Posts Tagged SWFAddress

My review of FITC Toronto 2009

Well I’m on the train (not anymore) and I have 5 hours to kill so I thought I might use this time to write my recap of FITC Toronto 2009. In a general way, I liked this iteration of the festival more than last year. I think that my choice of presentations had a lot to do with it. Looking back, there are sessions I would have changed in my schedule but since they were filming most of the presentations I can just go and watch those that I heard good feedback from. The downside of this year was that I was alone so I kinda not fulfill the Connect part of the festival mission (Inspire, Educate, Challenge, Connect) but I will work on that next year.

What I learned

Here is interesting stuff I wanted to share:

  • I really liked the presentation from PowerFlasher (makers of the FDT tool to write ActionScript). It gave insights on their creative process and how they deal with in-house projects. They said they would put the presentation on youtube so I will point it out when it is there.
  • GAIA Framework: I wasn’t convinced before the presentation. Now I would like to try it out on certain type of project. What convinced me: the fact the it handles SWFAddress for you. I like SWFAddress a lot, but sometimes I would like it to be a physical object so that I could throw it out the window.
  • Joshua Davis is an awesome presenter. If you get the chance to see him talk, seize it.
  • I chose a couple of business presentations and they were probably not the best choices to make but I still got a couple of usefull links out of them:
    • IconBuffet : Nice for Icons but also nice to know that they are made by Firewheel Design and given freely; nice way to get known.
    • CoComment : Nice way to track your conversations, will definitely try it out.
    • 37 signals : Heard so much about them that I should probably at least follow their blog
    • BaseCamp : An online application to manage projects, made by 37 signals
    • HARO : Help a reporter out : a nice way to get your name out there by helping a reporter and getting quoted
  • VizualPV3D : Layout tool for Papervision3D that looks great. Can’t believe it was done by only one dude: Gary Stasiuk.
  • Finally Colin Moock‘s presentation held a couple of gems. First he his starting a company called User1 that will offer and develop the union platform which will facilitate the production of multiuser applications be it on the web or the desktop. Also he teamed up with MegaPhone, a company that provides  a framework to manipulate any screen using any phone. I foresee lots of new marketing opportunities.

On a personal note

I own a HP mini 1000, one of those new netbooks. It’s a pretty nice netbook: it has a 10 inch screen, but I believe I need more than that. 10 inch is good for writting and browsingthe web, but not that good for coding. I really hope that they will develop folding LCD soon so that the laptop can stay small but the screen can get bigger.

Lastly, being in Toronto made me realize how much I like Montreal. More trees, smaller streets, no tramway; it’s just warmer. The only other city that compares (and that I have been to) is Amsterdam. I think Montreal deserves its own Flash conference.

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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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This is not SPAM, VIAGRA.ca is live!

I have been working hard (that’s the last joke I make on this, I don’t event know if I am allowed) on this website for a long time, but it’s finally live!. Because of canadian regulation on advertising and pharmaceutical prescription drug, the process of making the canadian version of the VIAGRA website is unlike other; more steps are involved when you try to get content approved. So that’s why I have been working on this for a long time, but it’s finally out and I am really happy of the results.

What is funny when you work on a project for such a long time is the fact that you improve so much in the mean time, that you look back at your early code and you can’t believe you did that. During I was working on the VIAGRA website,  I switched animation package three time to end up with TweenLite, I started looking at SWFAddress now I kinda use it on every project, knew nothing about AS3 and so on. It was also the first project where I started using Object Oriented techniques to build it.

When I present a website I did, I like to list all the libraries I used, so here I go again. Well first it was all built in Actionscript 2.

Most of the 3D was done using 3D Studio Max exept for the button animations that where done using Maya.

Well that’s it, go and hang around the VIAGRA.ca clubhouse!

That conclude my week of posting everyday (well I didn’t post yesterday, but I posted twice today), see you in a month (just joking).

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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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More on the Flex SEO contest

If you have been following this blog, you know that I entered the contest to get a Flex application on the top of Google for the words “Fleximagically Searchable”. The next logic step was for me to add deep-linking to my application, but it’s not what I am going to do. Why you could ask? Because even if the webpage for my application is appearing on Google, the content itself doesn’t seem to be included. So there is no meaning of implementing deep-linking if my content won’t be found.

There have been rumors around the fact the Google would not reference website that use javascript to embed the flash file. Peter Elst seems to think the contrary but I think it is worth a try. I was previously using SWFObject to embed my swf because I had in mind to use SWFAddress for the deep-linking, but now if you do a view source of my Fleximagically Searchable application you will see that I am using the good old Object and Embed tags. Let’s see what Google think of the new page.

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SWFAddress 2.1 and the new Google Analytics Tracker

I had made a previous post about how to integrate the new Google Analytics Tracker and SWFAddress. It wasn’t obvious but it was fairly easy. I guess people really asked for an even easier way to do it because the new javascript code(ga.js) now works with SWFAddress without indicating to it that you are not using the Urchin tracker. As a matter of fact, with the release of SWAddress 2.1 earlier this week, the support for the ga.js tracker is one of the update. Other updates include a lot of fixes for the SEO examples and also the AS2 and AS3 classes are now in the com.asual.swfaddress.

I really have to look into the SEO  example that was released along version 2.0. It is one of my goal for the next month along to getting to know PureMVC better.

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SWFAddress and the new Google Analytics (ga.js)

I’m always playing a bit with SWFAddress, SWFObject and Google Analytics. SWFAddress has a nice features which is that it will advise Google Analytics when you change a page inside your main swf movie. That gives you the ability to do tracking on your website. Pretty neat!

Has some of you might know, Google Analytics has released a new tracker code (from urchin.js to ga.js). What more does it do for you right now? Not much, it’s supposed to be smaller in size and that’s about it. No event yet (there was a lot of buzz around events in Google Analytics and there is actually documentation on how to implement them but they are still in closed beta; we will have to wait on this one), no new functions. But if your launching a new website I would advise putting the new tracker code (ga.js) because it will save you maintenance time when you will want the new features.

So does SWFAddress works with the new code? Well the answer is yes, and it is pretty easy to make it work here is sample code showing you how to do it:

<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>
<script type="text/javascript">
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-xxxxxx-xx");
pageTracker._initData();
</script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/swfobject.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="js/swfaddress.js?tracker=pageTracker._trackPageview"></script>

The most important part of the code is the last line where you tell SWFAddress which tracker to use. That’s it! I hope this saves you some time.

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What’s new in SWFAddress 2.0

SWFAddress 2.0 is being released tomorrow and Asual wrote a 3 parts article (1, 2, 3)  about what’s new with version 2.0 and why should people use it. It’s a very nice article where they also speak about a new SEO method. I was suppose to make another tutorial about SEO, but I’ll wait until I have checked their example before making it. Also they revamped their website and I find it’s much better than their older version.

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SWFObject and SWFAddress again

Well this is just to tell you that SWFObject released the version 6 of their beta. I really hope they put the finishing to their code soon, my project which will rely on SWFObject and SWFAddress has to go live in January. Speaking of SWFAddress, they said that they were going to release version 2 November 16th. I don’t know how they can release it before SWFObject which it is based on, but maybe they have some inside information saying that SWFObject won’t change much until release. Anyway, we will see.

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The end of the SWFAddress saga

There I was this morning trying to make a simple example of my problem with SWFAddress. In order to do so I had to grab back the ActionScript part from the source because I had messed with mine. I go to the website and see that it has been modified since yesterday, but still I grab it, must not be so different. I do my example and there, it works fine. I say to myself, well, I’ll try that ActionScript with my main project. I just replaced the file, recompiled the swf and uploaded everything and then everything worked perfectly, not just half way like the day before.

Well I don’t know what the people working at Asual did, but they solved my problem. They also did very well manage their public image. I got two comments indicating me where I should look to solve my problem, and now I end up writing a good post about them. If I would have been them, well I would have done exactly the same thing. You have to have a good reputation on the web, because what is written will stay written for a very long time, that is the long tail.

My project will take a long time before it is completed because it involves 3D videos and green screen, I really hope that by then I’ll be able to work with stable version for both SWFObject and SWFAddress. Right now it’s a bit silly for me to be working with betas.  Anyway I say good work to the people making SWFAddress.

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