World Cup visualizations powered by Flash

You’re probably not going to believe me when I tell you that this post has been sitting in my draft folder for a while. Especially so now that Mashable actually beat me to it. But it’s true… Honestly ;-) Anyway… It doesn’t really matter since this is just cool stuff that needs to be shown. [...]

Adobe AIR2 Launch – Helisso Source

To celebrate the launch of AIR2 for Mac, Windows and Linux in this blog post I am providing the full source and build chain for Helisso.  In case you missed the blog post…

Helisso is a packaging tool that allows you to package your AS2 Flash applications that target Flash Lite.  Under the hood Helisso uses a combination of Python compiled binaries, OpenSSL and an AS3 based cab packager written by our engineering team.

In the source you are going to find a huge swathe of code, everything from the Symbian stub applications source to the template Windows application and Python sources.  Prepare to be blown away by the amount of work that went into this :-)

What is it?

  • A packaging utility that can produce SIS packages for S60 devices
  • This new version supports Windows Mobile 5/6 devices
  • It targets the Flash Lite 3.x runtime
  • It runs on Windows and Mac OS, all versions

AIR2

Helisso would not have been possible without AIR2, for the simple reason that the time investment in creating two separate applications would have been too great.  Ask yourself, how many examples of SIS or CAB packaging have you seen on Mac OS?  (clue: none!)

Within the application source you’ll discover a class called PackagerService that makes use of the AIR2 NativeProcess API.  This is a HUGE boon for development on platforms using native code, for the first time with AIR it’s possible to make use of applications and services running natively on the OS.

In the case of Helisso, we use NativeProcess to run the Python compile binary Wrap.app and Wrap.exe.  Although in the case of the Mac we use a simple script called doWrap.sh, which has the wonderful task of ensuring that we use the correct version of Python on the Mac.  So this will be a particular point of interest for the Python developers among you.

Flash Catalyst

At the time that I began work on the user interface we were testing Flash Catalyst CS5, so I thought it appropriate to use this for my project.  I began the work in Fireworks CS5 and then moved to Photoshop CS5 for some optimization and to generate the PSD.

From there I was able to produce the simple UI and skin my very first Flex 4 application.  If you haven’t tried this then I cannot recommend it enough, the process is ridiculously simple and you can get started in no time.

You can learn more about Flash Catalyst over here.

Flash Builder 4

Using Catalyst it’s possible to produce skins and define the user experience and interface for your Flex 4 applications.  Flash Catalyst will write A LOT of code for you, but to really get the most out of the Flash Platform you should know a bit of Actionscript 3.

Flash Builder 4 is now a CS5 product, and its the second step to working with Flash Catalyst, allowing me to add all of the backend code.  I merely had to import the FXP file from Catalyst and I was all set after moving a few items around.  There were some minor issues with the actual display of fonts at the time, all of which are now fixed in this latest version.

From there I added quite a bit of code to handle the various buttons presses, error events and used our corporate “Adobe Clean” font.  So that way it actually looks consistent on Windows and Mac – as well as appearing like an Adobe application.

Oppian

I must also acknowledge the efforts of Steve Hartley at Oppian who worked tirelessly on this project.  Many of you have noticed the “much faster SIS package installations” and various other super-tweaks applied to make the end-user experience amazing.

End User Installation

Helisso Source Installation

Unzip Helisso source
Unzip the Flex4/AIR2 SDK

Place the Flex/AIR SDK into the helisso\SDK\ folder so that it looks like this..

Add this SDK to Flash Builder preferences, it should look like this…

Mac users are now all setup because Python and OpenSSL are baked into the OS. Windows users need to install Python and OpenSSL separately, so follow closely :-)

Python
The installer is located in Helisso\tools\build\pc\installs\python-2.6.4.msi
Run this installer and use the default settings

OpenSSL
Unzip the file Helisso\tools\build\pc\installs\openssl-0.9.8h-1-bin.zip
Rename the folder to OpenSSL and move it to a root folder, you might want to put it in the same location as Python

Add Python and OpenSSL to the Path variable
Check out this video that shows you how to add an Environment variable and find the Environment variables dialog (watch carefully)
You merely have to add C:\Python24;C:\OpenSSL\bin to the end of the string

I hope you enjoy looking at the code and playing with all of these Flash Platform tools.  Let me know if you have any questions regarding Helisso and about your AIR 2 projects and ideas.

Mark

Adobe Flash Platform Summit 2010 – Bangalore, India

Last year I had the pleasure of speaking at Adobe’s Dev Summit in Bangalore, India. Over 1000 people attended the event and it was an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget. This year the event is going to be even bigger and better.

The Flash Platform Summit is now a 2 day event with over [...]

5 Flash applications that will blow your mind

Yell.com Maps
“A 3D map? We’ve seen that before!” Trust me… This is 3D mapping like you’ve never seen before! It’s hard to explain when you look at this static image so just check it out yourself! Hat tip to Jerome who posted this in a comment on my blog.

UJam
I already blogged about UJam earlier but they’ve [...]

The Flash Platform is fueling innovation

Flash has been fueling innovation since the day it was first released. When Flash first arrived on the web it opened up a whole new world for web designers. It literally lit up the web by adding the ability to create rich and engaging experiences on the web. Flash has evolved (and continues to evolve) with every [...]

Cannes Lions widget powered by Adobe and Influxis

The Cannes Lions Festival is only a few weeks away now. The Cannes Lions Festival is a global festival for those working in advertising and related fields. Thousands of delegates from around the world attend the festival to view shortlisted work and attend seminars, workshops and master classes (via Wikipedia).
Adobe is planning lots of seminars and [...]

Flash Platform at Google I/O Recap

Google I/O 2010 was a really great event for the Flash Platform team worth summing up in a final post:

There has been strong developer enthusiasm around Flash Player and AIR for Android devices, and this is just the beginning – in the months ahead we’ll see many of our Open Screen Project partners start launching new devices with Flash technology. As you start digging into the newest tools, such as Flash Builder and Flash Professional CS5 , we can’t wait to see what you deliver next across desktops, mobile phones, televisions, and other consumer electronics.

Check out this video – various highlights from the event taken by our own David Schmidt with his Flip. Flash Player 10.1 and AIR developer beta SDK demos, and of course some thoughts from developers and the good people at Google who put on a great event.

Android week: The Web and TV marriage: Google TV

A few years ago I used to work for Belgians biggest commercial broadcaster. In my last year there (now 7 years ago) I investigated interactive TV. I was pretty disappointed to see what was available at that time. Almost 5 years ago my local cable operator (Telenet) launched interactive digital TV in Belgium and I was [...]

Flash Player 10.1 on Google TV

Adobe and Google are working closely together on a number of different efforts including support for Flash Player 10.1 and AIR across various platforms and devices. One of these new platforms is Google TV, Google’s new Android based platform that brings the power of the web in to the living room. Google TV includes Flash Player 10.1 integrated directly into the Google Chrome browser delivering the full Web to consumers on their television sets. The digital home is a huge step for Flash and it represents an amazing new screen for developers and content creators to bring rich interactive content to the TV.

With support for Flash Player 10.1, Google TV customers have access to the full web. This includes the approximately 75% of online videos and web games that use Flash, the vast numbers of rich Internet applications, and content across social networks. Flash Player 10.1 will support hardware-accelerated video playback and deliver smooth, HD (1080p) quality video on Google TV devices. We’re excited that having Flash Player 10.1 as a key part of Google TV will enable an additional screen for the more than 3 million Flash developers to create content for.

We are seeing widespread interest from our partners in the digital home space and we are working closely with them to include support for Flash. Today, consumers can experience rich Flash-based applications, content and user interfaces in televisions, set-top boxes, and Blu-ray players from Samsung, Vizio, Haier, BestBuy Insignia, and Tivo. Game consoles such as Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 also feature Flash technology.

Want to see it in action? Check out this video we shot on site at the Googleplex showing Flash Player running on Google TV.

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For more information on how to optimize your
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