Captionate 2.0

I couldn't write about this tool earlier. Captionate is a nice tool to add captions(metadata) to Flash videos(FLV files). Burak has released it's next version i.e. Captionate 2.0. New version has also support for embedded metadata and On2 video codec on Flash Player 8.
I would probably spend some time on new version and write a detailed review of this.
BTW! Do you know, Macromedia Flash 8 authoring has nice video import wizard, which lets you add embedded cue points, select video-codecs, crop/resize video etc.

Macromedia Flex and Macromedia Flash authoring

We arrived Anaheim in afternoon. While having our coffee in Starbucks in Hilton hotel, we met two folks from Humber Institute of Technology, Toronto Canada.
They wanted to know about Macromedia Flex, I took this opportunity to talk about Macromedia Flex and upcoming Flex 2 public alpha. During our conversation, I realized that they had an impression of Macromedia Flex versus Macromedia Flash authoring.
Honestly speaking, I also had similar impression before I delved into Flex. After spending just one week on Flex, I realized that how cool it is, it makes my life easier by letting me focus on business logic; It takes care of all low level things and provides me higher level framework with lots of services and UI components. How it helps me to use design patterns effectively. How it helps me to use standard practices and write an extensible, maintainable applications. It also allows me to use low-level stuff(Macromedia Flash Player AP) if I want to.
Anyways, based on my experience(more than five years) in Flash application development, I explained to them, how Macromedia Flash authoring can play an important role in RIA development and complement Macromedia Flex. I feel, that creative people(designers, interaction designers et al) would be using Flash authoring to create assets(animations, skins, themes etc). Developers would use Flex Builder to write/debug code using assets created in Flash authoring.
If you have watched Kevin Lynch's demo video from Web 2.0 conference, you would notice that Flex Builder 2 has nice design view which means designers can also use Flex Builder 2 to layout UI of RIAs/Flash applications. And having worked on variety of Flash applications(eLearning, RIAs, games, web applications, ecommerce apps) with small to large teams(20+ designers, 5+ developers), I can see how both products work together.
What else I noticed that some people don't see Flash developers as programmers. IMO, it is true that most of Flash developers were designers before they got into development. But there are many who are from C/C++ or other client/server side technologies or hardcore skills background but they chose Macromedia Flash and ActionScript because they liked it. I am one of them, who fell in love with Macromedia Flash and ActionScript.
BTW! If you want to talk to me more about this, please feel to stop by during MAX or comment here. I would try my best to convince you ;-)
Update: Waldo Smeets, of Macromedia, gave a talk on "Integrating Rich Flash Content into Flex applications" in MAX. Check out the presentation(Breezo) and download the source files.

All set for MAX

I am flying to LA tomorrow morning for MAX. I would be attending most of the sessions/community events and meeting lots of people. Also excited for forthcoming public alpha of Flex 2 product line.
If we meet at MAX and you have questions about Flex/Flash, feel free to discuss. I would try to share whatever I know and I can.
I also hope to blog more often because I would have more content after public alpha of Flex 2.

E4X in ActionScript 3

E4X stands for ECMAScript for XML. XML would be native data type in future versions of ECMAScript. It was known to world accidently but recently support for this feature announced officially.
Brajeshwar has posted a nice intro article on the E4X.
BTW! If you are wondering, how can you start playing with it until Macromedia Flash Player 8.5 is out. I think, you can use FireFox 1.1 or above for that. E4X support is by default on in FireFox 1.5 or above.
Some more links on E4X:

Adobe's proposed acquisition of Macromedia clears U.S. Department of Justice(DOJ) review

See this press-release. Transaction has not yet closed, some European authorities have yet to give clearance.

Macromedia announces Flex 2 product line

Macromedia announced Flex 2 product line. Under this product line, following products would come:-

  • Macromedia Flash Player 8.5 with ActionScript 3
  • Macromedia Flex Framework 2 - based on ActionScript 3
  • Macromedia Flex Charting Components 2 - more extensible and customizable
  • Macromedia Flex Builder 2 - an eclipse based tool or plug-in
  • Macromedia Flex Enterprise Services 2

More details can be found on official press-release-statement and on an article by David Wadhwani (VP, Macromedia Flex).
This is an exciting news and shows how open Macromedia is getting with community.
Keep watching and get notified for a public alpha (the earliest public release ever of a Macromedia product) of Flex 2 product line, to be released on October 17, 2005 during MAX conference, which I would be attending this time.

Public Beta of Flash Media Server 2.0 (FCS 2.0) is out for public beta

FlashComm community has been waiting for this day for a long time, the next version of Flash Communication Server, now named as Flash Media Server 2.0 is available for download. It is still in beta phase; Download the public beta and play with it and report all the issues/bugs you find. As far as I know, it is loaded with tons of new features and enhancements.
Check it out

ServiceCapture - a good tool for any web application developer

ServiceCapture runs on your PC and captures all HTTP traffic sent from your browser. It is designed to help Rich Internet Application (RIA) developers in the debugging, analysis, and testing of their applications. ServiceCapture is the only tool of its kind to de-serialize and display all Flash Remoting or AMF traffic in an interface.

This is a nice tool with following features some of these are unique to this tool:-

  • HTTP Traffic monitoring
  • Macromedia Flash Remoting Action Message Format(AMF) packet information
  • Bandwidth simulation
  • Nice user interface

I have just started to use it and yet to explore it completely. I, personally, feel that this could be very useful tool for Macromedia Flex application developers, as they have to deal with HTTPService/WebService/RemoteObject(AMF) quite often.
Good thing is that you can download the trial, use it for fifteen-days and if you find it useful, you can buy it.
Flex developers, don't forget FlexBuilder it also has similar capabilities except Bandwidth Simulation. You might want to compare the two before buying :)

Macromedia Studio 8 Launch Event

I will be attending Macromedia Studio 8 Launch Event in Bangalore on Sept 6 (Tuesday). If you are coming, let's meet there. I will post the update after attending the event for those who would not be able to attend it.

Macromedia Flex HTTPService error messages

Error Messages
Httpservice Fault: Start tag had no corresponding end tag
Httpservice Fault: An end tag had no corresponding start tag
Httpservice Fault: An XML element was malformed.
If you get any of above error messages while using HTTPService tag in one of your Macromedia Flex applications. Then chances are that XML returned from server-side script or XML file being loaded has invalid structure. Make sure all tags have start and eng tags.