What features do you want in the next version of Central?

With the release of the developer release of Central, we are turning our sites on the next version. So, what features would you like to see in the next version of Central?

Post your suggestions in the comments (the more detail the better).

58 Responses to What features do you want in the next version of Central?

  1. Fred says:

    Can we stop thinking about next versions for once and get to know the current version ?

  2. David Bisset says:

    Mike, there are ton of comments on centralmx.com that would fit this catagory. Recently, I post a Pet Peeves thread:http://www.centralmx.com/archives/000132.htmlI’ll forward some other posts and comments when I dig them up. Also I’ll post something about this today.

  3. Peldi says:

    Access to the file system. No real application can be built without it IMHO.

  4. Josh Dura says:

    A new, better UI! 🙂

  5. Rick says:

    I agree with Peldi on file system access, the ability to browse and upload files would be incredible.Also really want to see it working on PocketPC.Aside from those two things, it would be nice to see some performance optimization to speed things up a bit.

  6. moby says:

    Full rught mouse button control.(no menu when right click and right click event or something like that).:moby:.

  7. Sam says:

    I would like the ability to build Central apps through MXML and have a centralized Central server compile to SWF and serve up through Central without me having to own Royale. Royale for the masses via Central.

  8. Kevin Hoyt says:

    I’m voting for full Flash Player 7 functionality. I know that Central is currently a 6++ player, but I’d really like to be able to reliably use all the great features of the Flash Player 7 (or at least from the authoring tool – using SWC’s from the DRK’s and/or other developers for example). I’d like to see intrinsic stubs for all the components and the Central API itself, such that I could more easily restrict data-types and have cleaner subclassing (better AS2 support as implied by the Flash Player 7).Also, since I assume Macromedia Flex will produce Flash Player 7 content, I’d potentially like a feature that allows me to build my Central application using Flex. Maybe better aimed at the Flex product group, but this seems like an area the Central team could look ahead to implementing as well.

  9. For corporate clients I would like the ability to brand the Central interface to it can match a corporate identity.Also for corporate clients allow for an app finder for internal applications only. The normal app finder should _not_ be available to this corporate version of Central, or else Central will not be viewed as a serious workplace tool.Allowing applications to be pushed to this corporate Central environment.File system access is also important (already mentioned).

  10. Hans Omli says:

    The largest problem is lack of support for Flash Player 7 (especially the new component model.) Limited file system access is the next priority–limited means some method of uploading a file from the device to a server and download a file from a server to a device (similar to html file input field for upload and save as dialog for download). The upload and download dialogs should be part of Central and NOT available programatically other than results (which file the user selected to upload, that the file has been saved when downloaded). More complete file system access is not a high priority for me due to all of the potential security conflicts.

  11. Adam says:

    An improved API for Printing, but that goes for Flash in general….for example, building and then printing multi-page dynamically generated documents.

  12. dylan says:

    To expand on Derek’s post, which i think is a *great* idea, perhaps it would be great to have two different licensing setups:1) the standard Central, with the app id server centralised by MM. Gives the developer access to the MM try/buy system and app finder.2) A separate piece of software with licensing much like a server or flash remoting, which can be purchased and distributed by a company for intranets. This would not be a subscription, but a one time purchase. This version could be skinned with the company’s logo, and the app ids would reside on their server.

  13. chall3ng3r says:

    1. custom application border (like we do with screenweaver or other projector tools.2. ability to consume less memory resources3. single-click on central consol, currently two windows opens, or there should be a option to open two/one window.4. when consol is opened, and there are more pods, that get out of screen. then central should convert pods into multiple columns.5. provide ability to work applications behind firewalls. (i’ve done this in flashmx/mx2004 with plain socket connection) application like realtime chat/messengers/and things like that.from my point, user can configure proxy/firewall settings in central options. then when application makes socket req to http://www.zxc.com:1024, central should automatically convert this request into provided proxy/firewall request. this option is ideal for developer.but if its not implementable, then central should provide proxy class and methods to connect to remote host directly.central should also provide PLAIN socket connection class. which can directly connect to any type of server, (POP3/SMTP/XML/)www24.brinkster.com/chall3ng3r/flashmx/read all the mails on this url to briefly see the proposed implementation.i’ll post more features later,thnx for reading.

  14. Fernando says:

    System File access, better UI, flash player 7, a more extended set of components, a better way to work with the tab indexes, a separate class file that can be included into our movies so we can test our apps outside the central shell directly from the flash IDE, transparent backgrounds ( this one will be REALLY cool ).Fernando

  15. chall3ng3r says:

    sorry for dual posts, but i forget the main IMPORTANT feature here.upgrade to the DATE Object. its highly recommended bcoz as mMM is more tallkong about enterprose data applications and data is mostly manupulated by date/time. there is no good date object avaiable scince “flash 5”.i think date object have DateDiff, DateAdd, and Date formating using (“MMM-DD-YY”). can accept dates in string formate ie: d = new Date(“12-Jan-2003”).these all things can be done using 10-15KB of code, like current fmx2004 components, but developers know the importance of BUILT-IN things over External scripts. (main diffirence whould be performance)i think its enough :D, i’ll post more later

  16. Tim Brayshaw says:

    Native RSS parsing.

  17. Daniel Dura says:

    Here are a few things I would like to see:1. Better API for making modal ‘windows’ within the application.2. Better agent management, both from a user perspective and programatically (being able to tell when the Agent is running, etc.)3. More events for when the shell is minimized, maximized, loses system focus, etc. This would be helpful if you wanted to create a higher level of notifications on when you know the user has minimized the window, etc. Maybe you dont want to send notifications if the window is open?4. Better development tools, IE, maybe a player that we can install into the flash ide?Thanks,Daniel

  18. Andreas Heim says:

    * multi-threading* more performance, performance monitor (per running SWF)* less memory use, take care of more cleanup automatically, development tools to monitor what’s using performance.* limit CPU use for all three players, then down to individual apps* FP7 support – takes care of context menu, scrollwheel support, additional performance, print jobs, crossdomain access, readable-non-device text, CSS support* local file access – mentioned plenty of times, really needed.* UI: organize apps in folders.* UI: Option to have different sizes of th tool bar not just on/off. e.g. small/large icons, text on/off.* certainly better dev tools overall* Real online detection

  19. A user option to control downloads with a login/parental control of some sort. Think in terms of stations in public places, such as libraries, school rooms, households…

  20. For Mac users, it would be nice to combine the application window and console so they can be closed/reopened together.If I open an app window, I have to hit Cmd+1 to open the console as well.Stop the madness.

  21. Brian Lesser says:

    I’m just going through the Central docs now, but file upload and screen sharing that works with FCS are two that would be at the top of my list.Cheers,-B

  22. Dominick says:

    In addition to the other posts, I would personally like to see more attention to the external abilities of Central. For instance I would like to associate destop shortcut icons to applications. Also allow for the taskbar to handle individual applications as well as have certain applications startup on the initial startup of Central. Maybe even create different layouts so that several applications could be loaded and then the layout be saved. The next time you open that layout, the correct applications would open along with it.

  23. v says:

    Fix the Flash IDE compiler. I can’t build a decent Flash app let alone a decent Central app without it. Wastes too much time.

  24. Peter says:

    For file upload/download/open I’d need to be able to check the size of the file first.

  25. Sean Voisen says:

    I’d like to second Daniel’s vote for good modal window support. Basically, good OS-like control for windowing in general. Most of the apps right now are all built with tabs, but something like an instant messenger might need good window control capabilities to popup messages and the like, not to mention modality. The PopupManager in 2004 is nice, but won’t cut it.I’d also like to second Sam’s vote for combining a Flex server with Central – don’t know what the timeline is for the next version and how it syncs with Flex, but this would be nice.

  26. Sean Voisen says:

    I got so into thinking about Central from a developer perspective that I forgot about the user: I’m not a big fan of the way the dock across the top works. It needs grouping capabilities where maybe each icon represents a group, and clicking on it brings up a menu to select an application from that group. It also needs auto-hiding.

  27. Rahul says:

    Easy to build development enviornement.

  28. Musicmn says:

    central (and FP7) coming soon … to a linux system near you 🙂

  29. ericd says:

    i don’t know how it could be done reliably – but true online status would really help a lot.

  30. Rob Walch says:

    I would like a way to synchronize applications and preferenes between multiple installs of Central on different machines. MAYBE this could be done with a multiuser app that BLASTS the prefs from one user to the other. Or, maybe I can do this now by installing the same apps, and copying prefs? Any thoughts?I have a specific need to copy all of the RSS feeds I’ve added to the BlogReader, from my laptop to my desktops PCs at home and work.And Flash 7 Support!And hook us up with the Presence API. AIM and Central don’t get a long very well as seperate apps on my laptop. They compete for screen realestate, and when running both, I’ve had my machine lock up after closing one of the two.

  31. Eric Orwall says:

    I would like a Central dataGrid with horizontal scroll and encrypted shared objects to store locally login, passwords and other data. thanks

  32. JesterXL says:

    – Improve performance- decreased CPU usage when Central windows are not in focus (or the above if there is a tradeoff between the two)- remove offending Agents only when script runs too slow; do not punish well behaved apps (do not stop running all agents after Agent script error)- per Kristen: some sort of built in parental control levels like DVD has; local AND global. Global so on pR0n appz come up if settings are not allowed, and local for content in say a game that only shows green splats for aliens dying instead of red blood for instance- still learning the behavior of getMinimumSize/Max, but do not resize Central if I have it “locked” or some other user controllable setting. it’s really annoying going from one app to another, and it resizes my window smaller, or bigger. Maybe I’m wrong in this, but I expect it to behave like a web-browser and the sizeTo command is frowned upon in that, so most people don’t resize the user’s browser if they want them to stay a happer browser; please let that hold true with Central, or at least be an option. If someone cannot build an app to display correct at a larger size, then it’ll just scale or have a lot of whitespace. What is the harm in showing that? It’s not Central’s fautl; it’s the developer’s and I don’t think it makes Central look bad (if the decision was made based on marketing for example)- Implement Flash 7 (I just want middle mouse scroll & right click)- add global volume control (yes, I know, another volume control…) for Central. That way, both the “ding” as well as an mp3 Player all can subscribe, not to a global component, but a global Central based control.- another vote for local file access (as I’ve already heard rumors so wanted to add my support in favor of it)- please make the Central Debugger behave; so far all developement for Central has been easy, and error free, except that mofo…- don’t know what you are willing to do, but integrated Flashcom support of somekind. I know, though, that this involves someone else’s server… but I’m sure you’d think of something. Some cheaper way to utilize Reomte SO’s, really; don’t really care about the Video or Audio.

  33. timmo26 says:

    I know it may seem non-essential but from a user POV – a feature that allows you to have Central set to ‘always maximise’ the window.I’ve found it annoying that when I go from say Movie Finder (maximised) to BlogReader I have to remaximise the window. Then if I go back to Movie Finder…again I need to maximise.Cheers!

  34. chall3ng3r says:

    just got time little play with central,- there MUST be support for running multiple applications. currently i’ve to open new window from file menu, then select app to start in that window. there should be option to open each app in its own window.- just seen the screenshot of central on mac, it was looking great, but on windows, its not looking good. i don’t use xp themes, and i prefer using Classic style (win2000) gui, but central looks bad in that style.central should have its own gui SKIN.- toolbar costomization. if i have 100 apps installed, and i select to show toolbar, then all 100 icons will be visible. there must be a option to customize toolbar, so i can only put those apps for singleclick start on toolbar.

  35. chall3ng3r says:

    sorry,one IMPORTANT feature for developers.there MUST be a button on toolbar to RELOAD current app. or ideally central can detect file size/modification change and reloads the app automatically.im really having bad time with testing my apps.

  36. chall3ng3r says:

    mike…do read this stuff, or we’re waisting our time here.

  37. mike chambers says:

    >do read this stuff, or we’re waisting our time here.I wouldn’t ask for your feedback if I (and the Central team) wasnt going to read it.mike chambersmesh@macromedia.com

  38. Nisse Bryngfors says:

    This one is simple, but would be very useful in my opinion. Make it possible to have the pod window set to always be on top. Snap to the side of the screen would also be great.

  39. Visually, for the next version of central, I would like to classify an app I have installed as important, to give it a huge icon (like they all are currently), or less important, to give it a small icon (like on my desktop), or very unimportant (a tiny icon like on my quicklaunch icons in windows). I would love for the central UI to dock on a corner or side of my screen and animate when i get near it like mac osx’s application bar. I would like it to be a useful extensible app that I don’t have to download everything to make it useful, but run as like an app launcher, volume controller, task manager, etc, but maybe this is more like an OS and less like a neat gizmo program. I would like it if it could break out of the windows interface and maximize its usage of space. I’d like to see it less square and more attractive. I’d like to be able to stack the icons sideways.

  40. From a user perspective, I am most troubled by the behavior of the “close” buttons (Windows). As some have alluded to, it is a pain to have both the app window and the console open up when I double click the system tray icon. My way of closing a program is always to click the red X button (Win XP). With central, I have to click two — one for the app window and one for the console. Not only that, but (as I figured after much frustration) if you close the app window by clicking the red X, central doesn’t re-open in the application I was working in but instead starts with “my applications”. (From what I’ve read, it assumes that there was some sort of error which forced a close) But none of those are the “expected” behavior. I expect to be able to close an application with one click of the close button, and for it to return to it’s previous state when I re-open it.So now I use Ctrl-Q to close Central….but of course, that completely exits central, so the agents are no longer running in the background either.So I would like to be able to minimize central and have it minimize to a single taskbar item; or optionally minimize to the icon in the system tray. I would like to be able to close the app window and/or the console but still have Central running in the system tray (presumably agents would still be running then?). I would like to be able to click the red x to close a window the app window, and have it re-open in the app that I had running before. (Really I would like the console window to just be a floating sub-window of the app window, like how in the Flash MX 2004 IDE I can pull out a panel (like the “Help” panel) and drag it outside of the confines of the application itself — when I click the red x in the main window, the help panel closes too.)I know, difficult user interaction design problems. How do you make it so that I can close both window with one click, but also still have the ability to close only one window or the other? How can I close both window (with one click) and have the system know whether I wanted to leave Central running in the background (system tray?) or not. I can’t say I have any perfect answers — or that there really are any. I guess that’s what we’re in this to figure out.

  41. Aaron says:

    To go along with “Performance increase please”:Hardware acceleration! Having Central open with DevChat running takes 50+megs. Just opening up asecond Central shell adds 13-16 megs.I know MM won’t add HW acceleration to the flashplayer because they want to keep the file size down, but Central is parading around as a desktop app. I shouldn’t need a gig of RAM to run two applications while I’m working.

  42. Rob Dixon says:

    Mike, thanks for asking our input on this!Here are a couple quick ones:* Some kind of “Agent Prioritization” scheme (like thread priorities in Java for example) that let Agents stick around in some capacity even if they are “disabled” by the user. It is really difficult to design good MVC apps when the Controller can be eliminated at a whim at any time.* Additional skinning options for the Central components. I love the Central/Halo style and it’ll work fine for lots of apps, but it will be tough to do certain edgy/cool apps if we all have to use the same AccordionTab look and feel for everything. This would also let companies skin their apps for corporate brand identity, etc., without having to resort to downloading non-Central components.Thanks,Rob

  43. JesterXL says:

    – support for Proxy specifications. Both her majesty and Darron Schall cannot utilize Central because of their firewall + proxy. Bleh.

  44. KITROK says:

    1. Alpha-channel masked presentation option to allow skins not restricted to block shapes.2. FileSystem I/O.3. Custom categorization of list keys, filters of list content, as well as making available the basic suitcase/folder grouping options for any table presentation4. Faster/less CPU-intensive rendering perhaps via platform-targetted GDI access made available with additional plug-in download.

  45. Big Request says:

    To the Central Development Team: You built a great product. You provided great support during beta. You worked your asses off to release a fairly stable and usable product.Unfortunately your business people made a mess of Licensing. Very short-sighted indeed. Your efforts may all go to waste. Please go corner your CEO and demand to fix the Licensing. Let Central take root and flourish in the market place. Dollars will follow once there are thousands of little Central apps out there.Central is fast loosing its momentum. Has any one noticed how little traffic there is in Central support forum?

  46. JesterXL says:

    Change the font in the install application from url dialogue to Verdana and a tad font size bigger. Times New Roman small makes it diffucult to read.

  47. JesterXL says:

    Sorry… another one. The Install Dialogue should have a recent list. I have typed my site so many times now…

  48. judah says:

    – if not local file access then read and write to our apps dedicated directory central gives us. create and write to or update a xml file. at least full file access to our dedicated directory.- access to a local database. mysql or something. even if it is in our apps dedicated folder that would be a start. and i suppose some sort of method to talk to it. rdbms resolver or something. something that doesn’t require the user to install a server on their local machine.- flash 7 support. i’m not sure why it doesnt have it.- running on pda, pocket devices.- full screen support. i have ideas for a couple apps that i would like to maximize the screen to show it.- have the option to make the app header icons a smaller size (as more apps are added).- i’ll say it again. add support for me to write an xml file locally without a server. and i wouldnt want that file to expire/erase like browser caches do. that would be bad.- ability to startup when windows loads up minimized in the system tray.- ability to dock the floaty thing. the pod window.- button to browse to the directory that the apps use to store data.——central dev chat suggestions——- longer history. possibly according to how much space i dedicate to it.

  49. Divine // Devan says:

    Hey Mesh ::Divine // Devan here; we haven’t spoken for a while… how are ya? haha.Well; I got a great idea for Central… Create a way of controlling deployment levels. Central is great for live-internet connected data, but what about corporate networks?I can see it now… Financial Analysis Applications, Employee Directories, Calendars, Tasks… All shared and deployed on a corporate level without having to deploy across the internet.Think I can have a job at MM now? ;-)!

  50. Derek says:

    Someone mentioned making it easier to refresh your app when you update it during development.I think a pod would be useful for this, with buttons to restart a specific app, pod or agent. Perhaps something could be shipped with the SDK?This might be easier than allowing any app to be refreshed by anyone.

  51. P.R. Newman says:

    1) A double-click event. It would be great if you could detect double-clicks in MListBox, MComboBox, and MDataGrid and, for example, call the getURL method to open the item in a browser.2) An itemRollOver event for MDataGrid, MListBox, and MComboBox, like the List.itemRollOver and ComboBox.itemRollOver events in Flash MX 2004.3) An iconFunction property for MListBox, like the List.iconFunction property in Flash MX 2004.4) Support for caching data locally when using Flash Remoting.5) File system access or at least an upload mechanism.6) Release the source code to sample apps like AccuWeather and MovieFinder, so we can learn how some of the tricks were achieved.7) Put Favorites symbol back into Central Artwork.fla.8) Transition behaviors to achieve effects like the BlogReader and MovieFinder pods.

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  57. vishal says:

    I clicked system tray icon then open application and then Click minimize button then application goes to taskbar. Then again open this application click on Destop Icon. Then not open application.