Archive for January, 2003
Ok, so today I was cleaning up my desktop (not like I don’t have better things to do, but sometimes it literally is COVERED with files), when I started wondering once again, there must be a better way to organize my files. SWF, EPS, AI, FLA, PNG, JPG, AS, and on and on. Some binary, some ASCII. I have used a combination of CVS, WinCVS, and TortoiseCVS in the past, but that just doesnt work as well as I would like it to sometimes with binary files.
So I was aimlessly googling different queries. I quickly typed in ‘image file versioning,’ and the first site returned was for Macromedia Sitespring. I kind of chuckled, because this query obviously never heard the announcement from Macromedia about this now undeveloped platform. Now, I know that Sitespring was never intended to be a versioning system, but I just thought this was interesting. I also wondered if Macromedia should be integrating there products with some type of currently available versioning system, or maybe even create one themselves?
But until then, I pose the question to the masses: How do you manage the endless amount of files that you create when working on projects?
If you are a PHP guru, but still love the functionality provided by Flash Remoting, you may want to check out this post by Sean Corfield.
Sometimes, we get into a groove, one that involves working on what seems to be the same projects, over and over again. Then comes along something that seems to spice up our lives a bit. This last week or two, I got a new toy. It is something that has breathed new life into my creative juices. Screenweaver, released by Rubberduck, has proven to be one of the most useful third party tools for flash that I have seen and used. Its advanced architecture, large ActionScript library, and extensive modularity have proven to me that this is a tool with unlimited possibilities. If you have ever thought of delving into the world of building desktop applications with Flash, Screenweaver will be a must have.
Events v Fscommands
One of the most powerful features of Screenweaver is its use of events. Up until now, the only way to interact with the desktop environment was via fscommands. These commands, for the most part, were very one way in their architecture. They never were to be used for true two-way communication between the desktop and the flash movie. Utilizing these commands required you to make loops that could check for a change in a variable. Not only were these loops a pain to program, but they could cause a needless burden on the processor. Using Screenweaver’s custom events, your application can just wait for the result to be returned. Also, these callbacks can return much more information regarding the users actions.
I have found this architecture to be most useful when communicating between multiple windows within a Screenweaver application. Using the swApplication.send() function, you can send objects to other windows. Once the other window receives the data, it fires off an event and the window can act in response to the new data.
Now, there are many who are just not interested in delving deep into the world of ActionScript. Donít worry; Screenweaver has a solution! Included with the solution is a set of custom components. These components are easy to use and very robust. Some of these components include the Window Dragger, the Drag and Drop, the Message Box, and the Window Resizer components.
Lets say that you want users to be able to click on a certain movie clip on your screen and be able to drag your window around when clicking on it. All you do is drag the Window Dragger component onto the stage, and set its parameters (including which movie clip users will drag the window by). All done. And you didnít have to write one line of ActionScript! Many of the components even allow you to set custom callback functions so that more advanced users will find the components very useful.
Something else that might excite you is that Flashcomponents.net is already receiving custom components for Screenweaver from users. So, if you do not see the component you are looking for, check back often, someone may be working on it as we speak! You can also find this list of custom components on Screenweaver’s website.
Another feature of Screenweaver that has proven useful is its debugging capabilities. First, there is list of commands that Screenweaver makes available that can help you see what is going on within your application when it is running within the Screenweaver environment. One of the most interesting applications that is included with Screenweaver is the Screenweaver monitor. This application will watch any .swf file you tell it that you are working on. When it notices a change in that .swf (when you publish it from within the flash authoring environment), it will automatically compile and run that application. It will also pop up the debug window so that you can watch the results of any debug commands that you have issued. Although simple, this feature will end up saving you a ton of time in testing.
One last feature that I found interesting and which may prove very useful is its ability to be extended using Active Scripting (not ĎActioní Script), COM objects, and DLLs. Basically, you can run any of you VBScript or Jscript code that you want to. The Screenweaver documentation even includes a great example of how you can get data from an Access database using Active Scripting.
Well, hopefully this little overview of some of the features of Screenweaver will entice you to go download the program and play around with it. There is a demo that you can use to develop applications, it will expire programs it compiles after three days. If you have any questions about the software, and want some info from a third party, you can also drop me a line. Also, let me leave you with one last note regarding this software and itís creators: they are great. After submitting two minor bugs I had found in the interface of the Screenweaver builder, they released a patch the next day. You sure wont find that kind of service in many places. So, start firing up your creative juices, and lets see what you can create!
Our little Flogspot project is coming along nicely. The great thing about the project is the directions it is taking us. One thing that we were in the need of, was a centralized location for a list of active feeds to draw from. This way, the Flogspotter would have the ability to pull all this information from a list, instead of forcing the user to key in all thier favorite Flash blogs. So here is what we have done, and we think this may have many other uses:
We have created an OCS 0.5 version of a list of feeds. Now, as you can see, the list is very meager, but it wont be for long. It is driven by a MySQL database, so updating will be easy. Also, here is the real kicker, THE LIST IS DYNAMIC. Well, not right now, but hopefully within the next day or two it will be.
For example: lets say that you want all Flash MX feeds that are in English. You could do this:
(This does not work right now, but will within a day or two)
And you would get the appropriate list. We will even be cataloging international feeds, instead of ‘en’ for the language, you could type in ‘il’, (I think that is the italian language code), and get all the italian feeds.
We plan on adding all types of development feeds to the list. Cold Fusion, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and of course Flash. There will also be different formats. OPML, OCS, and RSS. So if you do not like the OCS version, dont worry, we will have others.
Also, we will probably release some code so that the l ist could be integrated into sites. One thing that has really never been updated on my blog is the list of blogs. Now, with a little php code, just about anyone could have a list that was completely up to date.
Now what? Well, we need your feedback. Is this useless? Is it great? What could make it better? Just drop us a note, and be honest!
Well, if you havent figured it out by now, at about 11:30pm CST last night, a huge DDOS attack was started by a worm that is attacking MS-SQL servers via the MS-SQL monitor service on port 1434. If you want to see how vulnerable the net really is, you are looking at it. At one point almost half of the root namesservers were down with most of them suffering major packet loss. The worm looks like it is targeting the DDOS attack at these nameservers and the the major internet backbones. This is why you will notice the slowdown visiting many sites.
Here is an interesting graphic that shows you exactly when the attack started:
Heres hoping people with MS-SQL servers will get there butts in gear and patch the hole that this worm has been exploiting. The fix has been available for six months. Not that this is the sysadmins fault completely, but when dealing with Microsoft products, you should know better.
You live in the Asia-Pacific region, you now have a conference to go to. Or, if you just want to go see one of the most beutiful places in the world , you have a reason to write it off as a business expense! (stop by New Zealand while you are down there, I lived there for a few years and must say that it is amazing. But, of course you must see Austrailia too!)
MXDU (MX Down Under), features some great Keynotes by none other than Mike Chambers, Ben Forta, and Sean Corfield. I also noticed that Geoff Bowers, from Full as a Goog, will be holding a session about building Cold Fusion components. (Yeah guys, we feel sooo sorry for you having to work so hard, and fly to Austrailia for a few days!) Looks like a GREAT conference.
Well, me and my brother have been up to no good. Lately we have been looking into ways to feed our flash blogging addiction. Well, we unfortunately concocted two ways to do this that we are going to make available to you guys.
First, is the ‘Flogspot.’ Basically it is a flash blog, or ‘flog’, aggregator. But, we are hoping that it will be more than just your simple aggregator. The site will have forums. There will be a section on the forum for each blog that is aggregated on the site. Each time a post is made to one of the blogs, a new thread is entered into that flog’s forum. Then, people can discuss or comment on the flog entry.
Step 2 is the ‘Flogspotter.’ Basically, it is a desktop app for you to quickly browse all your favorite ‘flogs.’ Simple.
When you may ask, is this going to happen. Well, considering that this whole project is just a little experiment on our part and a way to pump up our portfolio, we cannot promise anything. But, the Flogspotter should be made available by this weekend. Flogspot.com should be available by next week sometime, maybe sooner.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or just comment below.
Well, over the past few weeks, life has been a bit of a jumble. But as of this weekend, me and my wife are homeowners again! After accepting a job with Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. in November, and leading an ‘advanced party’ to scout out houses, me and my wife finally moved into our home these last few days. The last month living with my parents was interesting to say the least.
This was no small move. We were living in Provo, Utah, and now we call McKinney (just outside Dallas) Texas our home. For anyone else planning a move like this, one word of advice: get plenty of sleep now! I originally grew up here in Dallas, so this is a bit nostalgic for me. My wife, on the other hand, is going through what one might term ‘cluture shock!’ Texas is a bit dofferent from most other places. But, we are loving it! Now that my life is settling back down, I have my office back, and I am having my cable modem service installed today, I feel like life is complete.
Now, back to work :)
I think they should give that away to someone in the flash community :)
It looks like Rubber Duck has released a new version of Screenweaver MX, and form playing around a bit with the trial, and doing a little reading, I can easily call this software AMAZING! Here is why: it utilizes components and events for application development using ActionScript. Most other programs of this type are only using an fscommand type architecture. Also, you are able to extend teh software by accessing COM and DLL objects. This alone is one of the most amazing features if you are lookng into doing serious application development.
If you want to see a demo of what the program can do, go to http://www.screenweavermx.com and download the demo. The actual program itself was built using Screenweaver. It is a testament to itself.
Now back to playing around with this program….