So, in my first steps in tablet development, I cracked out a simple app for the new Blackberry Playbook and got a free Playbook! It’s a very nice piece of hardware. You can see my app (a very simple doodling application, called ScratchPad) here.
Well, it’s been a while. Having spent the last 8 months working on the YouView set top box platform, I’ve been so busy that I wasn’t even sure my site was still up. And now that I’ve dived headlong into the tricky world of embedded systems development, I wanted to starting playing with other platforms out there. The first two that recently caught my eye were Apple iOS (specifically the iPad) and the new Blackberry PlayBook.
I was keen to see what the application development process is like for these two platforms, especially for Flash Developers and how the two Big Tablets, iPad and PlayBook, measurement up as potential target platforms for the crazy ideas in my head that I’d want to build. So, I made the first steps at development for both.
Now that Adobe is ‘allowed’ to pursue iOS as a target platform for AIR, via its cross-compiler again, I went through the process of signing up as an iOS developer, jumping through the various other hoops and getting my first ‘hello world’ app onto my iPad. The whole process is a lot more complicated than it probably could be, but then, the same could be said of device development at YouView – this is the nature of such platforms, they are emerging technologies and, as such, are moving targets and simply not like the desktop machines we are all used to developing for. I have to say though, I’m impressed with the recent leaps in performance and functionality Adobe has made with AIR 2.6 for iOS – it leaves Packager in the dust.
Perhaps because the tool chain for PlayBook development feels more like developing for YouView, I was more comfortable with developing for the Playbook and managed to crack out a very simple app, getting in App World in a matter of a couple of days.
Now that I’ve stepped well outside the desktop comfort zone, I have been playing for a while with resource constrained device development, hardware acceleration of Flash content and developing an unhealthy obsession for writing clean, memory/rendering performance optimal code. I hope to bring some of this to projects for iOS and Playbook, as well as share what I’ve learned over the last year.
You want to embed an entire SWF, full of assets, into a class and retrieve individual symbols from it – but you don’t want to have to embed each asset individually.
SWFAsset – a couple of lines of code and you’re away.
At the risk of getting sucked into the Apple vs Adobe shitstorm, my own response to Apple chosing to block Flash content from their mobile devices is to at least tell users why – because Apple left it at the rather obscure blue lego block, with no explanation (great experiential design guys). Simply include this code in your page/s to redirect mobile safari users to a page of your chosing …I direct them here.
You’re using Flash 10’s native 3-D API and notice the projection goes a little skewiff when resizing the window.
You need to reset the stage’s projection centre on stage resize, like so…
var centre:Point = new Point(stage.stageWidth/2, stage.stageHeight/2);
root.transform.perspectiveProjection.projectionCenter = centre;
In moving to compiling projects with the new Flex SDK 4, I noticed a couple of gotchas to do with the EMBED metatag that I thought I’d share:
Runtime Shared Libraries
If you wish to embed assets in your SWF with the EMBED metatag, so you can manage and update things easily, there’s an extra compiler parameter you must add, in order for your project to compile properly:
This is already added as a new default parameter in FlashDevelop projects. But if you’re planning to build projects from outside a similar IDE, you must add this to your compiler string. Otherwise, the compiler will think you have uninitialised constants and warn you so.
Using the EMBED metatag, or even better runtime loading, for fonts is the sensible way forward. The amount of projects I’ve seen where you need to build from an FLA file full of fonts, which you need to hunt down and install is crazy. With Flex SDK 4, you’ll need to add an extra attribute to your embed tag for fonts, called ’embedAsCFF’:
[Embed(source=’myfont.ttf’, fontName=’MY_FONT’, fontWeight=’regular’, unicodeRange=’U+0020-U+0040,U+0041-U+005A’, mimeType=’application/x-font’, embedAsCFF=’false’)]
public static const MY_FONT :Class;