Surely more than enough has been said and written about the misadventures of Adobe PR back in November, yet there is still one unresolved pain point that has not been addressed - where is Shantanu Narayen in this whole story? Throughout Adobe's restructuring and announcements around its new focus, the one person missing in action has been its CEO. In fact, so conspicuously absent, that just about the only related public statement we have seen from him since is a single blog post (conveniently closed for comments) where he not even acknowledges the disruption caused to the community.

Its obvious though Adobe is scrambling to get the right messaging across, unfortunately though for a lot of us the damage has been done and we're left to pick up the pieces. Many long time Adobe employees are now either laid off or in the firing line of a largely disgruntled user community.

Disgruntled, not because of Adobe's plans, but their public messaging and clear lack of leadership. There are a great many Flash Platform developers both on desktop with the Flash Player and mobile through AIR who's primary occupation now is convincing clients about the viability of their technology rather than doing actual coding.

For all intents and purposes Flash is alive and kicking, though admittedly its scope and use cases will change over time as web standards mature and allow us to reach as wide an audience. AIR development on desktop and mobile remains a compelling cross platform solution for rapid application development.

 
Fast-forward to today, for several days people were asked to submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #askShantanu to be answered during the keynote of the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit by the CEO himself. The hashtag in question makes for good reading material, as does the distinct lack of actual questions submitted. Another sign of increasing apathy around everything Adobe?

Needless to say, my widely retweeted question was left unanswered:

"with respect, do you feel you've taken enough personal responsibility around the massive communication failure in November? #askShantanu"

 

So I'll ask it here again, along with a call to action - if you think this question deserves an answer, I'd like you to post the following to whatever blog or social network you're active on:

"Shantanu, where are you? #Adobe"

 
It is in my opinion time for Adobe as a company to clean up its mess and move on, but to do so it needs to come to terms with the present situation and acknowledge its failures. If nothing else, I expect from a CEO to be willing to step up and defend his position.

This is my question, this is your opportunity Shantanu.

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesCommunity
6 CommentsPost a comment

I'm happy to report the Apache Flex incubator proposal vote has concluded today and it has unanimously been accepted as a podling! There were a total of 23 votes of which 10 were binding (by Incubator PMC members). It was nice to see there were no 0 or -1 votes at all so think any initial doubts in the discussion period have been able to get addressed to everyone's satisfaction. The next step is getting the infrastructure set up for the project and then ultimately getting the initial code submitted. It is important to realize that now the hard work actually just starts and I look forward to seeing Flex move to an open development model and the community actively getting involved.

Posted
AuthorPeter

With just a few days left of 2011, no better time than now to look back and get some perspective on what happened this last year and where things are going. There's been quite a few changes for me personally, one of which was the distinct lack of speaking engagements I took on this year. It turns out that I only presented at FFK "Beyond Tellerrand" - though if you had to pick one conference to participate in, that one would be very high on anyone's list.

Publications

I traveled to Graz, Austria for about a week to record a video training course on AIR mobile development using Flash and Flex with the wonderful people at video2brain. I'm really excited to have been able to work with Joseph Labrecque on this - he is without a doubt one of the most productive people I know and a pillar of the online community.

Our "HTML5 Solutions" book got published with Friends of ED / Apress and has been receiving excellent reviews, here again I've been very fortunate in being able to work with talented co-authors I can consider good friends.

A new job opportunity

By some bizarre coincidence I ended up being in London end of April when the royal wedding was taking place. Less than a handful of people knew what I was up to over there - no, I wasn't indulging my crush on Kate Middleton or plotting to overthrow the royal family - it was my onsite interview at Google. What I thought might very well turn into a "crash-and-burn scenario" went great and yesterday was in fact my six month Googleversary. Having the opportunity to work at a company like Google is a great catalyst for being productive - yes, there are great perks - but most of all its your talented colleagues and the projects you see coming out practically on a daily basis that give you the drive to do well.

I moved to London in June, now live in Lambeth on the South Bank with a postcard view of the Houses of Parliament across the river outside my apartment block. In all likelihood I will be moving in early 2012 to cut down on my rent and have a slightly easier commute to the new office at Central St Giles in the West End.

End of September I was given the opportunity to work for a week from the fantastic Google campus in Mountain View and meet my US colleagues there before heading to the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. I also worked from the San Francisco office for a couple of days, which has the most amazing views of the Bay Bridge you can imagine.

Adobe messing up and the road to recovery

The Adobe MAX conference was interesting, though in many respects somewhat underwhelming - not in the least because there was no hardware giveaway as most of us were hoping :) The conference is always a good time to meet up with old friends though and the community leader summit was a definite highlight for me, Rachel and the team did an outstanding job!

What annoyed me most looking back is how careless Adobe has been in communicating its Flash Platform roadmap - thousands of people paid a significant amount of money in good trust to attend the flagship conference and learn about Adobe's plans and subsequently invest in their technology strategy for at least the year to come. When you decide to completely overhaul your approach less than a month later you simply do not respect your most loyal customers and community.

Obviously mistakes were made repeatedly and PR and communication at Adobe are in a very sorry state - evidenced by the 9/11 (or 11/9 if you're in the US) press release where 750 layoffs are glossed over in the paragraph above announcing another record quarter for revenue. Some of the talented and passionate people that left the company this year include: Doug Winnie, Richard Galvan, John Koch, Duane Nickull,...

I do want to make it clear that while I have been quite harsh and outspoken about Adobe as a company and the lousy way it has handled their restructuring and new product focus - I did not aim to target my outrage at any Adobe employees individually. I think especially the community-facing teams deserve our appreciation for how well they dealt with a very difficult situation.

As you can probably tell from my recent blog posts, I'm now particularly excited about the future of Flex at the Apache Software Foundation. After all these years - despite Flex technically being open source for quite a while - we'll have a way to contribute and directly shape its future. There are some serious challenges but even greater opportunities ahead for the project.

What's coming up next year

This coming January I'll be speaking at gotoAndSki() in Switzerland about easy P2P networking with the Flash Platform. Most of my talk will be based on the CocoonP2P library I started and with the help of the Dirk Eismann evolved in something incredibly nice. I'm working on adding in a few new features that I'll hopefully be able to demo at the conference.

I would really like to pick up podcasting again, but will start small. The current thinking is to host a monthly news round up and find some guests to talk about their latest projects.

I've had a bit of exposure to Google App Engine at work and would like to explore that more and possibly do a couple of experiments. The same goes for Dart which seems like a very promising language and the perfect middle ground between traditional Javascript and the more object-oriented ActionScript 3.0 style programming I'm used to.

There are a couple of HTML5 book proposals that came my way - I doubt I'll find the time to work on it so will probably decline. I am considering self-publishing something this year without a strict deadline, the idea being of writing it in the open to get peer review and feedback as I work my way through it. I'll also be giving NaNoWriMo another go (probably not in November though) - my first attempt this year at writing a novel in a month was an epic fail, only reaching 10.000 words of the required 50.000 minimum.

 
I'd like to end by wishing everyone the very best in 2012 and thank you for the year that was and the role you played in it!

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesLife
6 CommentsPost a comment

The vote on the Apache Flex incubator proposal is now open and in 72 hours we will know the result. The vote on adding the additional mentors to the Apache Incubator PMC has not concluded but they have provisionally been added to the proposal. In the unlikely event Dave Fisher and/or Anne Kathrine Petterøe are not accepted there are still at least two confirmed initial mentors on the project.

You can follow along on the mailinglist and show your support with a +1 (though your vote will only be binding if you are a PMC member). There is already quite a bit of activity on the thread and it is extremely likely we will have the go-ahead this Friday for the Apache Flex podling.

Exciting times!

Posted
AuthorPeter

The vote on the Apache Flex incubator proposal has not yet started but should only be a matter of days away - currently a few additional candidate mentors for the project (Dave Fisher and Anne Kathrine Petterøe) need to be elected to the Incubator Project Management Committee. Once that has happened it should be plain sailing to get it going. With a bit of luck we will have the process wrapped up in the first week of 2012 - what better way to start the new year!

In the meanwhile, if you were anything like me and the Apache way of doing things isn't quite obvious there are a couple of videos from the Flex Summit that are well worth watching. Roy Fielding - one of the original founding members of Apache, and well known for his work on HTTP and REST - who now works for Adobe explains the process, what it means for technology to become an Apache project and how you can make it thrive.
 

 
There's also a great episode of "The Flex Podcast" you can listen to with Jon Campos, Michael Labriola, and Jesse Warden as guests talking about their take-aways from the Flex Summit and the future of the technology.

I've been running a poll on my blog for a little over a week now and am encouraged to see the sentiment around Apache Flex is largely positive and more of a "wait and see" than an immediate negative outlook on what is happening.

If you are active on Twitter you can follow @ApacheFlex (not sure who runs this account) which aggregates a lot of articles and tweets about Flex and the Apache Software Foundation or follow the discussion using the #ApacheFlex hashtag.
 
As you can see there are plenty of ways to keep up to date with what is happening and encourage everyone to do so and get involved in whatever way they can. Its important to realize that the community can now actively shape the future of Flex and it is an open process where contributions from anywhere are encouraged and on an equal footing.
Happy holidays to you all!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

The discussion about the Apache Flex proposal is now in full swing on the Apache Software Foundation Incubator mailinglist. I have to say its been great getting some outside perspective and it seems to generally be very positive and constructive. If you haven't followed along, here are some of the discussion points that got raised:

  • There was a point made about individual contributors versus company representation when the proposal talks about Adobe having minority representation. This was subsequently addressed in the wording of the proposal.

  • There is an interest in getting a list compiled of third party dependencies, their licenses and possible open source alternatives. Part of this will be addressed by Adobe lawyers and the findings will get shared as they become available.

  • The Flex trademark is planned to get donated to the project, there were some concerns about the request to let existing groups using this trademark continue to do so and how that would work under the general ASF trademark guidelines. This is something that would get addressed before the project can graduate from its incubator status.

  • Concerns about Flash Player and AIR runtime dependency and its proprietary nature. This has been largely addressed and the Apache Flex incubator would be free to decide how it proceeds with this and if it wants to target another export format. There is a keen interest in FalconJS and it was reiterated that there is every intention to propose this at some point as either a separate incubator or subproject.

  • There was a question about Adobe commercial Flex support. This could be partly driven by some poor wording in my reporting of the Flex Summit discussions. Alex Harui addressed this in saying "Adobe is not currently planning to offer support for Flex released from Apache, but that could change."

 
Definitely some valid questions there and a good understanding of what the obstacles might be as well as clear opportunities. One of the quotes that stood out for me was by Greg Stein: "Let's not strive for a perfect contribution from Adobe, and miss an opportunity for an excellent contribution.". I agree there might be areas where we don't have a 100% ideal situation but there is time and scope to get that addressed within the incubation period.

Bertrand Delacretaz - one of the project sponsors - issued a call for additional mentors (given the size of the codebase and large number of initial committers). These need to be existing Incubator PMC members and can register their interest on the mailinglist.

If I understand correctly how the whole process works, after the proposal is fine tuned and the discussion dies down a vote will be called on whether to admit Apache Flex as an incubator project. I look forward to seeing how this develops.
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
4 CommentsPost a comment

Earlier this month video2brain released their new subscription plan that gets you access to no less than 139 courses (or 532 hours of video training) on a variety of topics. With the holidays coming up you might find you finally have a bit of time to work on your technology skills, so feel free to check it out. A couple of training titles I can highly recommend:

 
These are just based on my own interests - there are courses on photography, audio/video editing, introductions to a wide range of different programming languages,...

They've got some very competitive introductory pricing going for either monthly or annual subscriptions and give you a three year price guarantee. The Standard option gives you unlimited access to all 139 courses, Gold lets you download all the project files and the Platinum option (annual subscription only) also lets you download the courses.

Can highly recommend you give it a try, normal pricing starts at $14.99 for a full month but as a video2brain author I've been given an affiliate link that gets you a nice additional discount.

Give it a go, I'm a fan of the people at video2brain - let me know what you think!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesTraining, Video

I'm happy to see things are moving along nicely - earlier today the Flex incubator proposal was submitted to the Apache Software Foundation. http://wiki.apache.org/incubator/FlexProposal

There now is a discussion period followed by a vote on whether to accept the project. The voting procedure takes three days after which we will hopefully have some good news and initial source code can get committed.

If you want to follow along with the discussion, subscribe to the incubator mailinglist by sending an email to general-subscribe at incubator dot apache dot org.

 
Looking forward to seeing what the future brings!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

 
"Challenges that bring great opportunities" is how I'd summarize what I've seen of the Flex summit so far. Adobe has invited some key Flex community members and enterprise partners to discuss the open source strategy around Flex and shed light on its commitment to the Flash Platform runtimes.
Here is some of the more interesting news that came out of the discussions:
 

  • Adobe has legal clearance to submit Flex to the Apache Software Foundation, the incubation proposal will be submitted in the coming weeks

  • Adobe will not be offering any commercial support contracts for Flex 4.6 and higher, though will honor existing contracts and continue offering support for the foreseeable future.
     
  • Flash Builder is continuing to be developed, the next version will not have Design View
     
  • Flash Catalyst is being discontinued
     
  • Adobe is investigating HTML5 but doesn't have a framework in the pipeline that would allow migrating enterprise Flex functionality.
     
  • Danny Winokur acknowledges Adobe's communication blunder and resulting trust deficit
     
  • Adobe wants to continue to innovate with the Flash Platform, gaming and premium video are features that will drive it - but will not be limited to just those areas.
     
  • There is a firm commitment to AIR on Android, iOS and BlackBerry PlayBook.
     
  • Discussion with Microsoft is ongoing about AIR application support in Windows 8 Metro.
     
  • Falcon compiler is under development, current timeline is early second half 2012 for AS3 support, late 2012 for MXML. Based on the discussions at the summit, there is a keen interest to get Falcon contributed as open source and have the community help work on it.
     
  • Falcon JS is a research project and Adobe seems very reluctant in making any promises that this will turn into a viable product to cross compile real world applications to HTML/CSS/SVG/JS.
     

If the news about Flex going open source came at any other time, I believe just about everyone in the community would be jumping for joy. The fact that it was announced in the wake of a general sense that Adobe is starting to abandon its Flash Platform technology is what made it problematic. That said, there are certainly valid concerns - especially for the enterprise market that makes huge long term investments and Adobe wil have a tough time reclaiming trust with them.

I was skeptical about what this summit was supposed to achieve but have to say the open discussion has been great and Adobe is clearly looking to find ways to recover from the horrible communication disaster of this last month.

I'd like to thank those attending, Mike Labriola and Leif Wells in particular for being so vocal in representing community frustrations and getting Adobe to acknowledge them.

There's more news coming out today (here is a live stream and you can ask questions through twitter using the #flexsummit hashtag), I might follow up on developments in a later blog post. In the meanwhile there are recordings available that you can watch of yesterdays discussions.
 
- Discussion, Q&A with Danny Winokur - Flash Platform and Flex updates - Falcon and Falcon JS
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
9 CommentsPost a comment

 
Last Thursday and Friday I attended "The Android Workshop" at TechHub in London, lead by none other than Richard Leggett.

I've experimented with native Android development before but was amazed at how many topics we managed to cover and in just a short period of time. It didn't take long for me to start picking up some great new tips and tricks.
 

 
There were quite a few people with a Flash development background attending and Rich did a great job explaining Android concepts in reference to ActionScript and Flex. Its quite surprising to see how similar a lot of it is and that certainly helped get us up and running quickly.

The first day we covered a lot of theory and deconstructed various sample files, each explaining a particular topic or use of an API.

We talked about layouts, click handlers, using 9-patch images, resource handling, ViewAnimator with ViewFlipper and TextSwitcher, the intents mechanism, triggering multiple activities, using a Spinner widget and the ArrayAdapter, Toast messages, alert dialogs and status bar notifications.

The second day we did some more advanced styling, talked about threading (both low level as using AsyncTask), covered saving state of your application with SharedPreferences, learned how to work with SQLite databases as well as XML and code-based animation and working with sensors (compass and GPS).

After all that we still had half a day to work on a hands-on project. Most of us added additional features to a Pub Quiz starter project we were handed - adding score keeping, sound and vibrate functions, styling the app, adding animations,...

 
There is possibly an advanced workshop coming up next year, which I certainly hope to make it out for. If you get a chance to attend "The Android Workshop", I can highly recommend it!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesGeneral

I've been meaning to attend gotoAndSki for several years now, but it never seemed to work out - until now. If you don't know about this unique event you should definitely check it out! In summer it takes place in Norway, in winter in Switzerland.

This coming January 2012 I'll join a fantastic lineup of speakers (Mario Klingemann, Mihai Corlan, Bhakti Pingale, Michael Plank, Steven Peeters, Dominic Graefen, Hugo Fernandes, Eugene Zatepyakin) in the beautiful town of Stechelberg. Its a relatively small scale conference, giving you excellent opportunity for networking and general "geeking out".

During the day you can get out and see the Swiss Alps, ski or do other fun activities. The evening is conference time with several sessions over a period of three days.
 
My session is called "Simple P2P with Flash & Flex for the common mortal" and I'll be showing the latest developments of the CocoonP2P framework. I'll show how to set up device discovery, messaging, file sharing, video streaming (and hopefully some other cool surprises) between various devices *all without a server*.

The goal is to make it so easy your grandmother could do it - and I think we've pretty much accomplished that.
 
I hope to see you there, if you want to make it out - be sure to grab your ticket now - its without a doubt the best conference deal around (not to mention it includes accommodation and all your meals).
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

[update] There is now some more solid information on the future direction of Flex available here.
 
We're a week after Adobe's shocking announcements around its future vision of the Flash Platform - time to get some perspective and see what exactly has happened.

Unfortunately on a number of topics we're no closer to having real answers but this is my personal take and summary of what is publicly announced:
 
Flash Player for mobile (e.g. on Android) will not be further developed nor receive any further updates after version 11.1 (which was made available earlier this week) apart from critical bug fixes and security updates.

The Flash Player is still available for download and existing SWF content is supported, at some point in the future SWF content targeting new features will likely no longer work on mobile browsers. There has been talk about Adobe allowing OEMs to license Flash Player and do their own implementation, something which RIM reportedly wants to do for their PlayBook and upcoming QNX based devices (lets hope for more willing OEM partners to do their own Flash Player porting).

Adobe will invest further in AIR to package applications to mobile across devices, the recent acquisition of Nitobi and the involvement in the PhoneGap project also fits into this picture.

Unclear to me is if Flash Player 11.1+ content will be supported in AIR for Android and other devices. I don't see how that would work if they don't want to continue to port newer versions of the Flash Player - unless they take a strategy like on iOS where the runtime gets cross compiled to native binaries for each platform.
 
The Flash Professional engineering team has had a number of layoffs, though the product is still under development.

Product management is located in the US but the development is being outsourced to India. The next release of Flash Professional will have a feature to export to HTML5. If its anything like Wallaby or Google's Swiffy project, ActionScript support - if any at all - will be very limited.

My own personal take on this is that its only a feasible proposition if Javascript support is introduced as a scripting "dialect".

http://www.mikechambers.com/blog/2011/11/10/flash-professional-and-the-future/

 
The Flex SDK is going to get donated to an open source foundation and the Spoon project and Adobe (unclear how active and to what extent) will be involved in shaping its future.

The blog post announcing this however goes on to mention that HTML5 and web standards will be the best long term strategy - which undermines their case for continued support of the framework.
 
Flash Builder will still be developed and reportedly some Flash Catalyst features will merge into that product. The Falcon compiler project is still being worked on.

That seems like a pretty sensible move to me, imagine that at some point soon HTML5 will also become an export format here too.
 
LiveCycle and Acrobat Connect are being "wound down" - best guidance I've found on it is that they're cutting investment on it, though continue to support it for existing clients in the government and the enterprise financial services market.

http://www.underprise.com/2011/11/11/the-future-of-adobe-livecycle/

 
I am still baffled at what Adobe was thinking in the way they communicated these changes. Clearly serious mistakes were made and I'm already seeing consequences everywhere.

Flash Player on desktop technically has a bright future ahead for gaming in particular, the issue here is if the actions of last week have not undermined Adobe's credibility to such a point that nobody is willing to invest. After all, they've now proven that the very thing you've been working on for months or years can be pulled out from under you at any point in time.

Most shockingly is still how MAX attendees were misled - thousands of people paying thousands of dollars to make it out to an event that claims to give them insight into the roadmap at Adobe. It is now also clear that Adobe employees did not know about these upcoming changes until the day itself, so this is no criticism on their part.

 
I still strongly stand behind my call for a leadership change at Adobe. Spending billions of dollars over the years on developing a mobile platform to then abandon it without any advance guidance or clear transition path to your user base is inexcusable. The enterprise Flex market is one few that actually prefers proprietary solutions, they want a strong company backing the technology they use and a roadmap they can trust on.

We'll see how these decisions play out, the move towards web standards can proof to be a good one in the long run but the more critical problem is restoring confidence in Adobe.
 

Posted
AuthorPeter

I'm disgusted at Adobe today. It has now well and truly become tradition to have the post-MAX November layoffs. This year reportedly 750 employees got dismissed across North America and Europe (worse than the previous record after MAX Milan 2008). I wish them all the very best.

If you start to see a recurring theme like that, anyone would realize something is going terribly terribly wrong. The hard economic reality hits all of us you say? Adobe backs it up by a press release stating "We expect to report record revenue within the fourth quarter [...]", eliminating hundreds of full-time jobs gets classified under the thinly veiled euphemism of "restructuring".

By now Adobe has reorganized their internal house keeping so many times, Martha Stewart should come take master classes.
 
Things get worse. News starts to trickle out about Adobe abandoning Flash Player on mobile. Not an unusual rumor to see pop up in your twitter stream if you've been around our community for the last year or two. This time it was different and slowly - judging by the roles of people who got dismissed and reading between the lines - it became apparent there was more to the story.

Just 18 months ago at Google I/O 2010, Vic Gundotra bailed out Adobe and the idea of having Flash Player on mobile with the words "It turns out on the internet, people use Flash" and announced Flash Player support on Android. This after Steve Jobs gave it a near fatal blow with his infamous "Thoughts on Flash" letter.

We're refocusing on developing applications through AIR across mobile devices while continuing to innovate on the web. From Flash Player 11 onwards we will not be getting updates on mobile devices apart from bug fixes and security updates.

This whole move seems to me like cutting off the leg of a perfectly healthy patient to save money on shoes, only to realize you have to buy them in pairs. The web doesn't stop where mobile begins.
 
Supporting a runtime across a wide range of devices is difficult and expensive - if it wasn't Flash would not nearly have been so successful. Arguably we came closer to this as a reality than ever before.
 
What bothers me most is the utter disregard Adobe has for its developer community in the way this is communicated. This is not the company I've grown to know and love, this is not how you treat your most loyal customers and passionate evangelists.

Just weeks ago thousands of people came to the annual MAX conference in Los Angeles to hear about Adobe's plans and roadmap. Not a word was mentioned about abandoning development on Flash Player for mobile, is this how confident Adobe is about its decisions it can't defend them in front of their user base?

I'm part of the community programs since the Macromedia days, certified instructor, author, participated in countless prerelease programs - can barely keep track of how many NDAs I've signed with Adobe over the years. I've promoted the technology through good and bad times and this is how they chose to break the news.
 
Bad communication doesn't just piss off your developers - it cuts budgets, causes projects, jobs and livelihoods to be lost. And boy, has there been some bad communication. I've lost all confidence in Adobe as a company through the recklessness they've demonstrated in the last two days.
 

[note] views expressed are mine alone and may not reflect those of my employer.

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesFlash, Rants
29 CommentsPost a comment

I took a couple of videos with my Flip cam at the Adobe MAX awards and sneak peeks that I'd thought to share on the blog - Rainn Wilson was hilarious as a guest host and as usual there were some very good examples of technology the teams are experimenting with.





 

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesEvents, Video

 

This was my fifth year attending Adobe MAX, always a great event to catch up on the latest developments when it comes to web and creative tooling. Its also an opportunity to see many friends, fellow enthusiasts in the community who we usually only get to talk to over email or social networks.

This year was somehow different and looking back I think it could very well be the edition where a new course was chartered for the Flash Platform.

 

Some argue that the keynotes were more marketing than substance, which I agree with to a certain extent. What stood out more to me were the opening remarks by Danny Winokur - VP of Flash Client Platform - for the first time clearly positioning Flash and HTML5 in the Adobe realm and reaffirming the commitment to supporting standards and providing the best tools regardless of the technology.

 

A lot of the drama of previous years has settled down, though there was still an undertone of discomfort with some on how to adapt to this brave new world and how it affects everyone individually. I think a lot of the unhappy comments I've seen are based more on a latent fear than any objective concerns. Being Switzerland is tough but the neutral, platform agnostic approach has always been part of Adobe's DNA.

Using the Flash Platform to innovate and actively work to get those innovations subsequently adopted back into web standards is a great approach that I fully support. It not only allows innovation on the web to happen at a much faster pace, it also ensures there is always a fallback mechanism when native browser support falls short.

 

CSS regions, exclusions and shaders (which was particularly impressive) are great examples of how Adobe can help drive innovation on the web standards side. The acquisition of Typekit and Nitobi (and as such closer ties to PhoneGap) help solidify this and I'm convinced it wil make open source and web standards even more of a cornerstone in what the company does.

On the Flash runtime side we have some great enhancements with native extensions, GPU acceleration, Stage3D,... gaming and mobile being on the forefront but not exclusively what is being focussed on.

 

The last day of the conference brought us the sad news of Steve Jobs passing away. Its fair to say the relationship with Apple has been strained over the last few years and the "Thoughts on Flash" letter did not help ease the tension. While I still fundamentally disagree with many of the points outlined in the letter, it certainly did stir things up, forced us to do some introspection. There is much stronger commitment from various partners in adopting HTML5 and web standards which in turn caused a need for the Flash Player to start further innovating.

 

Unlike how tech journalists and enthusiasts on both sides like to portray the situation, things are rarely black or white - HTML5 and Flash are not mutually exclusive and in fact in many cases complementary - something I've come to appreciate more in my new day job at Google.

I for one am very excited about where things are going and seeing a new drive for innovation in the Flash Platform. The engineers are doing an outstanding job considering the advanced new features being worked on and the moving target of new devices that need to be supported

 

The sneaks, MAX bash and the community summit on Sunday really made the event for me - special thanks to Rachel, Aaron, John and Liz for their hard work and continued support.

 

Bring on Adobe MAX 2012!

 

Posted
AuthorPeter

I'm excited to see my first ever video training DVD for Adobe Press/Peachpit now available. Together with Joseph Labrecque we recorded around 7.5 hours of training on building mobile applications with Flash CS5.5 and Flash Builder 4.5 for Android and iOS devices. Special thanks to the great team at video2brain in Graz, Austria for their hard work and making the whole recording experience so much fun.

 

Posted
AuthorPeter

I realize I haven't been blogging a lot about what I've been up to in the last few months so thought I'd better get a post out and share some of those things with you.

Cocoon P2P

The open source Cocoon P2P library has been released and got Dirk Eismann on board as a contributor after speaking at FFK11 in April. With his help we were able to take it from more of a proof of concept to a solid solution for doing local IP multicast with the Flash Player (no server required).

We have great support for device discovery, messaging and object-replication. Reworking the video streaming and fixing some bugs on the accelerometer support is still on my todo list for the very near future.

HTML5 Solutions

I've had the pleasure to work on a book called "HTML5 Solutions: Essential Techniques for HTML5 Developers" with fellow authors Marco Casario, Charles Brown, Nathalie Wormser and Cyril Hanquez.

My contribution to the book is on using the Geolocation API - which, if you haven't already tried it - is one of the most exciting features that is starting to become widely available with HTML5.

It turned out - in my humble opinion - to be a very good publication and should be shipping soon. I can't wait to get hold of my author copies and hear reader feedback when it hits the stores.

Mobile Development with Flash video training

Together with Joseph Labrecque I've recorded a video training title for Peachpit called "Mobile Development with Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5 and Flash Builder 4.5: Learn by Video" that is now available for pre-order.

We cover developing for Google Android and Apple iOS with Adobe AIR, ActionScript and the Flex framework from the very start of setting up your application, to using various APIs, debugging and finally submitting it to the marketplace and app store.

I had a great time recording this title in Graz, Austria with the nice folks at video2brain.

Mobile application development

I've been playing around with different mobile platforms - releasing a couple of applications for Window Phone 7, Google Android and Apple iOS as well as the BlackBerry PlayBook.

VAT validator on WP7 and Android

A while back I was giving the opportunity to do some development on Windows Phone 7 and have to admit it was a very nice experience and a solid development platform. Most of all the app submission and approval process was incredible, consistently taking only 2 days and getting detailed feedback on any problems they find - the best I've seen on any curated marketplace so far.

I decided to port the VAT validator app I had built some years back for iPhone in Objective-C in C#/Silverlight and did the same on Android through the Adobe AIR runtime. Also took the opportunity to test ad integration on mobile and made paid and free ad-supported versions to compare how well they do. I hope to share some statistics soon on how that goes and what model is most suitable for developers that do utility apps.

Sanskrit Clock iPad app

I thought it was high time to explore native development on Apple iOS again and see what the app store experience is like since I last tried it in 2008. Approval time has certainly improved and in less than a week after submitted, my Sanskrit Clock iPad app made it on the store.

Not sure how many people are interested in an app like this (aside from the handful of geeky Sanskrit enthusiasts like myself) but it includes optional romanized transliteration of the numerals, a couple of different color themes and a setting to disable the screen lock so you can use it as a clock on your desk or nightstand.

TWiT Live for PlayBook

TWiT Live is my second PlayBook app that lets you watch the live stream of Leo Laporte's TWiT network shows. I plan to add support for play/pause, volume control and switching between high and low quality streams some time soon.

It doesn't look like things are slowing down for me any time soon, end of next week I'm moving to London to start my new job at Google as a Rich Media Flash Developer. If I manage to find the time I'll be delving deeper into native Android development to do some experiments with widget development and other fun stuff.

Onwards and upwards!

 

I'm excited to finally be able to make the announcement... I've been offered a position at Google UK, working out of their London office as a Rich Media Flash Developer in Dynamic Ads, Media and Platforms Solutions. Few people knew this was on the table, so it may come as a bit of a surprise but – after close to a decade working freelance – I was happy to see a new challenge come my way, not in the least at an amazing company like Google.

I will be moving to London in a couple of weeks to start my job at the end of the month. The main focus of my work at Google will still be around Flash development and I'll certainly stay personally involved in the online community, so no change expected there.

For those wondering, Project Cocoon remains active and I trust it in the very capable hands of my colleague Nathalie. I hope to stay in touch with the many friends and colleagues in India who have been an important part of my life over the last few years.
 
Thanks to everyone for their support in making this possible - Ian, Peter and Nathalie in particular - and I look forward to many more good things to come!
 

Posted
AuthorPeter
CategoriesGoogle, Life
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SQLite in Flex MobileWhen working with local data in mobile applications you might want to consider a SQLite database. Those are especially useful when working with large amount of data that you want to filter at runtime. Flex Mobile projects can simply take advantage of SQLite support in the Adobe AIR runtime. You could certainly write it from scratch - meaning you create a File instance and SQLConnection, set up event listeners, wait for the connection to open and set up a SQLStatement with a SQL query and more event listeners.

For most uses though there is a much easier approach using some simple SQLite wrapper classes myself and Robert Turrall wrote a while ago.

 

Just to illustrate how easy these wrapper classes make things for you when writing Flex Mobile projects look at the code below. These two lines do everything you need to open a connection to your database file and select all the records.

[cc lang="mxml"]

[/cc]

You can see that using the open event on the SQLite tag we can wire it up to automatically run the query that selects all the records from our database.

The only thing left to do is pass the result of the database query to a component to display it in our mobile application. In this case I'll be using a List component and assigning the data property of the query instance when the result event fires

[cc lang="mxml"]

import mx.collections.ArrayCollection;

private function onSelectResult():void { data_list.dataProvider = new ArrayCollection(select_query.data); }

]]

Posted
AuthorPeter
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There are times when writing mobile apps that you want to have more fine grained control over the software keyboard and Flex 4.5 makes this very easy.

Any object based on InteractiveObject now has a needsSoftKeyboard property, setting this to true will cause the virtual keyboard to come up on the device whenever the instance is given focus.

For example here we have a Button component where we can set the needsSoftKeyboard property to true. As soon as it gets focus when clicked the soft keyboard will trigger. By default the Button component obviously doesn't have this behaviour.

 

[cc lang="mxml"]

[/cc]

 

Apart from setting the needsSoftKeyboard property you can also control it through an ActionScript call. In the example below we trigger the soft keyboard to appear as soon as the view is ready.

[cc lang="mxml"]

[/cc]

 

When the virtual keyboard triggers there are a few events that fire. The first one is "softKeyboardActivating" that indicates the keyboard is about to open and "softKeyboardActivate" which is dispatched right after the keyboard is made available. Likewise there is a "softKeyboardDeactivate" event that gets fired after the virtual keyboard is dismissed.

The SoftKeyboardEvent that gets triggered has two interesting properties, one is triggerType and can have either a value of "contentTriggered" (when the keyboard was triggered through ActionScript) or "userTriggered" when it was triggered through user interaction.

Another property we can get through the event is relatedObject, which is a reference to the InteractiveObject instance that is responsible for triggering the soft keyboard.

[cc lang="mxml"]

private function onActivate(evt:SoftKeyboardEvent):void { trace("Soft keyboard is now active"); trace("Trigger: "+evt.triggerType); trace("Related object: "+evt.relatedObject); }

private function onDeactivate(evt:SoftKeyboardEvent):void { trace("Soft keyboard has been dismissed"); trace("Trigger: "+evt.triggerType); trace("Related object: "+evt.relatedObject); }

]]

Posted
AuthorPeter
7 CommentsPost a comment