By now, you may have heard that Macromedia announced the Flash
Platform today. What exactly is the Flash Platform? From the Flash
Platform home page:
It’s a lightweight, cross-platform runtime that can be used not just for rich
media, but also for enterprise applications, communications, and mobile applications.
Basically, the Flash Platform is the entire Flash package, from tools to servers
to complete solutions to the Flash Player itself. Yes, the
Flash Platform has technically been around for years, so what exactly are we announcing
today? The Flash Platform has been maturing into the entire end-to-end
solution that we are formally announcing today. With each release of Flash, the Flash
Player, and other tools like Flex (and upcoming Zorn),
we have been piecing together what has become a complete, mature platform for content,
applications, and entire solutions.
Check out the Flash Platform home
page for more information, and in particular, Kevin
Lynch’s white paper.
I have a friend who does PR for XO Communications which owns Concentric hosting.
The other day, he mentioned that Concentric was holding
a contest for Flash designers
with a first place prize of $2,500. No, it’s not enough to retire and live a leisurely
life of video game playing (you’d need several more zeros for that), but it will
get you a heck of a lot closer to that plasma TV you know you want. Here is an
excerpt from the contest
We are looking for movie entries that depict Clustered Hosting and our "don’t
compromise" message in the following ways:
- An intriguing, thought-provoking, potentially humorous, possibly irreverent,
animation for our front page, drawing people in further to our site, our
message, and our products.
- A well thought-out, lucid, easy-to-understand animation explaining the clustered
This isn’t a commercial for Concentric because I have no idea how good they are,
but this is an opportunity to walk away with some pretty serious gadget and toy
money just for doing what you love to do. I will be charging a 10% referral fee
to the winner, by the way. PayPal information forthcoming. 🙂
Go to Amazon.com, and in the "Special Features"
section (left-hand column, near the bottom), you’ll find a link to the Short
Film Competition. It’s actually joint sponsored by Amazon, the Tribeca Film
Festival, and American Express, and the prize for a seven minute or less film in
Macromedia Flash format is no less than $50,000. Here’s some info lifted off their
Welcome, filmmaker! Amazon, the Tribeca Film Festival, and American Express invite
you to premiere your short film to an audience of millions by entering our Short
Film Competition, whose grand prize is an American Express prepaid card in the amount
Through April 13, we’re accepting submissions of films that have a total running
time of no more than 7 minutes and are appropriate for a general audience.
Starting April 18, the films will be presented to Amazon customers, on a random
basis, in the Tribeca Screening Room at Amazon.com. Customers will be invited to
rate the films, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, to determine the five finalists.
At the end of May, the five highest-rated films will each be featured on the Amazon.com
welcome page over five weeks. Amazon.com customers will again be invited to rate
the five finalists to determine the winner.
Any filmmakers out there who could use an extra 50 large?
Click here to get your screen cleaned for free.
It’s amazing to think that Flash can be used for so many diverse things: Rich
Internet Applications, animations, video, printable documents, live presentations with streaming audio
and video, and things like cats licking the inside of your monitor. Yesterday I
Acrobat product tour done in Flash (click "See how Acrobat 7.0 helps you
work together better"). This is a great example of video integration, and a
generally effective and fun experience.
Not sure where I’m going with all this. Just contemplating the coolness of Flash
A few of us (Mike Chambers, Mike Downey, and Danny Dura, primarily) were experimenting with Flash video last night, and it just so happens there was an Xbox and a copy of Star Wars Battlefront lying around the office that were just begging to be experimented with. Mike Chambers is going to post the final results and details of the test sometime today (I’m about to get on a plane, which is why I’m blogging now), but just to give you a preview, we basically found a way to split the audio and video feeds between a plasma and a PowerBook where we recorded the feed with iMovie, then compressed the movie into Flash video. Before that, we played a few rounds while broadcasting live via DevChat and Flash Communication Server. It all worked perfectly as Mike will demonstrate at some point today, and we even managed to crush the rebels in the process. Just imagine the possibilities for the gaming industry!
If you’re curious about the Central 1.5 launch, but don’t have time to read through all the material on the website, you might want to check out the recorded Breeze Live presentation I did a couple of weeks ago. It’s a pretty good summary of the launch, and includes a discussion of the most salient new features, the future direction of Central, and a Q&A session at the end. No reading required, so watch it while you eat, or during your next incredible boring 60 minute meeting.
I usually don’t use Macromedia products as topics for Cool Tool Friday, but I’m going to make an exception this week. Macromedia Central 1.5 (code-named Gemini) is now live. Gemini is still a developer release, which means it is still meant for developers and early adopters rather than widespread end-user adoption, but it has a lot of very cool new features for developers to play with, like:
- File I/O support
- File upload and download support
- Automatic network detection
- Flash MX 2004 extensions to better integrate Flash authoring with Central during development
- Support for Flash Player 7, ActionScript 2.0, and the new component architecture
- Support for instant messaging and presence detection using the AOL AIM and ICQ networks
We’ve also significantly restructured the Central licensing models in ways we’re pretty sure developers will be very happy with (see link below).
To learn more about Gemini and what it means to you, take a look at the article “What is Gemini, and Why Should You Care?” That will give you a good foundation for understanding Central, and where the technology is headed. Here are some other resources you might find useful:
There are tons of resource available on the website, but if you have a question you can’t find an answer to, feel free to ask me.
Now Solaris users can enjoy all the benefits of Flash Player 7 on both Sparc and Intel machines. Solaris users, download the new Flash Player 7 now!
Many of you have noticed that the Central Hotspot Finder is no more, and have been asking where it went. The Hotspot Finder application was based on an agreement which stipulated a one year life-span. This was long enough to allow Central 1.0 early adopters time to get a feel for the application’s functionality and its excellent use of online/offline functionality. Since the agreement has now expired, the Hotspot Finder application has been removed from the Application Finder. We certainly recognize that the Hotspot Finder was a popular application, and we are currently looking into ways in which me might revive it in the future. Some of the features in the upcoming release of Central 1.5 may even inspire some cool new functionality.
I delivered a presentation today to ColdFusion User Group managers via Breeze. It’s basically an introduction to Flash and RIAs for ColdFusion developers. I go through some slides discussing RIAs in general, then dissect a Flash and ColdFusion application line by line. It’s about an hour long, so if you have some time, and you’re curious about Flash and RIAs, check it out.