See the Flash Platform in Action

Companies often turn to the Adobe Flash Platform to solve business problems. From data visualization to customer self service, here are some great rich Internet applications (RIAs) developed by Universal Mind that executed business ideas to make them a reality. Built with Adobe Flash Platform technologies like AIR and Flash Builder and integrating Creative Suite tools, check these RIAs from Kodak, SpatialKey and SchoolVIEW to see what’s possible and learn about the ease of cross-platform app development!

Watch how Universal Mind used Adobe Flash Platform technologies to build the Photo Book app for Kodak, helping them offer a profitable online service allowing customers to easily create their own Photo Books to share “Kodak Moments.”

 

See how SpatialKey uses Adobe Flash Platform technologies to create a flexible tool for enterprises that rely on large location-based data to better present timely information for better decision making.

 

Learn how SchoolVIEW by Universal Mind used Adobe Flash Platform technologies to enable the Colorado Department of Education to present student and school achievement data to help administrators, parents and government funders make better decisions regarding education, creating a uniform approach to student educational achievement.

Windows Mobile 7 Series

Calling all Silverlight developers.

If you are a .NET developer today your skills and much of your code will move forward. If you are Silverlight or XNA developer today you’re gonna be really happy.

I am shit-hot excited about Windows Mobile 7 Series. I think it looks great, I love the design elements from the latest Zune software (something I also really like). And I think what seems to be their developer strategy is awesome. Take expressive platforms like Silverlight and XNA and bake them right into the DNA of the phone. The result is going to be some really slick looking applications.

I also used to talk a bit about a diversion in the strategies for Flash and Silverlight. Obviously they’re still competitors, but if the Silverlight experience on WinMo 7 is application based, I think it does represent a big difference in how Silverlight and Flash are approaching the mobile space. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong, just different strategies based on the two companies strengths. But in the end, I have a lot of faith that the Silverlight designers and developers I know are going to help build an ecosystem around Windows Mobile 7 Series that will look next-gen.

Plus, with guys like Anand Iyer shifting focus to WinMo, it’s clear it’s a very important part of the strategy for Microsoft.

Adobe is hiring a RIA / Flex Architect – interested?

Adobe is looking for a talented and highly motivated Architect or Technical lead to help deliver the next generation presentation services (composite RIA, Mashups and client architecture). A successful candidate will have a proven track record as a client side architect on enterprise applications and RIA frameworks. We are looking for bright, motivated individuals to [...]

Flex and The Cloud

The combination of Flex and The Cloud is quickly becoming an IT and paradigm changing combination. Here are a number of recently published resources for learning more about this :

An article I wrote has been published on the online Flash & Flex Developer’s Magazine: Flex and The Cloud: Is this really just Client/Server 2.0?
I’ll [...]

RIA Architectures: An Exclusive Interview with Adobe's Duane Nickull

DZone recently caught up with me to discuss RIA’s Web 2.0 and SOA as well as other trends in enterrise architecture. In this interview, recorded at Adobe MAX 2009, we revisit the notion of ‘Web 2.0′ and discuss the architectural patterns behind it in the context of the O’Reilly book “Web 2.0 Architectures”. We also discuss some of the new architectural and human interaction patterns that are shaping the way in which we build Web applications today as well as some of the new Flash authoring tools for the iPhone, the Open Screen Project, as well as the impact HTML 5 will have on Flash adoption.

The complete transcript of the interview has been provided here.

Adobe and Salesforce.com Unite RIA and The Cloud

The two major trends transforming software right now are Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and Cloud Computing / Software as a Service (SaaS or PaaS). These trends are driven by two needs:

Full client capabilities which allow software to perform optimally and increase usability

Easy deployment which allows developers to focus on business needs instead of building [...]

Introducing “Contextual Applications”

We did a soft launch with some information of a concept that Adrian Ludwig and some of the other brain-trust folks at Adobe came up with recently called Contextual Applications. I have absolutely fallen in love with this term (and I had nothing to do with thinking of it). In a lot of ways I think this is RIA 2.0. One of the problems with RIA was that it had a grossly vague definition. It was kind of a Frankenstein combination of a desktop-like user experience, better design, real-time communication, rich media, and Web 2.0 ideals. In the end, RIA encompassed almost everything; Ajax, Flash, Silverlight, Adobe AIR, WPF, etc. That’s not a bad thing but it became hard to distinguish the value of RIAs because everyone could claim they were doing “RIA stuff”. The important thing is that we made a lot of progress with RIA and changed how people thought about software development.

Defining Contextual Applications

Contextual applications are a lot more concrete and have a better value proposition for both end-user and developer. It isn’t defined by a particular technology but instead a particular type of experience. So what is it? The idea is fairly simple. You’ve got a core set of data and a core experience that you have to deliver. But in today’s web there are multiple “touch points” out there. What about mobile? The desktop? A browser experience? A widget? An experience specific for social networking? Maybe a television? Users expect to have their content everywhere, on demand, regardless of how they’re connecting to it. The user experience and design challenge is creating a unified brand and experience that leverages the same content and is tailored to the specific technology limitations of a particular “touch point”. Solving that challenge will give you a contextual application. An application that moves with the user across a number of screens/devices while maintaining content and a user experience that is consistent but unique to each device.

Finetune: The Ultimate Contextual Application

The Contextual applications site has a number of examples but my favorite is definitely Finetune. They are a great example of one of the earliest contextual applications. They started out with a web-based application. Then, with the benefits of the desktop they created an AIR application that had native windows and used the file-system capabilities of AIR to tie into the iTunes library and pull artists that were interesting to the user; using the technological features of the underlying touch point to customize the experience. Then they were interested in deploying a version of the Wii so they created a Wii-specific browser application that ran on the Flash Player in the Wii and maintained the Finetune branding. Then of course mobile was a big demand. So they built to mobile applications; a Flash Lite app that reused a lot of code and still maintained the Finetune experience but customized for the small screen. They also built an iPhone app with touch support that captured the experience of the iPhone while maintaining that core Finetune interface.

To me, the Flash Platform stands alone at being able to let developers and designers easily deploy contextual applications. With so many different operating systems and screens supported, it becomes easy to reuse the tools and workflows to create applications that are tailored for those screens while maintaing a sense of continuity. And think about the server infrastructure. Are you using FMS to stream Flash Video content? That content will be supported everywhere the Flash Player is so you can quickly jump between screens and be sure that your base content, the most important thing, is completely in tact. It lets you design around your content and maintain that emotional branded connection with your users.

Ultimately it is about productivity. The number of touch points is only increasing and to be able to deploy on as many of them as possible you need to be able to reuse code, design assets, and workflows as quickly as possible. The Flash Platform gives you the broadest reach with a large community of designers and developers who are skilled with the tools. Ultimately that means you’ll be able to create contextual applications quickly and reach your users wherever they are. That’s why I’m so excited about this concept: ultimately it gives the user more control.