Adobe isn't giving up on Flash and as well as giving a schedule for forthcoming releases, has unveiled plans to make it a platform suitable for developers for the next five to ten years.
The increasing importance of HTML 5 comes as a real blow to Adobe which has responded by reducing the number of platforms for Flash and focusing on its use in game development and encrypted video.
Future versions of Flash will no longer support smartphone browsers, concentrating instead on desktop platforms. In the case of Windows 8, Adobe is currently saying that it is
"working closely with Microsoft to finalize details around supported configurations for Flash Player and Adobe AIR on Windows 8."
The problem for Flash is that plug-ins will no longer be supported in the Metro-style version of Internet Explorer on Windows 8.
The next version of Flash, Version 11.2, to be released this spring will add support for middle- and right-mouse buttons alongside better hardware acceleration and multithreaded video decoding.
Two other releases this year will add support for keyboard input on full-screen applications, and for multithreaded applications.
Adobe says that a future version currently codenamed ‘Next’ will make Flash a platform that meets developers' needs over the next five to ten years. The main way this will be achieved is by improving Flash’s ActionScript programming language and virtual machine.
The improvements to ActionScript are still ‘being explored’, according to Adobe, but include making stringent static typing the default, with optional dynamic typing, overcoming the current tendency in ActionScript 3 to lapse into dynamic typing. Type inference will be automatic by the compiler, and hardware-oriented numeric types will be supported.