Adobe has announced an upcoming version of their Creative Suite, CS 5.5 and it bring number great features for RIA developers. One of the central themes of this release its to enable creation of content for multiple screens, features for which have been added to Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, and Flash Builder among other applications.
CS5.5 includes updated versions of Dreamweaver and Flash Professions, and includes Flash Builder 4.5 and Catalyst CS 5.5. It also brings in the new Adobe Acrobat X into the CS.
Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 brings support for emerging web standards with HTML5 and CSS3 support. A new multi-screen preview panel lets web developers design for smartphones, tablets and desktops with greater ease by taking advantages of new standards.
Flash Professional CS5.5 too brings numerous improvements for multi-screen development. The latest Flash Player 10.2 is supported, and Flash Pro can now debug application on your device itself.
Flash Catalyst CS5.5 significantly improved the developer-designer workflow by allowing round-tripping between Flash Builder 4.5 and Flash Catalyst CS5.5. Catalyst now also allows creating resizable components that can work across multiple screen resolutions. Additionally, support for skinning custom-components and wireframing support has been added.
Flash Builder 4.5 brings the new Mobile-optimized Flex 4.5 SDK that supports building applications for Android, iOS and soon the Blackberry Playbook as well. Flash Buildear too has a new emulator for testing applications. Numerous improvements to coding workflow have also been made. Flash Builder now also comes in a new PHP-enhanced version in collaboration with Zend. This includes a copy of Zend Studio allowing for development of server side of your application in tandem with the client application.
Adobe CS 5.5. brings more that just features though, Adobe CS5.5 is part of a new strategy for releasing CS versions. Adobe now intends to release new "milestone" releases such as CS3, CS4, CS5 every two years, while having mid-cycle releases in between to bring newer featues faster without a major release. This means that CS5.5 is not a free update to CS5, but is cheaper than a full--fledged CS5 to CS 6 would have been.
In addition to a new release cycle Adobe is also introducing a new model for using CS applications. A new subscription model allows one pay for using Adobe products on a monthly basis instead of an outright purchase. So freelancers or other who cannot afford Adobe products at their retail prices, or those who only need to use the products for short periods of time can pay a subscription price rather than a the full price of the products. While the cost of subscription on the long term will undoubtedly end up being more than the purchase price, subscription bring another advantage that offsets this. An Adobe product subscription includes any upgrades to the product released in the duration. So if Adobe CS6 comes out in the middle of your one-year CS5.5 subscription, it will be a free upgrade.