Apache Flex Logo

January 30th, 2012

Just looked up the winner of the Apache Flex logo contest. There were a lot of swell entries, but I’m real happy with the winning logo. Great job, Tomasz Maciag!

Yay for Programmer’s Day

September 13th, 2011

This 256th day of the year, I’d like to wish you all a very Happy Programmer’s Day! Were I not programming and had time to paint, I’m thinking Leibniz, Charles Babbage, and Ada Lovelace playing cards.

Long time, no post

July 31st, 2011

Well, it’s been a month since I left my NJ position to return full-force to my own company. Been so busy with both my company and my family, I haven’t had any time for the blog. Thought I’d just post a quick update to get back into that mode.
After a couple weeks to get my head in the right place, I’ve basically adopted my NJ position schedule of 9am to 6pm for coding and general business, with a scattering of exceptions I’m allowing myself to get away with. Development is going smooth and starting to pick up. I imagine I’m a week or so away from slipping into the old habit of all-nighters and inappropriately timed moments of inspiration. Looking forward it, to be honest. Just hope my now older body can keep up with the habits that put me where I am today.
Let’s see if this vague update gets me back into the habit of more relevant posts.

Seeking Flex Rock-star in NJ

February 11th, 2011

We are looking once more to grace our NJ office with another Flex bad-ass. This position is for in-office only… no remotes. Pay is competitive and includes a merit-based bonus. The work is challenging and the team is one member shy of awesome. If you’re in the Bridgewater or Basking Ridge area of NJ and are awesome, drop me a comment.

Flash in the iPan

September 10th, 2010

I occasionally write articles for work to highlight and explain IT buzz to the team and thought I’d share the latest. This one attempts to explain Apple’s recent loosening of restrictions for iOS. Most readers of this blog are unlikely to come away from this article with new information. However, it may come in handy when explaining the change to non-developers you work with. Criticisms and corrections always welcome.

Toast your bottled water but don’t uncork the good stuff just yet. As many of you have heard or read, Apple is easing up on some of the restrictions for applications on its iDevices. Reading several of the articles concerning this out in the wild, it occurs to me that this news may be coming across as better news than it actually is. Jobs is still karaoking “My Way”, but is willing to let a couple other crooners on stage while he leads. Why? Well, the Federal Trade Commission poking around is enough to change your tune. Not to mention the huge developer stink raised upon hearing the previous restrictions. Revenue is still the biggest game in town, and I feel the straw that fell the apple was Apple’s newly launched Game Center, as well as its platform for mobile advertising. The gravity of the situation is there are few games to boot on Apple’s Game Center currently, but allowing Flash developers a foot in will quickly scratch that itch. Additionally, saying no to Flash content for advertising is saying no to a LOT of advertisers.

So this means you can finally see the menu done in flash for that restaurant website that didn’t work on your iPhone last time, right? Or play that addictive flash game everyone is talking about with your iPad? Or finally see those sweet AIR apps easily ported over? Or at least see all the same content on the web from your iDevice that you see on your Mac or PC at home? The short answer… NOPE. Well, that doesn’t sound like a big change at all. So what’s to celebrate?

  • Apple has finally removed some of the mystery surrounding its approval process by publishing its App Store Review Guidelines. This is no small thing, given that one of the biggest developer complaints is no one ever really knew why their app was denied while other similar ones were approved. The guidelines are still very open to interpretation, allowing Apple to still deny apps for nebulous reasons, but at least developers have some clue now.
  • Apple will let developers pick from multiple advertising solutions. This includes Google’s and AdMob’s. Wonder how much the FTC’s inquiry influenced this decision.
  • And, finally, Apple is permitting apps created with 3rd party developer tools to run on its iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system). That means developers are no longer restricted to building apps with only the tools Apple provides. For instance, Adobe Flash Professional CS5 comes with a tool to help developers package their Flash applications for iDevices. This tool essentially converts the flash code and content to a language and structure native to Apple’s iOS.
  • This takes a bite out the apple, but doesn’t strike the core. At the end of the day, little has changed for iDevice users, save, perhaps, a flood of games on the horizon. You still won’t see flash content on the web on your iDevice. You still won’t be able to run Adobe AIR apps. Instead, Flash apps can be converted to run on iDevices without having to learn another programming language. This makes my day, but my fingers remain firmly crossed in hopes of one day seeing the Flash Player plugin on iDevices. I can cross my fingers a lot longer than I can hold my breath.

    Nightly builds

    June 23rd, 2010

    Anyone know why it’s been so terribly quiet on the Flex 4 nightly builds? The most recent showing are 4.1.0.16076 in stable and 4.1.0.16032 in nightly builds from May 12. There were more recent ones, but they’ve been pulled for some reason. I’m actually using 4.1.0.16248 currently, but, again, that build is no longer available for download. Hope it means something splendid is coming, like spark navigator components… but I sorta doubt it.

    UPDATE:
    An answer at last. I caught this post today about Hero. I knew there must have been a reason for the disappearing builds and could-hear-a-pin-drop nightly activity.

    Flash Builder improvement

    March 17th, 2010

    Howdy all. Please take a look at my Flash Builder improvement idea and vote it up or down, if so inclined.

    http://ideas.adobe.com/ct/ct_a_view_idea.bix?c=CF7001C7-AE88-4DE0-A46C-C6C2C2892858&idea_id=70AD1042-2D17-4732-9256-FE3F30233C0F

    Flash Builder 4 beta 2 won’t launch

    March 3rd, 2010

    Just had a couple hours of frustration trying to determine the reason Flash Builder 4 beta 2 suddenly refused to launch. The splash screen would just sit there for, well, beyond my patience. That accounts for a few minutes, incidentally. Eventually, I discovered the issue. Seems my SwcCache folder had grown to… get this… 138GB. Ouch. It was also 65% fragmented. Perhaps you should check yours to see if it’s grown like kudzu. You can usually find it here:
    C:\Users\whoEverYouAre\Adobe Flash Builder Beta 2\.metadata\.plugins\com.adobe.flexbuilder.codemodel

    The above path may be different, depending on your workspace. At any rate, I’m back up and running by removing the contents of this file. Flash Builder launched without a hiccup and I ran a clean on all my projects. Perhaps posting this will save someone out there some hair pulling.

    Flex job opportunity

    June 25th, 2009

    Workload has been pretty heavy over at SuperNova, where I play the role of Sr. Programmer. Looking ahead, it just gets heavier. While that’s excellent news, it does also mean that we are looking for another developer. Perhaps you, dear reader, fit the bill. Here’s what we’re looking for:

    Contract to hire position. Must be able to work on site at Bridgewater, NJ office.
    Candidate must be a rock-star actionscript developer with gobs of Adobe Flex framework and Adobe AIR experience. This obviously insists expert knowledge of OOP practices, experience with popular design patterns such as MVC, keen knowledge of component lifecycle, and the like.
    As you’d expect, we typically work in Flex Builder 3 and will be making the move to Flash Builder 4 upon its release. It is assumed all candidates are intimate with Flex Builder.
    Familiarity with Janus and/or Zinc is a plus.
    Because of the nature of our workflow, any design experience is also a plus.

    The people are great, the projects are interesting, and good work is very much noticed and respected. Developers are often involved from concept to delivery. You’re not gonna be just another code monkey.

    If this seems a fit for you, dear reader, then shoot me an email with yer resume and any sample work at dhamiter(at)supernovainc(dot)com.

    AIR workarounds: multiple instances

    May 23rd, 2009

    This post, the 2nd of many, is about how to run more than one instance of an AIR app at the same time. Here is the only relevant adobe bug I could find on the matter, and it’s been closed saying the request has been forwarded to the AIR team. That was over a year and a half ago. When the user tries opening an AIR app that is already open, it sends an invoke event to the one already running and blocks additional ones from opening. Because of how this appears to work, it stands to reason that Adobe intends this behavior. Luckily, you can still run multiple instances with a bit of effort… sort of. I say sort of, because you actually have to make a small change to any additional instance to run it… so, technically, you might say it’s not really another instance.

    In the installation directory of the AIR app is a file called “application.xml”. Yep, it’s essentially a copy of the file automatically created when starting a new AIR app. On windows, it’s at:
    “…yourInstallDirectory/META-INF/AIR/application.xml”
    On Mac, you can open the .app package and find it at:
    “…yourInstallDirectory/Contents/Resources/META-INF/AIR/application.xml”

    One of the nodes in this file is the id node. This appears to be how AIR recognizes if an AIR app is unique or if the same one is already running. Change the id then save the file, and you can launch another one. For my purposes, the user exports a new app which runs a presentation they’ve built. In reality, the player app they export is the same app they used to build the presentation but in a different state. To export, I am copying the air app, it’s dependent files, and some additional resources to where ever the user wishes to export. Once copied, I modify application.xml as described above, so as to allow the user to launch the export without first closing the builder application (which, again, are the same app).

    I hope, as with all these workarounds, that you 1st go through why Adobe decided to lock this down in the first place and determine if you really should be working around it. The last thing I want is for these techniques to be abused, both tainting AIR and forcing Adobe to implement more restrictions. I consider my need to have been a corner case, but don’t intend to use this workaround very often, if at all, in future projects.

    Disclaimer over. I hope this both made sense and helps someone out there. Feel free to drop a comment if something is unclear, wrong, or if you feel code samples or anything are needed in addition.