Ashvin Savani “arckid” – Flash Platform Expert

All about RIA development using Flash, Flex, Flash Media Server (Flashcom) with various middleware and backends.

Archive for the ‘Adobe’ Category

Adobe CS4 is unveiling on 23 September!

Just read on Adobe.com and It’s official.

Adobe is going to unveil Adobe Creative Suite 4 on 23rd September, 2008. If you are ready to feel something brilliant, Register yourself here: http://adobe.istreamplanet.com/

Excited to see it in action!

UPDATE: Adobe is NOT launching but just unveiling more information about CS4 on that day.

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  • Filed under: Adobe, Flash, News
  • Meeting – Creating IMAP client with Adobe AIR – Part 1

    Hello friends,

    Today, Once again We came up with interesting meeting series. Instead of just one speaker, We are including many speakers who have expertise in different topics. As mentioned in the meeting topic, Here are the modules we are planning to include in whole series of meetings:

    1. Basics of AIR. (By Ashvin Savani)
    2. Basics of Protocol. (By Ashvin Savani)
    3. Basics of IMAP. (By Ashvin Savani)
    4. How to understand any protocol specifications from specification document / RFCs.
    5. Basics of Socket Communication in Flash Action Script 3.
    6. Handshaking with IMAP Server.
    7. UI – Login Screen.
    8. UI and Event Handling.
    9. Authentication with IMAP Server.
    10. Retrieving Folder Structure from Server.
    11. UI – Displaying Folder Structure.
    12. Retrieving Email headers for given folder (From, To, CC, BCC, etc.,).
    13. Retrieving Email data for given email.
    14. Separating Email Body and Attachments from email data.
    15. UI – Displaying Email Body.
    16. Decoding Email Attachments in to file data.
    17. (Not Sure – For Now) Scan the file via anti virus tool before display it.
    18. UI – Displaying whole email.
    19. UI – Replying email.
    20. Basics: Sending an email via SMTP.
    21. SMTP specifications and normal procedures.
    22. Handshaking with SMTP.
    23. Sending an email with SMTP.
    24. Final touch up to the application.
    25. Lessons Learnt by each attendee.

    I hope, all of us will really enjoy this series and it would be meaningful add on pack to the knowledge of everyone of us:

    As usual, Sponsor for Event, Place and Equipments is Avinashi and FlashBrain.

    Part 1 – Venue and Time:

    FlashBrain Unit, Avinashi Systems.
    Seminar Hall, 2nd Floor,
    Kohinoor Complex, Saiyedpura,
    Surat – 395 003.

    User Group ManagerAshvin Savani
    User Group Co-Manager
    Naresh Khokhaneshiya

    Update:

    • We were able to finish 3 topics on first part of our meeting on 2nd Aug 08.

    In one of the project we are working on, It requires to do communication between Flash Application (embedded SWF object in the HTML) and the ActiveX control in IE. There are various ways to do communication between a flash object and ActiveX control. Most known method to do such communication is External Interface, If we are talking about Action Script 3 and not previous versions of Action Script.

    Embedding a Flash object in a HTML document and embedding it in to a .net application are very different cases. While you are integrating Flash object with Microsoft application development environment, You can drag the Flash object in to the application and can create an instance to deal with it further. While to do the same thing within HTML page instead of application, It’s slight different thing. Here in HTML case, you get instance of Flash object as some variable but you can not do the communication between external environment and flash application as you can do it in normal desktop application.

    For example, You can not receive response of function calls you made to parent application as events. If that is desktop application, you can call some functions in parent applications and receive the response as event whenever the application perform desired task at application level and give you result as an event. So, If you are dealing with external communication between flash object and other ActiveX objects embedded in HTML page – you can not do asynchronous communication. So, If ActiveX object is performing long process, You might get an error of “Flash script is taking long time, continue or abort”.

    So now question is, How to deal with this situation? And, What kind of ActiveX communication we are dealing with, Which want to take long time to do something? Here are the answers. We are working on ActiveX control which is talking with Microsoft Office applications and process all the tasks or commands given by flash application and return meaningful results. So, If I would like to get a list of all contacts from Microsoft Outlook, it would be enough long task, to produce script is taking too much time, want to abort?

    The work around we are currently using is, We had to use JavaScript as a Proxy layer to play a key role in communication between Flash object and the ActiveX control. We are passing or ordering commands to ActiveX control via traditional External Interface way and it just returns that task is accepted by the control or not. Actual result would arrive via Javascript way. So the ActiveX control will call one particular proxy method of Javascript in a same page and which will call a Flash method via External Interface. In Flash, We do receive the unique event name and result that we do expect. Depending on the requirement one can also pass some unique request Ids and expect that back at time of result to make sure, that you are receiving the exact result that you are looking for, not another one with same name!

    I am not sure, I will get enough time or not but If I will, Then will post one whitepaper on on FlashBrain site soon.

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  • Filed under: Adobe, Flash
  • AIR – Handling online and offline sync mechanism

    In our recent project with Adobe AIR and Flash CS3, We are working on making offline mechanism to perform best sync in online and offline modes. Normally for Rich Internet Application development, We are using MySQL as database system.

    It’s really fun to work with two database systems, one for online transactions (MySQL) and another for offline transactions (SQLite). Analysis part of data, what should store in online database and what should store in local AIR database. How to maintain sync states? And how to optimize the sync? And when to store data locally and when to fetch data from online database! Yeah, all these questions drives you through all excitement, challenges and fun.

    Specially, in applications which are using user based authentication and if user is offline – That’s a tough case. I am not sure, what we are using is the most efficient way to do that or not; but we are storing encrypted password in local database which successfully authenticated last time. If user is online, it will authenticate credentials via online transaction or with local transaction, if not connected.

    Once user is successfully authenticated via online or offline transaction, In offline case; It’s easy to fetch data from local database and show required data. But in online case, You need to (at least that’s what we are using) show data from local database, for fastest possible data representation. After that we are comparing sync status in background with showing little status update at some corner of the application. If there is no update, no user interaction is required but, if there is any update on server side – We ask user to update the data representation or to stay wherever he is. Based on user’s decision either we discard the data and let him work on local data or we update the local database and refresh the data representation.

    In a special case of, user modifies data while is not connected and someone else is also modified the data between the time when user made last sync and this sync. This case really creates the excitement. This requires timestamp based verification of various data in different tables. Also, this data comparison is not just record to record comparison, but it should be set of data action based on what task user is performing with application. Even this part is easy compare to the situation where you need to handle the merging the data. It’s like you are walking on double edge sword. Any mistake will mess up all the data. You need to take care of all little cases even with 0.001 probability! While working with this application, I was thinking about SVN and Git. Just thinking that how they are managing different versions of files, directories and with many users. And that’s programming all about!

    We are still working on it and I will share all the possible peace of information I can share.

  • 6 Comments
  • Filed under: AIR, Adobe, Flash
  • Google and Yahoo! can search Flash content now

    Adobe announced support and a special version of flash player to Google and Yahoo! to make the searching in Flash or Flex applications or Rich Internet applications better.

    My Personal View:

    This is really a good news for me personally and of course it’s good for all flash developers and who have content in Flash SWFs. So far everyone was trying to optimize their flash applications and other techniques to read XML content to give somewhat assurance that Google or Yahoo! will find something from their content. But now Google and Yahoo! can search and in fact view virtually SWFs and click at every links, menus or buttons like their robots / spiders are doing it with normal HTML content in web pages.

    SEO Industry Perspective:

    This news means a lot for SEO industry as well. Most of my clients were doing argument that, If we are making this whole application in Flash, don’t you think that searching the content would be a problem? Or I will not get much hits through search engines and blah blah. So now, all the flash and flex developers can answer their clients with single sentence that Flash is now search-able too.

    So in deep view, what exactly it does and how everything is possible now and why it was not there before? These are the main question everybody should be asking to their own and trying to find out answers for the same. Here you go:

    Why searching in a Flash content was not possible till now?

    The reason is simple. SWF is a binary file, not an ASCII file where a spider can read it like it is reading some text file. But still, Google and other search engines were trying to read somewhat information about the SWF through the comments posted in HTML file. These comments were generated automatically by Adobe DreamWeaver or by Adobe Flash IDE, while you are generating SWF file or embedding SWF file into the HTML or other scripted pages. So at that time, these IDEs were trying to find out all the static text contents from the SWF files and it was creating a string of all these contents and putting that as comments inside HTML file. So Google and other search engines were able to read that much part of SWF and whatever content was there. So the searching functionality was there but it was too limited. It was not there at all for dynamic contents you are dealing with inside Flash content, which is very common for all the Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

    Why searching in a Flash content is possible now?

    Now Adobe is trying to open boundaries by opening SWF file format and some other protocols. Adobe wants that more and more third party vendors use Flash SWF as part of their platform, solution or services. So part of that whole strategy, Adobe provided some special version of Flash Player to Google and Yahoo! which they can integrate with their current searching technology tools and spiders to search and store the static and dynamic content in to their database. So with direct help of Adobe, Google and other search engines can virtually surf the Flash content. They can virtually click on various links, menus etc., inside SWF and can store all the data comes in between. So, SWF works like a HTML page and search engines can store the data like they are crawling the HTML pages.

    What I need to do if my site contains SWF files to make them search-able by Google?

    Absolutely nothing! That’s the great part of the deal. Adobe gave Google and Yahoo! a special version of Flash Player and Google already integrated that player into their searching tools / spiders. It also automatically available for all the flash player versions. Means, it really doesn’t matter that your SWF is compatible with Adobe Flash Player version 6 or 9.

    Here is the video from Ryan’s Video, which we can consider as official Adobe statement:

    Other Interesting Links / URLs:

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  • Filed under: Adobe, Flash, Flex