Archive for December, 2008

AIR 1.5 rocks

Well, it’s sort of old news, but I figured I’d give a quick plug for AIR 1.5 on my blog.
First, this release of AIR supports Flash Player 10, which by itself is a big deal. FP10 includes much goodness: a more robust text engine, enhanced video, some 3D support, and Pixel Bender. The list is too long to do it justice here, check out the FP10 page for details.
Another great new feature for AIR 1.5 is the local database can now be encrypted. Since the Encrypted Local Store is not suited to handle large entries, this is a big win for users wanting to protect locally saved data.
Another thing that gets passed over a bit is the inclusion of Squirrelfish, which comes along with an updated WebKit, which is AIR 1.5’s HTML rendering engine. The WebKit project did some bytecode optimizing and pumped up the JavaScript performance by quite a bit. Even better, this was just a first pass at optimization. Future evolution of Squirrelfish will only get faster!
I know, it’s pretty hard to get excited about JavaScript, right? But considering how AIR 1.5’s support for HTML makes it so easy to port an existing web app into a desktop app, even I’m getting into it. And a lot of my friends are Ajax nerds, so hopefully they’ll start using AIR and I’ll actually have something to talk to them about.
So, get the runtime, check out a few applications, get inspired, crack open the SDK, and get your AIR app built!

Tour de Flex

tourdeflex.png
While at MAX, I learned about the ‘Tour de Flex’ website. I’m excited about the resources that are offered at Flex.org, but the Tour de Flex tool is especially focused and useful.
First, the site allows you to download the Tour de Flex AIR app. This is a tool similar to the Adobe Flex 3 Component Explorer. The Tour de Flex version is expanded, with 200 component examples, covering core components, data access, data visualization, mapping. and many others. Because it is an AIR app, the tool can also demo components and language features only available in AIR. There is also a listing of custom components, effects, skins, and other content created by the community.
One of the features I’m most excited about is the listing of Cloud APIs
cloudapi.png
A few clicks brings up example code for a bunch of online APIs. Viewing how to get started with Ebay, Amazon, or Google Maps is a great way to help an idea get off the ground. Even better, there’s examples for some of the services that Adobe offers, like Acrobat.com and Photoshop.com. Way cool.
The tool also includes a download option, which creates a zip of the source code for the example you choose to download.
Another great feature is the Tour de Flex plugin for Eclipse. With this installed, you can browse the 200 examples from within your IDE. Having an example to look at often makes it easier to implement a component you haven’t used before, or one you haven’t used in a while. With this, there’s no need to go looking around on the web for example code.
Check out the Tour de Flex page for more detail.