Cool Stuff with the Flash Platform - 7/14/11
Posted on Jul 14, 2011
It's been a couple weeks since I posted one of these updates, so this one is pretty massive (and if you notice something recent missing, that's because it took me a couple days to get it fully written - and your post will probably be in next week's update). I just returned from the Dominican Republic and Colombia on a whirlwind vacation but with very limited data access (especially in DR). Anyway, there were a ton of great posts while I was away, especially a lot of mobile application showcases using the Flash Platform. I am at a mobile conference in New Hampshire today and can attest that these kinds of showcases do go a long way towards proving the viability and success of the platform.
The big news of the moment is that, as I was writing this, the public betas of Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 were released on Adobe Labs. Adobe's Thibault Imbert has all the details on his blog including features like removing BitmapData restrictions, socket progress events, native JSON, native 64-bit support and Stage3D (aka Molehill).
Cool Mobile & Devices Stuff (AIR for Android, AIR on TV, Flash on Android, iPhone etc)
This week featured a number of profiles of successful applications using AIR on mobile. First, Adobe evangelist Greg Wilson highlights the Politifact application for iOS that was built with Flex and was the number one news application in the iTunes store. Next, Adobe evangelist Tom Krcha interviews the lead designer and developer for Circ, a 60 fps game for iOS, Android and PlayBook. Next Christopher Caleb shows off two more great Adobe AIR mobile applications including the new Red Bull iPad app and Apolline & Léon for Android, iOS and Blackberry. Meanwhile, Antonio Holguin created a list of AIR mobile applications including links to each supported platform's marketplace. Jonathan Campos discusses how easy it was to launch his popular QueueManager application on the Nook using AIR. Lastly, Fabio Sonnati discusses how his recent experiences building a mobile application for Virgin Radio Italy has convinced him of the merits and improvements in Flex for mobile.
Newly minted Adobe evangelist Holly Schinsky posted about an update to the Adobe AIR Launchpad which specifically adds support for a number new features for mobile development including support for iOS and Blackberry applications added in the Flash Builder and Flex 4.5.1 update.
Adobe evangelist Michael Chaize discusses how to create adaptive UI's that target mobile phones and tablets. In his example, he creates a single Flex project that adapts to the various screens.
Adobe evangelist Mark Doherty shares a geolocation services library he originally created for his Radar sample application. It includes functions to assist with geolocation, reverse geocoding, local weather, place names and determining sunrise/sunset for a given latitude and longitude.
Adobe evangelist Mihai Corlan wrote a two-part series discussing creating Flex mobile lists with sections. He created a vertical list and a tile list that can be subdivided into section groupings. Part 2 covers using virtualization within the lists and custom item renderers.
Christian Peters guest posts on the ActionScript 3 Design Patterns blog also with a two-part series that covers new features in PureMVC targeting mobile development with Flex. Part two discusses registering mediators in PureMVC for mobile Flex.
Jeffry Houser expands upon a topic he covered in his Flextras Friday lunch presentation on building a Mobile ItemRenderer in Flex and digs a little deeper by discussing implementing states in a mobile skin or mobile ItemRenderer in Flex.
Adobe's Stephen Gilson discusses handling hardware keyboard events in a Flex mobile application including covering an important issue that occurs when your application is interrupted by another process.
Rich Tretola created a tutorial, with source code, for creating an mp3 player using Flex for mobile.
Another newly minted Adobe evangelist, Raymond Camden shares his code from a presentation that demonstrates a Flex mobile application getting data from ColdFusion.
Adobe evangelist Terrence Ryan shares a technique he uses to delay closing his mobile application on exit whereby he eventually kills the process after a grace period.
Daniel Freeman continues a discussion of his MadComponents framework in this tutorial on building a mobile twitter client. He builds the same Twitter client that Adobe's Narcisso Jaramillo built in his tutorial but using his components rather than Flex components, though still using Flash Builder or Flash Pro.
Graeme Bull answers a question that I have seen come up commonly in Adobe Help comments and forums. Specifically, how to get Flash Builder and Flash Professional (via adb) to connect with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer on a Mac.
Adobe evangelist Holly Schinsky shows a key you can set in your app.xml file that will force your application to exit rather than suspend on iOS.
Adobe's Steven Shongrunden and Kevin Lin show how to extend LabelItemRenderer to look like iTunes on the iPad with two columns.
Adobe evangelist Raymond Camden reminds you that, using Flash Pro or Flash Builder, you can develop apps for iOS on Windows, including useful links to tips and help to get you through the process.
Cool Flex, Flash Builder & Catalyst Stuff
Simon Bailey discusses the RobotEyes utility for end-to-end testing of Flex and AS3 applications including his own fork of the original by Stray and an example with source for downloading.
Adobe's Hans Muller shows how to create a custom DataGrid GridItemRenderer with data binding including an example with source code.
Petri Leskinen explains and demonstrates how to use Pixel Bender to align an image along a spline using an "implicit approach" and some complex formulas that appear to be way over my head.
Joseph Labrecque shares a workaround for an issue he's encountered that preserves Flex Spark Button icon colors rather than the default which can appear semi-transparent.
Jeffry Houser creates a basic tutorial with source code in answer to a question on the Adobe forums about how to create a status bar in Flex.
Paul Robertson had a couple of excellent Flash Builder 4.5 tips this week. In the first he shows how to take advantage of hinting for easy method overriding in Flash Builder 4.5 and even shares some code templates to make it even easier. Next he discusses the difference between code templates and Flash Builder 4.5's "Flash Builder" templates which you can also customize.
Chris Griffith responds to a question on the Adobe forums regarding how to create next and previous buttons in Flash Catalyst without needing to repeatedly add interaction to each button. He provides a sample project that you can download along with the tutorial.
Cool ActionScript/Flash Stuff
Christopher Caleb highlights a demo of Tanki Online 2 being built with Stage3D (aka Molehill) using the Alternative3D engine.
Adobe evangelist Lee Brimelow created another in his video tutorial series on sprite sheets and blitting in Flash. Part three covers how to create a reusable blit sprite class and incorporate the JSON data.
Krasimir Tsonev created a tutorial on how to use the Facebook ActionScript 3 API to create a simple Facebook application that gets a list of your friends.
Steven Peeters expands upon a topic from the prerelease forums discussing how to create a custom required RadioButtonGroup Validator class in Flex.
Paul Taylor created a detailed discussion and tutorial showing how to develop using design-by-contract in RobotLegs 1.4 using a method called covariant auto-mediation.
Jackson Dunstan expands upon AS3's Vector3D class, filling in gaps he sees and improve performance. Along similar lines, Jackson discusses the many ways you can encounter hidden object allocations in ActionScript 3 so that you are aware of the performance implications and, in certain cases, know how to work around it.
Emanuele Feronato continues his series on slicing, splitting and cutting objects with Box2D. In part two he laser slices his objects while in part three he cuts his own sprites rather than the debug draw graphics.
Lisa Larson-Kelley shares a free video that teaches you how to convert your video for Flash using the Adobe Media Encoder.
Cool ColdFusion Stuff
Ben Nadel loves query-of-queries in ColdFusion but in attempt to overcome some of its limitations, he creates an interesting experiment using an embedded database to power ColdFusion query-of-queries.
Adobe evangelist Raymond Camden shares his thoughts and "best practices" on working with CFCs remotely including some good follow-up discussion in the comments.
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