Author Archive: Ken Toley

Hope you are ready for a pine forest scented geek-gasm

Well folks,

Flash Forward Seattle is just around the corner.

Yup Adobe is going all out for Flash. As I understand it we will have a stronger presence at Flash forward this year then Macromedia has had traditionally. I think that Flash being the new kid on the block in CS2 has created a lot of excitement and enthusiasm in the upper ranks. Bring you ideas, questions, and your feature requests!

Hope to see ya there.

So I just finished my first shift at MAC World SF and can I just say, WOW what a turn out

This is my first time at MAC World. Normally you will find me at Max or Flash Forward. But this year is pretty important to have our meet and greets to get to know all of the customers from both sides of the fence and my favorite jack of all trades whose best talents straddle it.

I have to say it was a rather huge contrast from predominantly large number of web developers I normally talk with. I got to shake hands with a lot of video professionals and photographers who could not wait to bring their content to the web in Flash.

Normally at the traditionally Macromedia centric conferences I would meet only a few first time users of Flash, often users who just specialized in other in other tools or server products. But at MAC World, I met some surprising number of users who seemed to be just learning about Flash now because now it comes in the web bundle. For some users it seemed that showing just a hand full of the new design features felt a little like opening some your Christmas gifts a day early.

A good number of experienced Flash users had some impressive ideas for new features and feed back on how the Adobe and Macromedia products could work in the future and were overjoyed to see the first of Adobe products available on macromedia labs. (Literoom)

There were even some inquires and buzz about Flash Lite despite the Flash Lite 2.0 beta update only being available on windows.

Before we became Adobe I knew it would open up a world of new opportunities for our technology and our users. However the enthusiasm and the electric atmosphere at MAC World was beyond my expectation so soon after being acquired.

Flash Lite 2 Update!!!!

You hoped. You dreamed, and now it’s finally happened. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Flash Lite 2 Update for Flash Professional 8 is completely LIVE on Labs!

http://labs.macromedia.com

Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

So it’s that time of year and it looks like Adobe got its holiday gift early. Macromedia

So it’s that time of year and it looks like Adobe got its holiday gift early. Macromedia

It’s been a rough ride for most but we will go into next year as a combined company. And since the dust is starting to settle (no snow in San Jose or San Francisco) we can start thinking about some new years resolutions.

Things you would like to see improve in our existing combined products, and maybe new products you would like to see.

But no need to limit it to that; after all I am a support engineer. Many of you guys have experienced forums and support service from both companies. We are going to need your input to help us continue with best of both worlds going forward.

Well I am off.

Happy Holidays, and see you next year!

So you got a gig with Uncle Sam and the first thing he tells you is your Flash App must be 508 , “Accessibility Compliant“?

If you are like some developers you may have never heard of such thing and could be a bit worried about not being able to deliver on your first big gov gig.

If you have had to make web sites 508 compliant and used tools like Bobby http://www.mardiros.net/bobby-accessibility-tool.html to help you make accessible content in the past you still may be scratching your head as to how to do this with Flash.  After all Flash is still well known for its visuals; well don’t fret.  Flash content is 508 compliant if you make use of the accessibility features and after a little bit of reading you will be well on your way.

Continue reading…

I am home from MAX and curious what you guys thought?

On the positive side:

There seems to be a lot of excitement around Flex Builder 2 and the advantage of ActionScript 3 in Flash.
If you have not already, check it out the new stuff on http://labs.macromedia.com/

Continue reading…

Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should. Tip 3:

This may seem obvious to some, but many of the users who contact support are actually trying to do things Flash was never designed for. We have had users who have hacked the ActiveX plug-in, attempted to circumvent security, tried to combine their C++ application Flas in a way that does not work within the limits of the API, and the most common issues are expectations of performance given applications of enormous scale or the application or built with no mindfulness of system resources. (People tend to forget that Flash is a browser plug-in.)

Before you start a project and before you call support do your research and ask yourself, are you trying to make Flash do something it is not designed for?

Continue reading…

Help us help you Tip 2

Troubleshooting applications can difficult for a support enginner when the application is enormous, even if the problem itself is relatively small. Depending on how an application is archetected and the experience of the developer who wrote it a seemingly small issue can have an unintutive root cause. Which leads me to Tip number 2.

Continue reading…

So this is my first post under what I like to think of as my “help us help you� section of the Blog

So this is my first post under what I like to think of as my “help us help you� section of the Blog. A lot of times users contact us at the tail end of a project sweating and fearful of not meeting their deadline praying we can work a miracle. Hate to spoil your hopes and dreams here but the number cases we can work a miracle on a short deadline are few and far between. We have a saying in Support… “test early- test often�. You have to keep a few things in mind before you seek assistance and ask yourself a few questions to help set your expectations. This is the first…

•  Is you code centralized and documented with comments?
If you think undocumented code scattered across dozens of movie clips and nested in dozens of SWFs is hard for you to read and keep track of, it is virtually impossible for someone to follow it who has never seen it before. The scope of support regarding troubling shooting code is very narrow. Technically, if the support engineer can’t determine that a feature is not working as designed, then they are not in a position to open a bug or develop a workaround to the problem. If the problem in your application can not be isolated due to its complexity, the help you are going to need will be closer to consulting then support and well that is just another service all together. (Oh and that service is not free of charge.)

•  Always use best practices when building your applications (its good for you, its good for your support experience; its good for health and wellness by lowering the stress of all who must look at your code *grin*)

•  Always provide a wealth of comments that describe what each method and function is for and when possible how it works and how it relates to the rest of the application (I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a user say, “I forget what this doesâ€? or “I’m not sure how this works but here is what happensâ€?. Big projects can put a strain on memory, that’s what the comments are for; use them.)

•  Be prepared to walk the support engineer through the logic of the entire application (By the way, if you find yourself having difficultly explaining how your application works, you should probably consider that design is too complex, and accept the possibility that if you don’t understand what is working, you can’t hope to figure out what is not working in a brief amount of time.)

A B & C are key to a good a experience with your support engineer. Remember, if you have not encountered a known bug with a known work around, it can take some time to get to the root of your problem. Clean easy to follow code, and a good explanation of the application logic and design can help the first level of support quickly identify you as an experienced developer. It will help the engineer to quickly rule out likely and common causes for the problem and get your incident escalated to the next level of support quickly and in most cases will let the next level of support start where the previous engineer left off and not from the beginning because of a need to verify the known(s) and unknowns of the issue.

I hope that helps your next support experience.

I welcome any comments on your experiences with Macromedia or other companies’ technical support departments.

-Ken

Devleoping Flash for Mobile.. Internet reborn or are we going back to basics?

So lots of folks in the community are saying Mobile and Devices Development is the future. Some even say it will be like having a brand new internet. I have to admit, ideas of being able build Flash applications that can run virtually anywhere is an exciting concept but like all things new, we have a fair way to go before we will have Flash as abundant on cell phones as we do on Web Browsers. I can say development on devices is picking up. Slowly but surely developers are reaching out to support with the same sort of challenges they had when they first started making the transition from Flash animation and “Web Toys� to Flash Applications with advantages over existing technology in the medium. How many of you are developing Flash for Mobile Devices? Perhaps a better question, how many folks think they will probably be developing mobile applications in the next 2-3 years? Where is all this going to go, and what do you need to help you get there?