The latest version of Adobe's web platform is an excellent choice for just about any creative task: websites, presentations, games, web applications, animations and embedded video projects, amongst others. And there are new features and enhancements wherever you look.

An improved physics engine brings more realistic movements to your animations, for instance. Extensions to the Deco tool mean you can quickly add buildings, trees, and particle effects like realistic rain. And a smarter ActionScript editor adds extras like code completion to speed up the development process.

Support for Adobe's Text Layout Framework means Flash Professional CS5.5 has far better control over text than ever before. Your projects can now include complex multicolumn layouts, with print-quality bidirectional text, embedded graphics and more. Which is useful enough within Flash, but also ensures far greater accuracy when importing text from other Adobe products.

Elsewhere, you'll find support for creating iPhone applications: interesting, if not for long, as they won't run on iPhone OS4. The new FXG 2.0 is more useful, making it easier to share content with other Adobe applications. And a range of video improvements includes the ability to play FLV components directly on the stage, while transforming, resizing or otherwise manipulating them.

Note that the download for Adobe Flash CS5.5 is a "download manager" which installs to your computer, requires you to login with your Adobe user/pass and then choose the components you want to download in full and install. A fairly longwinded process.

Verdict

This powerful web development tool includes welcome improvements over Flash CS4, making it a worthwhile upgrade for existing users