Posts Tagged Mobile
Back in February I wrote a post in which I stated that the future of Flash wasn’t so bright, well if you ask me what I think about that right now, I would say that it ain’t so bad. Why? Well, the roadmap for new features seems pretty exciting and also the array of stuff you can do with Flash is astonishing.
Molehill API (Hardware accelerated 3D)
After AdobeMax, I wanted to write a post just about this topic but I continually postponed it… but now it seems to fit perfectly with my second point so here it is. Molehill is some new low level API that enables some function calls to be hardware accelerated. Basically it permits some code to be sent to the video card instead of the processor, thus enabling us to do more crazy 3D stuff. Here is an example of what has been done with it and it is not even released yet:
If you’re a Flash Developer and this doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. Actually, I don’t think I looked forward so much for the next version of the player since I started using Flash. I started at FlashMX 2004, so Flash 8 gave us the filters and BitmapData; computers weren’t powerful enough to do the cool stuff with filters at the time, and I don’t know, BitmapData is pretty useful but I kinda didn’t know what I could do with it then. After that came Flash 9 with ActionScript 3, well that was nice but it took so much time for people to switch from ActionScript 2 to 3 that the excitement was kinda mitigated. Flash 10 was to follow with nothing really to offer… maybe Vectors are cool but they didn’t really impact anything. Flash 10.1? supposedly it is faster, doesn’t seem to be a game changer, the mobile stuff is cool but I wanted more for the web. Now Molehill is a very different ball game. Molehill will allow us to do way more than what we could before, both on the web and on the mobile. Gaming wise it is very easy to foresee how it will be used, but what I am mostly interested in is how it will be used for rich experiences, for rich internet applications or for data-visualization. It is the possibilities of this new technology to be used in unsuspected ways that makes it very exciting. Now, all we have to do is wait for it to come out. I bet you that the adoption rate will be very fast.
Maybe one of the good consequence of Apple saying no to Flash is everybody else saying yes to it to differentiate themselves. So yeah, Flash on a shit load of mobile ( Android, BlackBerry (PlayBook), Windows Phone 7), Flash on the TV (GoogleTV) and now Flash on the cloud (ChromeOS). It is seeing how easy it was to add a Flash app to the Google Chrome Web Store that made me realize that I was lucky to have liked Flash and have made it my job. I have so many possibilities now, from gaming to advertising (banner ads, ok I never want to do this again even if you threaten me with a gun), from website to mobile application, from your TV to the cloud. If you ever get bored as a Flash Developer there is still so many things you can do. So yeah, that did put a smile on my face and made me realize that Flash’s future wasn’t so bleak.
And to those who said that Flash would die, well it’s going to be goddamn hard to kill now on all these media… Cheers!
So yesterday I was talking with my friend that does iPhone applications about what data he gets from Apple about the applications he builds. It turns out that aside from the number of sales, he doesn’t have any data. I found this weird and we started talking about how it wouldn’t be that hard to build a kind of Google Analytics for Mobile Applications. In a sense, it would be very similar to the library GA for Flash except that you build a library for every Mobile SDK plus you have a webserver where the data is analysed.
It took so much time for a library of analytics to be made for Flash, I thought there might be a chance that nobody did anything like this for mobiles. So we got all excited (like so many other time), we started thinking how we would build this. But today I searched on the web and found Flurry a company that has an analytics division that does exactly this. Well not exactly how I would do it but about 85% the same. So my bubbles is a bit busted.
Flurry does it mostly right but their interface is a bit complicated and they didn’t make their analytics that specific to mobiles. There are plenty of concepts that exist in the mobile world that are new: what people do in their first and last run of the application, the number of tap (click with fingers) by session, the accelerometer, etc. And they don’t track that, yet. Also they provide an API for events, but not for navigation (pageViews in the GA world). I think navigation still has an important role in the analytics of an application than in the analytics of a website. You want to know what the users did in a certain section of your app (how many taps in the help section for example).
So all of that could be implemented and would give a better service than what Flurry is offering. The problem is that their platform is already built and even if there is not much competition (they seem to be the only ones doing this), it would still be hard to beat their momentum.
So what do you think? Should I invest time in this project knowing these risks, or should I let this go and wait for another idea?