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’:
I just returned from a trip round SE Asia to see my last project launch. Called ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects‘, it’s a joint venture between BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum to chart human history in a new way. I developed the concept for the Flash 3D object explorer with the guys at GT and built it using Flash 10′s native 3D capabilities. Users are able to explorer objects from throughout human history in a sort of 3D timeline and even make history by adding their own. Here’s the TV advert for the series:
Since it is expected to grow to up to 10,000 objects over the next 5 years, I used all the tricks in the book to optimise loading, rendering and memory management – which will bore most people to tears, so that’s for another time. Check out the Flash site itself here.
I quickly cobbled together this little demo using the new native 3D transforms in Flash 10. Alongside the regular transform.matrix property, DisplayObjects now have a transform.matrix3D property, which controls its appearance in 3-D space. It’s pretty easy to play with in Flash CS4, without any coding knowledge – I can’t wait to see a version of GTA built using this
Flash Player 10 is finally here! But does it live up to the hype? Previous major releases of Flash Player have each brought with them significant improvements in performance or added functionality. This time around, the guys at Adobe have been tinkering with a few exciting (and a few somewhat drier) enhancements, including: native 3-D transform APIs, new custom ‘Pixel Bender’ filters, dynamic sound generation, hardware accelerated graphics and new video capabilities.
Personally, because I’m always looking for new things that enable us to create innovative and engaging user experiences, I’m a little less excited about new features such as support for right-to-left languages or new audio codecs. But at least there are people out there filling in the gaps, pushing Flash beyond its perceived limits and developing things we can actually use to create edifying experiences, such as papervision, box2d, etc.
Any new features though, even if they aren’t quite as ‘cool’ as the previous additions of webcam or socket server access, are ultimately a good thing. Let’s just hope everyone keeps pushing in the right direction and uses Flash to beautify the web, not just make it more clunky – Shockwave people take note.