While we give Adobe flack for Flash Player's Mac woes, the truth is that the Flash platform successfully brought a higher level of animation and interaction to the web long before HTML 5 was in the picture. When Apple unequivocally said Flash would not be supported on iOS, I knew Adobe (despite some infamous bluster) wouldn't sit idly by and let HTML 5 be a cash cow for other developers.
Enter Edge, Adobe's effort to offer web developers a choice. Edge is a free beta, and more importantly, it's a first version of an application which Adobe states will be developed in the open with the aid of the web developer community. In fact, according to Adobe this isn't even "beta" yet -- they are releasing the application before it even reaches that status in an effort to ensure that what developers want the most gets in the app first. For now, Edge is a very simple (but still useful) tool.
Edge is currently limited to basic animation and simple page layout. Users of timeline-based applications will immediately grok Edge's simple UI and timeline for HTML 5 animation. Of course, just like in Dreamweaver, you can access code directly. Edge creates pretty clean code, but as an early product it isn't doing anything particularly difficult yet. Edge is primarily designed for WebKit-based browsers, as Adobe has contributed to WebKit; the in-app sandbox browser is also WebKit-based.
When I spoke to Adobe I asked about integration with their other products, as I see the Adobe pipeline and workflow being a competitive advantage when comparing Edge to competitors such as Tumultco's Hype. As this is so early in the development stage, I was told that features like integration with other Adobe tools would happen, but at a later date. This initial push is to open the floodgates of feedback, and Adobe will shovel in features as needed.
I do hope Edge is a success for Adobe. While not all of the company's decisions make sense, there's no doubt that Adobe makes strong tools for designers and developers. If Edge helps make better, faster, standards-compliant websites for everyone, I think that's great. Download Edge here and take it for a test drive. Then be sure to let us know in the comments what you think.