Daniel Dura

All About the Adobe Flash Platform

Calling All Flash Developers

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There has been a great deal of talk about quality of the Flash Player lately in relation to discussions on ‘the device that shall remain nameless’. In my opinion, considering the fact that the Flash Player is backwards compatible with 10 versions, has two complex virtual machines in it, and the fact that it has to run within browser environments on multiple operating systems and chipsets, it is amazing how stable the software really is.

That being said, software is software, and since the invention of modern computing bugs have been the one constant. While our quality control teams run tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of tests on every single build and release, the best test is to see how those pre-release builds run your content.

If you have not downloaded the new beta of AIR and Flash Player, I (along with other Adobe folks) are asking you a favor. Please go download the public betas now and test it on your content. If you find a bug, you can publish it in our public Flash Player bugbase. Not only will we thank you for taking the time to do this, but your users will thank you as well.

Here is how you can get involved:
Download and install Flash Player 10.1 Beta 2 and AIR 2.0 Beta 2.
Log bugs at bugs.adobe.com.

Written by Daniel Dura

February 8th, 2010 at 6:46 am

Posted in AIR,Flash

My Last Week at Adobe

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A little more than six years ago I was working at Fujitsu as well as contracting with Macromedia doing work on the DRKs and other Macromedia projects with my brother Josh. I was then made an offer I couldn’t refuse (thanks to Mike): to move out to San Francisco and join the Macromedia Central team and kick off six amazing years of ‘work.’

What I thought might last a year or two, has ended up being one of the greatest experiences of my life. And as you can probably tell by the tone, it will be coming to an end very soon. I recently submitted my resignation to Adobe and this will be my last week at the company.

I have worked for what I believe is one of the most amazing and innovative groups of engineers, product managers and management in the world. I have worked on great projects; some that have been immensely successful, some not so much. I have had the privilege of working on projects with some of the largest and most influential companies in the valley such as AOL, Yahoo! and Facebook, as well as many other smaller ones. By bus, train, or airplane, I have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles to more countries, cities and conferences than I care to count visiting with thousands upon thousands of developers, customers and partners. All of my closest friends are people I have met while fulfilling my role as evangelist while at Adobe or Adobe employees themselves. I seriously have my dream job. All of this made the decision to leave that much more difficult.

But recently I was presented with the opportunity to help start a new company here in Dallas that will be focused on creating both hardware and software for large interactive multi-touch and mixed reality display systems. I will be running day-to-day operations for the company, along with two other partners and a team of stellar engineers and developers. We are going to be pushing the envelope of what is possible in Flash on some cutting edge hardware, so I won’t be leaving the community to far behind.

This was an opportunity that my time at Adobe has adequately prepared me for. Adobe has afforded me the opportunities and freedom to fill many different roles and have provided all the support necessary. So I would just like to publicly say ‘thank you’ to the company for bringing me to this point and opening so many doors for me.

But more importantly I want to thank the community. It is the Flash community that made my job so enjoyable and made me so successful. We have the most amazing and open community. We have our spats now and then, but we all seem to be able to sit down and have drink together and put that behind us. How cool is that? And while I won’t be an ‘official’ Adobe representative any more, I look forward to seeing you at conferences and events in the future in my new role and showing off some of the cool projects we will be working on.

PS. While my Adobe email address will not work after this week, you can still reach me at daniel.dura@gmail.com.

Written by Daniel Dura

February 1st, 2010 at 7:01 am

Posted in Adobe,Miscellany

Find Flash, Flex and AIR Jobs on Twitter

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If you are looking to hire someone who knows Flash platform technologies, or you are a developer looking for a new gig, I have started a new Twitter identity that might help out. Go and check out @flashjobs.

Over the past few years I have probably seen hundreds of requests from agencies, small businesses and enterprises who are struggling to find developers with Flash, Flex or AIR experience. Usually I would pass them on to recruiters or every once in a while I would pass them on to someone that I knew was looking for work. Despite the current economic conditions, I am still getting requests.

In the never ending quest to remove things from my inbox, I setup this account on Twitter where I will be posting job listings that I find worthy of the great developers who are following the account. It will be a short description of the listing and a URL for more information.

If you would like to post a job to this account, please send an email to daniel.dura@gmail.com with a URL to the job listing and a short description. I will then post it to the Twitter account for developers to see. For developers who are following the account, you can be instantly notified through Twitter of new openings that are available by following @flashjobs. If you are looking for a good Twitter desktop client, check out TweetDeck.

Just as a quick FYI, I also have @flexjobs, but I don’t plan on using it at the moment. All Flash platform related jobs will be posted to this one Twitter account for the time being.

Written by Daniel Dura

February 25th, 2009 at 9:41 am

Posted in Adobe,AIR,Uncategorized

Flash Player Coming to Palm Pre and webOS

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osp_logo.gifOne of the most exciting announcements that came out of Adobe today is that Palm is joining the Open Screen Project. Robert Scoble has some interesting comments and is following the news as well. What this means is that the Flash Player is coming to Palm’s new webOS platform and the Palm Pre. If you haven’t checked out the Palm Pre and its revolutionary OS, go check out this video on Engadget. The goal is that OEMs will have Flash Player delivered by the end of 2009, which means you will probably start seeing it on phones in 2010.

To me, the Pre represents everything great about the iPhone, and more. While hardware is a huge part of the appeal to any particular platform, it is the whole picture that matters. With Palm, not only is the Pre a great form factor (it has a keyboard!), but webOS builds on all the ‘Web 2.0′ ideals and allows developers who have invested in Ajax and Flash based technologies, take advantage of those skills for creating content and applications for a true open web platform. And last but not least, using Palm Synergy it creates a single view for all of your cloud based information and helps maintain your data independence.

So, while I am a huge fan of the iPhone (I have two for heaven’s sake), I am extremely excited about getting my hands on the Palm Pre and hopefully I can pull a few strings and get a build of the Flash Player running on it before it is generally available! There have to be perks to having this job, right?

Written by Daniel Dura

February 16th, 2009 at 8:55 am

Mozilla Bespin: Code Editor in the Cloud

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When I heard that two guys, who a few of us at Adobe have known for a while, were taking jobs with Mozilla, I knew that it would not be long until we saw some interesting things happen. I didn’t expect it this quickly though.

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Last night, Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith launched a new project on Mozilla Labs called Bespin. Bespin is described as “an open extensible web-based framework for code editing that aims to increase developer productivity, enable compelling user experiences, and promote the use of open standards.” I like to think of it as code editing in the cloud.

The basis of it is a canvas based (which means you need Firefox 3 or the latest Safari nightly) code editing environment that hosts all of your files in the cloud. Think Buzzword, but for developers.

Now, there have been other companies that have tried this. Bungee Connect comes to mind, although their platform was tied to their cloud computing platform. And to be quite honest, I have always been skeptical of browser based developer tools for some reason. Let me share a few of my pros and cons as I see them. Keep in mind that Bespin is still a prototype, Ben and Dion definitely have some tricks up their sleeves we haven’t seen yet, and I have no doubt they will be addressing the cons I mention below.

Cons of Browser-based IDEs

First, no integration with the desktop for things like file storage, shell integration, etc. While some of this can be overcome, and file storage could be in the cloud like Bespin is doing. It may be a security risk to put code that is sensitive on a service like this.

Second, performance. Now, in the case of Bespin, this doesn’t appear to be an issue at all right now. I am definitely impressed with the performance, although obviously time will tell how much more they can eek out of the browser while adding more features.

Third, what about bytecode compilation? For example, ActionScript, Java, C#, etc. require a compiler to generate the necessary bytecode before it is interpreted. I guess this would mean a round trip to the server, but that might not work in the offline use case.

And last, offline support. I get a lot of coding done on airplanes. And to be completely honest, while this may be an edge case, it is something that has always been a requirement for me. Now, a feature like this isn’t impossible, it is just that nobody has implemented support for it.

Pros of Browser-based IDEs:

So, now that I have shared some of what I considered cons, what about the pros? First, there is no file storage! Ok, I cheated a little on that one since it is both a pro and con. But this is part of the promise of ‘the cloud’ right? No more worrying about where I put those files, or if I have backed them up. They exist in the wonderful ether of ‘the cloud!’

And this kind of leads to my second point, they could just integrate with your repository. No more worrying about whether or not you checked in that last file. You have easier workflow from testing to production, etc.

Third, there could be a rich ecosystem of developers building and sharing extensions for the platform. You want a feature, you just enable it from some kind of directory or marketplace and voila! You instantly upgraded your IDE.

And last, for me as an evangelist this is important, it provides a much easier on ramp for developers who want to learn programming. No longer will they be required to download and configure complicated IDEs. They can focus on the programming, not the environment which is supposed to make that easier for them.

What next?

Well, there is no doubt that Ben and Dion have plenty of ideas in their heads about where this is going. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the project and see if it will actually become something I can use on a daily basis. I guess that begs the question though, when will it support ActionScript?

Written by Daniel Dura

February 13th, 2009 at 6:09 am

Adobe: A Family Business

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While this may be slightly off topic, I figured this was a good post since most of you that know me, also know my brother Josh. (Is it just me or has his blog been even more quiet than mine!) Anyways, he just announced on Twitter (here, here, and here) that he is leaving Blockdot, the adver-gaming company he has been at for a while, to take a position with Adobe. Ill leave it to him to give more of the details. But suffice it to say, I think Adobe made a great choice.

To close, here is a little fact which you may or may not find interesting. It was Josh who introduced me to Flash! It was back in 2000 I believe. While I had toyed a very little with Flash 3 and Flash 4, Josh really encouraged me to try it out again in the Flash 4 and 5 days. Needless to say, I got hooked :) A year or so later I started a blog, I then joined the Macromedia Central team which both Josh and I had been contracting with at the time, and the rest is history.

So, now that there are two Duras at Adobe, what should we do with our new found power? (insert evil laugh here)

Written by Daniel Dura

February 11th, 2009 at 6:49 am

Posted in Adobe,Miscellany

Adobe AIR Advertising Platform

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Over the past few days I have been working on an Adobe AIR application that I would like to put some ads it to monetize it. Before you start complaining about advertising in applications, just remember that advertising is put in so that big brand companies can pay the bills instead of you.

As I was researching solutions for this, I visited the sites of the usual suspects: AdSense, AdBrite, AdMob (hmm, do I see a pattern here) etc. I kept running into a brick wall though. None of these platforms support desktop applications or even some kind of branded application. I wouldn’t mind putting a small banner, or a footer that says ‘This app sponsored by Big Name Company’ all in return for a modest monthly payment or CPC/CPM.

So, I guess my question is, do you know of any solutions that would meet my needs? Or maybe I should just charge users $5 for the application and be done with it. Of course that means I will have to build my own payment infrastructure. Why is it so hard for me to take people’s money!

Written by Daniel Dura

February 10th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

New Adobe AIR Marketplace

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If you have written an AIR based application, and have yet to post it to the Adobe AIR Marketplace, now is the time. Last night we updated the Marketplace and it has a new look and feel and has added numerous new features. You can upload your AIR application file, manage your profile, and monitor downloads, ratings, and reviews of your application. You can also add a link so that users can purchase your application before users download it.

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Written by Daniel Dura

February 10th, 2009 at 7:36 am

Posted in Adobe,AIR,Showcase

Video: Creating Custom Chrome in AIR using Flex

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In this video tutorial, I share a technique that I use for creating custom chrome for your windows in AIR when using Flex. There is also another tutorial for doing something similar in Flash presented by Lee Brimelow on Adobe TV.

Written by Daniel Dura

December 10th, 2008 at 10:28 am

Posted in AIR,Flex,Tutorial

Video: Encrypting Data in Adobe AIR Applications

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I recently recorded a few video tutorials which I will be posting here on my blog. These videos can also be found on Adobe TV

Written by Daniel Dura

December 9th, 2008 at 8:06 am

Posted in AIR,Tutorial