create interactive HTML5 experiences. Adobe also announced a new open JavaScript framework for animations that it will contribute back to the jQuery project, as well as a new collaboration with Google that will bring better layout and typographical fidelity to WebKit-based browsers.

As Adobe’s vice president for design and web Paul Gubbay told us earlier today, Adobe wants to help designers and developers and to give them a choice. Clearly, a lot of Adobe’s customers are shifting their development from purely Flash-based project to HTML5-driven products. The fact that Apple does not support Flash on its mobile devices obviously plays a role here, and as Gubbay told us, it “would be silly to say that Apple doesn’t have something to do with this.” He also pointed out that this development is driven by the fact that a lot of the innovation today is happening in the browser.

Working with JQuery

With Edge, Adobe wants to give interactivity designers the ability to create rich HTML5 experiences based on an open JavaScript framework for animation. Adobe plans to contribute this framework back to the jQuery framework. As Gubbay told us, jQuery’s ability to create animations is still very basic, but the new framework should make it easier to create interactive HTML5 experiences. Adobe will talk more about this during tomorrow’s MAX keynote where jQuery founder John Resigwill be on stage.

Working with WebKit

These tools, however, as Gubbay told us, are only one part of the equation. The browser itself also plays a fundamental role in ensuring that all of these design are displayed correctly. For digital publishers, however – and especially those who want to bring traditional print material online – most browsers’ still can’t quite render the complex layouts that these publishers are looking for. With HTML, it is still virtually impossible to wrap text around arbitrary shapes, for example, or to manipulate typefaces. To fix this, Adobe is working closely with Google and the WebKit project to ensure that the controls are available in modern browsers like Safari and Chrome.

Martha Stewart joined Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch on stage during today’s MAX keynote and demonstrated an interactive version of her magazine on the iPad, but as Gubbay told us, the company also hopes to be able to help designers to bring their products to the numerous new tablets that will launch before the end of the year. Conde Nast’s CTO Joe Simon also announced that the company will use Adobe’s told to bring its magazines (including Wired and The New Yorker) to tablets. With SiteCatalyst, Adobe will offer an analytics platform for publishers who want to get a detailed view of how their readers use their digital editions.

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