Archive for October 4, 2007

What’s new with flash… what the professionals think

Along with brainstorming ideas for what I wish to develop in flash for my second assignment for this module, I have emailed a few new media professionals to see where they believe flash is going and what kinds of programmes they use.  


These are the responses I gained; I was asked to keep them anonymous:


“At the moment one of the most up and coming things is the Papervision3D engine people from all over have been working on in Flash 9. It’s letting people do some pretty interesting stuff that wasn’t previously possible



I’ll be using it in my talk (at Flash on the beach) and there’s be plenty more on it from others. I studied new media myself a couple of years ago in Leeds, and luckily now is still a very good time for getting into the industry if you know Flash, people are crying out for good Flash developers that know how to write games and sites.


The most important thing we look at when hiring is examples of what the person is capable of, so that’s more important than listing skills (everyone lists every piece of software as their skills).  If you find yourself less happy with what goes into games and websites, you might want to look at using Adobe Flex, this is the application building tool that runs on Flash. I’d still recommend learning Flash to a good level first, but it’s quite nice to see how quickly you can put things together in Flex Builder ( because it lets you stay quite high-level, not really building things from scratch.


Finally we are using AIR to create applications. AIR is brand new and takes Flex onto the desktop so you can build new things that people can install instead of just using on a website. Hopefully you’ll be able to search for all of these things if any of them are new to you. Another nice area to get into is Flash Lite, that’s the mobile version of Flash. They just released Flash Lite 3 today and you can kind of think of it as Flash 8 in terms of what you can do (in fact you can take Flash 8 files and use them in Flash Lite 3 on the phone).


If you have a Nokia this is easier to get into. It’s quite impressive to show someone something running on a phone, even though it was just as easy as if you’d made it for a website. 


Another response I gained was:


“Let me start by reflecting on what I see as the strengths of the next generation of flash masters and then I’ll tap into some of the things my peers are working on.


There are a couple of paths that come to mind… one that leans  towards design, one that leans towards programming and one that  focuses on getting the most out of all of the cs3 apps to improve  workflow.


From a design perspective, I think it’s critical that flash designers have a good understanding of action script. The competition in the workplace is tight enough that a designer should be as balanced as possible between designs and coding. In its simplest context, I prefer to code.

From a programmer’s perspective, there’s an interesting situation developing as to whether we master flex builder 3 or simply do the code exclusively within flash cs3. The power of as3 is undisputed…  it’s just a question of how one likes to build the architectures of code. But regardless of what path one chooses, the most important thing of all is to build constructive architectures. Object-oriented programming is critical. Destroying code simply won’t allow you to build interesting results.


An application typically lives on its own deserted island… and I’m interested in tying together the strengths of multiple applications into an uber-app, thankfully, adobe opened the door for us to do this by allowing swf panels within illustrator cs3 as well as allowing us to control the adobe apps via jsx (flavour of JavaScript). The jsx files are written in extend script, which I believe is installed with your adobe apps. The syntax is very similar to action script, so it’s not a stretch to write the code. By allowing the swfs to communicate with the jsx methods, we can now control the illustrator environment from a swf panel… and that’s truly powerful. I suspect that the other adobe apps (ps & ae, etc.) will follow illustrator’s lead and integrate swf panels in the future.


For a peak into what’s possible, here are a couple of links.


From these two small pieces of information I am now going to research into the following applications:


  • Papervision3D
  • Flash 9
  • Adobe Flex
  • Flex Builder
  • AIR
  • Flash Lite : Mobile version of Flash
  • cs3 apps
  • swfs
  • jsx 
  • Adobe applications


From this list I will be able to see what is going on in the industry at the moment, and where it would be best for me to spend my time and build an application that would really stand out.



Production Ideas

As a Web & New media specialist, my final year dissertation and project will be concentrated within this area. In particular, my dissertation involves research around the social networking site Facebook – one of the most visited web 2.0 applications on the Internet today.

To coincide with this, my initial idea for the production side of this module involves designing and creating an application for Facebook. 

Applications on Facebook have only recently been introduced, and have allowed developers from around the World to create and submit interactive user content onto the site. Some of the more popular applications used on profiles include: ‘SuperPoke,’ ‘X-Me,’ ‘My Aquarium,’ and ‘Free Gifts.’ ‘SuperPoke’ allows users to make virtual actions directed at other users for instance.

In order to find out more about building an application for Facebook, the obvious place to start is that of the actual site.

When visiting, besides the initial ‘welcome message’ and login, there is also a link at the bottom of the page entitled ‘developers’ – it is here where I can find most of the information needed to develop an application specifically to be used on Facebook.