Open letter to @Adobe and @Adobe Air: the hidden part…

I don’t know if you had already read the open letter that Gary wrote recently discussing about the arguable marketing choice made by Adobe on Adobe AIR but also previously about the Flash Platform in general, but I suggest you to start from there before read this post.

If you know me personally or you are following me in the social networks or reading this blog you should know that I’m a big fan of Flash Platform, in particular of Adobe AIR.
I’m very committed to deliver amazing and cutting edge projects made with this fantastic technology and I’m involved in the community to spread the word about AIR.
From a developer perspective I’m 110% with Gary and the community; an amazing technology like Adobe AIR with really a lots of success behind in terms of developers and companies that adopted this technology and in terms of numbers of apps in released during the past few years in different platform.
AIR, in my opinion, should have a better commitment from the company that create it (partially).
Obviously I agree also that there isn’t any competition between Actionscript 3 and HTML5 (read Javascript), what you can really do with HTML5 is what a flash developer could do 5 years ago more or less.
But you can’t approach a discussion like this talking only from a developer perspective, you and we should see it from different angles also.
What I’m asking you is to follow me until to the end of this post then you can send me an email and ask me if I became totally crazy or insult me with a comment, no worries :D

I usually goes to Adobe Max since 2006, first MAX organised by Adobe, and I remember quite clearly that few MAX ago during both keynotes nobody said anything related to new Flash Platform improvements or plan for the future of the platform.
At the beginning I was so hungry and I spent literally hours on the phone to talk with Adobe people because the 100% of my business was based on this technology and they can’t really think that HTML5 could be better that Flash Platform, in particular in 2011/2012 where the most coolest websites, RIAs and desktop applications were realised with Flash.
But have you ever tried to think from a different point of view this situation? Let’s assume for few minutes that we are inside the meeting room of the Adobe.
You have an amazing technology that millions of people is using to innovate and create the best software in the world but you are not earning what you expect from it, don’t you believe me? Take a look at this chart (ADBE):

ADBE stock 2011/2012

 

This is the graph of Adobe stock (ADBE) from January 2011 to December 2012, the value of the stock was for few months (close to October when usually Adobe Max takes place) lower than $28 and never greater of $35.
Great, obviously our white collars friends, aren’t so interested about which is the best technology in the market or how many people is using it; they care about numbers, how to increase the profit of the company and make happy the analyst to have a better position in the stocks market and with the shareholders.
These results weren’t so good for Adobe in fact, if you remember well, a lots of people started to leave the company, a lots of team was closed in USA or Europe to move the development side in India or in places where the developers are cheaper and Adobe started his commitment on the big new trend of new web technologies products like the Edge family for instance.
Everybody now knows very well the following story about the new products and how they are trying to improve the way to create websites and apps, and I guess the majority of us it’s not so happy about that.
But let’s take a look again to some numbers, the next graph will show you the Adobe stock value from 2012 to March 2014 basically in the period where Adobe left to push the Flash Platform and started to increase the investment on designers products:

ADBE stock 2012/2014

I think is quite explicit that the politic to start selling their products on Cloud (first big mover in the IT panorama), the decision to try to improve a new technology like HTML5 with new tools and so on, create around the Adobe what the management was looking for!
I agree with you that there are many ways to make money but from the metrics perspective they are going in the right direction and they did the right choices for now.
I’m not an economist and I can’t say if this strategy will pay in the long term but for sure in the short term they arrived where they wanted to be.

With this post I’m not trying to defend Adobe, but after many years where the Flash Platform is in this status I started to leave my angry mood and to interrogate myself on why they took this decision, honestly I can’t say if that it’s the only reason that drives Adobe in these big changes but excluding the technical side that’s the only way I can see this thing and now most part of their decision make finally sense.
All the comments I’ve read in the past and also in these days after the Gary’s letter to Adobe is completely true but often, as developers, we forget that it’s not just a design pattern or a performance optimisation that could save the world, the marketing and the market are the real drivers, in front of them also a big corporation like Adobe could defeated.

ADBE stock 2009/2014

 

UPDATE FROM ADOBE

Chris, the new product manager of Adobe AIR, replied to Gary’s open letter, you can read the answer in the official blog

Adobe AIR 3.8 introduces Socket Server on Android and iOS

Hi All,

after long time I’m back for all the developers are working with the Flash Platform right now!
Sorry for that but it was a really intensive period for me with the organization of “Having fun with Adobe AIR” so I haven’t a lot of time to share with you my new experiments.
Yesterday Adobe MAX is finished with a lots of design news, great and inspire case histories for designers and a lot of amusement during the Sneak Peek where they have shown the real power of Adobe labs with tons of really cool features that we could see in next releases of Adobe’s softwares.
For a developer perspective there weren’t big announces so, as usual, we can do it by ourselves…. and here we are!

During last few days Adobe release the Adobe AIR 3.8 and Flash Player 11.8, both in BETA but you can download and start to play with them.
When Adobe releases a new AIR SDK I always take a look to the release notes to see the new features of my favorite platform, this time I’m glad to announce that they add the opportunity to create TCP/IP and UDP socket server directly on iOS and Android.
This is a very cool feature because you can really create amazing things in particular for applications and games, for example local multiplayer, chat and so on.
I worked a lots with sockets during last years in several projects and my big concern was that I can’t create a socket server on smartphone and tablet with AIR, I could do that only with native code but I was pretty sure to see this feature will be implemented in next releases of AIR!

Today I had few time to spend experimenting new stuff so I decided to try AIR 3.8 BETA on mobile and create something cool to share with you.
As you can see in this short video I create a socket server on my iPhone 4 that interact with a client made on my iPad mini (I tried also with my Android smartphone and it works as well):


To create this sample you needn’t to learn something new, you can use the same APIs you will use on a desktop application, so to create a socket server you write those few lines of code:

//creation of a TCP/IP Socket server
private function createServer():void{
server = new ServerSocket();
server.addEventListener(Event.CONNECT, onConnect);
server.bind(7934); // this is the number of the port where your socket communicate
server.listen();
}

Then, when a client socket will join in the same network and it listens the same port of the server, the magic happens and you can start to comunicate:

//on the server socket application
protected function onConnect(event:ServerSocketConnectEvent):void {
incomingSocket = event.socket;
incomingSocket.addEventListener(ProgressEvent.SOCKET_DATA, onData);}

protected function onData(event:ProgressEvent):void {
if (incomingSocket.bytesAvailable > 0){
//here you can pass data to the client using writeBytes, writeUTFBytes and many other methods
/*an example could be:
incomingSocket.writeUTFBytes(String("HELLO!");
incomingSocket.flush();*/
}
}

// on the client socket application you have to create the connection and then manage (send and receive) data from the server
private function createSocketConnection():void{
socket = new Socket()
socket.addEventListener(Event.CONNECT, connectedToServer);
socket.addEventListener(ProgressEvent.SOCKET_DATA, receiveData);
socket.addEventListener(IOErrorEvent.IO_ERROR, ioErrorHandler);
socket.addEventListener(Event.CLOSE, closeSocket});
//pass to connect method the server IP and the port to comunicate
socket.connect("127.0.0.1", 7934); 
}
protected function receiveData(event:ProgressEvent):void {
// here you can read all the packets sent from the server
}
protected function ioErrorHandler(event:IOErrorEvent):void {
trace("ioErrorHandler: " + event);
}
private function connectedToServer(e:Event):void{
//yes! you are connected to the socket server
}
private function closeSocket(e:Event):void{
//your socket connection is closed
}

After that you can start to experiments with this new feature as I’ve just done.
Last but not least, as you can see on the release notes, Adobe adds another great feature, that is the capability to stop all movieclips are running on the stage calling a new method “stopAllChildren()” directly from the stage instance.
Simple, easy and useful!

Having fun with Adobe AIR

Hi All,
this post will be in Italian, in particular is dedicated to the whole community of Italian mobile developers.
Having fun with Adobe AIR is a free event in 6 different Italian cities where people will learn how to create or improve own cross platform applications made with Adobe AIR for mobile devices.
For any question feel free to leave a comment to this post or drop me an email.

logoOfficial

Ciao a tutti,
mi chiamo Luca Mezzalira e sono l’organizzatore di “Having fun with Adobe AIR” un evento dedicato a tutti gli sviluppatori mobile che vogliono avvicinarsi ad una tecnologia cross-platform, come Adobe AIR, per la realizzazione delle proprie app o game su smartphone o tablet.
In collaborazione con alcuni importanti sponsor, come Adobe e BlackBerry per esempio, che ringrazio innanzitutto, sono riuscito ad organizzare 6 tappe in giro per l’Italia dove in una giornata andremo a scoprire le potenzialità di Adobe AIR, andremo a sviluppare degli esempi pratici che possano far vedere il workflow per la realizzazione di un’applicativo mobile.
Infatti l’evento è basato sulla formula BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) dove ogni participante dovrà portare il proprio computer con installato Flash Builder dove potrà creare i proprio applicativi e installarli poi nel proprio tablet o smartphone.

Se ti stai chiedendo se è una perdita di tempo perchè Flash è “morto”, beh credimi, non è così.

Infatti Adobe sta continuando a sviluppare questa tecnologia dando nuove potenzialità per la creazione di applicativi mobile e desktop, dall’accelerazione in GPU all’integrazione con Native Extension e molto altro ancora!

Durante l’evento avremo la fortuna di avere con noi degli speaker Adobe, in alcune tappe, che ci daranno la possibilità di scoprire su cosa si sta concentrando Adobe e quale sarà il futuro della piattaforma.
Un evento totalmente gratuito che credo possa far piacere in Italia a molti sviluppatori che vogliono iniziare a muovere i primi passi nel mondo mobile oppure quelli che già ci lavorano ma vogliono alternative valide con cui sviluppare.
L’evento avrà un massimo di 20 partecipanti circa per tappa e sarà di una giornata, le città in cui si svolgerà saranno Milano, Torino, Bolzano, Padova, Firenze e Bari.
La registrazione è obbligatoria e dev’essere fatta tramite il sito dell’eventohttp://www.havingfunwithadobeair.com/
Se invece preferisci seguirci direttamente sulla nostra pagina facebook ecco l’indirizzo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Having-fun-with-Adobe-AIR/430003473713246

Per qualsiasi dubbio o domanda non esitare a contattarmi via email o lasciando un messaggio su questo post.
Spero di vederti ad una delle tappe del tour!
A presto

Luca

Flash Platform Galaxy: why choose Flash Platform

In those days I’m reading a lots of mailing lists, forums, blogs and so on where Flash Platform supporters are so disappointed about the latest marketing movement of Adobe.

In fact yesterday Adobe announced that they stop the development of Flash Player on Mobile devices (on Desktop they are going ahead).
The road is clear HTML 5 inside the browser and Flash Platform for RIAs, Games and out of browser in combination with Adobe AIR.

For me Adobe for the second time (the first one was during Adobe MAX) has totally mistaken how to communicate this news and obviously tech blogs bring this announcement like the end of Flash…
Personally I don’t think that is the end of Flash but I think that Flash is moving on a new position in multimedia world probably out of browser.
I’m an Adobe addicted, like you know, and in particular I’m a Flash Platform supporter, so I think that we have to move on and make something to spread the word about this foggy situation, guys, Flash Platform is ALIVE!
To do this, I start making a pdf file called Flash Platform Galaxy that could help people to have an idea of what is Flash Platform and why choose it ( I know, I’m not a graphic designer but I think it could be useful), if you want to add more informations or change something feel free to leave a comment at this post or drop me a line via email.
Let’s go guys, we have a platform to save ;)

mPresenter, flash platform presentation tool

mPresenter is a new tool that my company develop in last few months, finally is available to download.
Going in deep about this new solution, what is it mPresenter?

mPresenter is a cross-platform software composed by 2 different tools: a mobile manager and a desktop viewer.
It helps you during own presentation to your boss or clients, during a public talk or only when you want to show your holidays photos to your friends.
With mPresenter you can manage your presentation directly from your mobile device, you can draw or highlight on a slide, photo or flash file, change with next or previous content, receive comments that you add in content and so on.

You can download AIR version on mPresenter official website and Android controller directly on Android Marketplace.In next few days (I hope) you can find mPresenter mobile on Apple store too, so stay tuned for news about it!

Do you want watch mPresenter in action? Take a look at youtube video.

Do you want to have a free copy?! It’s easy, go to official website, add mPresenter banner to your blog or website and the first 10 people that add a comments to this post with a link at own website with mPresenter banner automatically win a free mPresenter copy!
Remember to leave in the comment your name, email and link to the site where I can find mPresenter banner.

Finally, if you are going to MAX in L.A. and you want to know more about mPresenter, you can find me there, so feel free to drop me a line to meet there.

I’m waiting for feedbacks and have fun guys with mPresenter!

Directly from Barcelona: MWC 2010 impressions

I’m here in Barcelona at 3GSM world congress, crisis is arrived here too.
There isn’t Nokia stand, only few evening party, there are less people than last previous editions so really, I hope that 2010 could be a new year with new opportunity for everyone because this is NOT the mobile world congress and this is NOT a good scenario to see.

Come back home and start to talk about Adobe news… first of all, my favorite one: Adobe AIR 2 on mobile!

Yes finally is arrived or better, finally I’ve seen it! We really don’t know when will be released we only know that it runs on Android, probably on NVIDA Tegra II, probably on Symbian devices and for sure on Blackberry; so a new market opportunity will be open with Blackberry adoption.
And WIN mobile?! They said to wait 2/3 weeks and there will be a press release about that, meanwhile I see Window phone 7 and it looks nice, not bad but I’m interesting to know how will be integrated with Flash Platform.

Flash Player 10.1 on mobile devices will implement AVM 1 and AVM 2 so probably there will be retro-compatibility  with Flash Lite contents, I say probably because I’d like to test it before to say: “YES It’s alive!!!”.
But I’m sure that AS3 contents will run so well if they will be optimize for mobile; I’m scared that AS3 developers approach this new opportunity like Flash Lite one where everybody know AS2 was automatically a Flash Lite developer, but believe me it’s not the same thing also with Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2 on mobile.

Both mobile technologies will be the same of desktop one so we don’t lost any API and it’s great announcement, finally could we start to work in a real platform experience!? I think so!

And Flash Lite?! So now we have a new versione Flash Lite 4 that you’ll can use with Actionscript 3 and will be distributed on S40 and low powerful devices.

I asked also about distribution and probably we will find FP 10.1 and AIR 2 directly with a firmware upgrade of own phone; for now we don’t know there will be OTA distribution also.

So finally, I see great Adobe technologies… but for the future, because when will be release there will be more time to wait to have a great distribution so if you think that will solve all your mobile problems, I think that you’ll wait few months again.

Today is my last day here, I’ll try to grab more information about those news and if you go to FITC in Amsterdam next week, see you there mate!

How to switch from Actionscript 2 to Actionscript 3… in September for FREE in Milan and Rome

During September I’ll take part of Arrivano i Guru Tour, an Italian event that allow designers, developers and photographers to learn new stuff for FREE about Adobe technologies!
In fact, the event starts in September until to the end of October and you can see it in 10 differents Italian cities.

In the last event you can find a special guest… Katrine Eismann, on of the most important person in creative digital retouch world!
I decide to talk about a big problem for a lot of developers: How to switch from Actionscript 2 to Actionscript 3 during my sessions in Milan (27th September) and Rome (5ht September).

During my session we can see the power of new AS3 features,  architecture of new Flash Player and differences of both languages.
You can see a real mirror from AS2 scripts to AS3 scripts and how to porting your daily “Actionscript life” to a new step: more interesting and powerful!

If you’d like to have more information take a look at the site or feel free to contact me leaving a message on my blog or dropping me an email.

I hope to see you during this event and remember that is a great opportunity to learn more and for FREE!

See ya!

Talking about Flash Catalyst and Adobe AIR in Rome at “Arrivano i guru”

Next week in Rome, starts a new Italian event called Arrivano i guru, where 6 speakers from designers to developers, talking about Adobe technologies and others arguments.
I’ll be speaker there and I choose to talk about Adobe AIR and Flash Catalyst Public Beta, because I think could be so interesting for people that comes to this event understand how to approach this new world and start to work with those technologies.
In fact I think in Italy there are few companies that approach AIR to create real desktop application and an overview about Flash Catalyst give me opportunity to introduce a new way to skinning your RIA or desktop applications and how to save lots of times in a real workflow.

In the same event you can find others session about Digital Imaging, Advanced technique with Indesign or Photoshop and SEO also.
I think could be very interesting for a lots of Italian people, so feel free to leave a comment here if you’d like to receive more information about this event.

For more information or registration take a look at official site event.
See you there guys.

Create PDF in runtime with Actionscript 3 (AlivePDF, Zinc or AIR, Flex or Flash)

This morning I’ve a new target, create PDF in runtime with Actionscript 3.
Very cool project to accomplished this mission is AlivePDF, an opensource AS3 library that you can download from Google Code.
AlivePDF allow you to generate PDF in runtime with Actionscript 3 and you can add pages, draw in each pages or add images, it’s very powerful library.

In this sample I use Actionscript 3 (with FDT) and Multidmedia Zinc 3, but you can use Flex or Flash and AIR to make this sample.
So first of all I create a simple class that allow you to create a PDF file with multiple pages and to add content in each pages.
This is the code:

package org.mart3.pdfGeneration {
    import flash.events.Event;    
    import flash.utils.ByteArray;    
    
    import org.alivepdf.images.ImageFormat;    
    import org.alivepdf.saving.Method;    
    
    import flash.display.Loader;    
    import flash.events.IEventDispatcher;    
    import flash.events.EventDispatcher;
    
    import org.alivepdf.pdf.PDF;
    import org.alivepdf.layout.Orientation;
    import org.alivepdf.layout.Size;
    import org.alivepdf.layout.Unit;
    import org.alivepdf.display.Display;
    
    /**
     * @author lm
     */
    public class CreatePDF extends EventDispatcher {
        
        private var pdf:PDF;
        public var pdfBA:ByteArray;
        
        public function CreatePDF(target : IEventDispatcher = null) {
            super(target);
            
            pdf = new PDF(Orientation.LANDSCAPE, Unit.MM, Size.A4);
            pdf.setDisplayMode(Display.FULL_PAGE);
        }
        
        public function set totalPages(num:int):void{
                
            for(var i:int = 0; i < num; i++){
            
                pdf.addPage();    
                
            }
    
        }
         public function setData(_l : Loader, _numPage:int) : void {
            
            pdf.gotoPage(_numPage);
            pdf.addImage(_l, 15, 15, 0, 0, ImageFormat.JPG, 100);
        }
        
        public function savePDF():void{
            pdfBA = new ByteArray();
            pdfBA = pdf.save(Method.LOCAL);
            
            var evt : Event = new Event("baReadyEvent");
            dispatchEvent(evt);
        }
    }
}

Obviously if you want, you can create a custom event that pass to the document class the ByteArray but this is a quick sample to show how you can create PDF in runtime!

One of the amazing things that you should do with AlivePDF, it’s that you can decide to save PDF locally or on web! Read documentation because it’s very interesting what you can do with this library!

Ok now, go to document class where we use MDM swc that you can find when install Zinc on your computer (you can find 2 differents SWC, one for Flash and the other one for Flex. Remeber also that Flash SWC works with Flash CS4 also, not only with Flash CS3!).
In this class we do those simple steps:

  • create a PDF object using CreatePDF object
  • set our PDF document
  • pass an external image loaded with Loader object
  • save PDF bytearray with Zinc FileSystem class
package org.mart3.pdfGeneration {

    import flash.display.MovieClip;    
    import flash.net.URLRequest;    
    import flash.display.Loader;    
    import flash.display.Sprite;
    import flash.events.Event;
    import flash.events.MouseEvent;

    import mdm.*;

    import org.mart3.pdfGeneration.*;

    /**
     * @author lm
     */
    public class Main extends Sprite {
    
        private var pdfObj:CreatePDF;
        private var l : Loader;
    
        public function Main() {
            
            mdm.Application.init(this);            
            
            pdfObj = new CreatePDF();
            pdfObj.totalPages = 2;
            pdfObj.addEventListener("baReadyEvent", saveLocalPDF);
            
            l =  new Loader();
            l.name = "myImg";
            
            l.contentLoaderInfo.addEventListener(Event.COMPLETE, showImage);
            l.load(new URLRequest(mdm.Application.path+"assets/bg.jpg"));
        }
        
        private function saveLocalPDF(e:Event) : void {
        
            mdm.FileSystem.BinaryFile.setDataBA(pdfObj.pdfBA);
            mdm.FileSystem.BinaryFile.writeDataBA(mdm.System.Paths.desktop+"generate.pdf");
    
        }

        private function showImage(event : Event) : void {
            
            l.scaleX = l.scaleY = .4;
            var mc : MovieClip = new MovieClip();
            mc.buttonMode = true;
            mc.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, savePDF);
            mc.addChild(l);
            this.addChild(mc);
        }
        
        private function savePDF(event : MouseEvent) : void {
            event.currentTarget.alpha = .5;
            pdfObj.setData(l, 1);
            pdfObj.savePDF();

            
        }
    }
}

You can also download source files from their hosting service and test it on your computer.
Feel free to give me any comments about AlivePDF, it’s very interesting to know what you think about this AS3 library.

Adobe MAX: day 1

Here we are, it has just started Adobe MAX 2008, I’m very excited and in this day I see a lot of cool and interesting things!

In General Session this morning we see new name of Thermo project, now we must start to call it Flash Catalyst, too long but not bad.
There are new interesting things on mobile side, Adobe is working in a new product that package Flash Lite contents in .sis or .cab file and delivery it over-the-air, maybe an important step trough a new Adobe mobile era.

Another interesting project that is in BETA now, it’s also my favorite one, is CoCoMo, I meet Nigel Pegg, amazing guy, that coordinate the project with Dr. Fang (:D).
Now CoCoMo is in Labs, you can download it and start to work with those components that allow you to implement your Flex applications with Connect Now features, so you can share your desktop, make a conference call with video, chat and so on.

There are other 2 minor project that Adobe releases today: Wave and Tour de Flex.

The first one is a social networking aggregator made with AIR that allow you to manage your social networking like twitter, flickr and so on in a all in one application.
Tour de Flex is another AIR application that is focused for developers and designers that approach Flex for the first time, I copy the purpose of the application from own site:

  • Provide non-Flex developers with a good overview of what is possible in Flex in a “look and see” environment
  • Provide Flex developers with an illustrated reference tool
  • Provide commercial and non-commercial Flex developers a place to showcase their work

You can find those projects directly from Labs too.
I meet also a lot of developers and designers that are involved in very cool projects, but I’ve also the honor to meet Simone Legno aka Tokidoki! It’s one of my favorite designers! Max respect for him.

But I must write also that there is ONLY 1 WI-FI CONNECTION here for more then 5.000 people… it’s unbelievable… 

See you tomorrow for resume of second day.