Archive for March, 2010

Display AIR version

When we were building our internal employee directory application we found a need to help determine what AIR version our employees had installed. With the following method you can enable end users to easily determine their AIR version right inside your application.
 
As an AIR application developer you can display the AIR version right in your application and make identifying this information for your users easier.
 
Some benefits of Displaying AIR runtime version in your applications: –

  • Troubleshoot application/runtime specific issues.
  • Helps identify pre-release or labs version of AIR runtime.
  • Troubleshoot air update framework related issues.

 
The NativeApplication class in the AIR SDK represents the currently running air application. The NativeApplication object is a singleton object, created automatically at startup and provides application information, application-wide functions, and dispatches application-level events. To get the NativeApplication instance of an application object refer with the static property NativeApplication.nativeApplication.

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<s:WindowedApplication xmlns:fx="http://ns.adobe.com/mxml/2009"
xmlns:s="library://ns.adobe.com/flex/spark"
xmlns:mx="library://ns.adobe.com/flex/mx">
<fx:Script>
<![CDATA[
public function get airRuntimeVersion() : String
{
return NativeApplication.nativeApplication.runtimeVersion ;
}
public function get airRuntimePatchLevel() : int
{
return NativeApplication .nativeApplication.runtimePatchLevel ;
}
]]>
</fx:Script>
<fx:Declarations>
<!-- Place non-visual elements (e.g., services, value objects) here -->
</fx:Declarations>
<s:Label text='{ "AIR " + this.airRuntimeVersion + " Patch Level " + this.airRuntimePatchLevel }' />
</s:WindowedApplication>

I hope this small code is useful for you.

Capturing information

Our team is working on an employee change form. This is a great opportunity to take our form guide technology within Adobe LiveCycle and transform the way employees participate in a process. During presentations with customers you will hear Adobe folks talk about the transformation of forms interaction. Its not a quantum leap but it is an important evolution in how a system captures information.

I’ve been doing some research into how other companies and organizations capture information for an employee change event. These change events are things like promotions, pay changes, manager change, etc. Most forms are in Adobe PDF which is a great testament to how PDF enables simple workflows with our user fillable PDF files. Some of the PDFs I found even had submit buttons that would email the completed form. Groovy stuff.

However some of the forms looked more complicated than an IRS 1040 tax form. Changing information about employees can be a complicated business. There are lots of information that is needed and lots of rules governing what information is needed. So I’ve been thinking a lot about Turbo Tax lately (that and its tax season so it just follows…)
Turbo tax is the evolution information capture. In the beginning it captured information using an on screen fillable 1040 form. The form on screen was identical to the paper form on the desk. Now fast forward to today and users of Turbo Tax never see the 1040 form until they hit print at the end of the process. Why? Because capturing information for a complex process is tricky business. There are lots of variables and certainly that is not more true then with the IRS.

Now back to an employee change form… Leveraging Adobe LiveCycle and our Form Guide technology I’ll be designing a guided process that will interview the HR person or people manager responsible for filling out the form. Thinking about the process of capturing information as people centered rather than process centered offers a number of areas to innovate.

One of those areas is showing the employee(s) photos involved in the process. That may seem unnecessary but since we already have employee photos available to us internally (leveraging Scene 7 but I’ll save that for another blog post…) we can show the employee’s photo. Its a small thing but it helps personalize the experience and keep people focused on the human element of the process.

We did this in our IT Service Desk AIR application. That application features chat to enable employees to resolve computer problems resolved without picking up the phone. We put the photo of the both people in the chat window to help people on both sides of the conversation keep focused on the people behind the text.

We added employee photos for our recent performance appraisal. Having the employees photo shown on the form guide helps to keep folks centered on the people side of the process.

Another aspect in addition to an interview style is to provide help when help is needed. Since Adobe LiveCycle Form Guides break a form up into a series of screens with questions or form fields we have an opportunity to include relevant help at every step of the way.

In future blog posts I’ll update you on our design and how Adobe LiveCycle form guides help drive employee satisfaction and lower support costs.