V | E | C | T | O | R | XD For The Future

Archive for the ‘Flash’ Category

The recent Adobe happenings and some projections

Yes, I have been away for blogging for quite sometime now and my apologies for the same. The last few months have been quite happening with new launches of innovative products by some companies like Adobe and some new events and work at an induvidual front as well. Now that I got a little bit of time, I thought I would post a recap and my perspective of it.

Flash 11 and Adobe AIR 3 is on its way. Molehill will be present full-on in this release. Also coming is Captive runtime for AIR, meaning you can package the runtime along with the app and users don’t have to download AIR separately before installing the app. There are some other cool features in this release as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With respect to Adobe, we saw the launch of Adobe Muse(codename). For those who missed it, it is a tool for interaction and experience designers and artists to create highly interactive webpages with no programming. It runs on Adobe AIR technology and from its early impressions, it is likely to mature or get integrated into a big software like Adobe Dreamweaver. Why is it amazing ? Cuz you only need a design or aesthetic sense to create rich webpages and don’t have to know jQuery, or <html> tags. You simply design on a canvas and it gets reflected into a website.

Another fascinating tool that has garnered some early interest is Adobe Edge, that makes animating HTML components or elements easy. In the dawn of HTML5, it is important it’s learning or adoption is smooth. I would say, this is Adobe’s yet another attempt in capturing the supply chain. The idea was very simple, if HTML5 was gonna make animations, transitions smoother, then it also has to be simple for designers to create those rich animations. It was pretty much the premise in which Flash started gaining momentum. Good designs can be planned and improvised only on a canvas and not from a HTML or text editor. So, Adobe Edge provides a canvas for animation which gets translated into HTML5 codes, making life the way it is meant to be for designers.

Seeing such tools emerge, I think interaction designers are gonna be key players in moulding tomorrow’s internet media future. As things evolve, my prediction is that there will only be two major kinds of techies in internet companies – interaction designers (who do all the art/design and basic interaction level coding) and back-end developers (those responsible for data engineering behind the scenes). My argument is that if more and more code components and tools/frameworks( like ones mentioned above) are readily available to make apps/websites quickly and easily, then the work of a front end UI programmer is gonna diminish slowly. With people advocating MVC programming, interaction designers don’t have to bother about data, their schema etc. All they need to do is make sure they have space(real estate) and navigation modes(scrolling and moving between) through that data.

What about HTML5 and Flash ? Yes it’s a hot question. With Flash now available as a tool to develop for iPhone/iPad, does it mark its dominance again ? Not necessarily, because it is not available on the browser yet. Consumers or developers don’t know if the app is running off Flash(translated objective-C bytecode) or native code. With the absence of Flash for 3-4 years on mobile platforms, developers have to an extent learnt to live life the hard way, writing native code. And the huge base of 4 million and 2.5 million apps and games on iOS and Android devices are an evidence to that. On the contrary however, we have seen Flash/Flex apps (like Politifact or Machinatum) top the charts of AppStore. Hence, we are getting positive response for using Flash to develop engaging mobile content. However, on the broader context Flash is beginning to disappear. I even heard recently that Slideshare adopted HTML5 leaving behind Flash. Microsoft (announced during showcase of Windows 8) that only a very small percentage of popular websites have Flash content (other than ads). Slowly, we should begin to accept that HTML5 will be the medium of delivery of advertisements on the internet. Adobe has also understood that and pushing its bet on Rich media applications like 1024px Video rendering, extensive use of GPU rendering for improved performance and 3D content as well. Hence we are seeing a shift in roles, the laggard HTML has caught up with Flash Player of ,say early 2000s.

Debug tokens for Playbook development

Around last month, Blackberry introduced debug tokens that can be used to test/debug applications for developers in the Playbook. My good friend Mitch, wrote a blogpost on how to use the debug token.  He describes the entire process in four steps

  • Initial Requirements, which involves checking whether you have all the files necessary.
  • Command Line and Terminal, instructions to create and install your debug token onto your playbook.
  • Preparing your App for Debug Mode, which requires some small changes to your blackberry-tablet.xml file.
  • Publish to Blackberry Playbook, which involves creating your .BAR file and sending it to your device.
Read the entire post here.

Flash, development and my Playbook

As I had mentioned in my previous post, I wrote an AIR application for the Blackberry Playbook, the newest of the tablets that run Flash. I got a Blackberry Playbook device yesterday and these are my early impressions –

1. Great hardware build and finish. When you have it in your hands, you get a good feeling. It’s not heavy and it feels right.

2. Though launching one year after the launch of iPad, it equals the hardware of the second iPad or iPad2. It has dual cameras, Bluetooth, HDMI connection ports. So the device on the whole is very sophisticated.

3. What the Playbook lacks is the services around it. It does not have a preinstalled E-mail client or a native facebook or twitter application. There are still many categories in the store that are malnutritioned- without apps or content.

However I think the third point will be tackled soon as..

— Android and Java application players will soon be coming to Playbook in a software update, due in summer. This means Android and Java apps just need to be packaged for the Playbook and they will run smoothly on the Playbook. This is an excellent initiative by RIM as it brings a large community of developers with tons of games, apps into the Playbook ecosystem.

— When I was working with Blackberry toolkit in December / January it was primitive versions of the SDK that lacked signing and other features. It was not all that developer friendly.  I remember in late February, SDK 0.9.3 was released which had tools to sign the apps and RIM have been regularly improving the SDKs (which had both good and bad effects). Around last week, RIM released SDK 1.0.1 and image, which is the firmware currently running on the device. Before this it was hard for developers to gauge platform specific features like contextual menu ( Playbook’s menu appears on a swipe from top of the screen), accelerometer or GPS. Hence, developers couldn’t experiment much. Today, with a mature set of tools and simulators and some devices in the market, I expect the apps to grow.

I have also started working on a game for the Blackberry Playbook using Flash, of course.

Developing for Playbook

Paul Trani, an Adobe Evangelist here describes the different contextual gestures that are possible on the Blackberry tablet – Playbook. He describes how to design and plan layouts that would best suit for the portrait and landscape orientations of the Playbook.

Additionally, the tablet has specific gestures like the Xoom. The bezels of the Playbook are sensitive to touch and act as an important interaction in the tablet’s portfolio.

The complete article is worth a read…

Security Analysis Of Flash Applications..!!

While my primary involvement at Adobe happens to be around the ActionScript language, I also have some background in security, and recently I have been thinking about channeling some of that into designing and implementing tools for secure programming in ActionScript. ActionScript programs are compiled to run as Flash applications (on the web) or as AIR applications (on the personal computer / mobile device); as such, they are run on platforms with security models, and their security on those platforms is controlled by various security mechanisms, both at the language-level as well as at the platform-level. (More here.(Adobe blogs)….>)

Facebook Graph API Development with Flash: Beginner’s Guide’s by Michael James Williams

Facebook Graph API Development with Flash: Beginner’s Guides by Michael James Williams, his twitter ID:@MichaelJW (Published by Packt Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1-849690-74-4, with TOC and Index) is a surprisingly comprehensive how-to book that should be on the book shelf of all levels of flash Developers, especially those who starting to work on Facebook API Development with Flash.

This work includes some of the topics that are covered in “Accessing the Graph API through a Browser,” traversing the Graph and other instances. But it goes well beyond that. Although I’ve been in writing my tutes in several flash websites for long time, I was delightfully surprised to read about some interesting topics that are rarely talked about in books of this kind.  In Chapter 5: Search Me; in Chapter 6: Adding to the Graph; quite interestingly in Chapter 7: FQL Matters (Yes, it is FQL, Facebook’s version of the database language SQL) and a lot more.

The scope and quality of this book is no doubt directly related to the excellent credentials of its author. Michael James Williams is a technical concept writer and freelance Flash developer. He is the technical editor for the tutorial website “Activetuts+” and also runs his own blog about Flash game development. He currently lives in England, in a nice little town that has both a river and a canal. As per his say, he has been using Facebook since it was just some site that his American housemate wouldn’t stop talking about.

His method of delivery is to introduce the main idea, the concept of a writing category, and then take the structural components of the document in question and explain each action component in detail. We can feel the patient hand of a well-seasoned developer leading the reader chapter by chapter towards knowing in detail.

For example, before explaining the individual components of this book (Abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, pop quiz), the author first explain the major steps involved in approaching and researching. Much forethought and planning went into the preparation of this 324 pp. Beginner’s Guide, obviously.

Those who’d like to do some developing Facebook apps in Flash will be delighted by the chapter 6 devoted to “Adding to the Graph.” I found the list of topics of “Putting it online” on p. 265 very useful too.

Every chapter is capped by “Topics” section, which presents many visual elements that the reader/student is asked to cope with by coming up with the correct solution, as explained within the chapter.

The book is so thorough that even topics such as how to use Facebook features, what’s that got to do with the Graph API, and the basic rules of Facebook’s security restrictions and its access are also covered. Oh, let’s also not forget the delightful support of Packt Publication and others that adds a welcome light touch to this serious volume.

Highly recommended e-book for anyone who works or intends to work on Facebook applications as well as those learning in a classroom settings.

 

Playbook offer extended

This morning I received a note saying the free Playbook offer has been extended until March 15th. Read the amended terms and conditions page, from Blackberry site.

So there is more opportunity for Adobe Flash / AIR developers.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: