Posted June 11, 2010 by senocular
As you've probably already heard, Flash Player 1.0 - err, 10.1 - has recently been released (along with AIR 2.0) for desktop platforms, Windows, Mac, and Linux. It's been a long, LONG, and grueling release for what has become nothing more than a dot release, in fact the first ever "real" dot release for Flash Player as it marks the first time a Flash Player version has had a number other than 0 in it's minor version value. Why not Flash Player 11? Afterall, A new Creative Suite was just launched, wouldn't it make sense? Normally, it would, but Flash Player has been out of sync, in terms of development, with the creative suite for a while now, and is more or less on it's own. Additionally, this release has been more of a maintenance release - a very large one, which is why I'm calling it Flash Player 1.0.
Lets take a small glance at what this release brings. First lets consider some of the new features. This includes gesture support, accelerometer support, globalization helpers, global error handling, DRM, privacy mode, along with a number of other smaller improvements adding up to hundreds of new additions to the ActionScript API. Oh, not to mention all of the support for mobile devices with things like support for sleep mode, out of memory handling, instance management, and hardware decoding. I'm sure there are other, more official sources for a complete list. But, yeah, that's a lot.
Next, performance. As mentioned before, hardware decoding for video can greatly help with performance, but a lot of attention was also given to other areas such as the ActionScript VM for code execution. With this there have also been a lot of enhancements in memory usage, something especially important for mobile devices. Depending on the content, Flash Player 10.1 can now less than half of the memory it did in prior releases!
Additionally, and probably more importantly, there have been a lot of behind the scenes work; merging code bases, cleaning up code, and bringing in a lot of optimizations that (usually) make things work better. A lot of this was done for the mobile initiative, but there have been a lot of other factors at play as well.
Herein lies the problem. SO MUCH has changed, and a lot of it very low level stuff, it's almost not the same player. It's more like a 1.0 than a 10.1. And despite the massive number of bugs we fixed with this release, there will no doubt be some new ones. So I welcome you to Flash Player 1.0!
Now, if you happen to find a problem with our new player, be sure to report it immediately so that it can be fixed in the next or an upcoming release. Hopefully you've been participating in the beta as well. Doing so is critically important to help ensure that when the final release is sent out to your users, your content still works as expected and I encourage everyone to do this. I don't want to be so bold as to claim Flash Player 10.1 is perfect, but I do know that the community can have a positive influence on its quality in beta testing and bug reporting.
I'm pretty excited about where Flash Player is heading, especially as it makes its way onto phones (I'm running the latest beta on my Nexus One and it's a blast).