Adobe Edge Preview 4 is available now and you can download it from Adobe Labs, http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/edge/. Also check out the video I did to highlight a few of the features on Adobe TV, http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adobe-edge-preview/introducing-adobe-edge-preview-4/.
Given that the first three previews were released a month apart and it has been over three months since Preview 3, a logical question is: “What took you so long?”
There are a couple of reasons. The first is that we work in one month sprints that are aligned on the month boundry and both Oct, Nov and Dec were all shorter than normal due to MAX, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Additionally, we added a number of features that took multiple sprints to implement.
The result is that Edge Preview 4 this is a MAJOR release. At a high level, here are the features you will find in it.
- Symbols – Reusable objects with their own Timelines, Actions, Triggers and Labels. You no longer have a single timeline and can create multiple instances and dynamically control them from code or on the timeline. This opens up a ton of new capabilities.
- Web Fonts – import and use fonts from any service on the web or bring your own to get the exact font you want. You can download font packages from services like FontSquirrel, or link to fonts from Google Web Fonts, and of course, leverage Adobe TypeKit. When you add a Font to your project, you define the font fallback list, and after that, it appears in the list of fonts just like the built in ones.
- Element Display – This allows you to control an element’s “display” attribute. Setting display=none (“Off” in Edge’s UI) means the element is removed from the browser’s rendering tree and increases efficiency. When Elements are “Off”, there is a nice cross hatch pattern that lets you easily see this on the timeline.
- Library Panel – This allows you to see and manage the images, symbols and fonts used in your project. Symbols and images can be dragged from the Library Panel on to the stage to create new instances of them.
- Drag and Drop from the File System - you can now import images simply by dragging them them from the file system and dropping them onto the stage where you want them.
- Reparenting of Elements – you can reparent Elements in the Elements Panel using drag and drop.
- Transform Tool – For Preview 4, this allows you to scale objects, instead of resizing them. In the next preview, you will be able to do on stage rotation.
- Transform Point Improvements – while a minor feature, you can now place the transform point of an element outside of the element. This allows you to do things like have an element orbit a specific point just by doing a rotation.
- Color tools – located on the toolbar, this allows you to select the stroke and fill color for a shape before you draw it.
- Clip and background position – you now have access to these properties which allows you to do interesting masking and panning effects. You can even load Sprite sheets and animate them.
- Composition ID – This is now editable in the Stage Property panel and is the ID that appears in the script files that you use as the class name of the host div in your HTML page.
- Composition “autoplay” control – If you want a composition not to play automatically, rather than having to put a “stop()” command at 0.0, you can now just uncheck the autoplay property. Note that all symbols have this property for you to use.
- Simplified Script Include – to include your composition in a page, you now have to copy just a single line of code.
- Option/Alt drag to duplicate – if you want to copy something on the stage, just hold down the Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows) key and drag the selected objects.
- Insert Time – this allows you to insert time, shifting transitions to the right of the playhead or stretching transitions that overlap the playhead.
These are the main features, though there definitely are some others in there. In addition, we’ve done a couple of things to improve the performance of the tool.
First, we are using a new version of WebKit that is the same on both Windows and Mac. This provides a big speedup for Windows user. We’ve also re-writteen the “actors list”, which is the list of animated elements and properties on the left hand side of the Timeline Panel and it’s a lot faster, more responsive and keeps in sync with the rest of the timeline when scrolling.
Lastly, we’ve fixed lots of bugs and made a number of incremental refinements so it should feel a lot better than Preview 3.
Overall, this is a huge release for Edge and makes it much more powerful, but we’re not done! We’re hard at work on Preview 5 and have a lot of cool stuff in store for you.
So download Edge Preview 4, give it a try and let me know what you think. Also, follow me on Twitter – @markand, and stay in touch!