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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:

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

fotb09_badge_425_60

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 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.

Flash JSFL Command: Locate Selected Symbol in Library

I've always wondered, "is there a way to select an object on the stage and then have a command tell me where that symbol is in the library?" For a Flash developer, this comes up at least once a day.

After some searching I came across a JSFL command for Flash CS3/CS4 that finds the parent symbol in the library of the item currently selected on the stage.

To install the command, download this file, unzip it and place the resulting JSFL file here:

Mac:
/Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flash CS4/en/Configuration/

Windows:
\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Flash CS4\en\Configuration\

You can also replace CS4 with CS3 for your flavor of choice.

Once installed, select the object on the stage that you wish to locate in the library and is likely buried way, way deep inside nested folders that the Illustrator to Flash process created. In the toolbar choose "Commands" and then "Find in Library". The object will now be highlighted in your library panel. Digging for the symbol no longer required.

I'd like to point out that I am not claiming to have written this script, but I found it on some site far, far off on the Internet and which I can no longer locate to provide credit where credit is due. I do remember, however, it was provided "free and open source", so all should be well.

ActionScript 3 Reference for the iPhone

Mike Chambers from Adobe just released a new iPhone app for viewing the ActionScript 3 documentation.

actionscript-reference-iphone

The app includes class references for Adobe AIR 1.5, Adobe Flex 3.2 and Flash Player 10. I've been testing it this weekend and it has run great.

There is more information on Mike's website for the app, including a download link for the iTunes App Store. If you want to install the app directly on your phone, you'll need to search for "Mike Chambers" to find the app while it works its way into the App Store search.

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