Category Archives: Flash

ASTRA: ActionScript Toolkit for Rich Applications

I followed a link to ASTRA from Flashbookmarks.
Strangely I never heard about ASTRA althrough I already knew Yahoo! had a Flash developer center.

So what is ASTRA? Well,

ASTRAASTRA, the ActionScript Toolkit for Rich Applications, is Yahoo!’s collection of Flash and Flex components, libraries, toolkits and advanced applications. These libraries are open-source and available under the BSD license.

You will find some:

Flash CS3 Components Library:

  • Tree
  • Menu
  • TabBar
  • AutoComplete [Nice!]
  • Charts [Nice!]
  • Flash Kit:

    The Badge Kit is an XML-based framework for rapid development of small interactive Flash applications. You can learn how to use the Badge Kit very quickly, and most of the usage scenarios require no knowledge of Flash.

    So that is not so much for us…

    Web APIs Library

    Yahoo! AS3 API libraries are a set of wrapper tools that facilitate access to Yahoo!’s Web APIs from Flex and Flash. These libraries create an abstraction layer above the communication protocols used by Yahoo! servers, enabling Flash and Flex developers to send and retrieve data without any additional parsing. The AS3 libraries are easy to install and all accessible methods are fully documented. These libraries are open source and available under the BSD license.

    Libraries available by now:

  • Yahoo! Answers AS3 API
  • Yahoo! Weather AS3 API
  • Yahoo! Search AS3 API
  • Yahoo! Upcoming.org AS3 API
  • Yahoo! Maps AS3 Communication Kit
  • Interesting, isn’t it?

    Ahmet

    Adobe Bordeaux: no it’s not about wine…

    This new codename from Adobe hide a nice move from Adobe. They seem (as it is not confirmed yet by Adobe) to be preparing a software that would simplify Flash for the none coders:

    Adobe Bordeaux is the codename for a new product for graphic designers, art directors, creative directors, and others who don’t need all the capabilities of Flash Professional and want to create flash content easily without knowing ActionScript or programming.

    Bordeaux enables graphic designers to efficiently create site openers, rich media banners, microsites, portfolios, and other small-scale Flash projects. Art Directors and Creative Directors can use Bordeaux to add interactivity motion, and video to Photoshop comps or InDesign layouts to create interactive moodboards and concepts, making it possible to communicate ideas more effectively to clients and design teams.

    Bottle of Adobe Bordeaux
    The features would be:

    – Easily create buttons, menus, slideshows, video controllers and other interactive components
    – Customise the look and behavior of interactive components included with Bordeaux
    – Visually convert artwork to interactive elements without coding
    – Trigger actions and events from markers you add to your video and audio
    – Create multi-page microsites as easily as dragging and dropping
    – Make objects and text move, spin, resize, reveal, slide, bounce, fade, and more without using keyframes or code
    – Easily control how motion responds to mouse events
    – Import, trim, and encode video files into FLV
    – Add audio and trim and adjust levels
    – Import native Photoshop files as layers
    – Import InDesign files with pages and objects preserved as individual elements
    – Output efficient SWF or Adobe AIR files

    [via: Visualrinse]

    Some people who commented on Chad’s blog argued that it was a good move as the learning curve of ActionScript (especially AS3) was too high…
    But I really do not agree on this point, we can still do spaghetti coding with AS3, you don’t have to make OOP. In my opinion the effort for promoting AS3 is too much oriented for developers, there are so few tutorials about using AS3 without an Object Oriented view.

    I really think that teaching someone programming without explaining OOP is a big mistake, but if you just want to teach using Flash it is another question.

    A graphic designer not experimented with programming can still use AS3 as he would with AS2, he doesn’t need to understand about the OOP core concept… So please stop saying that learning AS3 is harder than AS2, it may be only harder to teach!

    Ahmet

    Getting RSS (or a XML) from a server without a crossdomain.xml

    I just added a new feature to my blog, it display my RSS feed from StumbleUpon. Everything worked well as long as I did not upload it to my server. Once uploaded I got an error coming from StumbleUpon. It appears that they don’t host a crossdomain.xml (or I did not found it)…

    The only way I found to still be able to get my RSS working was to do a small server side script (with php) that get the content of the page and then display it.

    PHP:

    $theUrl = $_POST['theURL'];
    $content = file_get_contents($theUrl);
    echo $content;
    

    In Flash you just have to make an URLRequest:
    AS3:

    var loader:URLLoader = new URLLoader();
    loader.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, onXmlComplete);
    var request:URLRequest = new URLRequest("http://[yourserver.com]/getanyRSS.php");
    var variables:URLVariables = new URLVariables();
    variables.theURL = "theURL2Extract";
    request.data = variables;
    request.method = URLRequestMethod.POST;
    loader.load(request);
    function onXmlComplete(e:Event):void
    {
    //handle your RSS - XML
    }

    And voila!
    Now the question is why the security sandbox is interfering with accessible content from Internet? Flash and AJAX technologies both have this issue and really it does not make sense IMHO in most of the case. I would prefer if all external content was accessible until we deny the access.

    Ahmet

    Flash – ActionScript is part from the Top 10 Marketable Web Development Skills

    Read/WriteWeb has published a list of the Top 10 marketable web development skills. I’m happy to see that Flash and ActionScript are part of the list!

    Even if I don’t fully agree with this list I do think that it is interesting to make such a list, so here the list of skills I found important for a web developer.

    • XHTML Valid Skills

      That can sound obvious but the number of so called web developer that does not develop according to standard is huge. Being someone writting valid XHTML code is a very important value IMHO.

    • OOP & UML

      I’m not so much interested by the programing languages a web developer know, but I am interested by the knowledge of Object Oriented Programing and communication of the architecture of a web service. That is why I added UML to OOP, one without the other may be useless in a team.

    • Flash & ActionScript

      Obviously for me it is a must have skill, the Flash Player has a so deep penetration in the market that to not have knowledge of Flash UI or ActionScript is really a bad point.

    • JavaScript & AJAX

      In my point of view we must not accept the culture of totally AJAX or totally Flash. Most of the time a nice combination of both gives the best result. Obviously knowing JavaScript and AJAX is a must!

    • Design skills

      The world of web developer can be split in two: Developers VS Designer. I think to be an “Interactive Designer” (a coder that understand design or a designer to understand code) is the best skill you can market, it also opens a lot more of position!

    • User Experience

      It is not enough to be a talented you need to understand how will your web pages be used. So for me capabilities like Usability, Accessibility and Navigation Design worth gold.

    • Database Understanding

      When developing web program we need mostly to rely on database, understanding the structure and architecture of Database helps to think about deep new way of presenting information and to architecture well all your web pages/services/programs.

    By the way, if you have all those listed skills, don’t hesitate to contact me (ahmet AT MBA-Exchange DOT com), we are opening a new position at my work (MBA-Exchange.com & Careernomics.com & MBAGCF.com & LondonBankingDays.com).
    We are located at Geneva / Switzerland and speak mostly French and English.

    Ahmet

    Click to Activate to be Removed by April 2008

    [...]As a result of recent technology licenses acquired by Microsoft, the “click to activate” restrictions are no longer mandatory. Microsoft plans to remove the activation behavior from Internet Explorer in April 2008.

    Microsoft has indicated that developers will not need to make any modifications to existing websites; controls will function as they did before the activation change was made in April 2006.[...]

    [...]How will this be rolled out to customers? An optional Internet Explorer Automatic Component Preview will be released for general download via the Internet Explorer Download Center in early December 2007; also a Internet Explorer Automatic Component Preview is planned for February 2008. In April 2008, the activation behavior will be permanently removed for all customers as part of the April 2008 Internet Explorer Cumulative Update.[...]

    News here: MSDN
    and here: Adobe

    Well that was just about time…

    Ahmet

    Adobe 2007 European User Group Tour

    Adobe European User Group Tour
    It’s with a lot of pleasure that I’m working on the organization of the Adobe European User Group Tour that will make a stop at our local User Group. Our meeting will take place on November 16th and will focus on Adobe AIR and the future of the Adobe Flash Platform.

    I’ve you live in the nearby of Geneva it’s a must seen (even more if like me you couldn’t go to MAX), it’s a great opportunities to meet Mike Chambers, Lee Brimelow and the members from the AUGG.

    The subscription to the event are open until November 9th for User Group Members of Switzerland. If you are not members of any Adobe User Group, please write me an email at “HELLO [@] AUGG [.] CH”.
    If you are not in Switzerland, your are still warmly welcome!!

    Ahmet

    Ahmet

    MAX 2007 Chicago: Notes and Videos

    MAX 2007
    First link by Mark Coppock, he wrote notes about most of the sessions that took place during MAX. His note are full of links and really worth the read!

    If you are more a vizual guys than a reader then head to Peter Elest’s blog where you can find a lot of Sneak Peeks videos:

  • Flash “Next”
  • Flash on C/C++
  • Flex Applications on Linux
  • Seam Carving
  • Photoshop Express
  • Flash Home for Mobile
  • PDF Packaging
  • For even more videos youTube is your friends ;)

    Ahmet

    Flash 10: Sneak Peek

    Flash CS3[via beedigital]

    Watch this video, the future of Flash is really cool, Flash is heading more and more to complex MC interaction and 3D:

  • Live video rendering on stage
  • 3D + filters
  • Live Timeline visualization: Beziers Path for animation!!!
  • Path can be saved for other MC
  • Skeleton structures for movie clips (drawing an animated arms in 3 sec !!!)


  • I really hope I can put my hands on the beta/alpha soon :)

    Ahmet

    Flash Player 10 Preview : Video from MAX 2007

    Aral Balkan has published a video, taken during the keynote at MAX Chicago 2007, about the preview of Flash Player 10 (codename: ASTRO).

    [...]Adobe showed off the new RTL, multi-column text engine, the new 3D features, and the new bitmap effect scripting language, Hydra.[...]

    I’m not so much impressed about the Text feature, as the only feature I wanted seems not to be implemented (in text search Ctrl + F and copy-paste Ctrl + C).

    But the Hydra implementation is great (script language used in After Effects) and promise a lot of great possibilities for effects makers.

    Watch the video on Aral’s website.
    More info about Adobe Image Foundation (AIF) Toolkit (that leverage Hydra).

    Ahmet