Posts Tagged Alcon

Log, trace, log, release, log?

Ok, this title doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the article which goes against the concept of title, but I find it funny!

So here I was looking for a solution to the problem I think every Flash Developer most have had: I can trace fine when I am in the Flash IDE but sometimes I need to test in the browser and then I loose my traces…

Easy solution: use a logger tool like Alcon or MonsterDebugger.

Problem: it’s annoying. When you are at the point where you need the extra logger you need to find the ActionScript classes to make it work blabla.

What I want is an elegant solution that when I test locally it uses the trace and when I test in the browser it uses the logger. I was already using the snippet for trace in FlashDevelop so I thought I could make a snippet that would have this if statement and do just that. My first bump in the road was the fact that I didn’t know how to add an import statement when using a snippet at a different place in the code.

So while looking in the FlashDevelop forums I came upon FDTracer. Well it doesn’t exist anymore, it was a pluggin before but it is now an integral part of FlashDevelop. Turns out I always had it under my nose but I never knew about it. It would be nice if in the interface they actually tell what it is and how to use it.

So here are a couple of pictures to show you where that logger is. In FlashDevelop, under View it is called Flash Log Viewer and is by default one of the tab at the bottom of the program:

What this thing does is that it reads the logs that the Flash Player writes on the computer. You see, when you put the final swf on the server and the user plays it in his browser, all of your trace statements are written in the log file. That is why leaving trace statement in your final release is not that good for performance. Anyway one last thing to know is that you actually have to start it before it works. So press the little play button and start seeing your trace.

What is cool with this little thing is that it will work locally and in the browser, you don’t have do to anything(execpt press play) to make it work. Also if you feel spyish you can check the trace from Flash website made by others.

So yeah, please clean your traces…

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Prepare to Roar

If you have been wondering why I haven’t been writting a lot this summer, well it’s been mostly because of this project. I learned a great deal on Papervision3D, using the webcam, on playing with bitmaps and on Facebook connect (even if I wasn’t the one doing that part) while building this project. So here you go, create some roars:

The goal of the campaign was to get teens involved with milk and to build on some ad spots that performed very well on MTV. So what you are doing with this application is recreating the ads but adding yourself at the end instead of the cow. Now I knowthat the site is a bit (to say the least) CPU intensive (3D tends to do this), but believe me it was worse than this before and I wish I would have had a bit more time to perfect this site.

The technical cool part is that you can use your picture, be it by uploading it or using your webcam, and using the derivate bitmap I will composite it with the cow skin and apply that to the loaded Collada model. That was kind of the premise of this site and we built around it with a vintage design. I hope you like it.

Here is a short list of librairies we used: as3corelib, TweenLite, Alcon, facebook api, google analytics for flash and Papervision3D.

Another cool feature is that you can embed your roar on your blog like this:

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Transition to tile: third RIA for Home Depot

Yes this is the third installment of tools we did for the Home Depot and I can say that working on this one was just simple and easy, mostly because we used PureMVC on the previous one. As you can see, Transition to tile reuse a lot of components from Redefining floors, but the middle part is really different. Making the changes and adjusting what was already there really was a breeze and that is were you see the advantages of using a framework. The technologies we used were mostly the same as the one before but I am going to list them here again:

  1. TweenLite
  2. PureMVC
  3. SWFAddress
  4. SWFObject
  5. Alcon (for tracing SWFAddress stuff)
  6. Google Analytics for Flash

I hope you like the tools we are building for Home Depot because there is more in the pipeline.

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My second Rich Internet Application

A month ago (October 15th 2008) was the release of Flash player 10, but it was also the week that my second rich internet application was set (a)live. I wanted to make a post about it for a long time but I had a lot going on and only just now have things slowed down. So I present you Home Depot – redefining floors. I am really proud of it and I really put a lot of energy in it. It is the legitimate big brother of the previous RIA I made Home Depot – think in colour. I had known for a little while that I would be doing a follow up application to the paint picker and I had started planning and building the application in my head. When the development began, I knew a lot of things that I would not be doing again. Some of the pitfalls that I had faced doing the first application would not show up this time; I was ready and awaiting this new challenge with the motivation to do something better.

In the first one I had jumped head first into the code because I didn’t see any reason why I would use a framework, it was ok at first, but when the codebase became more imposing, dispatching event also became very tedious. So this time around, I used the framework PureMVC and I can say it helped a lot; it helped with the events and it also helped with shaping my ideas into classes.

An other thing I did differently was that I made sure that my ActionScript classes wouldn’t have displayed text in it. I live in Montreal and we speak mostly French here but the rest of Canada speaks English. So if I start putting copy in my code, I will need to have a codebase for French and a codebase for English. That is what I had done for the first application and every time a modification had to be done I had a whole lot of files to touch. So this time around most of the text was located in an xml file which was something better.

All in all, it was a very nice project that I liked to do a lot and seeing how its little brother got rewarded last Friday (Home Depot – think in colour won a Bronze CMA award  in the retailing category on November 28th 2008) I foresee a bright future for this one too.

Here is a couple more libraries I have been using for this project:

  1. TweenLite
  2. PureMVC
  3. SWFAddress
  4. SWFObject
  5. Alcon (for tracing SWFAddress stuff)

I have a couple of new ideas how to improve my workflow and tools for my next RIA; can’t wait to get my hands dirty!

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