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Speaking at Flash PDX UG Meeting on FDT

I'll be speaking this coming Thursday, October 15th with a couple of fellow Flashers here in Portland about FDT.

The general topics slated to be covered are:

  • Getting Started (Intro, project types, pros/cons, comparison to other editors)
  • Shortcuts ('QuickFix' code generation, refactoring, searching, etc.)
  • Integration with Eclipse (SVN, ANT, XML, and other helpful plug-ins)

I will speaking on the third item, Integration with Eclipse, presenting an introduction to simple ANT integration and workflows, along with some of the Eclipse plug-ins I use on a regular basis.

Here are all of the details from the flashpdx.org site:

David Knape, Jon MacDonald and Matt Gitchell will show how they use the FDT development environment in their daily work.

When: Thursday 10/15 11:30 - 1:00pm
Where: Second Story 714 N Fremont St #200

Pizza will be provided, seating is limited to 25.

Please RSVP with shane {at} secondstory {dot} com

PowerFlasher, the makers of FDT, have generously donated a copy of FDT Pure edition for a raffle, and will send discount codes to anyone who provides an e-mail address for the raffle.

(Don’t know what FDT is? In short, FDT is a professional code editor for ActionScript. More info on FDT at http://www.fdt.powerflasher.com. )

Flash on the iPhone, but not in the browser

A nice "one more thing" announcement at Adobe MAX this morning: Flash Professional CS5 will enable you to build applications for iPhone and iPod touch using ActionScript 3. These applications will be delivered to iPhone and iPod touch users through the Apple App Store.

So while this is extremely exciting (as in, I just became an iPhone developer in 5 minutes this morning exciting) there are a few things to note:

1. This is only for standalone applications - meaning iPhone/iPod Touch applications that you download from Apple's App Store either on your phone or via iTunes. It does not include Flash played via the Safari mobile web browser. So no online Flash video just yet. Ryan Stewart, an Adobe Platform Evangelist tweeted the following today during the keynote: "When Apple is ready to bring the full Web browsing experience to iPhone users, we'll be ready to bring Flash Player to Safari."

2. You cannot load external SWFs into the apps you compile for the iPhone. The official line on this is: "iPhone applications built with Flash Platform tools are compiled into standard, native iPhone executable packages and there is no runtime interpreter that could be used to run ActionScript bytecode within the application." But in reality, Adobe is just staying within the limits imposed by Apple and their "no running other bytecode in apps" rule.

3. This won't be available until Flash CS5 is released. The good news here is that a public beta of Flash CS5 will be released before the end of 2009.

You can read all about this announcement over on Adobe Labs: Flash Professional CS5 Applications for iPhone, at the official Adobe press release, and in the Adobe Dev Center where they have posted an article about Developing for the Apple iPhone using Flash. The Dev Center article goes into some good technical explanation of what is going on behind the scenes.

There is also an extensive technical FAQ available on Adobe Labs which is worth the read.

Lastly, you can see some quick video of the Mythbusters-type segment they did as the announcement below:

Flash on the Beach 09 / Day 0 / iPhone Development Workshop


After spending a few days pre-conference in London, I've arrived in Brighton for Flash on the Beach 2009 and the first day of workshops. I chose to attend the iPhone App Development For Flash Developers workshop taught by Julian Dolce today.

While I certainly didn't grow any fonder of Objective-C today, I did learn quite a lot. During the eight hour session we covered a pretty wide range of topics and tasks. First Julian gave us a few hour Objective-C overview before we all took the virtual pet example from Colin Moock's Essential ActionScript 3.0 book and coverted it to Objective-C. This was a great task since everyone in the room knew AS3 and was more than likely familiar with the virtual pet example.

After a break for lunch we all jumped into some quick equivalents of ActionScript 3 code in Objective-C, and then used those examples to build a sample application with some animated images, touch events (taps and dragging), audio. Lastly Julian gave an overview of Interface Builder and then went over some general tips and tricks.

Julian will be posting his slides, sample code and some recommended additional reading on the page he setup on his website: http://deleteaso.com/iphone-workshop/

Hopefully I'll find a way to learn to like Objective-C as much as I do AS3 since developing for the iPhone, as I learned today, can certainly be a fun experience.

Thanks, Julian!

Flash on the Beach’s 3 Minute Wonders

Flash on the Beach - Brighton - 2009

I'm excited to be heading over to Brighton, UK once again this year to attend Flash on the Beach 2009. Besides all of the wonderful speakers and catching up with everyone, I'm equally excited for a new addition this year: The Elevator Pitch.

The conference website describes it as "...exactly what the title suggests - 20 'newbies' / 'oldies' / whatever you want to call them, get 3 minutes to show their best work, a new idea, live coding, live drawing, whatever."

This is great for two reasons. First, for the past two years the most well attended sessions were the 'filler' sessions where several speakers got up and free-formed it for five minutes each to fill an hour long session left blank by a speaker who had to cancel last minute. This always leads to exciting presentations about small projects these guys are working on, rather than some topic that takes an hour to present. Second, one of my favorite events in Portland is Ignite, where presenters have only 20 slides that automatically rotate every 15 seconds to get their point across. When you are forced to distill a topic down to only a couple of key points, it often ends up being a much better presentation.

I also think it is great to be giving some up-and-coming talent a chance to speak. Most people (myself included) find it difficult to put together a presentation on a topic that would fill a whole hour. You either end up having way too much content or way too little content. And the prep time pre-conference can be a time consuming nightmare. But if you only need to prep for a three minute talk, there are no excuses.

You can see a full list of the topics that will be covered by Flash on the Beach's 3 Minute Wonders at the conference website, but I'm really looking forward to topics such as "I can't draw, but I can program", "ActionScript to Objective-C (and everything in between)" and "Beta, my arse!".

Flash CS4 Update Now Available

Adobe has just released the long-awaited update to Flash CS4. It can be downloaded here, and more details on the very large number of bugs fixed can be found on the Flash Product Manager Richard Galvan's blog post about the release.

I've been using the update for a few hours now, and it certainly makes Flash seem a bit snappier. In addition, my initial tests are showing that the OS X Spaces bug with Flash has been fixed. This was a major annoyance for me, and several other developers based upon the popularity of my blog post on the subject.

Thanks to Adobe for listening to customer feedback and working hard to get this update out as soon as possible.

Update: Based on comments below and other feedback I have received, it appears that the Flash CS4 update alone does not fix the Spaces issue for everyone. However, the combination of the latest Apple OS X 10.5.7 update (released 5/12/2009) and the Flash CS4 update seems to do the trick.

FDT 3.2 with MXML and CS4 Support Released

FDT 3.2 beta was just released this morning, including support for MXML and Flash CS4.

If you use FDT, this looks to be a huge update. Here is the list with main new features from the FDT blog:

MXML Support
- Semantic Highlighting
- Templates
- Wizard for MXML Classes
- Flex-Builder Project Importer
- Attribute Auto Completion
- Quick Outline
- Type Hierarchy
- Hyperlinks (F3)

Further AS-Support
- Improved SWC-Parser
- Improved Auto Completion (constructor)
- CS4 Help Importer

You can find instructions for updating to the beta here.

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