Devices Events Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Adobe MAX Seoul

Today is the first day of the Adobe MAX conference in Seoul. It’s great to talk to local mobile developers, and checking out some local mobile devices.

For example, Samsung has a Windows Mobile slider phone, which has a touch screen and a tiny antenna that receives digital satellite TV. The video quality is really good as it is all digital signal. It runs on the standard Windows Mobile system, so Flash Lite 2.1 is also available. I was told it is free to watch TV on the mobile phone.

Samsung phone with satellite TV

It’s great to be back in Asia. Getting to hang out with the usual crowd and meeting new people are always good reasons for going to these conferences. I think there are over 1000 attendees, coming for the two-day event.

My presentation on “Connecting to External Data Services” (for Flash Lite) is on tomorrow. There’s a speaker dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to the traditional Korea dinner.

Last night, a couple of speakers went out for a late dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant. The food was really good!

Geoff Lillemon, Jared Tarbell, Rob Chiu, Craig Swann, Mario Klingemann

Erik Natzke, Tobey, Geoff Lillemon, Jared Tarbell

Devices Events Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Adobe MAX, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai

Adobe MAX

Thought I should update the blog about my upcoming trip to Asia, specifically to Seoul, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Adobe invited me to speak at the APAC MAX conference in Seoul (Nov 14-15), on mobile Flash development.

The topic of my presentation is “Connecting to External Data Services”. I’ve seen the same topic at other MAX conferences by other speakers, but haven’t attended any of them; so it would be interesting to see how each speaker approaches the same topic. Here is the description of my presentation:

“Explore the process in developing Flash Lite 2 applications that connect to external live data and multimedia assets. View examples of XML/RSS, images, video, and light-weight transitions designed for mobile devices. See how object-oriented ActionScript 2.0 code segments bring these applications to life.”

Speaking at the Seoul conference should be an interesting experience, as I don’t read or speak Korean. There will be live translation during my presentation though. Another first for me is the length of the presentation – it’s 80 minutes long! Although I’ve done a back-to-back repeat presentation at the first FITC (2 hours total), this will be the longest single presentation I’ve done.

On a personal note, I’m very interested to see the latest mobile devices in Asia, and learn about the mobile culture there. Of course, it would be my pleasure to meet other Flash developers and designers in all three cities too.

In case anyone is wondering my whereabouts, I’ll be in Seoul from Nov 11 to 16. Hong Kong from Nov 16-22, Shanghai from Nov 22-26, and back to Hong Kong from Nov 26-Dec 4. Should have broadband internet access in all three cities, so business as usual (except I’ll be in a tourist mood)!

P.S. Picked up a Vonage V-Phone, even though I already have a VoIP line (along with my regular landline). Reason is simple, no bulky phone adaptor and handset to pack, it’s just a small memory stick with some circuits. Cool gadget for travelers to keep in touch with folks back home!

Devices Events Flash Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Another platform to deploy Flash content

At the BREW 2006 Conference two days ago, Adobe announced Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW*, an important milestone since the alliance with Verizon Wireless. Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW offers developers another platform to deploy applications, games, and screensavers.

At the conference, Adobe is showcasing some Flash Lite 2.1 prototype applications developed with a few selected key partners such as The Weather Channel, Smashing Ideas, and Rocket Mobile.

I’m excited to have developed one of these Flash Lite 2.1 prototype applications with one of the key partners, and it is an honor that it is used as a showcase during the launch of a new platform.

For those who know me from the Flash community, I was always an early adopter. Whether it was OOP, design patterns, or other technologies. However, when it comes to Flash Lite, I played with it a long time ago, but hold off when there was only Flash Lite 1.x because of the primitive Flash 4 way of development. With Flash Lite 2 now, it is much easier and more enjoyable to develop rich mobile content in ActionScript 2.0. Building the prototype application using other technologies would be either impossible or very difficult in the tight schedule, with an intuitive UI for rich user experience on mobile phones.

Besides the excitement, Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW is significant for the consumer, mobile operators, content providers, and developers:

First, it offers a simplified way to Flash-enable a (BREW) phone. Unlike the current situation (in which the consumer either buys a phone with Flash Lite built-in, or purchases the Flash Lite Player from Adobe), Flash Lite supported BREW phones from Verizon Wireless will download and install the Flash Lite Player when Flash content is requested (if the Flash Lite Player is not already installed). Second, over-the-air download and installation of Flash content is simpler than manual installation from a computer. Third, mobile operators can charge for data access and purchases of Flash content. And last, which is important for developers, is a simplified way to distribute and sell Flash applications, games, and screensavers.

Currently there are two announced BREW phones that supports Flash Lite 2.1: Samsung SCH-a950 and LG VX9800, both are available from Verizon Wireless in the United States. In Canada, the Samsung SCH-a950 can be found at Telus Mobility.

What is the difference between Flash Lite development for the Nokia (S60) platform vs. the BREW platform? Other than the requirement of being a registered (paying) BREW developer, getting the application certified, and using the BREW AppLoader vs. Nokia’s File Manager to upload files to the phones, there’s really not much difference. A Flash Lite 2 application requires minimal or no change to run on both S60 and BREW, even though the two platforms are quite different. The application I developed runs on both the Samsung SCH-a950 and my Nokia 6680. This is the beauty of Flash Lite.

With Flash Lite 2.1 for BREW, Adobe offers a rapid development platform for BREW and Flash developers. I’m looking forward to create more mobile applications and games, for both Nokia S60 and BREW, as well as other rich internet and desktop applications. Who would have thought that a rich user experience application can be deployed on multiple platforms so seamlessly?

Here are some helpful resources:

* BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is a common mobile platform from Qualcomm that is used in many North America CDMA phones.

ActionScript Events

Declaring variable type

During FITC this past weekend, I saw a presenter showing code such as:

var x, y:Number;

This innocent looking line may seem like declaring two variables x & y as the Number data type. However, what it actually does is declaring variable x with an undefined data type, and y as a Number.

To test, try this:

x = "";

Test movie, all is fine. No error message.

Now add this line:

y = "";

Test movie, and you’ll see the error message:

‘Type mismatch in assignment statement: found String where Number is required. y = “”;’

So remember to declare variables as intended, such as:

var x:Number;
var y:Number;

Events Others

Flash in the Can & visiting Toronto

Can’t believe it’s already the 5th year. I still remember speaking at the first festival when there was a snow storm outside.

As a public service (but mostly for Guy “Watson’s Water“): It’s not cold anymore! The weather is great (warm & sunny today), but it’s always wise to check the latest Toronto weather before departing.

I’ll be at the festival, and as one of the panelists at the Flash Lite mobile panel on Saturday at 4:00pm.

Here are some links for visitors to Toronto:

Or if you like nature and the great outdoors, check out the Muskoka lakes district, 2-3 hours drive north of the city.

And now, for something totally different: Uptown Chinese malls and restaurants for those who want to check out the latest imports and great food:

There are also lots of Chinese, Japanese and Asian restaurants and shops in Markham (north of the city) along Highway 7, from Bayview to Leslie, Woodbine, and Kennedy.

Looking forward to seeing many old friends and those whom I’ve only corresponded through email!

Events Flash Lite Mobile & Devices News

Want to chat about mobile development?

Here’s a chance to meet face-to-face with other Flash Lite developers, and talk about making things for mobile devices.

At this year’s Flash in the Can festival, I’ll be one of the panelists for It’s A Mobile World: Build It and They Will Call (I didn’t make up that title). Bill Perry (from Adobe) and Scott Janousek will also be there, and I believe others will be joining us in this panel discussion.

This year’s speaker list is the longest I’ve seen, with people coming in from all over the world, to the city where I live. There is even a student scholarship program to attend the festival for free.

Check it out.

April 13 Update: Bill Perry won’t be able to make it to FITC; instead, James Talbot (also from Adobe) will be there. And Gabe Sawhney will be joining the panel as well.

Events News

Memories and photos from Flash in the Can

This year’s Flash in the Can was another great success, with over 900 attendees and 80 speakers from around the world. Here’s a recollection of the event.

When I got to the hotel on Friday evening, I met Veronique, Chafic and Grant at the lobby. They got into my Odyssey with two students from Grant’s workshop and we went to the hip Drake Hotel for dinner. There I found Andries Odendaal, Branden Hall, Craig Swann, Guy Watson, Hugh Elliott, Jason Chesebrough, Kai Koenig, Kevin Towes, Pascal Leroy, Shawn Pucknell and many others. After dinner, most people went downstairs to the party, but I had to pick up my wife and son so I left early.

On Saturday, registration began in the afternoon and speakers were invited to the Spin Gallery for dinner and VIP mixer before the awards. I met many old friends and ran into others whom I’ve only met online: Brian Lesser, Chris MacGregor, Paul Ortchanian, Phillip Kerman, Robert Reinhardt, Sam Agesilas, and Snow Dowd. The place was packed when the awards drew closer.

Later that evening I arrived at Colin Moock‘s party just when Robert Reinhardt and Snow Dowd were leaving. Erik Natzke, Joshua Davis, and Kevin Lynch were sitting in one corner, another group of people whom I did not recognize were sitting nearby. Branden Hall was helping someone on the computer, and Jared Tarbell came over and introduced himself. I have been a fan of his work and it was great to meet him in person. Also at the party, I bummed into Drew Trujillo (Dr. Woohoo), who is working on some very cool projects. I went down to the basement game room and found Chafic Kazoun, Daniel Dura, Guy Watson, Andreas Heim & Eric (also from Smashing Ideas), Michael Manh, Mike Chambers, Sean Voisen and Veronique Brossier. Apparently Branden brought over a great multi-player game: Pac-Man vs. for the GameCube and it was a blast. Upstairs, I met Vera Fleischer just before eight of us left and went back to the hotel in my minivan. For some reason, they found the automatic doors of my Odyssey rather amusing.

On Sunday, the first day of the festival, I spent the early hours finishing my presentation. At noon, I went to the Ask the Pros session on OOP in AS2, to co-chair with Branden Hall and Grant Skinner. Unfortunately, Daylight Savings Time started the night before and the clock was an hour ahead. There was no sign of Branden and Grant; so there I was sitting all by myself answering questions from the audience. Shawn Pucknell asked Jason Nussbaum to join me shortly after. Later Grant joined the two of us and answered some questions on the EULA, and we also talked about components and using inheritance. Later Branden came into the room, blamed the clock, and joined the discussion. 😎

My presentation on OOP in AS2 was in the afternoon that day. Before and during the festival, I talked to many people who intended to join my session and they said they have never used ActionScript 2.0, and would rather get an idea of what to expect than listening to in-depth topics. As a result, I tuned my presentation to a more basic level. It was a challenge to balance the content level and present it within 50 minutes to a wide range of audiences. I know it was impossible to satisfy everyone in such talks, but I was glad to see a full house, with many people standing and some sitting on the floor through out the whole session.

Met a couple of people in-between sessions: Glyn Thomas, Joey Lott, LordAlex Leon, and Jeremy Thorp.

That evening a large group of people gathered and went to dinner in the theatre district. Unfortunately, the restaurant was overwhelmed by over 60 people showing up together. It was a long dinner because nothing (except bread) showed up for two hours, and then the manager told us they ran out of food! Chafic had a $28 Kobe burger that wasn’t worth $28. Luckily for Hoss Gifford who ordered the same, no Kobe burger was left and the restaurant gave him a big juicy steak instead.

After dinner, we went to a nearby pub to play some pinball where I met Simon Wacker for the first time. We got back to the hotel rather late; I think I went to bed at around 4 am.

Set the alarm at 8:15 am hoping to see Grant Skinner and Sam Agesilas‘ sessions at 9:00. By the time I hit the snooze button a few times it was almost 8:45. After cleaning up and packing (had to checkout at noon), it was already too late for their sessions. So I dropped off my luggage in my car at the parking lot and went back to the hotel. Met Jared and we went across the street for breakfast. He introduced me to Edward Tufte, who inspired his work. Went back to the hotel to catch some sessions, and later had lunch with Andreas and Eric at the same deli across the street.

Caught a bit of Brian Robbins‘ session on the multi-player game Cowboys & Engines. It’s a good-looking 3D game created with Maya, 3D Studio Max, Director and Flashcom. He talked about latency and problems encountered during the development of the game.

Afterwards, a few of us went to see Colin talk about multiuser experiences. It was a fun session because he showed a couple of great examples: XBox Live in Project Gotham Racing 2 with Hoss in Edinburgh, family video chat,,,,, and Colin’s own uAvatarChat and uPresence (with some popular recurring visual patterns). Colin also ran his Unity workshop after the festival.

Chafic‘s presentation on v2 component development was next. It was a great session as he demonstrated steps in creating a component from scratch and shared essential knowledge in building components. Later, he hosted an Ask the Pros session on the same topic and invited Andreas Heim to join him. Although there weren’t many people in the room, we had good discussion on components. Chafic had to leave early to catch his plane, and the rest of us stayed to chat. Carl-Alexandre Malartre (from Montreal) showed Mike Chambers and I his documentation app that runs inside the Flash IDE. Mike just released his Flash Resource Manager, which is a standalone app on .Net.

The closing ceremony was next where freebies were flying across the room. Speakers received the Camtasia Studio/SnagIt Bundle from and a FlashInTheCan flashlight, thanks guys.

A few of us went to a nearby sports bar for dinner where we said goodbye. It has been a wonderful few days and I’m already looking forward to next year’s Flash in the Can.

Here are some of the photos I took. Enjoy!

Events News

Flash in the Can presentation

Once again, I’ll be speaking at Flash in the Can this year. The presentation title is Object-Oriented Programming in ActionScript 2.0 (OOP in AS2).

Here is a list of possible topics:

  • What’s new in AS2 for AS1 developers?
  • Brief comparison of AS2 to Java and C#
  • Designing an AS2 OO application
  • EventDispatcher and the event model
  • Design patterns examples in AS2
  • Pitfalls and tips in AS2

Other suggestions? Leave comments and I’ll give them some thought. Remember though, with 70+ speakers this year, each presentation is only 45 minutes long; so I’ll consider the most wished for topics that can fit within this limited time. Thanks!

Events News

Flash in the Can CDs

If you missed Flash in the Can Festival earlier this year, you can now view most of the presentations on CDs. Shawn Pucknell (Flash in TO & Flash in the Can Festival), notified me that my presentation on “OOP and Design Patterns” at the festival has been put on a CD for sale.

CD content:

  • video (QuickTime movies @ 354×240) of the one hour presentation
  • presentation files
  • source files (some require ColdFusion/Flash Remoting)

Here is the CD information page if you’re interested: