YouView is a Smart TV service in the UK, which runs on Set Top Boxes and Smart TVs. I worked on the original UI for years and thought I’d share some insights into best practices for building applications on such resource constrained devices.
I recently stumbled upon an old bit of code which demonstrates a technique I created for an efficient scrolling data grid on the YouView TV platform. I call it ‘Blit Scrolling’. Below is a demo of the concept.
One of the most problematic constraints when developing applications for resource constrained devices, such as mobile or Set Top Box is ‘video memory’.
You often will not have control over how much video memory is allocated to your application, or what the fallback behaviour is when your application uses too much. Continue reading Sneaky tricks for developing on small devices: ‘Bitmap Folding’
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.