2010 RIA Conferences List

Adrian Parr has a really great list of the 2010 RIA-themed conferences that have been announced. I’m hoping (and assuming) that he’ll be adding to this list as more conferences get added. There are a few on that list that I’ll know I’ll be attending (and a couple I need to check on) and I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone. Hopefully Adrian will add MAX 2010 to this list when we announce the dates (hopefully) after this year.

Thanks for the list Adrian!

Google Wave Pisses Me Off

The hyptasticness that is Google Wave continues to annoy me as a Flash developer and RIA enthusiast. Now I preface all of this by admitting that I haven’t used it; maybe when I get an invite this thing will be worth all of the finger grease that keyboards have endured as people talk about it. And I’m not saying it’s not impressive; it is. It’s a great demo, it does some very cool stuff. I’m not annoyed at Google Wave, I’m annoyed because everything that people like about that demo was doable 3-5 years ago with Flash. Flash Remoting, Flash Communication Server, and our much better user interface capabilities pretty much could have created Google Wave. Now I understand that there’s some excitement because this is built on open standards with a more open model, but people don’t get excited about standards- they get exited about vision. And that’s what kills me.

I don’t care if you’re a Silverlight developer or a Flash developer; the technology platform you’ve got is years ahead of what Google Wave is built on. Yet with all of our UI prowess, our design sense, and our pure and simple technical superiority with things like real time communication and scalability we haven’t built very much that captures people’s imaginations the way that Google Wave has. I think we lack the vision.

I think it could be argued that in some cases we’re TOO visionary. If someone had actually built Google Wave 3-5 years ago it wouldn’t have made the same impact because people wouldn’t have realized what it meant. In the RIA world we live in the bubble of the future. I genuinely think that most of us look 3-5 years ahead because that’s where our technology puts us. When people don’t get what we’re trying to pitch we just move on to the next thing. Look at Augmented Reality. Possible with Flash for a couple of years now but it’s just starting to get some main stream attention. RIA developers seem permanently entrenched in the Technology Trigger of the Hype Cycle and we don’t seem to be able to follow things through to the Plateau of Productivity.

Part of the Wave hypefest is probably because of the world’s love/hate relationship with Google. When they do something everyone goes nuts and that’s because they really do have the power to change the web. They did it once, they’re big, they’re smart, they can do it again. But there are a lot of smart people in the RIA world. Big companies like Microsoft and Adobe and small ones like Aviary and Picnik. We just don’t seem to encourage the visionary demos, the ones that make people rethink how they’ll communicate and interact. I don’t know if that has to come from the big companies directly or whether it’s something we can encourage startups to do. We don’t have a technology problem; if that was all it took we’d be cranking out Wave-esque demos all the time. We just don’t seem to be able to look at the entire scope of what we’ve been doing for the past couple of years and put it together in a game changing way.

I don’t have a solution, but if you’ve got suggestions, I’m all ears.

Sonoflash – Easily Add Sound To Your Flash Apps

I’m a huge fan of using sound in RIAs. I think that having audio cues is just as important as visual cues and that a click sound, or a subtle noise when you interact with an application makes for a much more usable experience. Unfortunately it can be kind of a pain to add those kinds of sounds to Flash applications. In general you have to go hunt down royalty free sounds and use MP3 files in your application which can add a bit more size to an application than some people want. We made some changes to the sound APIs in Flash Player 10 that let you generate sounds and while I was in Singapore I talked to the guys from Sonoflash who have a really great solution.

You can download a series of libraries from them which are all different soundscapes and have different themes. Add one or more of those SWC files to your application and then you can just call the sounds with some simple ActionScript code. All of the sounds are generated by AS3 an so take up a lot less weight than having to deal with MP3s. It also means you can tweak the sounds on the fly and use the APIs to modify the pitch, frequency, or other variables when you call it. I did a video with them in which they show off some examples and how to use it.

Sonoflash; from Ryan Stewart on Vimeo.

Flash Catalyst best practices article published

An article I wrote on Flash Catalyst best practices for the Adobe Developer Connection site went live yesterday.

Flash Catalyst and Flash BuilderOne of the things I’ve found with Flash Catalyst is that the quality and usefulness of the assets and component skins that you’ll make available for the developers you are working with can vary depending upon how you’ve organized your project, as can the amount of rework and restructuring required on their part when they receive your FXP file. By thinking about naming, structure and being organized throughout the design phase of the project, you’ll help to ensure a smooth flow of assets from design into development.

If you’re considering using Flash Catalyst for creating the user interface for a rich Internet application then I hope the hints and tips shared in the article will help you to make the most from Flash Catalyst and ensure that you’re structuring your projects with the eventual output to the developer in mind.

The article is posted here.

If you have any feedback on the article or additional hints & tips then please do share them using the comments.

Webcast recording: Transcending the Client Experience

Last month I mentioned a webcast featuring a discussion relating to Morgan Stanley’s use of Flex for their “Matrix” rich Internet application. It took longer than I’d have liked, but I finally got access to a recording of the webcast and am pleased to make it available here for playback.

Participants in this hour and a quarter long session discuss how developers at financial firms use rich Internet application technologies to integrate real-time data, with the delivery of audio, video, reports and rich interactive charts to trading applications.

Panel participants were: Hishaam Mufti-Bey (Matrix founder and global director at Morgan Stanley), Stephane Malrait (Global Head of eCommerce at Societe Generale), Mark Greenaway (Adobe), Trevor LaFleche (Senior Analyst at Financial Insights). Moderator was: Vivake Gupta, Managing Director, Lab49

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For a quick summary of the key points and some interesting commentary as to why Morgan Stanley chose Flex over Silverlight check out Tim Anderson’s blog entry and the comments.

Upcoming webcast featuring Morgan Stanley “Matrix” RIA

If my earlier post regarding the Morgan Stanley Matrix application was of interest then I’d recommend that you sign-up for a free webcast entitled “Transcending the client experience” which is being hosted by Finextra and Adobe next Monday.

The 75 minute long session will look at how developers at financial firms integrate real-time data, with the delivery of audio, video, reports and rich interactive charts into trading applications.

The Global Director at Morgan Stanley responsible for the Matrix application will be presenting and taking part in the panel discussion (alongside representatives from Lab49, Adobe, Societe Generale and Credit Suisse) so it will be a good opportunity to learn more about the Matrix project and the experience they gained from implementing a large-scale RIA with Adobe’s Flash Platform.

More details about the event, which takes place on Monday 27th July at 2pm (UK), are available here (note: you need to register for this session).

Flash Platform Tools presentation – videos from UK launch

Last Friday I delivered a pre-launch briefing to UK journalists on today’s announcements around new Flash Platform tooling, specifically the beta release of Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder. In addition, we invited web design and development agency howard/baines to talk about their experiences using the pre-beta version of the tools to create a rich Internet application. Both these sessions were recorded, so I thought I’d post them here.

The first video provides a high level overview of Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder, followed by a demonstration of building the Employee Directory application – this might be useful if you’re looking to get up to speed on the announcements and want to see the designer/developer workflow between the tools in action:

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In the second video, Clive Howard and Jeremy Baines talk about the communication challenges normally faced when working on a project and how, using Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder, they were able to rapidly prototype and build a rich Internet application deployed to Flash Player.

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Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst betas now on Labs

builder_catalyst.pngToday, we announced that the first public beta releases of Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder (previously known as Flex Builder) are available on Adobe Labs.

“Design in Mind” was one of the core themes for this release, and these tools, together with the updated Flex 4 SDK, deliver on that to make it easier than ever create high fidelity, rich Internet applications that target the Flash Platform.

We’ve published a lot of information to help you get started with these beta releases and hope that you’ll have an opportunity to give us your feedback in the forums, so that the final releases of Flash Builder and Flex 4 SDK, due later this year, are ready for prime time.

For information on what’s new, check out the following articles:

For more articles, tutorials and videos head to the Adobe Developer Connection site.