Category Archives: AIR

What have I been doing lately?

I realize I haven’t been blogging a lot about what I’ve been up to in the last few months so thought I’d better get a post out and share some of those things with you.

Cocoon P2P

The open source Cocoon P2P library has been released and got Dirk Eismann on board as a contributor after speaking at FFK11 in April. With his help we were able to take it from more of a proof of concept to a solid solution for doing local IP multicast with the Flash Player (no server required).

We have great support for device discovery, messaging and object-replication. Reworking the video streaming and fixing some bugs on the accelerometer support is still on my todo list for the very near future.

HTML5 Solutions

I’ve had the pleasure to work on a book called “HTML5 Solutions: Essential Techniques for HTML5 Developers” with fellow authors Marco Casario, Charles Brown, Nathalie Wormser and Cyril Hanquez.

My contribution to the book is on using the Geolocation API – which, if you haven’t already tried it – is one of the most exciting features that is starting to become widely available with HTML5.

It turned out – in my humble opinion – to be a very good publication and should be shipping soon. I can’t wait to get hold of my author copies and hear reader feedback when it hits the stores.

Continue reading

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What have I been doing lately?

I realize I haven’t been blogging a lot about what I’ve been up to in the last few months so thought I’d better get a post out and share some of those things with you.

Cocoon P2P

The open source Cocoon P2P library has been released and got Dirk Eismann on board as a contributor after speaking at FFK11 in April. With his help we were able to take it from more of a proof of concept to a solid solution for doing local IP multicast with the Flash Player (no server required).

We have great support for device discovery, messaging and object-replication. Reworking the video streaming and fixing some bugs on the accelerometer support is still on my todo list for the very near future.

HTML5 Solutions

I’ve had the pleasure to work on a book called “HTML5 Solutions: Essential Techniques for HTML5 Developers” with fellow authors Marco Casario, Charles Brown, Nathalie Wormser and Cyril Hanquez.

My contribution to the book is on using the Geolocation API – which, if you haven’t already tried it – is one of the most exciting features that is starting to become widely available with HTML5.

It turned out – in my humble opinion – to be a very good publication and should be shipping soon. I can’t wait to get hold of my author copies and hear reader feedback when it hits the stores.

Continue reading

BlackBerry PlayBook – a promising development platform

Up until recently I wouldn’t have bet on BlackBerry becoming one of the most developer friendly and innovative platforms around, but recent announcements around their upcoming PlayBook tablet are very promising indeed.

It remains to be seen how things will work out but – based on the hardware specs and apparent renewed effort in terms of UI design and user interaction – there is every chance they will become a serious contender.

Those of us interested in Flash Platform development get full Flash Player 10.1 support and it appears most of the UI of the tablet is built on top of Adobe AIR, so we can expect some solid integration there.

In terms of specs, a 7″ screen with a dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM, front and back facing camera and HDMI out weighing around 400 grams is impressive. What I’m hoping for is equally impressive battery life.

Developers interested can already start writing apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook and test it in their simulator. Even better, RIM has announced if you write an app that gets accepted to BlackBerry App World before the product launch you’ll be given a free device. More information about this offer will soon be available.

There is also a weekly webcast series to help you get started, recordings of previous weeks are up on the site.

http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/
http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/devresources.jsp
http://devblog.blackberry.com/2010/10/blackberry-playbook-developer-promotion-information/

 
Exciting times ahead for Flash Platform development on tablets!

TWiT Live Desktop 2.2 goes open source

It took me a long time to finally get round to it, but have updated the TWiT Live Desktop AIR application and released it as version 2.2. I’ve also gone ahead and made it open source under an MIT license, so feel free to check out the code and I’m open to having contributors to the project.

For those that haven’t tried it yet, TWiT Live Desktop lets you watch a live video stream of Leo Laporte’s TWiT network shows as well as interact in the IRC chatroom and check out the twitter and other feeds.

A lot of people were having problems with the “black screen of death” in the previous version. Those issues luckily seem to be resolved and you now have the option of switching between the various video streams or even go for an audio-only version (just right-click for those options). You also have a feature to take image captures of the video stream.

Some minor improvements include saving your last video feed, window size and position when you relaunch the application. You can also double click the video to toggle between full screen and normal mode.

Since its an AIR application this runs on Windows, Mac and Linux — if there is enough interest we can port it to support Android devices as well.

The old uservoice page will be faded out and I recommend people to use the issues page on the Google Code project to file any bugs or feature requests.

Note: the application loads in the default video players from the various streaming services and renders them in the background. This means the controls are not accessible to you. I’m working on having custom controls for the application that work across the different video streams.

I have plans for a 2.5 update in the next month and a 3.0 later on that will include the following features:

  • Controls for changing video feed, image capture etc.
  • Twitter stream widget
  • Volume control and mute button support
  • Production schedule interface (with timezone support)

There is built-in support to “check for updates” so when you have the application installed new version will get pushed to you as they become available.

[airbadge]TWiT Live Desktop,http://twitlivedesktop.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/releases/TWiTLiveDesktop_2_2.air, 2.2,https://peterelst.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/twit-badge.jpg%5B/airbadge%5D

Thanks for everyone’s patience waiting for this update, and Leo and the TWiT team for their support. Enjoy the application and look forward to hearing from users on how to improve it further!

 
http://twitlivedesktop.googlecode.com

 

Making the case for HTML5 support in the Flash Player

Earlier this week I got inspired seeing this presentation on HTML5. I’m a strong advocate of moving towards this standard and with browsers increasingly supporting it, makes it very attractive to start to learn and implement where possible.

Contrary to what I’m seeing various tech blogs claim, HTML5 is in my opinion not a replacement to Flash. It will no doubt take over some features for which we used to have to rely on the Flash Player to implement — and that is a good thing — but there are still a lot of uses cases where it makes sense to use Flash. Not just that, we can leverage both technologies for what they do best (just as we do now).

After Serge Jespers’ blog post this morning and a brief discussion on Twitter I thought I’d blog what I think would be a good move for the Flash Player, adding HTML5 support through an embedded webkit engine.

Adobe AIR has this feature and allows rendered HTML to be integrated completely in the DisplayList and treated as any other visual element including filters, transformations etc. Script bridging allows Javascript to call ActionScript and vice versa.

 
Why would you do this?

  • Flash Player has limited HTML support
  • Certain popular and legacy browsers do not support HTML5
  • It would give a consistent set of HTML5 supported features across browsers
  • Deep integration of HTML5 content within the Flash DisplayList
  • Flash Player would become a catalyst for HTML5

 
What are the difficulties?

  • Flash Player filesize
     
    The Flash Player team is always very concious about download size of the player — an embedded HTML engine would obviously add significant file size. To address this I’d propose an approach similar to the cross-domain Flex framework caching, where they would only download and cache when first needed.
  • Plugins shouldn’t render HTML
     
    I certainly agree with that in principle and that would also be what you would typically do. In certain situations though it is a pragmatic solution and no different to what Google does with Google Chrome Frame. If you have an HTML5 capable browser and do not need to deep integration with Flash features this wouldn’t be used.

 
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting the Flash Player to become the standard delivery mechanism for HTML5 content. I see it used in one two situations:

  1. As a reliable fallback mechanism for browsers that don’t support HTML5
  2. In situations where you want to integrate HTML5 content in the Flash DisplayList (visual effects etc.)

Taking this even further you could potentially even see Alchemy C/C++ code cross-compiled and applied to HTML5 content hosted through the Flash Player.

 
Whether or not this is technically feasible or likely to happen, I think it is something worth looking at.

 

Flash across screens and devices

Exciting times if you’re working with Flash Platform technologies, the idea of deploying the same codebase to multiple screens is really taking shape and I for one couldn’t be happier.

AIR already allowed us to go cross platform with desktop apps (Windows, Mac and Linux), obviously the Flash Player allows the same across browsers and now with devices you can run your code on Palm webOS, Android devices and even package as apps for iPhone and the new iPad.

Christian Cantrell of the AIR team did an excellent demo on creating an application that automatically lays itself out based on the available screen real estate.

I’m pleasantly surprised about performance they’ve been able to achieve, that is one area I honestly had my doubts about but they seem to have pulled it off with flying colors (a testament to Flash Player 10.1 mobile optimization).

While we can argue all day long about Apple’s decision not to have Flash Player support in their iPhone OS browser or how HTML5 is increasingly becoming an alternative to Flash — this to me emphasizes the power of the Flash Platform tools and why it has a bright future ahead.

Thank you Adobe engineers for being lazy! 😉
 

AIR 2 beta 2 – new printing features

In case you missed it — AIR 2 beta 2 is now available on labs.adobe.com and among a bunch of other things there are now some really cool additional printing features that give you a lot more control than what we used to have.

Be sure to check out the video interview Ryan Stewart did with Rick Rocheleau, one of the engineers on the core technologies group who made this possible.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9151495&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1