Grabbing assets out of AIR apps

12 03 2009

I’ve done some work in the past with the Konfabulator (Now Yahoo! Widgets) widget patform and the workflow (no IDE) was that you used to rename the .widge files to .zip and decompress in order to view the JS and XML source. I was nosing at a few AIR apps today (Frienddeck and a Merapi AS3 to Java bridge application – in order to grab Skype metadata) and thought I’d give this method a test and yes you can kind of do the same with AIR! 

 Rename the .air to .zip and decompress (I use Winzip) – it throws an error but you get some source including a .swf which you can then run through a decompiler (I use Sothink) and you get the symbols (PNG’s, Movieclips etc…). This could be useful under certain circumstances so I thought I’d share. Cheerio :)

Excellent free HTML Editor for Eclipse

4 03 2009

Doing some AS3 projects in FDT (Eclipse plug in) with FlashVars & SWFAddress and it’s so good being able to pop into a decent HTML Editor in the same IDE. It’s just as good as EditPlus & free. Lovely. Just drop the .jar in your plugins directory. Details and Sourceforge link here 

Tech news that beggars belief

24 02 2009

Firstly it would appear that Lord Carter’s vision for Digital Britain involves speed reducing, litigation fuelling ISP snooping DRM nonsense á la China, Syria and Australia read more here & behold the zeitgeist in action:

Absolutely not. We will march through the streets of Shoreditch!

And also IE8 actually introduces 2 new browsers to test in because IE7 ‘Compatibility Mode’ does not render sites in the same was as IE7 ????? See news here from IE’s marketing department and a pretty damning analysis from someone with more sense

Google ChromePlease don’t use IE ever! Chrome is blisteringly fast and doesn’t crash because if one tab hangs you can kill that process without losing the whole application and having to kill your session (though god knows what private data is collected while you use it) but I’m split between that and Firefox 3 as it’s got so many amazing tools and I love Mozilla. If Google would only add FFox plugin support though…

PureMVC Forum is ultra useful & friendly

18 02 2009

Pure MVCAbsolutely brilliant forum over at PureMVC. I had some heavy questions today and Cliff & Jason helped me an awful lot with some wide ranging and tricky concepts.  Thanks for the assistance guys :)

Firefox ‘Clear Cache’ Extension. Amazing

17 02 2009

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the greatest Nerd

This little beauty does exactly what it says on the tin. Thanks to Airtight Interactive for the spot and the consistently excellent blog

Firefox Extension - clear cache

Err, just what exactly is PixelBender?

13 02 2009

 Pixel BenderBeen trying to work this out and it seems it’s basically a way of delegating computationally expensive tasks to a hybrid of GPU & CPU so you can take advantage of the local machines hardware better to extend how hardcore you can make client side computations in Flash Player/AIR runtime.

These slides did a better job of explaining than most:

Main things I’ve discovered:

- What isn’t apparent from the name is that is not restricted to graphics/video processing – you can do any Maths process with this for example manipulating audio live in real time in ways you can’t currently do e.g. proper DSP operations with float4 low level datatypes

- Creating a new PixelBenderJob via AS3 actually creates a new processor thread (confirmed to me at Flash On The Beach by Lee Brimelow) so effectively FP10 is capable of multithreaded applications in the same way Java is, it’s just that noone has got it working yet as far as I know…

I wonder how long it takes the ridiculously clever folks over at Hobnox, Alternativa, Papervision, Flint, Away3D etc to grab this or whether some other PJB wizard will create some next gen tools in this that may supercede their work in the 3D/Particle and audio DSP spaces where GPU’s are at their most useful?

I haven’t got any spare time as I’ve too many research projects on at the mo already (good times) but hopefully will get a chance to nose further at this soon…

Good links in the meantime:

Good weekend all

[code lang="actionscript"]EDIT[/code]

Just spotted this from the guys at BigSpaceship top stats and a very interesting comment from UnitZeroOne regarding the future of Papervision :)

Senocular’s ‘AS3 tip of the day’, cheers

11 02 2009

SenocularI find this blog over on Kirupa so consistently useful I thought I’d send it some link love. Senocular mate, you are a legend. “AS3 tip of the day” is invaluable

Mucho obrigado

FDT/Eclipse Setup & Flash Dev spring cleaning brings Happiness & new tools

6 02 2009

FDTAfter having a fresh evaluation of all my workflows, tools and processes recently and after quite a bit of time analysing Flex Builder 3 and Flash Develop; I’ve finally settled happily on FDT3 in Eclipse and the Flash IDE as my compiler (Including the AIR & AS_CORE goodies you get for free in Flex & all my favourite 3rd party AS3 Libraries via Eclipse shared Libs). During the experience I discovered loads of useful bits and thought I’d catalogue and share:

FDT can be set up to work with the Flash IDE (no slow workflow of editing SWC’s externally like with Flex) so I can live edit on stage assets as well as code as all mongrel dev/designers like me like to do. It’s also easy to set up Ctrl+Enter straight from the Eclipse IDE (Thanks to Wezside for the handy tip) like I used to with Se|Py. If you’re going to go and install this you might find this useful when you’re locating your ASO & S.O folders & various installation folders you need.

There’s only one annoying thAnnoying CS3 Flash Path paneing in that I have to add the classpaths for my external Libs to the FLA document as well as in the FDT Project (see pic) although I think this issue may be fixed or at least easier to fix with Flash CS4 (which I’ve started using on other machines and is awesome) as the settings are XML based in that rather than locked in the binary FLA.

Minor bug bear though, everything else about it I’m really pleased with. Onward to more details of cool features; for example FDT ‘Templating’. As a quick example of when to use this; I like trace – she’s done me proud over the years but I wanted to set up an FDT Template to use trace as as a keyword to enter the following line of code instead to work with ThunderBolt Logger:

[code lang="actionscript"]"Flash is calling: A simple string", myString);[/code]

Usually you want to trace the value of a variable that is right in front of you so rather than typing it you can highlight that word in Eclipse & the FDT template will populate it’s generated code snippet with the highlighted value and plonk it straight into your code.  E.G to trace out facade in the code below:

FDT sample

Highlight the word facade and press CTRL+SPACE then when you start typing the first few letters of the Template Command Name ‘tra…’ the list of suggestions populates including your custom Template:

FDT sample

You just click that and it inserts your snippet with it’s dynamic contents like so, et voila!

FDT sample

You create these rules via Eclipse -> Window -> Preferences -> FDT -> Editor -> Templates. Pic below shows syntax:

FDT sample

So thats cool. I also mentioned our linked Library set that Rob and I are working with, there’s loads of amazing Libraries out at the moment, here’s our list (still more to go e.g PaperVision and Flint but this is a good set of great libraries)…

FDT Linked Libraries

As ever a big thanks to the creators of all of them. Tip of the hat to you all Sir’s :)

Eclipse is comfortable and solid and gives you access to an existing plug in network which I’ve already found really useful. LogWatcher is a tool that lets you watch any text file on your system. I just pointed mine at the FlashLog.txt created by the FP10 debugplayer and it works just like FlashTracer for Firefox but within Eclipse. I love the ability to check projects directly out of SVN ino FDT via Subclipse and the fact that it’s so easy to work between Mac & PC platforms as Java is platform independent and I guess it’s also cool being familiar with a Java dev environment in case you want to port any existing cool stuff like Saqoosha did with FLARToolkit and some of the stuff Mario Klingemann’s BitMap manipulation stuff he mentioned porting in his lecture at FOTB08.

Flash Develop is wicked and I love to support Open Source but it hasn’t got close to the features FDT can (SWC Browsing, Refactoring, Eclipse base benefits & general subjective tool use pleasure) and V3Beta9 wouldnt save my settings properly :(

Flex for me is nasty as the split between design and dev is skewed away from the fine traditions of Flash. CSS? No thanks. I won’t miss the bloat and the framework (MXML, yuck) but the thing that I will really miss is the incredible Flex Builder 3 View Source creation wizard which I love.

I first spotted this on one of Tink’s tutorials and he’s done some cool patches for it too but if anybody knows a way of getting the com.adobe.viewsource.ViewSource classes and zip/framework building scripts working with FDT (On either Windows or Mac), please leave a comment! Hope that was useful to somebody. Cheers

Beardyman B-Live Beatology site live

15 01 2009

The latest site I’ve been working on has been live in Germany for a week or so now and is running nicely so thought I’d do a quick post in case anyone reading is interested in what I’ve been building lately…

Beardyman B-Live Beatology

If you can read Deutsch – the live site is – the version I’m linking is a showcase version in English so you’ll have a clue what’s going on. The basic premise of this site is that you upload a picture of your face and get back a video of yourself beatboxing but there’s a hoard of other functionality to explore and a big social element including a Facebook App so you can post your generated videos and share amongst your friends. The amazing video assets are all custom shot by Superglue and we’re very proud of it all. A holiday is in order for me but I shall probably do a bit more of a write up on it at a later date.

So… if you want to try it out or see an example grab a passport style photo of you – higher res and higher contrast the better ( sub 500KB) or if you don’t have one to hand, save this one below to your desktop. You’ll need a decent video player like VLC to watch .FLV directly but our system also generates an AVI. I’ve linked the image below to the generated AVI for this image and you can watch the FLV for it here if you prefer.

German Girl test photo

The back end will map the image onto one of 4 3D meshes, analysing it and applying one of several matrices to get the best fit and generate the videos on the back end which then send it back to you in Flash. We’re also creating 3GP videos for mobiles which are downloaded via a QR code link and allowing Webcam upload as a photo submission method so have been very busy.

Beardyman B-Live Beatology

Enjoy the beatboxery :)

PureMVC & Flash Develop basic Kuler API Demo & Source

7 01 2009

I was looking for some basic working examples of PureMVC framework based apps to get my head round the Mediator Interface stuff and found a lovely demo over on Josh Weatherspoon’s blog. I’m not trying to claim I wrote this, just rejigged it so you can use Flash Develop & the Flash IDE not Flex (Hooray!) and if you do too you’ll find this a heck of a lot easier to understand as it’ll compile straight away.  I also updated it for the latest Kuler API (colour swatch generator)

Pure MVC Example

Click the above for a demo & grab the source inc FlashDevelop 3 Project File & bundled non SWC PureMVC libs here.

Cheers Josh, nice one