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What happened to the Flash CS5 beta?

This is obviously a very hot topic right now and many people have been rightfully pissed off by our decision to cancel the public beta. I too am disappointed by the decision as I have been telling audiences for months that it was coming. Based on a lot of the things that I have read over the last day or so I felt I needed to address this topic as people are coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories.

Anyone who has worked in software long enough knows that sometimes schedules and priorities change over the course of a project, and that is all that has happened here. This is not some sign that the current build is too unstable or lacking in quality. In fact I have found the current builds to be very solid. The real problem deals with the immense amount of extra work that comes from managing a public beta. There is way more that goes into it besides just posting a build up on labs. The decision was made to cancel the beta because the team needs to focus their entire attention on putting out an awesome release, on time, with solid stability.

I want to make it clear that the Flash team is painfully aware of the stability issues that went out with Flash CS4. Many were fixed with the 10.1 update but there are some that are clearly still there. It is one of their top priorities to put out a release with a lot of great new features AND one that also is extremely reliable.

With all that being said, we said we were going to do it and got everyone extremely excited about it, only to then pull the plug on it. I don’t blame you for being upset but I hope you can understand the reasons for it.


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  1. Case well explained and surely any software development is tricky with the majority of them guaranteed to be delayed.

    Also, I don’t think CS4 on Mac was actually worse than CS3 or that we have any truly annoying matters remaining from the 10.1 update. Quite clearly people who use the IDE for what it’s targeted at, there should be no show-stopper grade issues with it. It performs hugely better than CS3 did.

    Of course the delays may introduce a change of plans to many, but I’m pretty sure we are not discussing half a year here, are we?

  2. I think that has happened to all of us; if the team got focus on beta there will be a lot of new features that may the team will not acomplish.
    I think as well that the priority is the mayor build.
    We can wait
    We will wait


  3. Let’s face it: It sucks.
    A lot of people have been eagerly waiting to give a beta a test run, discover new cool stuff, and get dazzled by the list of amazing new possibilities… And now we’re stuck 5 more months…

    I kinda feel bad for everybody at Adobe: You guys made some pretty big announcements at Max. Everybody got excited, and now you guys have to tell us we won’t get new toys for Christmas. They’re all working as hard as they can, and trying to make decisions that -in the long run- should only be a favor for us. Now we aren’t too happy, and that doesn’t make the Adobe-people happy. So basically everybody’s pissed off…

    Ah, the joy of Christmas! Hehe :-)
    Too bad! Wish everybody at the office a merry xmas, and make sure they know we love them, whatever they do 😉 It’s like a mother-child-relationship 😉

    Thanks for your time, clearing this up a bit.
    Merry xmas, Lee.

  4. after trying AIR2 beta and got some serious bug that i already submit and got no response…i don’t think it’s good idea to release just like that…why don’t increase more private beta tester instead?

  5. Lee – i’ve heard some unnerving rumours from folks orbiting the Apple camp that Jobs and Co are planning a cock-blocking move to somehow prevent developers from using the Export to iPhone feature of Flash CS5. From where i sit, they have the means and motivation to do this, even if it’s only by non-technical methods like rejecting apps from known Flash developers.

    Of course, being in the Adobe camp you’ll deny this up and down, but i’d love to hear the straight dope from someone on the topic. i can’t afford to sink development time and money into something Apple will likely reject simply due to the tool i used to create it.

    – Ryan

  6. Sure sucks. I was also hoping to play with the new iPhone features.. but now, when I hear it doesn’t play well on the phone, will be much larger in size, can’t access camera, might be blocked by Apple, won’t let me play with the promised beta, I will go with the more expensive Unity solution.

  7. @Ryan I don’t think anyone from Adobe will tell you – yes this will be the case – yet considering Apples mentality as of late, i see this as a very possible and further Apple-annoying move from their part.

    Yet i don’t see the gain of focusing on IPhone development anyway. The app-market is oversaturated and there are many other mobile platforms that fp 10.1 will target where you have a much higher chance of gaining reputation and even some bucks by releasing apps/flash content for. I’m quite sure that one or the other flash app will make it’s mark on any of those platforms, yet the IPhone will be the least successful imho.

    @lee On the whole beta fiasco – In all honesty, i am very disapointed and don’t understand for the life of me why the beta had to be canceled. None of the points you bring up sound valid or for a better word make a good argument to me.

    In my opinion and probably lots of others aswell, i would have released the beta and taken into account that the product will be released later but had more feedback from end-users and testers to create a rock-solid release that everyone will be happy with.

    It works for the gaming-industry, why wouldn’t it work for us aswell? A product should be released when it’s considered done and not when the once set deadline is met. Along the way release betas often and gather feedback. The community will be happier, the application will be more stable and in the end it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

    And what does it mean taking a delay when you already have a great tool set that only could get better, eventhough you might have to take into account that you have to wait a couple more months?

    I realize that i am talking from a viewpoint that sounds awesome for developers and may actually cost a lot more money before revenue could be created from said product. Yet i’m pretty confident that the revenue will be better in the end when the community is backing you up a 100% instead of ending up nagging because certain features/functionality are not as expected and people start pointing at a missing beta where they would have had the chance to provide feedback 😉

    I really hope you guys think about that in the future (it has worked great for Flash/Flex Builder so far hasn’t it?) :)

    Cheers from Switzerland,

  8. I can accept what you’re saying, and though it’s disappointing, I know from experience that the beta testing period can eat a ton of resources that will be better spent polishing over the next few months. If this is all there is to the matter then bravo to Adobe for having the balls to take this lump and stick to the plan of releasing a grade-a product.

    Where it gets scary for me is that this is a repeat of what went down with CS4 and on release day it was a steamy pile. If that is the case with CS5 I think the forgiveness we all will extend for not having a beta will be used up. If CS5 is not the quality release you are burning these extra months on I hope the community will not be so forgiving.

  9. There is some logic in your statement, but at the same time not releasing a public bétà can cause more problems in the end. If you do release the gold version at one point many bugs may still remain because of insufficient testing. Something that can only be resolved by having more people test it on more platforms.

    At this point I’m pretty diappointed by the Adobe Creative Suite CS4 for Mac, in particular in Flash. The Flash player (plugin) is a monstrosity, you can barely watch a 5-second clip on YouTube without your fans roaring. The IDE is better, but it still has some nasty bugs where it doesn’t respond to Spaces for example.

    The worst thing about the Adobe Creative Suite is the fact that they just keep pumping out new versions, and that the older versions don’t get the much deserved bugfixes. I myself have reported several bugs to Adobe in the course of last year, not one of those has been fixed up to this day. I’ve paid $30 for software that had bugs fixed in a matter of weeks, but my $2000 Adobe Suite doesn’t get fixed in over a year. They’ll probably fix it in CS5 and expect me to buy that when it comes out.

  10. @Lee Could you explain why a public beta would not reveal more bugs than a private beta with less participants?

    The problem I see with just having the closed beta, is that you’re not getting everything tested. I know from having been part of former Betas that only a few of the testers are able to dedicate the required time. Even if they all did spend heaps of time, they couldn’t possibly reveal all bugs as there’s so many different workflows.

    For instance – if most of the beta testers are from the Flash community, they’ll probably have a very “uniform” workflow. Those not active in the community will use the tool differently. I’ve noticed this while doing training.

  11. noone expects beta to be reliable. even more, that’s what beta is for – to figure out bugs. if you really want to bring us reliable release, i guess beta would help. i know you have deadlines and so on, and that beta means additional work, but it also means a speedup in finding out bugs – especially if several beta versions are released on the course of development.

    the buzz CS5 has created is related mostly to it’s build in toolchain for development of iphone apps. those lucky enough to get their hands on CS5 already, have some apps in apple store. that means toolchain itself is quality-wise good enough to be used currently, even in production environment. and even if it comes with some quirks and you want to make it better with time, some folks would be willing to use it already, as it is, to make some cash thanks to it. if releasing beta of CS5 is out of the question, maybe you would at least consider putting that toolchain into nightly builds of flex sdk 4? it is beta after all, so noone will expect miracles from it. still, you can bet that by telling developers to wait, you’re delaying by few months not only their chance to ‘have fun’ with new stuff, but also to earn some serious cash thanks to the possibilities that toolchain and putting apps on apple store bring with them.

    after making us wait so long for it, this isn’t only something to be understood. this is simply not fair.

  12. I hope Adobe includes offline help files this time. The lack of offline help in Flash CS4 is extremely irritating as the search feature in the help files of previous versions of Flash was fantastic.

  13. i dont blame adobe. ive read all over about how people were planning to capitalize off the beta release of the iphone publishing beta. while im sure that everyone is really excited about the advanced font treatments, i can see where adobe would see a beta like this to be a liability. a lot more people planned to get the slight advantage of a public beta release if they couldnt get the full advantage of the private beta release. just my opinion of course.

  14. @Ryan

    Rumors must be false since there’s absolutely no difference between an App built with and without Flash – they are compiled as native applications and they do not violate Apple’s terms and conditions.

    Having said that, if Apple decides to limit developers to only using the tools they provide (by changing terms and conditions that is), they will loose a huge audience (Unity3D, FlashCS5, MonoTouch…)

  15. well Lee you made it clear and for sure I had a lot of stability problems with cs4 which I believe solved with the 10.1 update specially in the Text Tool. any way I hope you are right that the CS5 will be awesome with that wonderful features you show us .

  16. I’ll take your word for it, but it hasn’t been “reliable” since Flash 8. Just do what you can to make it never freeze or crash. Another great thing, like one person mentioned on the CS5 blog as a feature for Photshop, would be the ability to branch history as a tree instead of making it linear and destructive.
    …As well as most of the other stuff on my name-link, but don’t kill yourselves on that.

  17. Hah, after watching your Flash CS5 video I went right to adobe labs to download the beta and I was like.. “What the.. ” It wasn’t there heh. I am not pissed at Adobe’s Flash Team for this but I was indeed excited to try it.

    I am also glad the Adobe Flash Team is working on the Flash performance/stability issues, it is some of the things that really pisses me off of Flash CS4.

    Thanks for the explaination, Lee.

  18. “even if it’s only by non-technical methods like rejecting apps from known Flash developers”

    Sounds like a legal nightmare. Also, what happens to “known Flash developers” who actually use Apple’s own tools?

  19. I’m somewhat mixed about the canceling of the beta. I understand the extra resources required for a beta test. I’ve been involved in them on both sides as developer and a tester. It takes extra resources. However, I also believe that the benefit of having a public beta is also great. It wets the appetite of the public, gets them familiar, creates some trust (after that CS4 launch), and the general public always finds a lot more bugs than the standard beta testers (who are professionals and have an established workflow) tend to find. I’d still like to see Adobe release a public beta, but push it back. Maybe try it a month or two before release. Or if the iPhone stuff is the hang up on the beta, just disable it for the beta.

    @Ryan – I think unless Adobe is using APIs they shouldn’t be or doing something under the hood that is bad for users (security, battery consuming, etc), Apple couldn’t block this without blocking many of the other non-Xcode developed apps out there. And I doubt they would do that since many of their best selling games are not developed in XCode.

  20. I am not bothered by the “no beta” thing. I am bothered though by the unload assets memory management nightmare in AS3… If they can make sure that’s 100% fixed :)

    Keep the posts coming on CS5 usage Lee!



  21. The issue here is obviously that people are mad because they thought they were going to be building iphone apps by now. But guess what? You CAN. Get XCode. It’s free. I’m an AS developer just like anyone else here but I manned up and started learning Objective C because I want to develop iphone apps. I’m not counting on Adobe to save the day and make me not have to think or work. So instead of the time you were going to use on playing with CS5, get XCode. That’s what it is there for. You want to develop for MAC, then USE a MAC and use the appropriate language.
    oh, and read this post by Keith Peters for glimpse of reality:

  22. @Brad I definitely recommend people who want to become professional iPhone developers to learn Objective-C. But now that we have hardware acceleration working some of what Keith said is no longer the case. Once released, you will be able to build a wide range of cool apps for the iPhone. Now some 3D games obviously won’t work for CS5. Also there is the face that you won’t have access to the iPhone UI kit.

    So we are trying very hard to put out the message that the CS5 workflow won’t be for everyone and every app. But for someone like me, it will be a godsend because I love working in Flash and ActionScript.

  23. Yes, I agree that people should understand the limitations and that Adobe should stress that a bit more. I think a lot of people are already counting, and investing, on this to all work. I guess I just don’t get how this could be possible. Apple wants people to learn THEIR language and this would definitely prevent developers from making that leap. Adobe surely knows what Apple thinks about all of this. Tell us what is up there…
    I love flash and actionscript more than anything, I’m just skeptical..

  24. @Brad believe it or not, not everyone is a living-in-US, apple-hardware-loving mac user. i have a PC, and even not considering the fact that i wouldn’t buy a mac even if i could afford one, it’s still too damn expensive here. and that’s also one of the biggest selling points for CS5 – that it’ll be possible to build an iphone app entirely under windows.

    and no, i’m not going to run OSX on PC.

  25. Well, I’m not a developer or anything. Animation is still the biggest thing I’ll do with Flash (believe it or not, developers are NOT the only people using the software). The only things I hope to see would be better UI regarding the conventional toolbars (Main and Controller) and that the timeline does not glich anymore when used with classic tweens.

  26. This is such a bad decision to no regard to those reasons are necessary. At least I see Pixologic companies in the development zbrush3.5 and zbrush4.0 time is not the case, they are active and user feedback was really great! Now zbrush is very cool, by everyone’s favorite. Even a lot of customers eager to buy their pirated the official version.
    BUG in CS4 is not just a lot of adobe. You look at the bones of its tools, like a toy. I have a great passion, but I regret to buy CS4. It cut into my work, I have also been damaged files. It even turns the lower version. Fla sometimes will prompt “format other than” Oh, very disappointed. Such a mistake. The other I will not say. Most errors are in the document produced under AS3. Hope that the adobe’s decision is correct, do not let the user feel CS5 be disappointed. We end up, how many will support the final version, to see whether it is worth we buy?

  27. Flash CS4 on windows was a bad software as CS3 was so smooth. But we currently have our CS4 license working good in mac. Its great to know that CS5 is focusing on being a great dependable tool. Really looking forward to iphone development and some improved code support in CS5. I consider myself blessed as currently i have the prerelease access. But beta would have made a lot of new people try and accept Flash with the iphone option.

  28. Thanks for explanation. I still might carry on with my iPhone project though over Xmas, using mouseX instead of AccellerometerX for example and replace in April (If that’s when it comes out).


  29. Adobe’s in a tough spot on this one. While I generally agree that having a public beta would bring in a ton of valuable feedback for the product, it’s important to consider that it will also bring in a ton of worthless feedback that must be sifted through. Also, to be fair, a great many people would download the software, ignore the “BETA” moniker and treat it like a trial of the final software, and begin making assumptions and assertions about its future and viability. A working computer and knowledge of Flash does not make you a good beta tester. :)

    Having seen performance of some early Flash stuff on the iPhone firsthand, I’m inclined to defend Adobe on this one. They are going to be heavily scrutinized for the product they ultimately release and it is in their best interest to spend as much time trying to make sure the workflow of Flash to the iPhone is easy, fast, and reliable. Above all, it needs to perform well.

    On a semi-related note, I would really love to see Adobe stop bundling Flash with the Creative Suite. I can’t help but think that forcing such a complex product into an 18-month release cycle with products like Photoshop and Illustrator (which, let’s face it, are pretty mature apps at this point) ultimately limits what the team is able to achieve. I’d love to see a version of Flash that is akin to Apple’s Snow Leopard – an update with one or two minor new features and a TON of spit and polish. Sometimes it’s not all about the new features – sometimes an app needs a good housecleaning.

  30. ROFL at arabic text , man it’s wrong when you hit ctrl + enter all text will disjoin from each other and this is what happen right now it’s so sick , if that’s not going to get done you must not to include this feature cause all will laugh at this feature

    the main problem is in main stage everything is done but when you hit to test movie every word will disjoin , and the main problem of arabic text is not right to left

  31. What’s the hurry? The iPhone application market is already ultra flooded with more than 100,000 apps. Whether you get your hands on Flash CS5 today or in a half a year won’t matter.

    If you were thinking about making and selling an app with Flash CS5 before others do then guess what – people have been doing this with Objective-C for years. Yeah you’ll be using a newer technology, but what difference does this make?

    There’s no point to be in a hurry.