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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:

MAX 2008 Sneak Peek: ActionScript 3 as a Server-Side Language

While I wasn't able to make it to MAX this year, I did follow Serge Jespers and Andrew Shorten's live blogging of the keynotes and the sneak peek session. Lots of amazing sneaks revealed tonight, but by far the best announcement for developers (in my opinion) was ActionScript 3 as a server-side language. I had actually blogged about how I wish this would be released back in July, 2007.

What does this mean for developers?

From what I read in the live blog, it allows you to write ActionScript 3 which runs on the server by defining a .sas file containing your AS3 code. In the same file you can also define code to run both on the server and in the client by setting a runat variable: runat="client" for client side code and runat="server" for server-side code.

As you can see in the photo above, pulled from the live blog feed, you can run ActionScript code on the server from within your normal client-side application code. If you can't quite make it out, the photo is showing MXML in Flex Builder.

And in this photo you can see how ActionScript can be embedded within HTML, just like PHP, etc. Notice how both client and server-side code allow calls directly to databases with an executeQuery() function, passing in an SQL statement.

I'm eager to hear more about this, but from what I can gather, unfortunately not much else was mentioned at the sneak peek session. Nothing on Adobe Labs yet, either. As more details become available, I will certainly be sure to blog about them.

Update: Looks like it is coming with the next release of ColdFusion server, codenamed Centaur, which makes a lot of sense. Some additional details can be found over at this blog post.

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