Archive for the ‘Platforms’ Category
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
One 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?
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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
I know that all the talk of the weakening economy has you down, but guess what? There is a way to pocket a ton of cash by doing what you probably already do well: building an application using Flash, Flex, or AIR that uses the Ribbit platform. Ribbit has announced the $100,000 Killer App Challenge. This contest will award $100k in prize money to developers in five categories who submit applications that use Ribbit technology.
Ribbit allows you to very easily build voice enabled Flash applications, so even if you don’t sign up for the contest, this is some very cool technology to play with. But come on, if $100k in prize money doesn’t give you an incentive to try it out and build an app, I don’t know what will!
I am also happy to announce [in a slightly evil and sarcastic tone] that along with Lee Brimelow and Matt Chotin, I will be one of the three judges for the contest. There is a little less than three months left in the contest, so you better hurry and sign up, and get working on your app! And just as a note, this contest is open to US AND non-US residents.
Just a quick update that a new version of TwitterCamp is available (see http://www.danieldura.com/twittercamp.) This is a pretty major release, as it adds support for the new Twitter search API, and removes the requirement for you to authenticate, or for people who want to post to the application to follow you. All they have to do is follow the search terms that you input into the application.
Also, I added a configuration panel for more easily updating the skin. Now you do not need to recompile the application to re-skin TwitterCamp. Just launch the configuration panel which appears on launch, or can be accessed through the context menu.
Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for features. Of course, now I need to spend a little time focusing on the upcoming Moderator update.