Long Live AXNA (MXNA) It’s back.

No content here, really, just a big thank you to the team that has resurrected AXNA from the digital ashes.

Very cool… go check it out! http://feeds.adobe.com

SWFShot v0.1 Released. Save Images of SWFs Greater Than 2880 Pixels

I sometimes need big images out of my flash files. By big, I mean larger than the 2880×2880 maximum size allowed by the Flash player. It just so happens that Flex has a way around it, and so SWFShot was born. Read on to learn more and download it. (more…)

Coming Soon, SWFShot. AIR ImageSnapShot Tool for Flash/Media content

Followup to my post yesterday… I’m started wholeheartedly on my snapshot tool, tentatively called “SWFShot”. It’s to be an AIR app that allows the user to create high resolution output images of loaded Flash content from the users hard drive. I hope to have a functional prototype in the next few days. Time is tight these days, but I will continue to post my progress… It’s currently in a tab navigator and skinned with a slightly modified template from Scalenine. Here are some screenshots of the panel… Keep in mind the final app will be a full screen window less app, with the content loading in the background of the panel. Should be interesting anyway. If you have thoughts or suggestions… fire away, I’m all ears. Read on for screenshots and the app’s “read me” content.. (more…)

Why is the ImageSnapshot class not in Flash? Taking steps to get big images out of Flash.

I don’t know if I really have a good post here, just want to know why a very useful, very powerful class that is in the Flex framework isn’t in Flash’s AS3 classes. For those of you who are Flash users but not Flex developers, you may not really know about this class (good explanation here, at Doug McCune’s blog.), but it acts as a shortcut/helper class to assist you when creating snapshots out of display objects or anything that implements IBitmapDrawable. It’s pretty nice.

One thing that this class does that is especially cool is let you get around the 2880×2880 pixel limit imposed on all Flash display objects, including our good friends Bitmap and BitmapData. I have been working around trying to get higher res images out of some of my comps lately and I have all but given up using Flash for it. Even when you run Flash through as an AIR app, and use sneaky tricks like employing AS3Corelib (which is a great selection of classes, I might add) to encode a container sprite as JPG or PNG and output them as files to your local machine you are still limited to the 2880 ceiling. Now, I have seen explanations on why the limit exists, and yes, it makes sense for web apps, but if you are already creating a signed or even an unsigned app for that matter that has to run as administrator on a machine, I see no reason why the 2880 ceiling exists. With monitors gaining pixels with every generation, I’m sure this will change someday, but hey… I’m impatient. No really, I am… ask my wife. ;-)

So then I was doing something like this linked example to get around it. You can use the numbers on your keyboard to move the canvas around. “C” toggles mouse visibility, “1″ moves the sprite back to it’s origin point, “2″ slides everything left by a bunch of pixels (I have a MacBook Pro, so it’s slightly less than 1440), “3″ moves everything to the right by the same amount, “4″ moves everything down by 600, “5″ moves up by 600… you see where I am going with this? I move the canvas, take the screenshot and then stitch them together in Photoshop. This allows me to get a pretty big canvas. But, it’s a pain. To get a 10k x 10k image (something that will give you a nice 2-3 foot size print) takes dozens of images. So I thought back to some stuff I have been playing with in Flex (more on that in an upcoming post) and want to do the same here. But that requires the ImageSnapshot class which is missing from Flash CS3… hmm. How vexing.

So, now, I’m currently planning on making a Flex developed app that will be deployed as AIR that will take an input SWF, allow you to set your dimensions and DPI and then use the imageSnapshot class to get a big fat uncompressed image out of it. ImageSnapshot supports up to 8192×8192 images of around 256meg. Has anyone seen an app like this around already? I certainly don’t like duplicating efforts as free time is at a premium. Thoughts?

Related to this post… I’m getting curiouser and curiouser as to why AIR doesn’t have a PDF encoder (especially since blazePDF is dead and is only AS2). I know I could find some uses for it. Postscript charts and elements from Flex or Flash anyone? Sounds nice. Especially with all the great work being done over at Degrafa, and the rumblings of the mx:Graphics stuff to come in Flex 4.

I got Dugg, sorta. Congrats to ColourLovers on Launching Their API.

The ColourLovers API went public yesterday and the response has been phenomenal (The AIR app built with it is definitely worth a download). The API is super cool and very very easy to use. I built a port of my Dekaf app (built with Degrafa) in it and redubbed it dekafLovers. It has a few options that weren’t in the original Dekaf app.

All in all very very cool and the API was submitted to Digg with a pretty decent response, too. ColourLovers community is just fantastic and very supportive, offering lots of great suggestions to me, many of which I have been able to integrate into the app already, with hopes of adding more features soon.

Flex Developer’s Journal Plays “Find the Content”

Was doing some Googling for Flex tips on how to do something (what it was now, I don’t really recall)… Something about tooltip styling, placement etc for components… Anyway, cames across a link to what seemed like a useful article at a reputable sounding site, “Flex Developers Journal“. Problem was, I couldn’t find it. Everything was covered in or by ads… 3 Video ads (one of which autoplayed audio), A coupleGoogle boxes, a popover interstitial and some other “advertorial” type content. Ugh. No thanks. Didn’t even stick around for the article. On top of it, they set 8 cookies in my browser for this one page. 8! Take a look at this screenshot (click to enlarge)My God, Its Full of Ads!

I’minlikewithyou.com: An amazing example of great Flash/Flex UI

I don’t have a lot of time on my hands these days to visit this site, but if you are looking for a great way to blow an afternoon or three and see some fantastic Flash/Flex UI work, go visit Iminlikewithyou.com. It’s pretty freakin’ fabulous. Great design, silky smooth animations and tranistions, quick loading, unique social networking tools and of course, the unforgetable Blockles. (It uses SWFAddress and some other great modern Flex/Flash techniques, too… It’s really really nice). Think of it as a snarky multi-player Tetris clone and you’ve got it. Absolutely brilliant. It’s the brainchild of Charles Forman, aka SetPixel. He’s a great designer/developer I had the privilege of working with as a freelancer at the now defunct iToons, a Chicago based game design and dev studio, and a fun fun place to hang out and work, I might add. A shout out to all the gusy there, Davers, Norm, Kevin, Tony, Juan and JonK to name a few. Ahh good times… but enough reminiscing… go play some Blockles.

New Degrafa/ColourLovers Mashup: DekafLovers

I got a communication from Darius at ColourLovers that they were starting up an API for their fantastic site ColourLovers. He wanted some examples of what people could do with the API, and since I had done some work with color APIs before, specifically, Kuler, he wanted to know if I was interested. Of course I was, and so, DekafLovers was made. A simple interface to ColourLovers deep deep palette library (significantly larger than Kuler’s, actually), it creates randomized compositions using rectangular geometry drawn by the Degrafa drawing library. A variation on the Kuler powered, Dekaf, this only took a couple hours to port over in Flex and test. Darius was really cool about it and got a crossdomain file set up for other Flash/Flex developers, to make mashups, etc with, so go to town… All in all a lot of fun, and I really want to build something else with the api, perhaps using the patterns also resident at ColourLovers. So without further delay… Here is Dekaf Lovers.

Overheard at a MS developer blog… “Why Silverlight is Nailing Flex”

TheWayIThink and sebastien-arbogast.com have been going at a little blog fight back and forth on the state of the battle between Flex and Silverlight. I wouldn’t be willing to speculate on who is winning, but I do know this… all this attention on RIAs from both Adobe and MS is good for business on both sides of the developer camp.

I also do know that my post “Why Microsoft Silverlight Will Fail” is still #1 on Google when you search for “Silverlight IDE” (There are some great comments on that thread, BTW). Not sure if that’s related, but it does speak volumes about the development landscape for Silverlight. You have VisualStudio and that’s about it.

TheWayIThink does certainly seem to be a MS biased blog (kinda like how I lean towards Adobe tools, here, I suppose), but his post on “Why am I so IphonePhobic? made me nearly spit out my coffee. That was a good laugh.

Anyway… Sebastien’s post on what makes a good RIA is a pretty insightful list of things to keep in mind. I do suggest reading it. It does seem that based on thsoe criteria that Flex is currently leading in maturity/features, but with MS’s recent MIX08, Silverlight does look to be coming on strong. Overall this sort of discussion means little to the audience’s that consume the apps we produce, but certainly illustrate that devs are passionate about what they build.

I am watching this space closely. I think 2008 will be shape up to be a very interesting year for all developers and tool vendors. Flex 3 is ready, and Silverlight 2 and Flash Player 10 are just around the corner, AIR and Google Gears, Mozilla Offline, Silverlight Offline… wow. Lots of new tools.

So, is “Silverlight nailing Flex”? Doubtful… But I’m not ready to claim any sort of victory by Flex either. Unlike a VHS/Beta or HD-DVD/Blu-Ray battle there isn’t a loser on the consumer end by drawing out the battle due to incorrect purchases, etc. Granted, the developers need to allocate more training hours to familiarize themselves with the new tech, but if you are really into this stuff, like I’m sure most of you view this stuff as playing with new toys. Speaking of toys… I gotta go play some Smash Bros.

Presentation Notes: Intro to Flex

I gave a presentation at Bradley where I introduced Flex to a group of students. Many thanks to Suzanne Nguyen at Adobe for the freebies and giveaways for the event. I gave away a copy of “Programming Flex 2″ and several copies of the DVD training for Flex from Total Training. The Jelly YoYos were a It went really well and they seemed interested in downloading the educational version of Flex. I have actually about 4-5 student ask me questions about Flex in the days after the presentation. In the group of about 20 students nearly 3/4 of them said they would be interested in taking a RIA focused class where Flex, AJAX and Silverlight would be taught. Very cool indeed! You can download the PDF of the slides here.Flex Presentation.

Page 3 of 812345...Last »