May 5, 2008
Live blogging from SAPPHIRE 2008 in Orlando. Andre Salazar from Adobe is giving a session on creating engaging experiences for SAP using Adobe technology.
Main themes are Adobe has an entire group for managing the SAP partnership. Technologies highlighted include Flash, Flex, Air, PDF, and LiveCycle.
Partnership started in 2002 to replace SAP SmartForms with PDF Forms. Today, the partnership includes other technologies including Enterprise Learning (Acrobat Connect) and user experiences (Flash/Flex dashboards for SAP Analytics, RIA's within SAP).
SAP has licensed Flex for Visual Composer as well as several new areas, launching later this year.
Right now Andre is concentrating on Air. SAP is interested in Air for desktop/off-line capabilities. I'm not completely sure the way he's explaining it is connecting with the SAP audience. He's bouncing back and forth between Flex and Air, and I think that's further confusing people. They do seem to be respoding positively to the UI's that are being shown.
He's showing an example now of a company that put a Flex front end on top of SAP CRM. It's a (very) simple dashboard with charts and graphs. SAP is shipping an app later this year called Spend Analytics that's built in Flex and exposes cost and spend analysis. It's available in both Flex and Air.
Flex Islands inside of WebDynPro, also available later this year lets you embed Flex components inside the WebDynPro environment.
Excelsius (Business Objects) makes heavy use of Flex to generate rich dashboards from Excel data.
At Adobe, they use Flex and SAP for MDM Management internally.
He's now showing some more demos. The first one is the Adobe Customer Response Tool, built in Air. It's lined with SAP CRM for customer trouble ticket resolution. I see Christine Lawson's name on the demo screen ;-)
Next demo is the Adobe Directory, also built in Air. It's a little search widget that ties in with their LDAP as well as SAP's HCM system and MS Exchange. If someone in the search is available, you can pull up a map of the office and see where they sit. The latest version has voice chat too. Pretty slick.
He's now showing Acrobat Connect. It's amazing how much better Acrobat Connect is than WebEx and LiveMeeting.
Well, that's about it. Time to move on to my next session.
October 2, 2007
Back from break. The next 4 presenters are getting ready to go...
Danielle Beaumont is showing off custom skinning Flex and Air components using Fireworks. I'm not really familiar with all of the challenges associated with custom skinning (other than the fact that most Flex apps have a very similar look and feel), but I can see that what she's doing here is making a lot of people happy (loud applause).
I have to post this now. Be right back for part 3...
December 15, 2005
I didn't see this one picked up in any of the aggregators yesterday, so I figured I'd post it here. According to this CNet article, Adobe has announced they'll be releasing Acrobat reader and Flash Player updates on a scheduled basis.
I think this is a great idea, especially for those organizations that must plan upgrade/patch deployments. Knowing when updates will be released makes this a lot easier. Only two questions left. Which day of the week will they choose for the releases? And, will patches for their other products like ColdFusion follow the same schedule. Expect an announcement from Adobe soon.
October 19, 2005
Also during yesterday's sneaks session, Damon Cooper demonstrated a new event gateway for directly communicating with the new Flash Media Server 2.0 (formerly Flash Communication Server) via RTMP. The demo showed how it was possible to communicate with Flash components in real time through the gateway. Damon's example consisted of a form built in ColdFusion which submitted data to the gateway, and updated charts built in Flash in real-time. This opens up some very cool possibilities for ColdFusion/Flash applications. As always, no promise if/when this will become available.
October 18, 2005
The day 2 keynote tends to be much less serious (in delivery, not content) than the first day. This year's day 2 keynote was no exception. Things started out with a skit called Meet Your Match starring Tim Buntel, which was unfortunately absent last year. If Tim ever leaves IT, he has a future in comedy. The skit centered around a dating service
Flash video was the highlight of today' session, with support built in throughout the entire Studio 8 product line. Jen Taylor demonstrated how easy it is to pull Flash video into sites created with Dreamweaver 8. There's a new Insert Flash Video menu which makes it extremely easy to do.
Next up was Steve Kilisky from Adobe and Mike Downey from Macromedia. They demonstrated upcoming tools in After Effects. There were all sorts of cool features, many of which I don't really understand. What I do understand, though, is that After Effects is getting the ability to export directly to FLV. Video is something I've always been interested in, but never found the time to get into. It always seemed as though the time commitment to really learn the tools and techniques was too large for me to commit. Seeing what's coming in After Effects, I may have to rethink that statement.
In Flash Professional 8, video is a lot easier to work with. There's a new Import Video option right in the File menu, further unifying the workflow. You can choose video from your local machine, or from any URL out on the web, such as a Flash Video Streaming Service, or Flash Media Server. Once you've chosen the video, you work with playback controls. There are 30 skins that ship with the product that you can use out of the box. The dimensions of the FLV are automatically sized, making it easy to drop it on the stage and work with quickly.
Back to the skit.... Tim Buntel introduces Jeremy Allaire, who talks about his new venture, BrightcCove. BrightCove is an Internet TV service that allows content producers to distribute their works directly to consumers in a variety of ways. Monetization occurs via advertising, pay media, and syndication. The BrightCove Console is a RIA written in Flex that allows people to get their video online, manage distribution, and track . Playback is handled by the BrightCove player, which is itself a Flash application. Over 20 player types will be available later in the year. Deploying is as easy as cutting and pasting code generated by BrightCove into any HTML page.
Back to the skit again, this time Tim introduces Ben Forta by video since he was unable to make it to the conference this year. Ben talked briefly about the expanding market for ColdFusion, and a recent surge in the ColdFusion job market. No new details about ColdFusion 8 (Scorpio), though. Tim continues throwing out ideas for how ColdFusion, Flash, and the new Flex Builder 2 can be used together.
Next up, communication. Tom Hale starts talking Breeze. Enterprise customer adoption is currently 1600+, and projected to continue growing. Cisco plans to integrate Breeze and Flash player technology into their Meeting Place and other Cisco products. Tom shows how Breeze is being used for eLearning, and the types of customizations companies are making. Breeze is more than just meetings, it's an entire extensible platform. A new feature called Room Extensions makes this possible. At the heart of Room Extensions is the SyncSWF API. Nigel Pegg and Peter Ryce get into more detail, showing how powerful the API is. Any kind of SWF can be pulled into Breeze. Anything from applications to games, and it's instantly available and viewable by all participants in the Breeze meeting. It's not screen sharing, but rather messaging the small changes around. Nigel demonstrates multi-user magnetic poetry. Next, he shows how a Sales Forecast spreadsheet can be synched and made interactive. A product called XCelsius uses the SyncSWF API to make this happen.
Back to Tim Buntel again, this time onto applications and content for mobile devices. Al Ramadan talks about the past 12 months and the launch of the Mobile Developer Program. Flash is being used as the interface for all sorts of devices now - digital cameras, mobile phones, and more. First FlashCast deployment called iChannel. Nokia talks about Flash in the Nokia platform. Flash on devices is huge in Asia, and is beginning to spread to Europe. Qualcomm has BREW content distribution system which Macromedia wants to make better. Flash Lite is coming to BREW meaning you can license and provide your content to US users. Flash Lite 2.0, based upon Flash Player 7 is coming soon as well. Available on Macromedia Labs in January. Three new consumer experiences: enhanced content and browsing ($1B industry in Japan), Flash as a UI for phones and other devices, and converged data experiences. Lots of new tools coming to make development easier. Adobe tools will further be integrated as things progress. Flash Professional 8 has new tools for developing for mobile. There's device emulation and profiles for a whole host of mobile devices. Will show you which devices support which types of content. Josh ULM talks about the future of Flash on mobile devices. Shows off a UI developed entirely in Flash. All phone apps are done in Flash as well. UI is much more rich (and animated) than what we're used to today. Allows separation of look of UI from logic. Allows applications to easily be ported to different UI's without having to change the applications themselves. Live information updates (data services) automatically pushed down to the device via Flash Cast. Phone and data services can be integrated.
Kevin Lynch announces all of the MAX Awards winners. I'm not going to list them all here as you can find them on the Macromedia web site.
April 19, 2005
I saw U2 last Thursday night at the Glendale Arena (they totally rocked). Mid way through the show, Bono asked the audience to text their names to a numer they had setup as part of the One campaign to end poverty. The names that were texted were streamed across the giant video screen later on in the concert.
After seeing this, I couldn't help but think how simple this all would have been to do in ColdFusion. The new SMS gateway makes the SMS enablement a snap. If you wanted to scroll it after it had all been collected (as opposed to streaming), you could do so with a simple Flash scroller and Flash Remoting connected to CF on the back end. If you wanted to make it streaming, just drop in Flash Communication Server and you are good to go. Seriously, as much as I bet went into this from the Sun/Voxiva side of things, the same thing could probably have been done using CF/Flash for a whole lot less in terms of both money and code!
November 2, 2004
Mike Downey, Flash Technical Product Manager is giving a sneak peek of the next generation Flash player.
- Dramatic performance improvements
- Bitmap caching of vector graphics (cacheAsBitmap)
- cacheAsBitmap works with components to improve performance (like big accordian panes)
- New graphical capabilities. Pixel level control via graphic effects - Bevel, Drop Shadow, Blur (in and out), Convolution, Glow, Color Matrix, etc. All controllable at runtime. Can be applied to any movie clip.
- New text rendering engine (Saffron). Precise control over anti-aliasing.
- New Flash Video codec. Among the best in the industry. Still support old codec as well. Demo images are pretty impressive contrasting old and new. New capabilities made possible including video alpha channel at runtime (very, very impressive). Makes it possible to see through items in video as well.
November 2, 2004
Not big news, but it lends more credibility to the value of Flash for Rich Internet Apps. IBM, Microsoft, CNet, Amazon.com, and Salesforce.com are all using Flash in various ways on their websites.
November 2, 2004
Although not entirely new, the team over at iteration::two has released a unit testing framework for ActionScript 2.0 called AS2Unit. The framework is available for free, and the project is currently looking for additional support from the community to help grow the project.
Update: Lance Linder points out that a 2nd unit testing framework (and more) is also available, as2lib.
March 5, 2004
I'm happy to see that Steve Rittler, long time Philly CFUG manager, has entered the world of blogging with his State of Independence blog. Steves a really great guy, and an excellent developer. Although his blog isn't specific to MAcromedia technologies (it's built in ASP.Net), Steve has a lot of insite to offer on both ColdFusion and Flash development. Look for a lot of good information from Steve in the near future.