Text to speech software

This is a topic I have had a lot of interest in lately. Text to speech is not really a new technology (I used it in the 80s) but its gotten significantly better. Additionally, people want to use it for professional products (ie elearning). Narration is an expensive cost in an elearning product so a good voice could help to really save a lot of money. So is it good? Well, at this point its OK. There is some software out there that really isn’t terrible and some that hasn’t improved since 1985. Overall I am excited to keep trying it out and see if it gets better over the next few years. Here are a few videos I have created which go through some of the current software on the market today. You can be the judge and jury: Would you use it?

Adobe Edge Animate

Adobe Edge, now available for free to download until October. At that point it will go on sale. So what is it? Well it is a similar program to Flash, just not as powerful. It is HTML5 though so I have a feeling this is the direction Adobe is going. My guess is that this and either dreamweaver or flash will merge..similar to what happened with Flex. Here is a table that shows where Edge fits into Adobe’s software development process:

Product Sample use cases Supported technologies
Adobe Edge Animate Motion and interaction design for new compositions or using existing CSS-based page layouts, content rotators, simple games, advertising. HTML/HTML5, JavaScript, CSS/CSS3, JSON, web graphics including SVG, jQuery-based animation framework.
Adobe Dreamweaver Websites and web applications for desktops, smartphones, and other devices HTML/HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, PHP, PhoneGap, site management, FTP, CMS frameworks, SVN (Subversion)
Adobe Flash® Professional Immersive interactive experiences, mobile applications, gaming, premium video, advertising ActionScript, Flash Player, AIR for desktop and mobile
Adobe Flash® Builder ich Internet Applications (RIAs) and mobile applications Professional ActionScript IDE, Flex, Flash Player, AIR for desktop and mobile

The platform interface looks very similar to Flash. So this looks like it will be very easy to learn if you know Flash and HTML.

Link to software: http://edge.adobe.com

Adobe: Web standards match 80 percent of Flash features

Not very informative but interesting nonetheless: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57464545-93/adobe-web-standards-match-80-percent-of-flash-features/

Essentially this is nothing new. HTML5 can do a lot of what Flash does but that 20% is big, because they are the high end interactions and gaming features which is what Flash is intended to do anyway. As I tell my students, at this point in time, you need to know Flash and its going to be long time before its gone so get used to developing in it and clients requesting it/needing it. I also tell them to start learning javascript because eventually it will be the future but at this point HTML5 is too new and its going to a long transition between Flash and HTML5. Additionally, Adobe appears to be the lead developer for HTML5 so you will more than likely continue to buy your authoring tools from them. Also remember that Adobe Air allows one to publish Flash Apps on iPhone and iPad.

Flash to HTML5: Buttons

In this clip I test Adobe Flash’s HTML5 conversion tool. I test motion tweens, masks, and buttons via Wallaby, which is the conversion tool. I test the HTML output file in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. The motion tweens and masks work in both Safari and Chrome. Nothing works in Firefox. The buttons do not work in any browser. While Wallaby has potential, this is a big limitation. This means that it is currently only useful for animations but not interactivity.

Check out the demonstration:


Flash CS6 to HTML5

The following video demonstrates Adobe Flash’s CS6 to HTML5 conversion tool codenamed Wallaby. The tool converted my file in one second. It worked great in Safari but did not work in Firefox. I am not sure if Flash’s tool is not working or HTML5 is not working. I say this because of the compatibility issues I have with HTML5, especially in Firefox. Also, Adobe’s Wallaby tool was last updated on March 8th, which means that a new version is just around the corner. Overall, I am impressed it worked but need to test this with more advanced Flash files. I was not really surprised there was a compatibility issue as that is HTML5. Here is the video with the demonstration:

Flash CS6 and HTML5

Wow, Flash has really done something great here…assuming this feature works as promised. Flash CS6 will be able to export into Javascript. This means that all flash content can be exported to js so that it is handled better via web browsers. This will also make flash content viewable on iPhone/iPad. Now, obviously I have not tested this feature out and in different browsers and such but this has potential. Flash is really keeping its #1 place as the best development tool in my opinion.

New Features: http://www.adobe.com/products/flash.html