Posts in Category "Flex"

Mobile Enterprise Sample Applications Powered by Adobe AIR, Flex and Android

Last week at the Google I/O conference, we announced the public availability of the Adobe AIR for Android Developer Prerelease program. This week, we wanted to highlight a few excellent examples of AIR and Android powered enterprise applications developed by two members of our evangelism team, Christophe Coenraets and James Ward.

Both Christophe and James recently recorded inspiring video demonstrations of some of the sample applications they have been working on lately.

Mobile version of Employee Directory application by Christophe Coenraets.

Trading sample application by Christophe Coenraets.

Example of a Flex and AIR application that includes multi-touch support by James Ward.

Important update to the Flex 3.5 SDK

The Flex team announced an update to the 3.5 SDK that addresses an issue with the Flex-based AIR auto-update UI packaged within the SDK (SDK-24766). It is strongly recommended that all Flex developers building AIR applications update to the 3.5a release. The SDK 3.5a can be found in the "Latest Milestone Release Build" table here: http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Download+Flex+3

Latest Tour de Flex Update Includes AIR 2 Samples

Both the web and desktop versions of Tour de Flex were recently updated to include AIR 2 samples. If you are not familiar with Tour de Flex, it is an extremely valuable resource for learning about Adobe platform technologies including Flex, Flash and Adobe AIR.

The new AIR 2 examples include:

  • Global error handler
  • Gestures
  • Microphone
  • Open with default application
  • Native Process
  • Socket API

For additional information on these examples, see Holly Schinsky’s blog post. Also, Greg Wilson informs me that more examples are coming soon. If there are specific examples you would like to see, please leave us a comment and we will relay your requests back to the Tour de Flex team.

Christian Cantrell, a member of the AIR team, also created an extremely valuable blog post that provides links to a number of articles, videos, blog posts and samples related to AIR 2.

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Real-time Multiplayer Gaming with ChessJam and Adobe AIR

ChessJam is a beautiful new online chess game powered by Adobe AIR that allows users to play chess with others from around the world. Greg Wilson, one of the developers of the application and an Adobe employee, wrote a detailed blog post on how the application was created using Flex, Adobe AIR, ColdFusion and LiveCycle DS.

When asked why the team that developed this application chose Adobe AIR, Greg responded with the following points:

  • Embedded images and sounds dramatically speed-up load times compared to an equivalent web-browser-based app
  • User presence detection
  • Network detection for handling disconnects and reconnects
  • Custom chrome (the team wanted 100% control over UI, sizing, position, etc.)
  • Numerous uses of mx:HTML including the news banner, upcoming stats view, etc.
  • Auto-update framework to easily push out updates to the application.
  • Support for Mac, Windows and Linux

Greg mentioned that there are plans to release other features that take advantage of AIR soon including toast-style notifications, local game history storage using the SQLite database and more. Congratulations to the ChessJam for building a fabulous game.

chessjam.png

Better SDK Overlay Instructions

We noticed that some developers were having trouble overlaying the AIR 2 beta SDK on top of the Flex SDK in Flex Builder and Flash Builder. Looking into the reports a bit further, we discovered that our instructions were not quite accurate. I just updated the AIR 2 release notes with more detailed instructions, so hopefully that will clear things up.

If they’re still not clear, let us know via the comments and I’ll clarify further. Also, we are looking at ways of making this process much easier in the future. Thanks for bearing with us in the meantime.

Check out the MAX Widget

Adobe evangelist Serge Jespers has released an attractive new widget to promote our upcoming MAX conference (see below). It was built using Flex Builder, the Flex 3 SDK, ColdFusion, Flash Media Server and Photoshop. For more information on MAX and Adobe AIR including session information, be sure to check out my previous blog post. Hope to see you there!

Building Rich Enterprise Applications with Adobe AIR

salesbuilder.png

Adobe evangelist Christophe Coenraets recorded a very impressive demonstration (see below) of a sample application he built using Adobe AIR and Flex. The sample application, called Salesbuilder, demonstrates many powerful features including:

  • telephone integration directly within the application using Ribbit (requires an account)
  • simulated data synchronization between a local and remote database
  • local database encryption
  • rich data visualizations including a new calendar component from ILog and an org chart view made possible with Kapit Visualizer
  • drag and drop support between Salesbuilder and Word/Excel

The application is available for install at the bottom of his blog post.

ILOG Releases New Data Visualization Components for Adobe AIR

ILOG, an IBM company, recently announced an enhanced set of advanced data visualization components for Adobe AIR and Flex known as ILOG Elixir 2.0. When I first had the opportunity to see these components in action back in Milan at MAX last year, I was stunned by the richness, flexibility and performance of these components.

In addition to offering a 60 day trial period, the team at ILOG has made interactive examples available. Whether you are building an enterprise dashboard or Tufte inspired data visualization for your analytics tool, these data visualizations components are bound to save you a great deal of time. The components are available for purchase through the ILOG website.

The set of data visualization components include:

ilog-chart.png

3D Charts component.

ilog-treemap.png

Treemap component.

ilog-heat-map.png

Heatmap component.

ilog-gantt.png

Gantt component.

Related links:

 

Share News with ShareFire

My colleague Dan Koestler and I just released a new version of ShareFire (formerly known as Apprise), a news aggregator written for Adobe AIR. ShareFire has several useful features, but what really differentiates it is the ability to share news stories with friends over various social networks right from the application. We currently support sharing via email, AIM, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, MySpace, and Newsvine. Another nice feature of ShareFire is that it has been localized into 16 languages which you can switch between dynamically (without having to restart the application or download other versions).

The source code for ShareFire is available on Google Code as well as all the libraries it uses:

  • as3corelib: Contains general utilities for things like date parsing, and working with various file formats.
  • as3localelib: Utilities for helping to localize your Flash applications.
  • as3nativealertlib: Library for creating modal alert windows in AIR.
  • as3syndicationlib: Libraries for parsing all versions of RSS and Atom.
  • as3preferenceslib: Library for managing the storage, retrieval, and encryption of application preferences.
  • as3notificationlib: Library for showing Growl-like alerts on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • wimas3: Code for integrating AIM into your Flash applications.
  • Adobe AIR Update Framework: A framework to assist in updating your AIR applications. (This project is now included in the AIR SDK, but it wasn’t at the time ShareFire was started.)

Here’s a screenshot of ShareFire, or for a demonstration, check out the video below. To install ShareFire, check out the ShareFire homepage.

Build real-time social apps using Adobe AIR, Flex and the Cocomo Beta

cocomo.png

Adobe made several announcements at MAX a few months back related to new projects that were in the works. One of the projects announced that I thought was particularly compelling for AIR developers is code-named "Cocomo." To help provide some additional insights into Cocomo, I sent Nigel Pegg, senior engineering manager on the project, a few questions over email.

Rob: Hi Nigel. First question — what is "Cocomo"?

Nigel: Cocomo is the codename for a new Platform as a Service that lets Flex developers easily add real-time social and collaboration features to their applications… OK, that was a pretty "markety" sentence. In real-life terms, Cocomo is:

  1. A framework of client-side components for Flex that make it easy to build real-time multi-user apps. This includes really high-level components like full-on multi-user whiteboards, chat, etc, as well as foundation classes for building your own features, like data messaging classes and webcam and VoIP pubsub components. We’ve baked a lot of solutions to common problems into the framework, like user roles and permissions, room management, reconnect/failover, persistence and more.
  2. A service, hosted by Adobe, which acts as “the pipe” that connects your users. The client framework and the service work seamlessly together and because Adobe is hosting it, it means that the operations problems like availability, capacity, deployment, and maintenance are taken care of by Adobe. Cocomo is currently in beta.

Rob: Why should AIR developers care about Cocomo?

Nigel: They should care because it provides a way for AIR developers to build new classes of applications. We believe that the general progression of the Internet is making real-time interaction commonplace. Social features are already becoming a staple of a lot of applications on and off the web, but these are still largely asynchronous. We think that bringing social immediacy to applications, via features like live voice and video streaming as well as real-time collaborative workflows, can make applications that much more effective and compelling.

The other reason they should care is that it takes a lot to get this sort of thing right. The fundamental technology for building these kinds of features with Flash or AIR has existed for a while, and yet you don’t see as many applications as there could be out there. And we believe a big reason for that is that it’s hard to develop for, and even harder to deploy and maintain. The folks on the Cocomo team have decades of combined experience building apps like Adobe Acrobat Connect, as well as tons of experience building component frameworks. We spent a lot of time refining the framework, and so far the feedback has been really outstanding – people are building things in a weekend that would have taken weeks before. More importantly, developers are starting to try things they otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with, because the barrier to entry was just too high. The risk/reward is much more in developers’ favor now.

Rob: What are some examples of applications people are building on it?

Nigel:
We’ve been in public beta for around two months now, so we weren’t really expecting a huge amount of activity yet. But it’s been pretty surprising how much has been happening. For example, Acesis has taken its AIR application for medical peer reviews and added the ability for doctors across the country to perform these reviews together in real-time, without having to leave the application or travel to meet each other. We have a bunch of companies building some really exciting stuff, still early going. One company is building long distance learning where the teacher is able to interact with the students using peer-to-peer voice. Another is working on an online gaming site, where webcam streaming and voice are crucial to the gameplay.

 The developer community is really starting to pick up and run with it too. We’re working on an application “gallery” so all our links will be in one place, but check out multiplayer Sudoku: “Sudocomo”. Also, ShareFlickr is pretty cool; it lets you co-browse Flickr slideshows. And for the “what-the?” factor, you can’t beat the Cocomo-enabled Wiibot.

Rob: How to developers get started?

Nigel: It’s really easy. Literally minutes from getting an account, you’ll have your first app built and running. The Cocomo homepage has a bunch of resources to get started. Another way to get started might be to check out this blog post where you can find a link to an article from Ryan Stewart, the Cocomo Developer’s Guide, and links to several AdobeTV videos from my MAX sessions that have a lot of supporting information as well.

Rob: When will it be shipping?

Nigel: We’re currently in public beta, which started in November of 2008. We have a little ways to go yet. Rest assured that the Cocomo team is moving as fast as possible to get to a commercial launch. We are aware that depending upon the entity (e.g., enterprise, government, ISV, individual developers), service requirements such as support, compliance, and uptime may vary and we are discussing approaches to addressing these requirements. In addition, we recognize that developers expect flexible and predictable pricing and soon we’re going to start sharing our proposed pricing model with the community. If people want to stay up to date, follow the Cocomo team blog and my twitter stream includes Cocomo updates as well. Lastly, if anyone has questions, the Cocomo forums are the best place to reach the team.

Rob: Thank you, Nigel!