Adobe today released a new development environment, Flex 2, and with it a new player, Flash 9. There's a free version of the development environment now, which means we'll soon be seeing a lot more Flash-based applications online. That's on top of the growth we're already seeing in Flash-based sites (see yesterday's posts on Vyew and Gliffy).
The new player, Flash 9, is said to be much faster and more efficient, so the applications will feel more "expressive." The new Flash player can also interact with your audio and video hardware more than previous versions could. And new communication tools will enable people to more easily build collaborative and community applications in Flash.
The demos I've played with have been pretty slick [see video]. But then, they're demos. We'll see what real developers come up with. One thing that does bug me about Flash apps is that pages within them are hard to bookmark. It's antithetical to one of the most important tenets on the Web, which is that a URL is actually a specific and persistent placeholder. With Flash apps that's not usually the case, although some developers do manage to make their URLs useful--see the current beta of Yahoo Maps for a good example of this.
The Flash 9 upgrade is small, and the download should kick off whenever you go to a Web site that needs it, but you can get it immediately at Download.com.