Recently there has been a number of exciting advancements with the Flash Platform (Flex, Flash Player, and Adobe AIR). Here is a quick round-up: Adobe released security updates for the Flash runtimes: Flash Player 10.0.42.34 and Adobe AIR 1.5.3. The Flash Player update fixes an issue with mouse scroll wheels not working in Flash when using Safari. Recently, Adobe also released public betas for Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.
The web’s success has been partially due to the sandbox it provides users. Users do not generally have to entirely trust every website they visit because malicious web sites should be sandboxed from doing the user harm. One way that web sites are sandboxed is through a same-origin policy. By default any code that runs inside a web browser can only access data from the domain in which the code originated from.
Some believe that the “Internet” in “rich Internet application” (RIA) means that RIAs must only run in the browser. However my definition of RIA is not constrained to only web-based applications. RIAs can run anywhere: web, desktop, mobile devices, TVs, or even inside PDFs. Ideally we should have some level of code and library reusability between these environments. However to think that we can reuse the entire application is a pipe dream.
Device font rendering in Flash content has always had some limitations, including the inability for text to be correctly scaled, rotated, and faded. Due to these limitations many developers using Flex resort to embedding fonts. But this can really bloat the size of applications - especially when working with non-English languages. Luckily Flash Player 10 / AIR 1.5 added a new font engine! To make using the new engine easy Adobe also created an open source library called the Text Layout Framework, which wraps Flash Player’s low level text APIs.
The Flash Platform (Adobe AIR, Flash Player, Flex, etc.) has become a mainstream software development platform. This is very exciting but also leads to me getting a boat-load of email. That is great! I love hearing from the community and answering questions. I do respond to every email I get - even if it takes a year! I am frequently asked about partnerships. It seems that everyone who is building products or services related to the Flash Platform wants to know how they can help Adobe and how Adobe can help them.
Over the past few months Greg Wilson, Christophe Coenraets, and myself have been hard at work on a secret project. So today we are proud to announce the new Tour de Flex has just gone live! Tour de Flex showcases the capabilities of Flex, BlazeDS, LCDS, Adobe AIR, and Flash Player (now collectively called the Adobe Flash Platform). Like the old Flex Component Explorer, Tour de Flex can be used to find components.
Getting Flash Player working on 64-bit Linux systems has been a challenge. But not anymore! Today Adobe Systems released a beta of native Flash Player 10 for 64-bit Linux! Check it out and report bugs to the open Flash Player bug database. Here is a short video I shot of me testing the new Flash Player 10 plugin for 64-bit Ubuntu Linux. Let me know what you think!
On a recent dreary Saturday afternoon in Denver my friend Jon Rose and I decided to give the video podcasting thing a try. The first episode is about the changes to the recently released Flash Player 10 that will impact software developers (primarily those of the Flex persuasion). When preparing to record the interview we decided to break out the Glenlivet. One thing led to another and somehow we came up with the name “Drunk on Software” as a cheap ripoff of the popular “Joel on Software” blog.
It appears the Flash Player engineering team is making progress on 64-bit Linux support. There are no details yet on when this will ship. But I’m sure they could still use your help.
In a few weeks I’ll be stopping by the Atlanta Java User Group and the Chicago Flex and AIR Developers Group: Atlanta - August 19, 2008 - Rich Internet Applications with Flex and Java Chicago - August 20, 2008 - The Future of Flex, Flash Player, and AIR Hope to see you there!