Edge Preview 2 Now Available!

I’m really happy to announce that the Edge team at Adobe has delivered Preview 2 of Adobe Edge. You can download it from Adobe Labs.

Preview 2 was for us a fit and finish release and comes basically 1 month after the release of Preview 1. Some of what we added  were things that we had wanted to have in the first preview but didn’t get in, but a lot was based on feedback we got from users of the first release.  There are also lots of bug fixes, including a fix for the infamous bug that forced some Windows users with certain graphics cards to have to run in 16bit color mode.

One thing that is not in Preview 2 is interactivity.  That’s a major feature and something we’re working on for a future preview, though people have been adding in JavaScript code outside of Edge and doing some really cool things with it.

There are 9 major features that we’ve added, in addition to bug fixes and upgrading to jQuery 1.6.2, and I think you’ll like them. Some have lots of sub-features, so there’s a lot there.  Here’s a rundown of what we added.

Elements

  • Specify semantic tags on managed elements: Change the tag type of each shape, image and text you create in Edge to reflect how they appear in the HTML DOM.  This was a feature that was requested by some of the more passionate members of the HTML community.
  • Copy and paste elements: You can now copy and paste elements in Edge, to easily duplicate shapes, images or text. While we are working on a Library panel for an upcoming release, duplicating an image (PNG, SVG, JPG, etc) will create a new element that refers to the same underlying asset, so this is a work around for the issue of importing multiple copies of the same image resulting in duplication of assets.
  • Drag and drop z-index manipulation: In the elements panel, you can now control the z-order of shapes, text and images created in Edge.
  • Element IDs based on file names: Elements created when importing image assets now retain their original file names, so you don’t need to rename their IDs.  This is a big time saver, IMO.

Stage

  • Smart guides: Guides and dimension markers are displayed when an object on the stage is moved or resized. This helps you align with precision and resize objects in relation to others on the stage.  While there are also commands to align objects after the face, this makes it really easy to position and size elements on stage. You can disable snapping by holding down the Cmd/Ctrl key while moving the object, or toggle via the Modify menu.
  • Centered stage: The stage is now centered by default, to easily move items off the stage and animate them in from any direction.  This was a feature requested by a lot of users.
  • Redesigned coordinates system: Elements are now positioned and sized in consistent coordinates, making positioning of objects easier.
  • Align and distribute elements: Select multiple elements, and align and distribute them via new options in the Modify menu.
  • Direct on-stage manipulation of element origin: The transform origin can now be altered directly on the stage, in addition to the properties panel.

Timeline

  • Enhanced copy and paste of transitions: You can now copy and paste a transition from a single element to multiple elements, or vice-versa.  While it was sometimes possible to paste a set of transitions onto multiple elements, it didn’t always work the way you wanted it to.  There are also a number of paste options for transitions under the new “Paste Special” menu, which are involved enough that I think should be the subject of another post, so watch for that!
  • Dragging of playhead away from the mark: You can now leave the Mark at the current playhead location, and move the playhead to a new position in one gesture. Just hold down the Alt/Option key while dragging the playhead.  This was a feature that I really wanted – and asked for – and personally put on the feature list – and badgered someone into to doing – and now you can enjoy it too!  It completes the basic set of features for interacting with the Mark.
  • Smooth scrubbing of timeline: Scrubbing the playhead without snapping can now be done by holding down the Command/Ctrl key while dragging the playhead. This brings consistency with moving elements on the stage without snapping.
  • Playhead time editing: You can now type into the timeline’s counter to move the playhead to a specific location, or by dragging the numeric value up or down with your mouse.  This was requested by a number of users.

Under the hood

  • Windows 7 update: An error on the Windows version that caused Edge to crash on startup has been resolved, no longer requiring users to change the display bit depth from 32-bit to 16-bit. This turned out to be a simple fix, though hard to track down.  Basically, on Windows we use the Chromium Embedding Framework for our stage and welcome screen panels and it turned out that we had set a flag to enable hardware acceleration for our embedded WebKit views.  Turning this flag off not only fixed the crash, but it also… are you ready?… made the Windows version faster! You might have thought that hardware acceleration would always speed things up, but not in this case.  We are working on changing how we embed WebKit for a future release to improve things even more.
  • jQuery update: Edge’s animation framework now works with the latest version of jQuery, 1.6.2.