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Adobe launches suite of HTML5-based developer tools

For two years, Adobe has been updating Edge, a free Web development tool designed to move the Web away from plugins like its own Flash and towards flashy, rich, interactive sites that play well on full-size desktop screens and the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. At the company's first "Create the Web" event in San Francisco, Adobe unveiled a new suite, dubbed Edge Tools and Services.

The suite includes the original Edge (now renamed Edge Animate) plus six more tools: Edge Inspect (formerly Shadows), for previewing and debugging sites on desktop and mobile platforms; Edge Code, a preview version of a code editor for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and based on the Brackets open-source project; two font-related tools—the free Edge Web Fonts, and premium Typekit; and PhoneGap Build, a service Adobe acquired that converts your Web apps to iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile apps.

Danny Winokur, Adobe's vice president and general manager of Interactive Development, said the point of the releases is to "advance what's possible with HTML5 and associated technologies that have become instrumental to the modern Web."

He noted that not only has Adobe been developing these creation tools, but it is also working on Web standards themselves. "One of the things that is important for us, and that we believe benefits the larger Web community, is to have the Web platform—what the browsers are capable of doing—become much more expressive."

The beta of Edge was downloaded by more than half a million testers since its first availability in July 2011. It has undergone seven preview release updates over that time.

The suite speaks to a new world of designers and programmers—one in which the designers are far more cognisant of what the developers can accomplish. Conversely, the developers have become more aware of the role of design on their websites and apps. The teams' workflows have also become more task-focused, said Winokur.

"Historically we might have seen a designer and a developer using their own tools and then have a Web producer pull together all the pieces, we're now increasingly seeing designers and developers working together," he said. So instead of working in isolation, they co-create.

All of the services and tools will be available as included components for subscribers to Adobe's Creative Cloud software subscription and download service, which costs £46.88 per month. Some of the tools are available as standalone subscriptions. Standalone versions of Edge Animate cost $14.99 (£9) per month, Edge Inspect is $9.99 (£6), PhoneGap Build is $9.99 (£6) a month, and TypeKit costs $49.99 (£30) a year.

The Edge Code editor is still in Preview, so it's free for now, and Edge Reflow was only given a sneak peek at Create the Web. Edge Web Fonts is open source.

"We've entered this most recent era of the Web where things have started to get quite exciting and the Web has really taken big leaps forward with how dynamic and programmable it has become," said Winokur. "You can really begin to deliver much more sophisticated and much more visually beautiful and expressive application-like experiences."

To find out more about Adobe's Edge Tools and Services and watch the demos and keynotes, head to Adobe's Create the Web site. In addition to the San Francisco event, tour stops are scheduled for London (2 October), Tokyo (9 October), and Sydney (11 October).