CodeKen 2012 – Online Conference

October 18th, 2012 by Adrian

CodeKen 2012 is an online conference happening on Tuesday 6th November 2012 via Google Hangouts On Air. The speakers include Seb Lee-Delisle talking about his PixelPhones project and Estelle Weyl talking about mobile web development. The schedule can be seen here. The schedule mentions Day 1 and Day 2, but elsewhere on the site it says it is a one day event, so I’m not sure which it is. Anyway, go ahead and register, so that you are notified about the start nearer the time.

Posted in Conferences and Events, CSS, Generative Art, HTML5, Mobile, OpenFrameworks, Physical Computing | No Comments »

Book Review: Flash Development for Android Cookbook

September 22nd, 2011 by Adrian

Flash Development for Android Cookbook front cover

Title: Flash Development for Android Cookbook
Author: Joseph Labrecque
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Released: June 2011
Website link: http://goo.gl/icJsk
Amazon link: http://goo.gl/TGBv5

For any Flash or Flex developer looking to create applications for mobile (in particular Android ones) then this is a great book to have on your desk! Weighing in at 372 pages, there is a lot of content in there just waiting for you to try out and play with.

First things first, this is a Cookbook. It’s not a reference title listing every single API and documenting every single class available. Though to be honest, it seems to cover most of the new AIR for Android features. The idea behind a Cookbook is to provide you with a selection of ‘recipes’ or common tasks, and then explain how to go about solving them in a clear and concise way. This book does this brilliantly. It is the sort of book you can dib into when you have a specific thing to get done in your app and you’re not sure where to start. Having said that, I basically read it from cover to cover, and still found it very informative and enjoyable.

The book is broken up into the following 11 chapters …

  • Chapter 1: Getting Ready to Work with Android: Development Environment and Project Setup (10 recipes)
  • Chapter 2: Interaction Experience: Multitouch, Gestures, and Other Input (13 recipes)
  • Chapter 3: Movement through Space: Accelerometer and Geolocation Sensors (9 recipes)
  • Chapter 4: Visual and Audio Input: Camera and Microphone Access (6 recipes)
  • Chapter 5: Rich Media Presentation: Working with Images, Video, and Audio (7 recipes)
  • Chapter 6: Structural Adaptation: Handling Device Layout and Scaling (12 recipes)
  • Chapter 7: Native Interaction: StageWebView and URI Handlers (10 recipes)
  • Chapter 8: Abundant Access: File System and Local Database (7 recipes)
  • Chapter 9: Manifest Assurance: Security and Android Permissions (6 recipes)
  • Chapter 10: Avoiding Problems: Debugging and Resource Considerations (6 recipes)
  • Chapter 11: Final Considerations: Application Compilation and Distribution (10 recipes)

All these chapter are equally important and cover a wide range of features, but which ones you’ll actually need to use will depend on your project and what you are trying to achieve. Although the title of this book specifies Android, most of the code in this book will work equally well on iOS devices and the BlackBerry PlayBook. That’s the joy of developing using ActionScript and AIR! :-)

I was particularly pleased to see that nearly all the code examples were IDE agnostic and didn’t tie you in to the Flex framework. They concentrated on using pure ActionScript in whatever IDE you feel comfortable working in. In fact, Joseph even went to the trouble of explaining any IDE specific stuff using example in Flash Pro CS5.5, Flash Builder 4.5 and FDT 4.1.

Once you have had a flick through at some of the examples it quickly becomes clear that Adobe have done a really good job at providing a consistent and logical API for achieving all these new mobile specific things. And this book does a great job of demystifying it all.

My one criticism would be that there is quite a lot of repetitive code (about 14 lines) in each example, where Joseph sets up an output textfield (and accompanying textformat) for demonstration purposes. But I guess I noticed it more because I was reading the book straight through (not how it was intended to be read). At least this way, each ‘recipe’ or example is self contained and provides everything you need to get you up and running easily.

I did notice a few errors here and there (code and layout), but nothing too serious that would cause you issues.

I’d thoroughly recommend this title to anyone who is interested in creating mobile apps for either Android, iOS or PlayBook using AIR and ActionScript.

Sample Chaper
Chapter 4 - Visual and Audio Input: Camera and Microphone Access can be downloaded as a free PDF file here.

Related books by other authors and publishers include:

Posted in AIR, Android, Books, Mobile | No Comments »

Creative Coding Podcast

March 4th, 2011 by Adrian

Creative Coding Podcast

A new podcast has been brought to my attention called the Creative Coding Podcast.

Hosted by Seb Lee-Delisle and Iain Lobb, two names I’m sure you will recognise from the UK Flash scene.

They will be discussing the ins-and-outs of programming for visual and creative applications. The first episode only went out on 30th January 2011, so it is still early days. Give them your support by subscribing in iTunes now.

Here are direct links to the three episodes so far …

Enjoy!

UPDATE – October 29th 2012 – New episodes have been added below …

Posted in ActionScript 3.0, Adobe, AIR, Android, Augmented Reality, BlackBerry, Flash, Flash Catalyst, Flex, Game, Generative Art, Infographics, iPhone, Mobile, OpenFrameworks, Papervision 3D, Physical Computing, Podcast, Processing, Websites | 2 Comments »

Test for Capabilities.screenDPI

January 6th, 2011 by Adrian

With all the interest in mobile development there come the issue of dynamically resizing UI elements based on the pixel density of the screen. For example, if a button is set to be 100 pixels wide, it will appear at different physical widths depending on the device being used. This is because your desktop monitor may have a pixel density (DPI or PPI) of 86dpi but you mobile phone may have a pixel density of 326dpi (as is the case with the retina display on the iPhone 4). This may meant that you nicely designed UI is unusable, with items being too small to click on with your finger!

An article regarding this was posted back in Jan 2010 on the Adobe Developer Connection by Christian Cantrell titled ‘Authoring mobile Flash content for multiple screen sizes‘, and more recently (Nov 2010) a whitepaper by Allen Ellison titled ‘Flash sizing Zen: Making Flash fit on mobile devices‘.

In Christian’s article he mentions using the AS3 Capabilities class and the method screenDPI, however as Renaun Erickson pointed out yesterday there is a problem with the returned value from this method when using AIR on devices.

Here is a little test SWF which shows you what Flash thinks your system is displaying (correctly or incorrectly).

Download a ZIP of the FLA source file here

An image of the various sample sizes can be viewed here

Confirming that 86 pixels equals 1 inch on my 19" (1280x1024) monitor

Here are some useful links regarding pixel density, DPI and PPI …

Posted in ActionScript 3.0, AIR, Android, Bug, Flash, iPhone, Mobile, Sample Code | 2 Comments »

Link to Android App in Marketplace from a Webpage

December 10th, 2010 by Adrian

Android Marketplace

If you have a mobile version of a website you may want to point users in the direction of an app that is available in the Android Marketplace. If so, you can do it like this …

Get the app here

Note: The HREF link is pointing to …

market://details?id=your.package.name.here

Posted in Android, Mobile | 3 Comments »

AIR 2.5 for Android now available on the Android Marketplace

October 8th, 2010 by Adrian

AIR 2.5 for Android

AIR 2.5 for Android has just been formally released and is now available on the Android Marketplace. Which means end-users can now get the runtime and then install your apps created with AIR. Users will need to be running Android 2.2 (Froyo) to see it in the Marketplace.

Ryan Stewart has a blog post with some info on publishing your apps to the marketplace.

Here are some other useful links to help you get started with AIR for Android …

Luckily my iPhone contract has just expired. Android here I come! :-)

Adobe AIR for Android Install Screen

Posted in AIR, Android, Mobile | No Comments »

Flash Applications on the iPhone!!

October 5th, 2009 by Adrian

It has just been announced at Adobe MAX that Flash Professional CS5 will allow you to set your publish settings to ‘iPhone’. This will compile your movie as a native iPhone app that can be submitted to the Apple AppStore. This is great news. Still no word on Flash within Safari on the iPhone, but to be honest I think being able to create useful standalone applications for the iPhone is better.

Read more info on Adobe Labs

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashcs5/appsfor_iphone/

Developer FAQ

http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Applications_for_iPhone:Developer_FAQ

Developing for the Apple iPhone using Flash

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/logged_in/abansod_iphone.html

Adobe TV: Building Applications for iPhone with Flash Pro CS5

Posted in ActionScript 3.0, Flash, iPhone, Mobile | No Comments »

What’s What on Adobe Labs (at a glance)

July 23rd, 2009 by Adrian

Adobe Labs

I find it is not very easy on Adobe Labs to quickly and easily see what all the current projects are. Just seeing a list of names like Durango and JamJar doesn’t really tell you very much at a glance, and it takes a little while to click through each one in turn to find out what they all are. So here is a list of all the current projects and a short summary (copied and pasted) from their respective pages.

Acrobat.com Presentations

A better way to create, edit, and share presentations with others online. Built on the Adobe® Flash® platform, Acrobat.com Presentations looks and behaves like a desktop presentation application but operates inside a web browser.

Acrobat.com Tables

a better way to work with others on data and information — such as task lists, schedules, contacts, sales numbers, etc. — that are typically created and shared in spreadsheets or simple databases. Built on the Adobe® Flash® Platform, Acrobat.com Tables looks and behaves like a desktop application but operates inside a web browser.

Alchemy

Alchemy is a research project that allows users to compile C and C++ code that is targeted to run on the open source ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM2).

Blueprint

Blueprint is a plugin for Adobe® Flex® Builder™ 3 and Adobe Flash® Builder™ 4 that allows users to query for Adobe Flex and Adobe Flash code examples found on the Web directly inside of the development environment.

BrowserLab

BrowserLab provides web designers exact renderings of their web pages in multiple browsers and operating systems, on demand. BrowserLab is a powerful solution for cross-browser compatibility testing, featuring multiple viewing and comparison tools, as well as customizable preferences. Since BrowserLab is an online service, it can be accessed from virtually any computer connected to the web.

ColdFusion 9

The ColdFusion 9 public beta release unveils three main themes: unrivaled developer productivity, deep enterprise integration and simple work flow with Adobe Flash® Builder™, Adobe AIR® and AJAX to create expressive applications.

ColdFusion Builder

Adobe ColdFusion Builder is an Eclipse based IDE for ColdFusion development that is deeply integrated with ColdFusion 9. Now you can manage your entire ColdFusion development cycle from concept to production all in one easy to use tool.

Configurator

Configurator is an open source utility that enables the easy creation of panels (palettes) for use in Adobe Photoshop® CS4. Specifically, Configurator makes it easy to drag and drop tools, menu items, scripts, actions, and other objects into a panel design, then export the results for use inside Photoshop. These panels leverage the support for Adobe Flash® built into Photoshop, making it possible to drag and drop audio, video, images, and even other SWF files into a panel design.

Distributable Player Solution

The distributable player solution enables developers to create rich applications for the latest version of Adobe® Flash Lite® and directly distribute their content to millions of open OS smartphones, providing a better on-device user experience.

Durango

Durango is a framework that allows developers to build Adobe® AIR™ applications that can be customized by end-users. Durango allows developers, designers and end-users to easily mashup independent components to create new applications or extend existing Durango-enabled applications. These “mashable” components can be visual or non-visual (e.g., web services). Designers and developers can rapidly create prototype applications and then generate Adobe Flex® MXML source projects for further development. End-users can take parts of their favorite applications and bring them together in new ways.

Flash Builder 4

Welcome to the Adobe® Flash® Builder™ 4 (formerly Flex Builder) public beta release on Adobe Labs. The first thing that you’ve already noticed is that we are renaming Flex Builder to Flash Builder. This name change will create a clear distinction between the free open-source Flex framework and the commercial IDE.

Flash Catalyst

Adobe® Flash® Catalyst™ is a new professional interaction design tool for rapidly creating user interfaces without coding. Transform artwork created in Adobe Photoshop® and Adobe Illustrator® into functional user interfaces. Create interactive prototypes with the ability to leverage them in the final product. Publish a finished project as a SWF file ready for distribution. Work more efficiently with developers who use Adobe Flash Builder™ 4 to create rich Internet applications (RIAs). Designers use Flash Catalyst to create the functional user experience then provide the project file to developers who use Flash Builder to add functionality and integrate with servers and services.

Flash Collaboration Service

Adobe Flash Collaboration Service is a Platform as a Service that allows Flex developers to easily add real-time social capabilities into their RIA (rich Internet applications). Comprised of both Flex-based client components and a hosted services infrastructure, Adobe Flash Collaboration Service allows you to build real-time, multi-user applications with Flex in less time than ever before. And because Acrobat.com hosts the service, issues like deployment, maintenance, and scalability are taken care of for you.

Flash Player 10

Adobe® Flash® Player 10, code-named “Astro,” introduces new expressive features and visual performance improvements that allow interactive designers and developers to build the richest and most immersive Web experiences.  These new capabilities also empower the community to extend Flash Player and to take creativity and interactivity to a new level.

Flex Builder 3 for Linux

Flex Builder Linux is a plugin-only version of the Flex Builder that you can use to build Flex applications on Linux. Feedback from previous alpha releases has been very positive, and we are pleased to continue offering this version.

Flex 4 SDK

Welcome to the Adobe Flex® 4 SDK beta release on Adobe Labs (previously code named Gumbo). This release marks an expanded role for the Flex framework, now supporting both developers creating Flex applications and designers using Adobe® Flash® Catalyst™ to create interaction design.

Hub

Hub is a client Adobe® AIR® application that connects to Adobe LiveCycle® ES services for the purpose of generating PDFs or assembling different PDFs into packages.  It demonstrates how to connect a client desktop to LiveCycle ES services using Adobe Flex® Remoting. The drag-and-drop client interface allows the user to upload files, watch the progress and retrieve the content back to the desktop with a single gesture. Hub was developed in response to customer requests for a client connector to Adobe LiveCycle ES.

InContext Editing

Welcome to the free preview of Adobe InContext Editing, the first Adobe hosted service developed for web professionals. Adobe InContext Editing is an online service that allows designers to create, manage, and control editable web pages. Web designers can use Dreamweaver CS4 to easily create editable or repeating regions, specify editing options or define CSS styles made available to authors. Content editors and publishers can also use Adobe InContext Editing to update website content through their browser — without learning HTML, installing software, or compromising design integrity.

JamJar

We invite you to see for yourself the kind of interactive, visually attractive, and scalable rich internet application that can be developed using Flex 2 technologies. JamJar provides a private and persistent canvas for small groups to easily exchange digital content in order to Plan events, Exchange ideas, Manage projects, Centralize information and Share files and images.

knowhow

knowhow is a technology preview that delivers single-click, contextual access to relevant help information from a panel in Adobe® Creative Suite® 3 software. knowhow gives users access to a wide variety of information—basic tool descriptions and short cuts, Adobe Help content, as well as community-generated tutorials, tips, and techniques on the web.

LiveCycle Data Services 3

LiveCycle Data Services server makes it possible to easily integrate Flex with Java/J2EE based applications.

Mars Project

The Mars Project is an XML-friendly representation for PDF documents called PDFXML. PDF, an ISO standard format, is the global standard for trusted, high fidelity electronic documentation. The PDFXML file format incorporates additional industry standards such as SVG, PNG, JPG, JPG2000, OpenType, Xpath and XML into ZIP-based document container. The PDFXML plug-ins enable creation and recognition of the PDFXML file format by Adobe Acrobat Professional and reading of PDFXML-format files by Adobe Reader software.

Photoshop.com Mobile Beta

the easiest way to upload, view, and share photos online from your Windows Mobile phone. Getting started is simple. All you need is a supported Windows Mobile® handset and a Photoshop.com membership. Available only to U.S. consumers as a free beta download.

Pixel Bender

The Adobe® Pixel Bender™ technology delivers a common image and video processing infrastructure which provides automatic runtime optimization on heterogeneous hardware. You can use the Pixel Bender kernel language to implement image processing algorithms (filters or effects) in a hardware-independent manner. The Pixel Bender graph language is an XML-based language for combining individual pixel-processing operations (kernels) into more complex Pixel Bender filters.

Spry framework for Ajax

The Spry framework for Ajax is a JavaScript library that provides easy-to-use yet powerful Ajax functionality that allows designers to build pages that provide a richer experience for their users. It is designed to take the complexity out of Ajax and allow designers to easily create Web 2.0 pages. The Spry framework is a way to incorporate XML, JSON or HTML data into pages using HTML, CSS, and a minimal amount of JavaScript, without the need for refreshing the entire page. Spry also provides easy to build and style widgets, providing advanced page elements for end users.

Stratus

Adobe® Flash® Player 10 and Adobe AIR® 1.5 introduce a new communications protocol called the Real-Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP). The most important features of RTMFP include low latency, end-to-end peering capability, security and scalability. These properties make RTMFP especially well suited for developing real-time collaboration applications by not only providing superior user experience but also reducing cost for operators. In order to use RTMFP, Flash Player endpoints must connect to an RTMFP-capable server, such as the Stratus service. Stratus is a beta, hosted rendezvous service that aids establishing communications between Flash Player endpoints. Unlike Adobe Flash Media Server, Stratus does not support media relay, shared objects, scripting, etc. So by using Stratus, you can only develop applications where Flash Player endpoints are directly communicating with each other.

Text Layout Framework

Welcome to the beta release of the Text Layout Framework for Adobe® Flash® Player 10 and Adobe AIR® 1.5. The Text Layout Framework is an extensible library, built on the new text engine in Adobe Flash Player 10, which delivers advanced, easy-to-integrate typographic and text layout features for rich, sophisticated and innovative typography on the web. The framework is designed to be used with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional or Adobe Flex®, and is already included in the next version of Flex, code named Gumbo. Developers can use or extend existing components, or use the framework to create their own text components.

Wave

When a friend posts a status update or there’s new content on your favorite site, be the first to know.  Adobe® Wave™ software gets the information you care about right to your desktop.  Click on the Adobe Wave badge on a website you want to follow and you’re ready to go.  Best of all, you’re in control: you choose which sites can contact you.  If you’re no longer interested, turning it off is a click away — Adobe Wave does not share your email address with websites. With Adobe Wave, get all of your notifications through a single application. You don’t have to worry about downloading a separate notification application for each website. To find out more, click on a notification to take you to a browser pointing right where you want to go.  Built with Adobe AIR® technology that has been installed over 200 million times, Adobe Wave lets you see all your most recent alerts at a glance.

XMP Library for ActionScript

Welcome to the XMP Library for ActionScript v1.0 preview. Adobe® Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) is a labeling technology that allows you to embed data about a file, known as metadata, into the file itself.  XMP is an open technology based on RDF and RDF/XML.

Posted in ActionScript 3.0, Adobe, AIR, Flash, Flash Catalyst, FlashLite, Flex, HTML, Mobile | 1 Comment »

QR Code

January 28th, 2008 by Adrian

QR Code

I’ve just been having a play around with QR Codes. The code you see above is a code for the URL of this website (www.adrianparr.com). They are basically two-dimentional barcodes. Try making your own here. Kaywa have a free QR Code Reader that works on many mobile phones. I’ve just tried it on my Nokia N73 and worked like a dream.

UPDATE 15/07/2009: I have just purchased and installed the QuickMark iPhone application and it worked really well. You can buy it from the iTunes Store for £1.19.

Posted in Mobile | No Comments »