Watch My Sessions From Flash Camp SF

Advanced Text Layout With Flash CS5
Flash Player 10.1 introduces a full, native multi-touch API that allows you to create some amazing applications. In this session I demonstrate how to build applications using native multi-touch feedback as well as how to use the built-in gesture support for things like scaling and rotating.

Introduction to Multi-Touch in Flash Player 10.1
I give an introduction to some of the new Text Layout features and functionality in Flash CS5.

Lee

Increasing The Code Hint Cache Size In Flash CS5

You may have read my earlier post about needing to not have two many files in your ActionScript source path in Flash CS5. After a certain number of files is reached, Flash will basically abort. This is to prevent Flash from indexing your entire hard drive if you happen to save your file in the top level of your disk (i.e c:\). Now the limit is actually 1000 files by default, but as hardcore Flashers know, sometimes your global AS directory can be much larger. Well luckily there is a way to change this limit. WARNING: do not change this if you are uncomfortable with editing your registry. Also do not change this and then complain that Flash is running slow when you save your FLA into your root directory of your hard drive.

Windows:

  1. Open Regedit and navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Adobe > Flash 11 > Settings
  2. Right+click and choose: ‘New… > DWORD Value’
  3. Rename the key: Project File Cap
  4. Select the key and choose: ‘Modify’
  5. Edit the value as either hex or decimal: 1000
  6. Click OK and restart Flash

Mac:

  1. Open ‘/Users//Library/Preferences/Flash CS5 Preferences’ in Text Edit
  2. Under the section add the following:
    1000
  3. Save the file and restart Flash

What should you set it at? Well if you are good about saving your FLA files into their own folders, then it doesn’t really matter. I would try 5000 and see if that works. You can always change it back. Adobe is working on an official TechNote about this too.

Lee

The XFL File Format Explained

One of the most underrated features of Flash CS5 is the new XFL file format. But there is some confusion out there about what it is and how to use it. This quick post will hopefully clear some of these things up.

The XFL format
The XFL file format is a way to represent a Flash Professional document as an XML-based, open folder of files. See the image below for an example of the XFL folder structure. You will notice that there is a file called DOMDocument.xml. This file is the heart of your project. Inside it you will see all of the information for your document including timelines, actions, motion paths, etc. You can edit this information and your changes will automatically take effect when you launch the file. One handy use for this is doing a search and replace across a large number of Flash documents to change strings or colors without having to go into each one and making the changes.

The new FLA format
As I mentioned before, you can still create an FLA file in Flash CS5 rather than the open XFL folder structure. But this new FLA is simply a zipped up version of that open folder structure. If you change the extension to .zip and then unzip it, you will find the same open structure. The new FLA is not an impenetrable binary black box like its predecessor. If you really want the old FLA, you need to save it as a Flash CS4 FLA.

Saving AS source files
One thing that has been tripping people up is where to put source files in relation to XFL folder structure. It might seem to make the most sense to put your external ActionScript files inside the project folder that is created. So let’s say that I create a new Flash document and save it to the desktop as foo.xfl. Flash will actually then create a folder called foo on the desktop. Inside of that folder is the XFL project file and the other folders that make up the project. But you CANNOT place ActionScript source files inside of this folder. You need to instead save them alongside the top-level folder of your project. So in this example I would save my ActionScript source files onto the desktop next to the foo folder.

Save and Compact?
You may notice that there is no longer an option to save and compact your FLA files. This is because the new FLA format is simply a zipped version of the open XFL structure so the binary compacting is no longer an option.

Update: we do plan on releasing the XML schema for the XFL format to allow others to create and edit the project format themselves. I will look into a time estimate for this.

Lee

Fixing Code Hinting in Flash CS5

I’m sure that most people who frequent this blog have already downloaded the Flash CS5 trial and started playing with it. If not, go over to the Adobe site to get it. One of the coolest new features is custom class introspection in the Actions editor. There is one important thing to be aware of though in order to get things running smoothly. In the screenshot below you will notice that a yellow warning sign appeared in the bottom-right of the panel when I tried to use code hinting. This means that Flash found too many files on the classpath and basically it stopped looking for custom ActionScript files.

Ok so what does all this mean? If you set a source folder in your ActionScript settings, you need to be sure that it is not a top-level folder on your system or any other folder that has a large amount of sub-directories in it. When Flash starts traversing that folder it will only go so far before bailing out. The fix? Just make sure that you point Flash to a dedicated directory of source files and also save your FLA file into its own folder rather than just plopping it onto the desktop. If you do get the little yellow warning, you will have to relaunch Flash in order to fix the issue once you move your files to a more appropriate location.

Lee

New video of iPhone apps built with Flash CS5

Now that the Flash/iPad issue has been done to death on this blog, I can now get back to simply talking about Flash. Adrian Ludwig recently released a video showing some of the newer applications that have been created for the iPhone using Flash CS5. The performance is getting better and better. On this one, Adobe, Apple, and developers all benefit.

Lee

Adobe @ Mobile World Congress 2010: Free Tickets ;-)

“Any Device” , that’s our tag line for this years Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  Given the huge investments with our Open Screen Project partners in 2009/2010, you can imagine that this will be our most important event in the mobile calendar.

The Mobile World Congress is a chance for OEMs, Chipset Vendors, Carriers, Content Providers and Developers to meet up and decide the future of our ecosystem.  For the past two years that I’ve attended we have gone from 400million devices with Flash, to over 1.2Billion and this year will see a massive step change in our strategy with the launch of Flash Player 10.1.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayan will be onsite to talk with our partners, and to discuss key challenges in the mobile and devices ecosystem and how we’re working to solve these issues with our Open Screen Project partnerships.

We’ll be showing Flash Player 10.1 experiences optimized for various devices platforms like Android, Palm and Windows Mobile.  Our booth will be packed with demos of multi-screen contextual experiences, games running across platforms and we’ll be showing off Device Central CS5 too.

With this being such a big event for us, we thought it would be nice for Flash developers to share this event with us.  So if you want to come along on us, and see the whole event for free then send us an email :-)

mwcstaff@adobe.com

For more information and updates then check out our micro-site for the event.

Adobe at Mobile World Congress

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is just around the corner and you can already feel the excitement building.
2010 is going to be an amazing year for Flash developers who want to create mobile applications. Not only did we announce the Flash CS5 iPhone compiler but we’ve already demoed Flash Player 10.1 on a variety of [...]

Flash Platform 2009 – Year in Review – Part 3

In part 1 of the year in review I talked about some of the great applications and content that have been created on top of the Flash Platform. In part 2 I talked about the partnerships and what that has enabled this year. Now I’m going to turn to the tools and technologies from Adobe. When I look back at my own personal history with Flex and the Flash Platform, coming with Flex 1.5 and Flash Player 7, it’s amazing to see the progress we made this year.

The biggest news came at MAX. We provided beta versions of Flash Builder 4, Flash Catalyst, and ColdFusion Builder. Three tools that cover a broad spectrum of RIA development. Flash Builder 4 built on top of our momentum with Flex Builder and introduced a new data-centric development methodology as well as some long-asked for productivity enhancements. Flash Catalyst is a completely new tool that lets designers bring in designs from Photoshop and Illustrator and turn them into working, interactive Flash content without writing any code. And of course ColdFusion Builder provided ColdFusion developers an Eclipse-baesd tool from Adobe that works seamlessly with Flash Builder and lets ColdFusion developers quickly work on ColdFusion and HTML projects. The three tools work together to let designers and developers collaborate around all parts of an RIA project. And the next generation of Flash Professional also got a sneak peak at MAX with the announcement that Flash CS5 will support creation of native iPhone applications.

We also started to lay out our vision for services at Adobe in 2009. Before and during MAX we provided betas and some new information about the Adobe Flash Platform Services. This includes things like LiveCycle Collaboration Services which lets you easily add real-time collaboration components to your Flex and Flash applications. We debuted a Distribution service that lets you track and distribute Flash content across a number of popular properties. There was also the Try/Buy service codenamed “Shibuya” which will help Flash developers directly make money from what they build on the Flash Platform.

Both of our runtimes, AIR and Flash Player, saw beta versions of the next generation. We provided beta access to Adobe AIR 2 which provides developers a lot more access to native functionality as well as adding next-generation HTML support and performance optimizations. Developers had access to a beta of Flash Player 10.1 later in the year which is the first version of Flash Player that is intended for smart phones. Developers got to see how this version of the player would run on the desktop with new memory optimization and support for multi-touch gestures. Flash Player 10.1 will be released for Mac, Windows, Linux, and smart phones like the Palm Pre and Google Android later this year.

Adobe was also busy in the server space. ColdFusion 9 was released this year and it included much deeper support for Flex and AIR applications as well as the ability to tightly integrate with Microsoft Office documents (including SharePoint) and some nice code enhancement for long-time ColdFusion developers.

And finally, this was a big year in openness for the Flash Platform. We’ve worked hard to keep the Flash Platform as open as possible by doing things like open sourcing the Tamarin virtual machine and providing the SWF and AMF specifications in addition to contributing to existing open source projects like the Eclipse foundation. This year we open sourced two new projects, the Open Source Media Framework and the Text Layout Framework. The Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) provided a standard way to create and extend the way video content plays on the Flash Platform. The Text Layout Framework (TLF) brought world-class text capability to the Flash Platform. It included support for right-to-left languages like Hebrew and Arabic and gave developers very detailed control over exactly how text was rendered by the Flash Player. Both technologies are available with all of Adobe’s open source initiatives on http://opensource.adobe.com.

Between the tools, new services, the runtimes, the servers, and our open source efforts, it’s been a big 2009 and we’ve set the stage for a bigger 2010. We can’t wait to see what our community does with these technologies. You are the ones that keep the Flash Platform moving and keep us cutting edge. Thanks for a great year!

What happened to the Flash CS5 beta?

This is obviously a very hot topic right now and many people have been rightfully pissed off by our decision to cancel the public beta. I too am disappointed by the decision as I have been telling audiences for months that it was coming. Based on a lot of the things that I have read over the last day or so I felt I needed to address this topic as people are coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories.

Anyone who has worked in software long enough knows that sometimes schedules and priorities change over the course of a project, and that is all that has happened here. This is not some sign that the current build is too unstable or lacking in quality. In fact I have found the current builds to be very solid. The real problem deals with the immense amount of extra work that comes from managing a public beta. There is way more that goes into it besides just posting a build up on labs. The decision was made to cancel the beta because the team needs to focus their entire attention on putting out an awesome release, on time, with solid stability.

I want to make it clear that the Flash team is painfully aware of the stability issues that went out with Flash CS4. Many were fixed with the 10.1 update but there are some that are clearly still there. It is one of their top priorities to put out a release with a lot of great new features AND one that also is extremely reliable.

With all that being said, we said we were going to do it and got everyone extremely excited about it, only to then pull the plug on it. I don’t blame you for being upset but I hope you can understand the reasons for it.

Lee

Native iPhone applications built with Flash – Fail Blog Player Demo

Write once, deploy anywhere. Sounds nice, no? Sadly it’s not really a reality today. The currently available technologies are very fragmented and today there is no technology out there that makes that dream a reality.
I have a strong feeling that is going to change dramatically in 2010. Some will disagree or say that I am [...]