This year Adobe Max 2009 is in my own backyard, well sort of 6 miles up the street, which means about an hour away in LA traffic. I am hoping to get in for free some how, either through Adobe Max Awards or by posting the Adobe Max Widget. See everyone there, maybe…
My good friend Dan Florio (Twitter friends actually) kicked off a discussion about what to do when a client doesn’t pay. He has some great tips and is also asking for some community input. I am sure there are plenty of bad experiences out there to go around, mine included. What would be great is to hear the creative and legal ways that Flex community members handle this particularly disdainful and sensitive issue. Join the discussion at polyGeek.com.
Prepared to head off to Adobe MAX 2008. This will be my 4 or 5th time going, can’t recall all of them. I signed up for lots of advanced Flex and AIR courses, should be pretty good learning experience. I especially enjoy seeing some of the problems others in the field are working on and the unique solutions they demonstrate at MAX. I am also hoping to win a free copy of the new Adobe Creative Suite.
See you all there!
My recent employer just released a service announcement that they are closing their doors December 31st 2008. What this means now is that all the applications I helped development for the past 2 years will vanish into the ether, poof! This is very sad indeed as I spent a good amount of time this year working on some software updates that will never see the light of day and all the exiting lines of code will gather dust.
Xdrive Desktop Lite was just presented last year at Adobe MAX 2007 and was selected this year as a semi-finalist in the Adobe MAX 2008 awards. I also released an ActionScript 3 library wrapper for the Open Xdrive JSON API, which will also be defunct after the end of the year. I feel a little loss from this news, but I am also looking for what comes ahead.
Good bye Xdrive my old friend… hello new Flex opportunities!
Today Google reported that they now have a new algorithm for indexing the textual content of Flash files. This has always been something businesses have been concerned with, how to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) with Flash. Flash developers (and Flex) would have to place the content of the Flash into a page so that search engines could index it, now it looks like Google has stepped up and created a way to index the content of the Flash file itself, right down to the menu items. Take a look at the article on Google’s blog.
Google came out with another post today to answer questions around indexing Flash content. The question answer section of the post was great until you get to the very last question:
Q: What are the current technical limitations of Google’s ability to index Flash?
There are three main limitations at present, and we are already working on resolving them:
2. We currently do not attach content from external resources that are loaded by your Flash files. If your Flash file loads an HTML file, an XML file, another SWF file, etc., Google will separately index that resource, but it will not yet be considered to be part of the content in your Flash file.
3. While we are able to index Flash in almost all of the languages found on the web, currently there are difficulties with Flash content written in bidirectional languages. Until this is fixed, we will be unable to index Hebrew language or Arabic language content from Flash files.
We’re already making progress on these issues, so stay tuned!
Well, I guess its partial good news, at least they say they are working on those issues.
Adobe announced at Max that it was working with Google to finally be able to track Flash applications. Google posted a new blog article on the subject here.
And so am I…. I am entering my third week of my month long stay in Bangalore (Bangaluru to the locals). Bangalore can best be described as being under construction or in a transitional state. The big IT boom started here about 5-6 years ago. This caused a major influx of IT professionals and large companies building new remote locations within the city. The office is located at the new Ecospace location and within these walls the office feels like any other office. The water cooler gurgles away, the coffee machine is in frequent use. Herman miller chairs and cubes as far as you the eye can see. Outside the office is somewhat different. The streets are a bit teaming with cars, people and animals unconcerned with what happens in these walls. The environment is not what you might be used to coming from Los Angeles. Traffic rules are not often followed, everything is a bit chaotic, and services I have come accustomed to are missing or completely different. Bangalore is not a place to walk freely or easily cross the streets, its dangerous for pedestrians. Bangalore has a lot of economic differences between those in the shiny new offices and those many living outside the campus border, this is evident as you travel around the city.
However, this is changing rapidly, Bangalore is going through great growth from all the companies moving here and trying to establish themselves. New services and jobs are sprouting up in all directions. Next month there will be a brand new airport opening and soon to follow will be a metro transit system. I am not sure I can judge Bangalore as good or bad, but only that is outside my perception, I do not possess the cultural or historic knowledge to view Bangalore other than as an outsider. The people I work with are generous and thoughtful, they are happy and that happiness must come from some knowledge about Bangalore that I don’t yet posses, but I can accept that there is something more below the surface.
One thing I do know, they like Megadeth and I think hard bands in general. The weekend I depart Bangalore, Megadeth will arrive. So the mystery of this bands longevity has been solved at least for me, they are here, where IT is flocking, where people are merging to live lives and work. Megadeth, like me, are remnants of the 80′s, and here we both are. I suspect as people read this post they assume I am completely “off my head”, or that the vegetarian diet has deprived my brain of essential fatty substances to function. Rest assured I am my wits and I am just letting this post flow from me as I too am just going through a transitional state. One can not visit a place for so long without some inevitable change.
I have some time left here to ponder and see where my mind is upon my return. I will then have a moment to reflect back to this time in Bangalore and perhaps find something more meaningful to say. Unfortunately, my departure in a week or so means I will miss Megadeth. But for those of you from the west traveling here at the end of the month, pick up some tickets, see what happens when you mix hard rock with new tech and just a dash of old culture…its got to be interesting.
I was asked to speak at this years FITC conference located at Universal Studios, Hollywood. I will be co-presenting with my co-worker Larry Drolet. Our presentation is called “Concepts on AIR”. We will demonstrated some basic AIR concepts such as system chrome, drag and drop, and system notification. We will also present some pretty cool sample applications. One is called Oxygen, a file management application that manages the Xdrive storage service platform for individual accounts.
Oxygen is build with Flex and AIR technology and uses the open Xdrive API. Xdrive will soon release version 1.2 of the JSON API. Oxygen is running this latest JSON release. Oxygen is a great concept piece as it shows how easy it is to take your web-based Flex applications and port them to the desktop. Oxygen shares about 90% of the same code as Bluestring (Bluestring.com).
Another cool application is called Wormhole. Its basically a mashup with AIM and Xdrive API’s. This application really takes advantage of the system chrome features in Flex and offers a very geeked out way to share files (think Stargate). If you are in the Los Angeles area and have some time, stop by the FITC conference and check out all of the presentations. My presentation description can be found here along with my speaker profile. The presentation slides are listed below using Adobe Share:
Adobe recently launched a new beta application called Share that allows you to upload and share files. You can share file to a rostered list, the URL to the file, or embed the file on your web page (as I have done below). Adobe also has a Share API that uses simple REST-based protocol for developers to build their own applications or mashups with using Share. I wasn’t clear from the documentation how the commercial pricing will work or if building an application for others to manage or share their files will count against your account or bandwidth. In fact, I am not sure what the pricing schema is for Share.
Another puzzling thought is why did Adobe develop share to begin with? You have a lot of existing vendors in the storage service provider arena already, in fact, you have many that use Adobe’s existing software to develop tools around storage and sharing. So it is strange that a software company decided to compete with companies that already use its software to provide the same service (Bluestring by AOL is one example). Does this mean that Adobe intends to become an online service for storage, document editing (Buzzword) and media editing (Remix and Photoshop Express)?
I mean, its cool that the applications Adobe builds use their own software (Flex, Flash, etc.), but when they start competing with other companies using also using Adobe software to provide similar services (aka, the bread and butter of those organizations), then I am wondering what will be the outcome? Is Adobe to become a huge conglomerate that not only provides services and software, but competes with its own food source for resources? What’s next, Adobe phones? Of course I am joking. I love Adobe and I love their products. I guess as Flex developer, I’m just comfortable with Adobe providng me with the tools to create applications and not competing with the tools I create. I could totally be misreading this move by Adobe, which is most likely the case (I say this so that a big black panel van with tinted windows doen’t pull up beside me one day and take me away).
Well, time will tell for sure. The storage business is extremely expensive (bandwidth, banks of servers) and there are a lot of established companies already out there with storage and sharing services that offer more space and possibly a lower cost (Xdrive, Box, Mozy, Bluestring, Amazon S3) with sharing capabilities and API’s. For now, the Share API looks to be a simple to use and easy service providing minimal sharing capabilities and less complexity than some other API’s.
We got an invitation to the Adobe MAX 2007 conference in Chicago. We will be located in the AIR Park next to the big red bus. We are actually setup on astro-turf and a picnic table, can’t beat that . We will also have a chance to present some of our experimental Adobe AIR application. Stop by the AIR park to chat us up.
The biggest news from the conference (I think) is the acquisition of Buzzword by Adobe. This gives Adobe a online Flex document editing tool to complete with other big companies moving document editing to the web.
I just arrived at Techcrunch40 as AOL prepares to launch a brand new Flex application our team has been working on for the past few months (though it seems like years). Our group is releasing an application called Bluestring that allow users upload, share, and make ”creations”. Bluestring also offers’s users the ability to pull assets from other online services into their creations without actually moving the files into their Bluestring account. We reference the files from aggregated sources and save that to the RSS that is feeding our embedded Flash player.
Yep, that is me
Bluestring represents the second enterprise level Flex application launched by our team in the last year. The reason I mention Enterprise is because there are a lot of really cool Flex applications out there, but Bluestring is built, and tested to withstand time and traffic of millions of users. You don’t need an AOL account to sign up for Bluestring, probably for the first time you can use whatever email account you already have to register. Though Bluestring is a beta, its still offers robust file management and sharing capabilities. This is because we built Bluestring is built entirely upon the Xdrive Open API which offers a lot of different ways to share. This also means that any media file you upload to your Xdrive account will show up in Bluestring, and vice versa.
The AOL Techcrunch40 Booth.
Your Bluestring files and creations can be shared privately, publicly, or even as a collaborate show with rostered list of users. Users can contribute to a “String It” creation from their own accounts and then pass that creation to a friend to add his/her own media. People editing the show can rearrange and even delete other peoples content, but it never wipes it from that persons account. Items within shows are referenced back to either the aggregated sources or to other Bluestring accounts.
Our team presenting Bluestring to the Techcrunch audience.
I am very proud of this product, it was certainly a lot of Flex coding by both myself and Larry (the other Flex dude working for AOL in Beverly Hills with me). Something nice about Bluestring is that the graphics used were almost entirely vector graphics in a single Flash 9 library. This gives Bluestring the appearance of not appearing like every other Flex application on the market (with the exception of Picnik, which I adore). The graphics were mostly imported as PNG files saved from Photoshop while others were imported from Illustrator (simple copy/paste). All the images were then converted to Flash vector graphics and given instance names within the library. The CSS file and a shared assets class file referenced the instance names within the SWF.
We also used about 15 different Flex modules using the new Flex <mx:Module> tag introduced in Flex 2.01. Each module gets loaded as the user navigates through the major views. Modules really slimmed down the size of the application and decreased the initial load time. However, it was a bit challenging at first devising a method of using modules with Cairngorm, but I think we have a really proven method that I might talk about in future posts. Most of the text within Bluestring resides in a single external xml file that can eventually be localized into different languages. The XML file is loaded at runtime before any of the graphics libraries or modules are loaded, making sure the text is ready before we load any views that bind to the text in the model.
I will be working to post some more code samples and components that we use for Bluestring in upcoming posts as time permits. We also have some new items coming down the pipe for AIR. For those of you interested, please check our the presentation Larry and I will be giving at the upcoming FITC Hollywood called Concepts on AIR.
For those of you at the last 360Flex conference, you now know what the Bluestring lanyards around your necks means. Due to some legal reasons and duct tape, we were unable to talk about Bluestring when we were at 360Flex. Maybe next year when 360Flex comes to Los Angeles???? we can talk about other products we are working on .