Category Archives: Flash and Actionscript

Amazon Cloudfront – Video Streaming (rtmp) Issue?

Are you using Amazon Cloudfront for public/private video streaming over rtmp? Having trouble to figure out why some of your videos fail to stream (over rtmp) and throw ‘Stream not found’  flash/actionscript client side errors?

I have figured out:

  • Videos with invalid chapter markers would not stream over rtmp (Adobe Flash Media Server) or via Cloudfront.
  • Adobe’s FLVCheck utility suggests our videos have invalid chapter markers. I am not sure, if chapter markers in our videos are invalid or Adobe Media Server expect those to be in different format.
  • Same set of videos play fine with Quicktime/VLC player, Adobe Flash Player (over http progressive download) and html5 player (chrome or others which support H.264 videos)

I am disappointed with the fact – Adobe Media Server ceases to play (core feature) a video because of (optional feature?) chapter marker(s) which can be ignored if it is corrupt or invalid.

Thanks to AWS engineers who confirmed the case, and provided more details.

Update: Thanks to Justin Riley for sharing a solution (in comments below). He suggested to use ‘-map_chapters -1′ to get rid of this issue. It works for me.

Internship Opportunities @ Allies

We have been working on some exciting stuff for over last three years, we want to take that to next  level. We also have some crazy and cool ideas for new products/saas, we have got enough details figured out to get started.

We want some smart interns to work with us during this summer or longer (perhaps six months or full-time :-) ) in any or all of following:

  • Web Development (goal: build new products or extend existing products)
  • Mobile (goal: turn our ideas into reality by building some cools apps and games for iPhone, Android and other mobile-devices)
  • Flash Platform (goal: build some cool applications for our existing project)

Summer vacation has started in most of the colleges in India; Some passionate students would want to do something more useful during this time.  If you are one of them, why don’t you get in touch with us?

BTW! We are always looking to hire smart and passionate designers and developers for our team. If you are interested into a full-time position, please let me know.

Adobe AIR and Flash Player Incubator program

The Adobe Flash Platform runtimes team has launched Adobe AIR and Flash Player Incubator program, which would showcase bleeding-edge, under-development or under-consideration features of Adobe AIR and Flash Player builds.

Unlike Adobe pre-release program(s), Incubator program is open to everyone, and encourages companies and developers to look at under development features, and also give feedback to shape the future of these runtimes.

This launch is another major milestone, after Adobe Labs and Open Source initiatives by Adobe. We are heading in right direction.

“Molehill” 3D APIs and Cubic Bezier Curves are the first two features available in incubator build. I am sure, there would be more features available in coming months.

BTW! These early features might not make to final release of runtimes, as it’s always case with

Visit Adobe AIR and Flash Player Incubator’s page on Adobe Labs to learn more. You can also subscribe to new Adobe Flash Platform Runtimes releases blog to get real-time updates on new AIR and Flash Player releases.

Adobe Flash Platform and I

It appears to me (and perhaps others), I have distanced myself from Adobe Flash Platform during last couple of years. Not because I don’t like it, actually I love it, rather due to some other priorities here at our company, which does lot more (web-standards and design) than flash/flex stuff.

All this time, I have been keeping very low profile in flash-platform community, literally not talking about anything. I feel bad about it, I don’t know ‘why’.

I have done some trivial stuff (video players, flashlite and air apps) but nothing very cool or useful to everyone else.

My to-do list contains a long-list of applications targeted towards Adobe Flash Platform (desktop and other devices), I am supposed to do; Considering, my plate is full with all other responsibilities, I am not spending even 1/4th of the time writing actionscript.

Meanwhile, I have tried to encourage my team to learn actionscript and flex-framework. I even tried to hire some flash (or flex?) developers. I even managed to hire one flex developer last year.

Unfortunately, this person left the company as soon as when it was time to contribute back after 6 months training (no contribution period). That was big set back, a discouragement to me; I stopped looking for Flash/Flex developers.

I keep on promising myself, that I would do these applications; I keep on forgiving myself when I am not getting those done.

Anyway, there is still hope, I would building applications the on language (ActionScript), I am very good at. There is still hope, this blog would have more posts related to Adobe Flash Platform.

Ideas: FlashDevelop on OSX and GNU/Linux

FlashDevelop is an open-source IDE for Flash Platform development (ActionScript, MXML, HAXE, etc.) on Windows platform. I have extensively used it in past, and still, painfully, use it via windows virtual-machine on OSX host.

Couple of years back, I looked at FlashDevelop code to figure out, if we can port it for other operating-systems, such as Mac OSX and GNU/Linux.

I posted on Flash Develop forum about my experiments:

I have been trying to run FlashDevelop under OSX. In last couple of years, whenever I got sometime, I tried these:-

  1. Run FlashDeveloper with DotGNU: FlashDevelop was running but due to a lot of native (Win32) API calls, lots of components were failing (screenshot: http://pic.im/5Xk)
  2. Run Flash Developer with Mono: I tried to compile FlashDevelop using MonoDevelop and run using Mono for OSX. Most of the problems is one component/library i.e. DockPanelSuite (http://sourceforge.net/projects/dockpanelsuite/), an opensource code that uses a lot of PInvoke calls (Win32 API).

I am really excited about the possibilities, if we can port this one library we can get very closer to run FlashDevelop on OSX using Mono.

Note: pics.im seems to be dead, so I have uploaded new screen-shots
Flash Develop on OSX - ScreenshotFlash Develop on OSX

Some Ideas:

MonoDevelop is good enough and works well on OSX, I guess also GNU/Linux. However, I am yet to look at licensing and possibilities of forking the project (MonoDevelop)?

BTW! I have been lazy to write about such experiments on the blog, but while commenting on Jesse Warden’s post, I thought, it makes sense to post it here, so it lives.

Please let me know, if you have any ideas about making this happen? I would be happy to collaborate, contribute and donate in whatever capacity I can.

Adobe Flash Platform Summit 2010

One more day to go for Adobe Flash Platform Summit 2010, I am very excited about this event because of so many good sessions and my team has been busy building some cool stuff using web-standards and lamp-stack.

If you are going to be around, let’s catch up.

Flex 4 In Action – Early Access Available

Last year, I posted about Flex 3 In Action, a book by Tariq Ahmed,  Jon Hirschi and Faisal Abid. Not many people know, I was also among authors but couldn’t contribute beyond one chapter due to personal priorities, hence opted out. Thanks to Tariq for trusting me and providing an opportunity.

Tariq has again teamed up with different some smart guys (Dan Orlando, John C. Bland II, and Joel Hooks) this time, and all of them are working on Flex 4 In Action.

All authors have a lot of experience and are great at what they do. I always prefer to read a book written by someone who has done the stuff, instead of someone who has just theoretical knowledge.

I am yet to start reading draft version of the book, however, I am sure this book is going to be one of the best. To believe me, you need to check out authors’ profiles/websites and you would realize it yourself.

Sign up with Manning’s early access program (MEAP) and start reading chapters (completed as well as drafts).

How to improve Flash 10.1 and AIR 2.0?

There are many who complain about missing features and existing bugs in Adobe Flash Runtimes – Flash Player and AIR. But some choose to use their energy in improving the platform by using it and providing feedback.

If you believe in bringing the change:

Our feedback matters, as it has always.

As soon as I read, Ted Patrick’s post, I started writing this post.  Please spread the word by writing on your blog and retweating the following text:-

Improve Flash 10.1 & AIR 2.0 via Beta 2 http://bit.ly/cty7Nm READ & RT #Flash #AIR #QUALITY

Making the case for ActionScript – my take

Peter Elst posted his thoughts about ActionScript and where it’s going. I agree with him and prefer to have simplicity we had once with ActionScript and Flash Platform.

I wrote my two-cents as comment to Peter’s post, that’s how it goes:

Nice post.

We have witnessed how Flash Platform evolved over the years, it has got more attention by people but at the same time, it has lost a lot of attention of those attached initially (as Keith said above).

Jeff Raskin, in Humane Interface, said something like that – complex tasks would require complex user-interactions but that’s no excuse to make simple tasks complex.

I believe, that’s what has happened. It’s not any more simpler to do simple things.

Adobe must think why they are doing it and for whom they are doing. If ActionScript is going to be clone of Java or C#, then why a new language – why not just use one of those?

There must be a philosophy behind a language and platform, what is that behind Flash Platform and ActionScript?

I had more fun in old days than now, just enjoyed the company of everyone (designers, developers, trainers, etc). It was because of simplicity that brought all of us together. I agree a lot of bad implementations were result of ease of doing things in Flash, but hey – there were far more good stuff then than now. A lot of innovation, cool stuff and apps to showcase. How much do we have now?

Adobe India’s support to community

Mrinal Wadhwa started a discussion, in Adobe India Community Champions mailing-list, to raise concerns about Adobe India’s role in Flex India community, he raised some good points.

It’s unfortunate to see how one of the Adobe evangelists took it personal and reacted publicly and made some personal attack on Mrinal.

You can check out Mrinal’s post to read what happened.

This is what I posted during discussion in the mailing-list.

My two cents after reading entire thread.

1) Adobe India works differently, the hierarchy and culture is different. More focused one engineering and marketing (to whom – God knows) than anything else. So any such event is aligned with sales and marketing needs. A lot of people who work enjoy their work but beyond that they don’t do much. A lot of them even maintain low-profile for various reasons.

2) Adobe India Evangelist team works differently compared to their counter parts in USA. In India, they report to engineering director of Flex or platforms team, which is not the case in USA, if I am right.

3) Expecting Flex team engineers to participate would be too much, it’s individual’s curiosity/passion to do that. If their managers make it as on objective/gaol, most of them would show up for sake (performance review, appraisal, etc) – we don’t want that. I have been through it and opposed the idea when my manager wanted entire team to do what we (Manish and I) were doing our own, due to our own curiosity.

I have always asked these questions (what Mrinal is asking) to myself and during discussions, but could never really understand. I have learnt that it’s better not to expect much from the Adobe India, it’s not really Adobe USA. Culture comes from top to bottom, and top management is not really anywhere close to what it’s in USA.

I like Evangelists in Adobe India, most of them are passionate and are there because they love technology and what they do. Unfortunately, when you work for a boss who got a different agenda or things, you can’t do much. As said earlier, Evangelist team reports somewhere to engineering director or someone like that, now you can imagine things.

These are some of my random, but based on my observation and experience, thoughts. No offenses meant to anyone.

I am keeping kind of low profile myself in Flex community, I realize community is doing good – there are far more developers than we had couple of years back. I also see there are far more passionate developers than before, you can judge that by seeing some regular names in lists/forums.

I am also sure, there would be far more people who are religious about Flash Platform and one can see tears coming out of their eyes while they talk about technology. As it used to happen with me :D

Expect the unexpected – the formula for peace of mind. Let’s talk, inpsire and act to spread the words about things we believe in and love. I have been working hard to find a smart Flash Developer for my team, yet to find. I want to contribute in my way, I would love to have people in my team contribute to SDK and other opensource projects, now that’s what I can afford to do now :-)

Thanks

-abdul

I expressed above based on my observation and experience, might not have been put properly as I wrote it quickly. But you might get my point there.

Job Opening: Flash Platform Developer

We are looking for some smart Flash Platform Developers who can be part of our team in Allies Interactive Services Pvt. Ltd., Kanpur, U.P.

We are a design and development company in Kanpur, though we are small but we are ambitious and have a great vision.

I posted the details on Flex-India sometimes back, pasting the same (edited the typos and formatted) over here:-

I have been meaning to post this for sometime but thought would it be appropriate to do that here?

I am part of a small design and development shop in Kanpur, U.P. Where, we mostly do web development using FOSS, mainly LAMP.

I moved to kanpur around 10 months back with a desire to build a great Flash Platform Team that would work on non-trivial type service projects and some great product ideas.

I could now start doing it, after we have managed to fix a lot of issues mostly a nice office, a good culture and some projects and a product in pipeline.

I need an experienced Flash Platform developer in my team, who can help us to make our vision, desire and dreams a reality.

Since Kanpur is not a metro or fancy place to live, it takes more than just technical aptitude to be here. That is some more strong reason f.ex. A desire to be part of a growing team, desire to be close to family, desire to contribute in the development of IT ecosystem in North and/or a desire to prove, hell yeah we can do great stuff from anywhere, even cities like Kanpur :-)

If you think, you want to help me by being part of my team and understand what I meant above, please don’t hesitate to contact me on [abdul dot qabiz at gmail dot com] off-list i.e. Direct email to me, please don’t reply here on this list.

As far as job description goes, I have already given an idea. However, we are looking for someone who understands web very well that is HTTP and other standards. Fundamentally good at problem solving, the real world ones, ActionScript, Flex Framework, Adobe Flash Player and AIR fundamentals and APIs.

Of course, good experience that says about in your behalf. We would also talk to you so things would get clear, i.e. If we are match for each other.

If you want to know more about company, please check out http://www.alliesinteractive.com

Adobe Flash Builder as name – What I think

I just caught this news “Adobe Flash Builder instead of Adobe Flex Builder as a name for Gumbo” over AXNA.
I felt like writing my views on this i.e. renaming Adobe Flex Builder to Adobe Flash Builder for future releases. I kind of like it for reasons explained later.

I loved the move when, recently, Flash Platform was redefined. It brought a lot of clarity and removed the confusion built since Adobe (Macromedia) Flex was introduced.

A lot of people were confused and didn’t really think that even though there were different development paradigm but all targeted to Flash Runtime(s). I have been using the term for sometime, even before Adobe redefined it to bring all these different technologies/tools, which targeted Flash Runtimes (Player, AIR, FlashLite), under it.

I think, sooner or later Flex SDK should be renamed so no such confusion develops further. Having consistency increases simplicity and clarity in understanding things, developing, learning, talking and building brand.

It would be nice to have one framework with many sub-frameworks targeting various different Flash Runtimes and development tools (Adobe Flash Authoring tool, Adobe Flash Builder, etc). We need consistency that leads to shorter learning curve and better development platform, eventually.

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Adobe Store is still not accessible

I need a Adobe Flash CS4 Professional upgrade license because some projects need to be updated. I can not order online from India. I really don’t have time to seek a resellers help on this, I know it would take weeks to get the license.

I requested a friend in USA to buy it for me, he has been trying to do that but it seems Adobe store application, which is done in Flex, throws a lot of errors. A few things, which I have reported in past, like asking for exact address (line by line). In this case, I guess, store application requires the address even when you choose Paypal as payment option?

I don’t have exact details in hand now, but I can see my friend has been having trouble buying Flash CS4 on Adobe store. I know this friend of mine, he is a developer himself and very good at things, so I know,he is doing right, I would rather say, store-application is not done well. He has recently helped me getting a FlexBuilder 3 upgrade license and he had problems even then. It took two days and various attempts, perhaps a phone call also, to get that license.

No wonder, why people blame Flash Platform for lack of usability and accessibility, most of the times it’s the developers who don’t implement things correctly and platform gets a bad name.

I have also started feeling, why can’t stores have multiple options – I might want to choose simple html interface, if I am on mobile or slow connection?

Yet another frustration and my project is delayed by now. I could have bought license earlier, if I knew the requirements earlier.
I hope someday, Adobe and Apple would realize that they can help thousand of people like me, by just enabling online purchase, even if it takes order and makes me send cheque/bank-draft to them, if not credit-card/paypal integration.

I hope someday, these companies would realize that most of people in countries like India don’t have access to real stores/resellers in their cities or states. Yes, I happen to live in a city where it’s hard to get things, I have to travel, at least twelve hours (round-trip) for even simple purchase and with no certainty, I would get the stuff at the stores, whichever is there.

I hope, these companies help to reduce the piracy in India. I hope, these companies realize they can make people do the right by being more accessible to them.

I wonder, what is holding these companies? Is it sales guys who don’t want to have an online store? Is someone getting some favors from resellers?

I don’t get, why to have a middle man in this age, when an online store can enable a lot of users, not only buy but also have faster access to things.

I can not believe it’s tax issue or things like that, it’s lack of will to do. I am sure, there are other stores running well here in India.

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Adobe Flash Player on devices

Last week, when I heard about JavaFX Mobile, I thought, why didn’t Adobe make a move yet to push Flash Platform on devices?
Not too long ago, I was wondering about Adobe’s plan for Mobile AIR.
We have recently heard some good news, I must say, some fantastic announcements:-

Adobe and Nokia made a right decision by setting up a fund, it’s really important to have a good ecosystem of developers, designers and content-creators. The success of Adobe Flash Platform over the the years is because of this outstanding community of developers, designers and everyone who has been interested into the platform.
Though, I feel Adobe is little late on doing these. They should have been more aggressive. Some of my wishes, Adobe would:

  • Release some great tools for all platforms (not just Windows and OSX).
  • Provide a good documentation on best-practices, performance, etc
  • Some good reusable libraries, components, etc

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Interviews on ActionScriptHero.org

Pablo “aSH” PARRADO of ActionScriptHero has been doing fantastic job of interviewing Flash Platform developers. It’s great to see and read those interviews.

I was fortunate to get a chance to express my views and I thank Pablo for that.

I must say, it’s really inspiring experience to read what all developers say.

Check out interviews at actionscripthero.org.

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