Playbook development with Flash Platform

First of all a big THANKS to Mihai Corlan, Adobe Evangelist, that is helping me during this “journey”.
Everything start last year during MAX when I saw for the first time the new BlackBerry tablet: the Playbook 😀
It looked so nice, I thought that it was really amazing.
So after few months I decide to try… and now, I finally can announce that with Mihai we are working on a book on Playbook application development with Flash Platform!

It’ll be an hard job but I want to do it, I hope to receive useful suggestions and questions about this topic and believe me that I’ll be free to talk with you about that.
It will be a book made by developers for developers so I hope that you’ll enjoy it when will be released this september (more or less).
This book will cover following topics:

  • Build, port and optimize apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet device
  • Work with the PlayBook OS APIs, ActionScript, Flex, AIR and other Flash tools/APIs for PlayBook
  • Build a simple app and consuming data
  • Create multimedia and gaming apps for the BlackBerry PlayBook
  • Debug and optimize your PlayBook app

For any news about this book and about Flash Platform development follow this blog and my twitter or facebook account.

Adobe CookBooks Reader for Android

Hi everyone,

I’ve just released on Android market the CookBooks Reader application where you can read all new recipes about Flash Platform technologies.
It’s FREE and it’s based on Flex 4 and Adobe AIR so remember to download it before download CookBooks Reader.

If you try it, feel free to leave here comments with new features or suggestions…  I’m looking for you! Let’s go Flash Platform geeks! 😛

Flex on mobile: first impressions…

Like you know I love work with mobile and embedded stuff, in particular I love working with Flash Platform on mobile devices.
In latest months I worked on Android and iOS with Flash Professional but in latest weeks I started to work with Flex HERO sdk.
I love so much work with Flex but on mobile I’ve never tried yet.
First impression is that work with Flex on mobile stuff is quite fast respect Flash because it adds a lots of usual features that a mobile application needs.

Splash page

Any mobile application that is called like that, needs a splash page to introduce the real application.
In Flex you can set it very easily directly in main MXML file.
The executable MXML file on mobile project is called ViewNavigatorApplication instead of WindowedApplication like every AIR application, this new class allow you to set splashScreenImage, splashScreenScaleMode and splashScreenMinimumDisplayTime.
Those properties allow you to choose an image file for the splash screen, set its minimum duration and finally how it works in each screen’s dimensions where application runs.

Views

I mention ViewNavigatorApplication, this is a new concept of Flex mobile applications, in fact each application is composed by different View components.
Views are so interesting because they have a lots of things pre-builted like ActionBar, activation and deactivation events, View title, caching data and so on.
Every view is managed by a navigator, with the navigator you can push or pop views (like an array) to change them.
You can also choose how they will be animated, by default you can see a simple slide left or right (depends if you are adding or removing a view).
ActionBar is a new interesting component composed by 3 elements:

  • navigationContent
  • titleContent
  • actionContent

Usually actionBar could be used like a context menu of the view, remember that on mobile development is necessary to go back in the previous mask and also remember that your user doesn’t work on an application like uses a desktop application so shortcuts are so important.

Mobile Components

The new Flex framework “Hero” added optimized components for mobile purpose.
Until now I worked with textinputs, labels and lists that works very well, I tried in 3 different Android phones and performance are quite good.
Another new component added is IconItemRenderer that is an optimized item renderer for list component for example.
This component could be customized with: title, message field, icon and a decorator class that allow you to add for example another image. This is an IconItemRenderer sample where I added also filters (a drop shadow in this case)

Device Interaction & Flex Performance

Another cool thing that allow you to save time is that back button on the smartphone is managed by the application and it automatically goes to the previous view when a user click on hit.
In my few samples I tried to work without using cacheAsBitmap and cacheAsBitmapMatrix to have better performance and believe me that you remain astonished by the performance.
In fact performance are so good, it is so optimized for mobile purpose and everything works well, I tried to add custom effects and filters but performance were amazing too.

Mobile project Architecture

This is my favorite topic, when I started to work on mobile stuff with Actionscript 3 I thought on how to have great performances but with a good architecture that allow me to maintain my application during own life.

So I investigated on how new mobile technologies work and I found that Nokia QT works on mobile with a MVVM architecture, usually instead of controllers you can use delegates but depends of the application.
Working with MVVM architecture and a good design pattern like observer you can solve any problem in a mobile project, performances are perfect and you can optimize your code in the best way you like.
There are other tests that I want to try, the first one will be using Signals instead of Observer, I’d like to know performances in a mobile project (stay tuned :P).

Final Conclusion

The new Flex framework is an interesting step to the future, with this framework I’m sure you can create cool application in few days focusing on details and not on the application skeleton.

I suggest to take a look at Adobe TV, Adobe labs and Adobe Opensource to start work with Flex HERO!

UPDATE

take a look here to the Flex mobile performance

Android development with Flash Platform

First of all I’d like to say thank you to JUG Padova that give me opportunity to talk about Flash Platform in own Java User Group.
Saturday morning I got a talk about Android development with Flash Platform in a school in Padova.
There were 40/50 people more or less, students, Flash Platform devs and Java devs, so I’m glad about the final result.

I talked about my experience on working with Flash Platform on Android, suggested some tips & tricks to improve own applications made with AIR or web site for Flash Player on Android and finally I reported latest news from Flash on the Beach general session.

Adobe has just released Adobe AIR for Android so from last weekend you can download it and start to develop your own Flash Platform contents for Android devices.

You can download my presentation slides with some samples directly here, for now slides are in Italian but if someone is interesting in an English translation feel free to add a comment here.

UPDATE
Here you can watch the seminar: http://www.archive.org/details/AndroidDevelopmentWithFlashPlatform

mPresenter: new tool for speakers

I become speaker 4/5 years ago, after 30/40 talks in Italy and around the globe and tons of lessons like instructor, after study how to prepare slides for presentations, after a couple of courses about public speaking and so on, finally this January I started to think about how can I help speakers during own presentation?

When I answered to this question I started to think about mPresenter.

mPresenter is composed by 2 different applications: a mobile application and a desktop one.
Obviously everything is build with Flash Platform: AIR 2, Flex 4 and AIR for Android.
The mobile one allow you to manage your presentation, pointing or drawing on slide, changing them.
Also, it allows you to read notes added in each slide during preso composition.

AIR application allows speakers to make own presentation: moving slides in right position, adding notes to a slides and zooming on it.
You can easily drag and drop images from your OS to mPresenter and create the perfect presentation.
We are working to add new features on this software but for now you can see a preview video on youtube.
I really love if you can give us your feedbacks and suggestions to improve this software and become a really useful utility for all speakers.
We believe in you!

Flash Platform Geeks: new community is born

And YESSSSSS!

In this hot summer, I’m really glad to announce Flash Platform Geeks, a new Flash Platform community made in collaboration with Peter Elst!
Flash Platform Geeks is dedicated to all flash platform lovers like us!
Soon you can see online our website, our forum and so on, I’m really excited about this new adventure

It will be crazy, totally insane and if you go to Flash on the beach this year, believe  me, when I say that you’ll remain astonished!

So please, start to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr too!
See you around guys and thank you in advance to spread the word and follow Flash Platform Geeks

Android development with Flash Platform (FREE SEMINAR)

First of all a big thank you to Padova Java User Group that give me an opportunity to speak in the end of September in a JUG meeting.
My speech will cover Android development with Flash Platform, so I share my mobile experience and I’ll talk about those main topics:

  1. UI design for mobile device
  2. Working with Flash Platform to create mobile content
  3. Actionscript 3 overview
  4. tips & tricks on mobile development
  5. testing on device

Seminar will take part in Padova in the end of September, you can take a look at the program directly from JUG event site.
It will be totally FREE but I suggest to register yourself very soon because venue isn’t so big.

For any questions feel free to contact me directly or leave a comment here.

Finally, in November I’ll be speaker at WebTechCon in Milan, I’ll talk about AS3 design patterns and Multiscreen development with Flash Platform so if you want to know more about this event take a look at WebTechCon official site.

Flash Platform on Android

Sorry if I don’t post anything until now but I study a lot during last months and finally I’ve time to write a new post about Flash Platform on Android.

I’m glad to talk about this argument because after Flash Lite experience I was not so excited to work with these technologies on mobile, but finally I can say that we can forget Flash Lite experience in this new way to think mobile.
First of all I’d like to share with you a thought about Adobe mobile direction.
Adobe is releasing 3 cool mobile technologies Flash, Flex and obviously AIR; the most interesting for me is Flex 4.1 (codename HERO) that allow to create contents for RIAs, Dekstop Apps, Mobile RIAs and Mobile Apps.
In fact with HERO, Adobe gives us opportunity to develop better and faster with the same framework! Yes, you read well, 1 framework for everything!
They add some cool components dedicated for mobile development like ActionBar or ViewNavigator. It’s really impressive!
If you have an Android FroYo device, try to download some .apk file made with Flex on Coenraets blog.

I think Adobe is going to the right direction and new technologies that will be released in next months give us a new opportunity to bring our contents and deliver them to mobile! So THANK YOU ADOBE!

After these considerations, I’d like to talk about few experiments that I tried during last weeks.
Flash Platform on Android works very well, cool performance and with a good coding you can create great stuff.
I’m working on a mobile library with some useful components like grid, list, image and so on; I think that work with Flash Platform on mobile is so easy if you have an idea on how to work for mobile.
Obviously, if you are a Flash developer you are not a Flash mobile developer automatically! But you can become a mobile developer in few easy steps:

1. Optimize your code: remember to remove all listeners, put variables to null, using object pooling instead of create and destroy variables, use design patterns and so on.
2. System.gc() finally works! On Flash Player 10.1 if you run this command it works very well and save lots of memory for your porjects!
3. Don’t insert tons of stuff on your screen: when you design UI of your application remember that you have a small screen so remember to work with 14px fonts (minimum size), big hit button area (50px minimum), optimized images, avoid vector strokes.
Remember also to test if an asset is better in pixels instead of vectors or viceversa, because sometimes trying on device is the best way to find an answer!
4. Test on device anytime you add a consistent feature.
Don’t test your application only when you finish it, but test anytime you add a new feature because what you see on your computer could not be the same on your Android device!

Those are only few suggestions to start to work with Flash Platform on Android; on Amazon I saw that many people will release some cool books about Flash Platform development on mobile device so please take a look!

Finally, I give you a couple of videos about a runtime image manipulation on Android with Convolution filter made in less then 50 lines of code and a new component that I develop for our library called Skeleton component that simulate navigation of iPad Wired app but made for Android with Flash Platform.
I’m finishing it but for now I’m glad for final result; it’s totally XML driven and you can add swf, videos or images, send data to swf files and so on.
A cool test that I made is to port it on an AIR app for desktop and without changing a line of code I have the same result!
So if you plan your development well you can have one core and different deploy, thank you again Adobe!
Now I want to try it on an Android tablet and then I’ll post some results about that.
For now I can say that Flash on Android will revolutionize Android mobile development experience and if Adobe goes in this direction I can say that they will revolutionize mobile developer life (not for all, isn’t it Steve?!).

Creative Suite SDK

Last few months CS5 was presented and few people talked about a new opportunity that is CS5 SDK that allow flex developers to create native panels for Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and so on.

There are great opportunities because you can automatize any kind of process in your daily workflow and create your personal panel made with Flex and Actionscript 3.
If you are familiar with JS opportunities for InDesign or Photoshop, you know the power of those solutions but now you can have an interface that help your daily work.
You can also dialog with other softwares like AIR apps or native apps like a Digital Assets Management or again with other panels made with Flex!
So, believe me, now we have new and amazing opportunities with this new SDK.
The most important thing to start develop for those design softwares is to know how they work and then everything will be so natural.

With my company, we start a new project called Creative Suite Panels where people could download or buy new creative suite panels, ask us to develop one or other developers could sell own panels directly from this site (this last service soon).
We’d like to create a panels store where people can buy, sell or simple download new functionalities for own favorite design software.
In Creative Suite Panels you can also download a Flickr panel made for InDesign CS5 that allow you to search images on Flickr, download them and

For more information take a look at cs5 sdk team blog.

Scotch on the Rocks 2010

It’s finished!!! DAMN!

SOTR 2010 is end, I hope to come again next year, but now I want to share with you my experience here in London.

SOTR was organized at TigerTiger club near Piccadilly circus in the heart of London and believe me, It’s my first time that I take part in a conference where stop for a couple of days a club! That’s totally crazy, but this is SOTR and I love it! (Obviously free drink inside ;P)

Location a part, sessions were pretty cool, I really appreciate Aral and Serge one, the first was an inspire session based on clients UX and I grabbed very cool suggestions; Serge’s session was about AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 on Android devices… I really love those stuff!
It was impressive a performance benchmark where the same animation created with HTML and JS (7fps), another made with HTML 5 and canvas (9fps) and one made with Flash Player 10.1 (25fps !!! I really love Flash Platform) obtains different results on Android… and what results!!!

I was at SOTR also to speak about AIR 2 printing API, AlivePDF and PurePDF, I made an inspire session that allow you to have the right solution when someone (your boss maybe?!) ask you to create data reports or paper documents in a Flex RIA or AIR application.
My English a part, I think that people enjoy case history part and first twitter messages are agree with me, so believe me guys at SOTR, thank you so much for your time.
Finally in my session I shared my “thoughts” about HTML 5, Apple and so on (many photos on this slide, I was sure that you appreciate it! :D).

You can download all the stuff made for AIR & Printing session directly from this blog and if you weren’t in London and you want ask me more details about this cool shit, feel free to contact me or leave a comment at this post!

Ok, it’s time to come back to reality but before that I must say a big THANK YOU to Andy Allan that organize this amazing event, Cyril and Guust (and his girlfriend) for the great time spent together in London talking about Coldfusion and our beautiful countries.