Following the news last week that Microsoft and UK-based retailer Tesco announced a commercial agreement (no details of the financial arrangements were published) it is interesting to see that one media company who previously adopted Microsoft Silverlight for its online TV catch-up service has completely replaced the Silverlight-based player for one built using Adobe Flash Player.
ITV, owner of the UK’s largest commercial television channel in terms of audience share and advertising revenue, had been using Silverlight since the launch of the service, but if the ITV forums and other reports are anything to go by, the use of Silverlight had certainly caused frustration for many visitors to the site trying to use ITV Player.
I have no inside knowledge as to what caused ITV to walk away from Microsoft’s technology and instead use Flash Player to stream programmes such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale and X Factor on the ITV Player; it seems though that a combination of the reported technical problems experienced by end-users and the relatively low distribution of the the runtime, which required most visitors to install Silverlight, proved to be too much of a barrier for end-user adoption, especially when compared with the successful use of Flash for BBC iPlayer, 4 on-demand and Five TV’s Demand 5 service.
Note: it looks as if ITV are still in the process of updating their site so expect some minor issues whilst they finish the process.
Just over a week ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with Iain Dodsworth, founder of TweetDeck – one of the most-downloaded applications that have been built using Adobe AIR.
In this video Iain talks about how and why he went about creating TweetDeck, why he built it using Adobe AIR, what worked well (and what didn’t) during development, what he and the team have learnt from the whole process and his plans for the future of TweetDeck. He also offers up some advice for anyone else thinking about embarking on a startup venture.
The full version (below) is approximately 20 minutes in length, but I’m working on a shorter highlight video that hopefully we’ll get posted on Adobe TV – I’ll post a link to that in due course.
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There is a two-day training workshop taking place on the 24th and 25th of September in London covering some of the more advanced topics relating to Flex development.
If you’ve been working with Flex for a while and are interested in the differences between MVC Flex frameworks, design patterns, application builds and continuous integration, portals, modularization of Flex applications, unit, stress & functional testing, as well as a host of other topics, then I’d encourage you to check out this workshop.
More details and pricing information is here. You can use the code ‘ebd’ to get a 20% discount on the course fee.
An article I wrote on Flash Catalyst best practices for the Adobe Developer Connection site went live yesterday.
One of the things I’ve found with Flash Catalyst is that the quality and usefulness of the assets and component skins that you’ll make available for the developers you are working with can vary depending upon how you’ve organized your project, as can the amount of rework and restructuring required on their part when they receive your FXP file. By thinking about naming, structure and being organized throughout the design phase of the project, you’ll help to ensure a smooth flow of assets from design into development.
If you’re considering using Flash Catalyst for creating the user interface for a rich Internet application then I hope the hints and tips shared in the article will help you to make the most from Flash Catalyst and ensure that you’re structuring your projects with the eventual output to the developer in mind.
The article is posted here.
If you have any feedback on the article or additional hints & tips then please do share them using the comments.
You could win a free pass to MAX 2009, along with some of the software used to create the Adobe MAX widget, simply by putting the widget below on your blog and/or social network pages, and encouraging others to do the same.
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If you drive the most widget placements, you win! See MAX facts you like? Send them to your Twitter followers. The more you Tweet, the greater your chance of winning!
Last month I mentioned a webcast featuring a discussion relating to Morgan Stanley’s use of Flex for their “Matrix” rich Internet application. It took longer than I’d have liked, but I finally got access to a recording of the webcast and am pleased to make it available here for playback.
Participants in this hour and a quarter long session discuss how developers at financial firms use rich Internet application technologies to integrate real-time data, with the delivery of audio, video, reports and rich interactive charts to trading applications.
Panel participants were: Hishaam Mufti-Bey (Matrix founder and global director at Morgan Stanley), Stephane Malrait (Global Head of eCommerce at Societe Generale), Mark Greenaway (Adobe), Trevor LaFleche (Senior Analyst at Financial Insights). Moderator was: Vivake Gupta, Managing Director, Lab49
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For a quick summary of the key points and some interesting commentary as to why Morgan Stanley chose Flex over Silverlight check out Tim Anderson’s blog entry and the comments.
Adobe’s annual conference for designers and developers, MAX, is taking place this year in Los Angeles from October 4th to 7th. I’m starting to work on the detail of both the session and lab that I’ll be presenting at MAX this year and thought I’d share the outline here in a blatant attempt to get you to go register for my sessions on the MAX site :)
Both are on the topic on designer/developer workflow and the use of Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder – first up is a session entitled “Working with Flash Catalyst Projects in Flash Builder 4″.
This session will be focused on helping developers understand how to make use of the assets, projects and code that designers will generate when using Flash Catalyst. I’ll be covering the Flex project structure, how to work with generated states, transitions, component skin definitions and item renderers in Flash Builder, replacing dummy data with real data, dealing with changes in the design and using library packages to skin components across multiple projects. We’ll also explore some of the best practices that designers need to adopt so as to help you as the developer.
The hands-on lab that I’m running, entitled “Design to Development – Flash Catalyst to Flash Builder” will walk through the end-to-end process of creating an expressive rich Internet application using the beta releases of the tools. Specifically, on the design side we’ll cover converting artwork to components, round-tripping to make design changes, defining user interface states, triggering changes to application state and applying transitions between states. Then on the development of the application, we’ll look at importing into Flash Builder, connecting to data services and customizing the application.
You can read the formal session descriptions on the MAX session locator and once you’ve registered for MAX you can go ahead and sign yourself up for these by logging into the same tool.
If you have any specific thoughts on areas that you’d like to see covered in either the lab or the session then please let me know via the comments.