Tag Archives: Adobe

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.

Adobe MAX 2010

Adobe MAX 2010 is indeed one of the best MAX events, I have noticed. I am probably the last one to write anything about this event, but couldn’t resist; Better late than never.

I am excited about upcoming Flash Player, which would have many things along with 3D API (GPU supported).

Adobe, it’s partners (device companies) and developer-community (pre-release, public) have worked hard to make sure Adobe AIR works smoothly across different devices (pc, mobile, tablet and even a TV).

Everyone has been talking about great stuff in HTML5 and CSS3 for last couple of years; It looks like, Adobe has also been doing a lot of work to bring tools and productivity for HTML5/CSS3 developers.

I am still checking out, what has happened during last two days and what is happening right this moment. However, I found following links very useful. Like me, if you missed being there (at MAX 2010), check out:

BTW! Don’t forget to watch the keynotes, I just finished watching Day-1 keynote (by Kevin Lynch), it’s awesome.

I consider myself as an optimist, I hope, I am going to be there next year :-)

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.

Where is Adobe Store for India?

Adobe is yet to launch online store for India. More than four years back, I wrote about this issue..

I have changed my work-flow to introduce more and more open-source tools. However, sometimes I have to use Adobe Flash Authoring tool and Flash Builder for some projects.

I hope, Adobe would soon figure out a way to launch an online store in India. I am yet to understand what has been holding Adobe from doing that, I am assuming something with taxes or government policies, if not Adobe’s intentions?

BTW! Some face problems in USA also, check out what Tariq has gone through today, while buying something from Adobe Store.

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?

Open Source Media Framework (OSMF)

A few days back, Adobe announced Open Source Media Framework (OSMF), which was known as Strobe earlier.

A few minutes back, I received an email confirming that Open Source Media Framework website is up with all the information, specification, developer-documentation, source (Subversion repository), downloads (binary and source) and bug-database.

Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) has an interesting list of features and goals. I like it’s plug-in architecture, that would allow a lot of extensibility and various amazing plug-ins from different providers in coming time.

If you are a developer spending a lot of time developing various work-flows around online media-players (audio, video, images – players), I strongly recommend you to check out Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). I am sure, you would find it worth start using it and also contribute back whatever you can.

Following are the reasons, I am going to use OSMF and give up my existing frameworks:

  • It’s open-source
  • It would solve core issues (video playback, delivery and workarounds for various limitations in Flash Player, etc)
  • It would adopt various standards (playback, cdn, advertising, etc)
  • Larger developer base, that means bug fixes and various features would be available very often
  • I love open-source and see myself contributing to OSMF in future, beyond my current projects.

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.

TVersity: Media Server

I am sharing my experience while finding a good media-server (software that can store, transcode and serves various media formats to devices – computers, mobile, apple-tv, etc).

We all (parents, brother, sister-in-law, sister and myself) stay together, which means we have got more than one TV, various devices (mobile, computers, laptops, etc). We realized, it’s useful to host the media at one central computer.

  • Storage
  • Wiki – to jot down the links and ideas
  • Development and Testing – when we work at/from home
  • Media Server (software that serves media to various devices in home)

Most of the requirements (above) are sorted out except the last one “Media Server”. I looked at various options, some of these are listed below:

I found myself more comfortable with TVersity, though it’s not opensource and only runs on Windows, for following reasons

  • Ease in administration:
    • anyone in my family can add/remove media using it’s easy to use administration interface.
    • admin tool runs using Adobe Flash Player, has been built using OpenLaszlo framework and executable has been created using Zinc like tool.
  • Ease while using:
    • Web based interface for administration – runs on Adobe Flash Player
    • Web based interface for media library
      • Simple HTML
      • Flash based (built using OpenLaszlo) – where media is transcoded and played using Flash Player, awesome, isn’t it?
      • iPhone friendly interface
  • Support for Open DLNA and UPNP
  • Automatically detects (most of) devices, transcodes and serves media, if required
    • That means, ffdshow and other tools can be used to add subtitle and apply various filters before serving the videos.
  • XBMC/Boxee that runs on my macbook and apple-tv worked really well with TVersity

You can find the complete list of features on TVersity website.

So now life is simpler and easier, we all store our media at one place and can see it anytime and on most of our devices. Having web-based access to media makes life easier. I also feel, it’s lot easier to extend web-interface, which I plan to do in sometime.

I would love to post about detailed comparison between various options (media-servers and tools) mentioned above, perhaps in another post, sometime in future. Another post would be there to share how our home network looks like. Hope, I can spend sometime drawing diagrams which would be lot easier to understand.

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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BugQuash

BugQuash is a great initiative to bring Flex community together to contribute in various ways (bug filing, fixing, patching, etc) to OpenSource Flex SDK.

I am sure, you must have heard about last BugQuash which was organized last month, by Flex community members: Nate Beck and Marty Mickelson.

Hundreds of community members participated including me.

I submitted some patches, which are not big ones, but I got a lot of appreciation from teams within Adobe and other people from community. It suggests that even small contributions matter, hence I should be contributing more often.

Dave Story (VP Developer Tools, Adobe Systems) sent some pictures from one of the all-hands meeting, where BugQuash was discussed, where entire team, along with Dave, thanked to each contributor for their contributions over phone.

Thanks to everyone who organized and participated. It helped me to get started contributing, which I always wanted to do. I am going to try to contribute as often as I can.

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Update:Next BugQuash is happening on May 17, 2009. Check out BugQuash for more details.
Update: BugQuash on May 17, 2009 was successful and your truely submitted two patches :-)

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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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Flex In Action – The Book

Flex 3 in Action, I think, is the only book, which covers Adobe Flex, in-depth. I have been reading various draft versions over the time, totally love it and I can bet you are going to love this book too.

The content of book shows, authors’ (Tariq Ahmed, Jon Hirschi and Faisal Abid) years of experience as developers. Authors have put tremendous amount of effort to make things easier to understand. Authors in all sense have brought a lot of wisdom to the book.

Book starts with basic concepts of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and various paradigms, that’s great thing, it would really help to all kind of developers (beginners, intermediate, experts from any programming background).

Each chapter has a lot of details – background, examples, use-cases and of course best-practices. Book has detailed chapters on components, tools, testing, debugging, deployment, etc.

It’s a book you would not only want to read cover to cover but also keep it on your desk as reference material for your day to day development needs. I highly recommend anyone, interested in Adobe Flex, to read this book, whenever it’s available.

I have been meaning to write this post for last some months, just couldn’t manage the time. As you can already figure out from this post, it’s just an overview. I wish, I could write more details about the book now. Perhaps, a follow up post might have more.

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