Fresh info on the Flash Platform

Flash is now officially (news release) a Platform to deliver “the most effective experiences”:

To most people (non-Flash developers), Flash is about animation, online advertisements, and games. This is understandable, because most of them have not experienced (or are aware of) the other side of what Flash is capable of – enterprise-level Rich Internet Applications.

This new section of the Macromedia website provides an overview of what Flash is about, especially for different enterprise markets, such as Telecommunications, Financial Services, Education, Government, Businesses, eLearning, Web Conferencing, Mobile…etc.

One of the most informative piece is Kevin Lynch’s Overview of the Macromedia Flash Platform (PDF). It talks about future directions of Flash, the different solutions that Macromedia is providing, and some very exciting news about the upcoming Flash Player 8 (Maelstrom):

  • New graphical expressiveness
  • Improved performance of the Flash Player
  • Better font readability
  • Enhanced video
  • New file upload and download
  • Enhanced privacy control
  • New IME context switching

These are great features for both designers and developers to create engaging experiences using the Flash Platform.

Another exciting news: Macromedia is joining the Eclipse Foundation to create a new development tool (based on Eclipse) to “unify the design, development, and debugging of RIAs” for Flex authoring. This move is aimed at more traditional application developers who are more comfortable with a code-oriented IDE.

As a developer, the diverse platform that Macromedia has created opens up many different opportunities. Even though the recent blooming of AJAX is exciting news for web application developers, it does not provide (at this time) an integrated multimedia experience that Flash is capable of.

This is also why as a long-time (omg, over 13 years already!) developer, Flash is the preferred delivery platform for most client projects.


Flash 7.2 updater now available

Flash 7.2 (Ellipsis) updater is available! Get it here and read the Release Notes while you’re downloading this huge, must have, updater (66.66MB Win, 73.46MB Mac). Flash MX 2004 is once again, a stable, usable and vastly improved application.

Some important articles to go along with this release:


Thoughts on the (next) IDE

I was just thinking about this lately:

The main purpose of a framework and IDE is supposed to ease development, and not introduce obstacles in the development process. Ideally, it should also be an enjoyable experience using them.

Sadly, many people I talk to find that developing Flash content is getting less enjoyable, more time-consuming and difficult. One of the reasons is learning and using the new components and framework. The IDE should make this easier and enjoyable.

The IDE can help by doing common things that almost everyone needs, eliminate steps that are repetitive in the development process, insert code that are predictable (a simple example: handling web services/remoting calls, data-binding, broadcasters and listeners)…etc.

If 8Ball can bring back the fun in development, and help getting things done more quickly, it’d be a killer.

What should be included in the next Flash IDE to make your life easier?


Reduce Flash MX 2004 launch time

If you are experiencing long launch time in Flash MX 2004, try deleting all the files and folders in your “temp” folder. For me, this reduces the launch time anywhere from 40+ seconds down to about 8 seconds.

In Windows, the user temp folder is located here:

C:Documents and Settings[USERNAME]Local SettingsTemp

where [USERNAME] is your login user name. “Local Settings” is a hidden directory, you have to enable “Show hidden files and folders” under Tools > Folder Options… > View from any desktop window, or Control Panels > Folder Options > View.

Let me know if this works for you or not…


Not getting what you want?

What do you wish there was in Flash MX 2004?

Here are a few of mine (for ActionScript):

  • abstract
  • final
  • private (a real one that is)
  • protected (switch with the current private)
  • Runtime type-checking
  • True ActionScript 2.0 bytecode for Flash Player 7+
  • A better way to distribute code library without source

If there is something you wish to see in a Macromedia product, let them know by filling the wish form. Apparently they read every message (that’s what I was told), and it may well be true because from past experiences, they have implemented almost every item on my wish list! So, go ahead and offer suggestions to improve the products you use.