Screen Sharing and Recording : August FEATURE TSUNAMI!

This is one of those releases that is so intense during development that you think it will never end. It took us a little bit (4 months since the EXPLOSION release!), but we’re finally ready to open up the floodgates on the latest LiveCycle Collaboration Service features.

The focus for our August TSUNAMI release has been all about responding to our top (at least 1 and 2) feature requests. So, what’s in the box? (Sign up or log in to the Collaboration Service Developer Portal to download the SDK and get to work!)

1. SCREEN SHARING.
Available now. Just as you have components for publishing and subscribing to audio and web cameras, there’s a simple set of new components : ScreenSharePublisher and ScreenShareSubscriber.

We’re exposing the add-in technology used for ConnectNow to allow screen capture – when invoked within the Flash Player, the ScreenSharePublisher pops up an (almost) invisible add-in, which it controls. The publisher (in the regular Player) has a full set of APIs for controlling the add-in, and the experience it quite good. We’re still working on getting the right branding in place for the add-in, and we’re looking at remote-control for a future release, but the standard screensharing features are all there for you to develop with. Viewing a shared screen is a matter of using a ScreenShareSubscriber within the regular Flash Player. As always, we’re releasing early and often, so there’s lots of time to make improvements – if you spot bugs or things you don’t like (or just want to praise us, that’s cool too), the forums are staffed with our fanatical dev team.

2. RECORDING AND PLAYBACK.
Just like it says – record and download, then playback everything that happened in your collaborative session, whether audio, video, or data. We’re playing this one a little closer to the vest, and releasing it as a private beta – we still need to work on stress-testing the service at high loads, so we want to let developers in a little more gradually to help out. If you’d like to join the recording beta – send us a mail with “Recording Beta” in the subject, to LCCS@<the company offering Adobe LCCS>.com.

3. LCCS JAVASCRIPT SDK.
We’ve heard a lot of folks tell us that they’d like to add real-time audio / video to their HTML forms, as well as make the forms collaborative. Our standard question was “so, are you willing to replace all your existing HTML UI with Flash?”, the answer to which was often the sound of crickets chirping sadly in the distance. The JS APIs are nice in that if you need audio/video, put a SWF next to your HTML content, and code the collaborative form by adding simple JS code to your existing HTML. No more rip-and-replace of work you’ve already done!

4. NEW DOMAIN!
Yes, our old domain was confusing. Our new one is just common sense. The developer portal? http://collaboration.adobelivecycle.com. Room URLs? http://collaboration.adobelivecycle.com/<accountName>/<roomName>. No need to worry, all your old domains and URLs will continue working as they always have.

5. NEW LOOK!

Fire-red was so 2009; Icy-blue is the new heat!

LEARN MORE

If you are attending FITC in San Francisco, be sure to check out our session to learn more about these new features, Wednesday, 2:30pm. We’re also thinking of hosting a webinar to demo some of the new goodies – reply in the comments if you’d be interested, so we can see if it’s worth scheduling.

We look forward to seeing some great applications built using these new features, and as always, our forums are open for your questions and feedback.

Learn more about LCCS.
Sign up for a FREE Developer Account, download the SDK, and get to developing.

Video chat for Android in 30 lines of code

An interesting post from Adobe evangelist, Christophe Coenraets, where he creates a video chat application for Android in just 30 lines of configuration code, leveraging Adobe LiveCycle Collaboration Service. Grab the code and read more on his blog here.

Speaking at FITC – Why You Should Go!

I wanted to write a quick post to plug our friends at FITC, a fantastic conference that I’ve had the pleasure of attending and/or speaking at a couple of times now.

The line up for the upcoming SF event is pretty crazy – you’ve got your Natzkes and Nakamuras, your Moocks and Michelles, your Skinners and Subramaniams; for real, it’s pretty much a who’s who of the Flash community spanning the last decade, all packed into a 3-day event in SF. I’ve already decided which talks I’m going to see, and which speakers to stalk.

And hey, me too! I’ll be there to present on the Adobe LiveCycle Collaboration Service (shocking!).

This one should be fun – the tone of FITC lends itself to showing stuff that’s a bit more experimental and cool. Ok, I’m not Keith Peters, but I will say that we’re going to show some pretty crazy, highly requested new functionality for LCCS… This will be the first time we’ll be able to do public demos of it. Expect to be wowed, and to come away ready to build some amazing multi-user apps. Tuesday, August 17. 2:30pm. Be there.

If that weren’t enough, there’s a whole whack of other fine Adobe folks going to be there to get your feedback and answer questions – if you’ve always wanted Ted Patrick‘s autograph, I can’t think of a better venue for getting it.

In summary : If I was you, I’d be buying tickets to this. Early bird pricing ends July 2nd. Also, apparently my name holds great power – use code “npegg” for 10% off.

Webinar : LCCS Ask the “Experts”

professor.jpg Just a quick note that I’m going to be presenting a webinar on the LiveCycle Collaboration Service this Wednesday, May 26th, 12 Noon EST / 9AM PST (2 days from now!). It’ll be an hour with me over Connect, and I’ll be presenting a pretty deep dive on building apps using LCCS; lots of coding and demos, as well as a special focus on best practices when using the service. If you’ve ever considered getting started with P2P audio/video, multi-user capabilities, and real-time social features, this webinar will be a great place to kick-start your development. If you’ve seen me present before, I’ll definitely have some new content – I’ve been building an app lately that’s pretty cool (think LCCS+GAE), and I’ll spend some time dissecting it.

Here’s the description :

The Collaboration service enables developers to easily add real-time collaboration and social capabilities to their applications. The service is implemented as LiveCycle Collaboration Service (LCCS). LCCS provides a hosted infrastructure that lets developers add collaboration capabilities to applications rapidly. Adobe hosts the service so developers don’t have to worry about deployment, maintenance, and scalability. Some examples of applications with collaborative capabilities include social games, customer service applications, e-learning solutions and sports broadcasts. Join Nigel Pegg to learn how to add collaboration to new and existing applications.

Come Join Us – Check the box in the top-left of the page, and click register. It’s free, it’s easy, and who wouldn’t want to spend an hour with me?

Have It Your Way

We’ve always anticipated that our customers may want to graduate from the pay-per-use model to a more high-volume, predictable cost model, or just simply want something that is more customized or conducive to customer needs. Well, we now have more ways to buy LiveCycle Collaboration Service so you can have it your way — here are all the options!

  1. Pay-per-Use via Payment Card: This is already available today, and it’s a easy, low-cost way to get started. It’s perfect for smaller projects or for folks who just want to pay as you go.
  2. Concurrency via a Specialist: This new purchase option is an annual subscription model based on peak concurrent connections — so, no more bandwidth, messages, user minutes. For each concurrent connection you buy, you can consume as much as you need. This model is great for large projects with high-volume usage and for those who need a more predictable cost model. You can simply estimate the concurrency needed from your total customer base. Full-time support coverage and a service level guarantee are also included. For more information on this option, contact a specialist at 888-649-2990 or request a consultation.
  3. Become an OEM Partner: This is an option for those who want to OEM LCCS as it gives you some leeway to structure a more customized agreement. The goal of the program is to work with partners to find a “win-win” model. As an example, a profit sharing arrangement might work here. We’ll need to work with you to understand your business model to better construct an agreement, but if you’d like to go down this path, request to become an OEM partner.
  4. Single-Tenant via ConnectSolutions: This option is perfect for customers that need dedicated hosting (single-tenant) and customized deployments of LCCS. Unlike the multi-tenant model provide by Adobe, you can work with ConnectSolutions to construct a custom Service Level Agreement. For more information, please visit the ConnectSolutions website.

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If you have questions about what this is all about or need helped deciding which model works best for you, please visit us in our forums.

LCCS April Release : Feature Explosion!

Yeah, we know, it’s been quiet round these parts – too quiet. Let’s review – in October, we announced commercial availability of LCCS, which was a pretty big deal, and gave us an excuse to make lots of noise. It also had a downside – we’d literally spent 5 months doing little else but designing a pricing model, working to stand up a pay per use eCommerce implementation, making our usage reporting and quota systems work, and building user account storage that would allow for all these new pieces. Toss in a quick rebranding, and you’ve got a fair swath of time with no significant new features.

As product folks, this kinda bummed us out. There were so many big things we’d wanted to do, new use-cases we knew we could unlock for users, if we could just… get… back… to… work…. Enter : the April LCCS Feature Explosion!

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We decided to set a longer-term release target (5 months, which is RIDICULOUSLY long for us, but factors in the holidays), and chase some bigger whales this time around. Let’s introduce a few of them – as usual, you can download the SDK by logging into the dev portal.

Server-to-Server HTTP APIs – Publish and subscribe to messages from your own server to ours, from the comfort of HTTP. Manage user roles, create and configure nodes – this allows your server to be the OWNER of a room, and enforce business logic over things going on there. Build a chat with profanity filtering or auto-translation, allow your server to be the dealer in a poker game, or subscribe to messages to keep a transcript of a session. This one’s been a long time coming – help us validate that we’ve nailed it!

New Flash Player 10.1 libraries, for unlocking the crazy new P2P APIs in the next player :
:: P2P group data messaging – take any node and configure it to be P2P, and run whiteboards, chat, or other shared models without passing messages through the LCCS service.
:: Audio / Video multicast – great for broadcasting to large groups, this allows the recipients of your A/V streams to help republish those streams, vastly reducing the load on the original publisher, and allowing you to scale to a much higher number of recipients.

Large room support – We know that people want to be able to use LCCS rooms as “lobbies” or landing rooms where they can stay connected to the service in order to receive messages around where to go next. By changing their presence settings, these lobbies can now easily support 5000 users (actually, waaay more, but we’re capping it for now until we’ve finished some other tuning).

Buddy List presence – This goes really well with large lobby rooms. You can easily allow users to declare a list of their “buddies”, who’ll be the only people able to see that user’s presence. If you wanted to build large-scale presence networks, these APIs will do the trick.

Private streams – We’ve made it much, much easier to have publishers decide who in the room they’d like to stream their A/V to. Simply set a list of users on the publisher, and you’re off to the races.

Multiple private message recipients – this one’s been requested forever, and we’re kicking ourselves for not getting to it sooner (sorry Faizan). Simply specify your list of recipients on the message, and it gets delivered to them all.

Cluster-wide support of RTMFP. No more ‘protocol=”rtmfp”‘ needed – if you compile against the player 10 libs, this just happens by default (you can still opt out of course!). In fact, you can REQUIRE that users only come in via RTMFP.

A jillion bugfixes. Thanks so much to everyone on the forums for keeping at us to make things better. We definitely need your help now – start trying the new stuff, and report whatever seems wrong or broken. The next release won’t take 5 months, promise =).

Rosetta Stone TOTALe Case Study

We recently published a case study on Rosetta Stone TOTALe and Rosetta Stone’s use of the Adobe LiveCycle Collaboration Service. Check it out and learn more about some of the reasons and the problems that LCCS helped them tackle.

Money quote from Mike Fulkerson, who is a cool guy by the way and an e-learning guru, “With the integrated voice over IP (VoIP), streaming video, instant messaging, multiuser rooms, and other capabilities in Adobe LiveCycle Collaboration Service, we were able to get TOTALe up and running faster and accelerate our time to market…”

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Continue reading…

Commercial Pricing is Now Available!

Wow — it’s been awhile, but the team has certainly been “running a mile a minute” as of late. But, we’re happy to know that we’ve finally reached the finish line. Today, we’d like to announce the commercial availability of the Adobe LiveCycle Collaboration Service — part of the Adobe Flash Platform Services family.

(Ok, for those who have been following us, you might have noticed a name change. More on that later, but Iet’s focus on the main news here.)

LCCS is available worldwide and can be purchased today with a payment card. For detailed information on our pay-per-use pricing model, please check out the Pricing FAQ.

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With LCCS, developers can easily add real-time, multi-user collaboration and social capabilities into their rich Internet applications. Social games are a common example, but users are increasingly requiring similar real-time interactions in other applications, such as online customer service, e-learning, and more.

For more information about LCCS, including examples and videos, learn more on the Adobe Developer Connection and our forums. Getting started is free, so sign up and give it a try now!

Rosetta Stone announces TOTALe, powered by the Adobe Flash Collaboration Service

It’s a BIG day for the Adobe Flash Collaboration Service!

Today, we can finally take the wraps off a partnership that we’ve forged with Rosetta Stone, who announced TOTALe, an online language-learning platform. With TOTALe, they’ve web-enabled their language courses and created an interactive, engaging learning community using the Adobe Flash Collaboration Service.

You can check out the video below to get a feeling of what it’s like, but I had the opportunity to sit through several hours of the classroom environment (Rosetta Studio) as well as try their social gaming activities (Rosetta World), and was blown away with how rich a social medium an application in the browser could be. Students were whispering to help each other, one was clearly the “class clown” — the classroom and social interactions between the students and teacher really shone through.

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AFCS : Gearing Up for MAX

That special MAX feeling is in the air, and our team is getting ready to jump into the monkey cage yet again. We’re working like crazy on a few different fronts – getting some announcements ready, working with some customers to have them show off what they’ve built, and of course, planning a variety of MAX sessions to help developers learn more about AFCS. Want to do real-time presence, P2P audio/video, file sharing, messaging and synchronization, from the comfort of your own Flex apps, with no need to do your own hosting for it? Here’s a breakdown of sessions we’re planning :

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