Helisso – A Packager for Symbian devices

As some of you know, learning about AIR, AS3, Flex, Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder has been my side-project for a few months now.  As I mentioned in a previous post, it is essential to prepare for the future and invest now in learning new skills.

For me, the best way to learn new things is to create a project that’s difficult, yet cool enough to keep you interested.  So my first few steps revolved around learning how to use Fireworks, then Flash Catalyst, Flash Builder and ultimately distribute an application using Adobe AIR.

AIR 2.0

One of the amazing new features of AIR 2.0 is the ability to embed and execute native code from right inside Actionscript, an API called NativeProcess.  This means that you can safely run existing services over the command line, as well as install your own native service components.  AIR 2.0 is in beta right now on Adobe Labs, and is mobile ready as designed so it’s a great time to get started.

So what would a Platform Evangelist for mobile and devices create?

Introducing Helisso

What is it?

  • A packaging utility that can produce SIS packages for Symbian devices
  • It targets the Flash Lite 3.x runtime for Nokia’s S60 devices
  • It runs on PC and Mac OS, all versions

Details

  • The tool has embedded Python binaries inside, compiled versions of “Ensymble
  • For signing purposes the tool also includes OpenSSL for certificate signing
  • It is unsupported and without warranty

How do I use it?

  • A tutorial from Ms. Myers, reigning packaging queen, is here.

Where can I get it?

I have been hugely impressed with the capabilities provided by AIR, in this only my first AS3 project.  Looking back on all of the technologies that I have used has really got me excited about AIR applications on Android, and even sprouted a few iPhone applications in advance of that.  Seriously, imagine having all of the power of AIR and this toolchain on mobile phones?

Lastly, a big shout out to Steve Hartley of Oppian, Jussi Ylänen creator of Ensymble, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible.

Distributable Player Beta ends

As many of you heard in my recent e-seminar we have decided to stop work on the Distributable Player beta.

We didn’t take this decision lightly, and as many of you know this product has been my focus for a long time, so I’m a little sad to see it go. However in light of our new strategic direction here at Adobe, it is time to focus all of our attention on the goals of Open Screen Project, specifically with Flash Player 10.1.

The goals of the product were to:

  • Enable the distribution of Flash Lite 3.1
  • To open up opportunities for application distribution on S60/WM devices
  • Provide a consistent platform for development as we work on Flash Player 10.1 and AIR

The solution was a success in many ways, we have had 135,000 downloads of the Mobile Packager to date. We learned a huge amount in building a complex tool and provided a footing for many of you to create mobile applications for the first time. My personal measure of success was that tens of thousands of developers and designers who were able to target mobile platforms for the first time, not to mention the great applications that were created.

Admittedly in some ways the product didn’t quite hit the mark, and we learned a lot from that. In fact the reasons that led us to create the Distributable Player now play a core part of the plan with our Open Screen Project partners. We are each playing a part to drive consistency, establish update mechanisms and enable wide distribution. Nokia has already established an OTA update mechanism for the Flash runtime, which is a great example of their commitment to the community.

Finally, some of you have asked for some guidance on applications that you had planned to launch. As you would expect we don’t intend to simply shut down the delivery mechanisms, so don’t panic.

What will happen to the product now:

  • The server solution for device detection and player downloads will remain in place for 1 year (active until November 30, 2010).
  • The Mobile Packager tool will be removed from Adobe Labs
  • Our Labs pages and discussion Forum will be removed
  • I will of course be working with some of you to enable your upcoming launches as planned

What Next?
Over the summer I have been learning all about Actionscript 3, creating my first AIR application with Flash Builder. My first application was to create a desktop interface for SWFPack.com , and a Mobile phone projector based on demofone.com for my presentations.

Additionally in the past few weeks I have also began work on my first iPhone application built with Flash Professional CS5. It’s an application that I hope we can all contribute to in time with video tutorials called “Flash Training for devices”. The first set of videos will come from Dale’s fantastic video series over on vimeo.com/adobeflashlite .

As we move through the quiet holiday period I would suggest investing in some AS3 books and training, or catching up on the Flash Player 10, Flex and AIR content available at tv.adobe.com . Investing your time now is a great way to ensure that you’re not left behind.

My best advice is the same that I follow myself:

  • Set yourself achievable goals for learning this new language
  • Create a sample project, one that you can get excited about and share
  • Keep communicating your thoughts and experiences, we can all learn together

Here are some sneaks from my sample app to get you warmed up:

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 19.18.22Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 19.19.37

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at 19.19.56

Adobe Mobile Packager reaches 100,000 users!

picture-21

Some great news on the mobile packager, we finally passed the 100,000 users mark yesterday as shown here on the magic “Dashboard”.  This is really good news and shows that we’ve managed to reach to more developers than ever with the tool.

Interestingly enough I’m also seeing recently spikes for the Flash Lite downloads too, which would indicate that applications are finally reaching users :-)

Note:  The orange line shows the attempted downloads, a few of which may be failures totalling 170,623 (which includes the 100,000 successful downloads).  My take on it is that these are Mac users cancelling after they discover that the Mobile Packager is Windows XP only :-(

Screen shot 2009-09-03 at 00.09.33

Distributable Player Expansion – 45 Countries

This application is created by interactive maps. You can also have your visited countries map on your site. If you see this message, you need to upgrade your flash player.

// <![CDATA[
var so = new SWFObject("http://www.interactivemaps.org/visited_countries/visited_countries.swf", "visitedcountries", 650, 400, "7", "#000000");
addLocation('ZA', '', '', ''); //South Africa
addLocation('CN', '', '', ''); //China
addLocation('IN', '', '', ''); //India
addLocation('ID', '', '', ''); //Indonesia
addLocation('JP', '', '', ''); //Japan
addLocation('PH', '', '', ''); //Philippines
addLocation('SG', '', '', ''); //Singapore
addLocation('KR', '', '', ''); //South Korea
addLocation('TW', '', '', ''); //Taiwan
addLocation('AU', '', '', ''); //Australia
addLocation('AT', '', '', ''); //Austria
addLocation('BE', '', '', ''); //Belgium
addLocation('DK', '', '', ''); //Denmark
addLocation('FI', '', '', ''); //Finland
addLocation('FR', '', '', ''); //France
addLocation('DE', '', '', ''); //Germany
addLocation('GR', '', '', ''); //Greece
addLocation('IE', '', '', ''); //Ireland
addLocation('IT', '', '', ''); //Italy
addLocation('NL', '', '', ''); //Netherlands
addLocation('PT', '', '', ''); //Portugal
addLocation('RU', '', '', ''); //Russia
addLocation('ES', '', '', ''); //Spain
addLocation('SE', '', '', ''); //Sweden
addLocation('CH', '', '', ''); //Switzerland
addLocation('UK', '', '', ''); //United Kingdom
addLocation('TR', '', '', ''); //Turkey
addLocation('CA', '', '', ''); //Canada
addLocation('US', '', '', ''); //United States
addLocation('BR', '', '', ''); //Brazil
addLocation('MY', '', '', ''); //Malaysia
addLocation('CR', '', '', ''); //Costa Rica
addLocation('PA', '', '', ''); //Panama
addLocation('CZ', '', '', ''); //Czech republic
addLocation('NO', '', '', ''); //Norway
addLocation('PL', '', '', ''); //Poland
addLocation('RO', '', '', ''); //Romania
addLocation('IL', '', '', ''); //Israel
addLocation('KW', '', '', ''); //Kuwait
addLocation('SA', '', '', ''); //Saudi Arabia
addLocation('AE', '', '', ''); //United Arab Emirates
addLocation('MX', '', '', ''); //Mexico
addLocation('AR', '', '', ''); //Argentina
addLocation('CO', '', '', ''); //Colombia
addLocation('PE', '', '', ''); //Peru
addToFlash();
so.addVariable("stageWidth", 650);
so.addVariable("stageHeight", 450);
so.addVariable("infoOver", "enabled");
so.addVariable("zoomFunction", "checked");
so.addVariable("bgColor", "666666");
so.addVariable("visitedColor", "5EB7DE");
so.addVariable("notVisitedColor", "CDCDCD");
so.addVariable("countryBordersColor", "666666");
so.addVariable("helpTextColor", "000000");
so.addVariable("helpText", "");
so.addParam("scale", "noscale");
so.addParam("salign", "lt");
so.write("visitedcountries");
// ]]>

I’m happy to announce the further expansion of the Distributable Player to a further 15 countries bringing the total to 45 across the world. With the Distributable Player it’s possible to distribute your applications with the latest Flash player optimized for mobile devices, Flash Lite 3.1. This is the same player available on the HTC Hero and Nokia 5800 devices.

The countries are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, UK, United Arab Emirates, USA.

Using the Adobe Mobile Packager 1.1 you can package your SWF files and assets in native installer packages, then distribute them freely from your website or that of your customer. We’ve made it extremely easy to get started and begin to work with mobile devices in advance of Flash Player 10 availability. If you’re interested in developing for Flash Player 10 when it arrives I recommend that you get your feet wet with Flash Lite to build up your knowledge of mobile and devices interaction and optimizations.

You can see some great examples of Flash applications running on mobile devices from the Flash Lite Developer Challenge below!