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Primer for targetting multiple platforms for AIR

We found an interesting primer on getting your multiple platform AIR development cycle down. From getting your flex and air sdks installed to tips for version control and even the start of ANT builds.

Seems like a posting in progress, but worth a look.

Alchemy, two versions, different support plan

With Adobe splitting out premium features to emphasize their push for the gaming market, one piece of this is how it relates to Alchemy, a way of flash player compiling and executing c/c++ code. It’s awesome because it allows for some super fast executing code; not at native speeds, but much faster than typical flash player. It also allows one to not have to port over tons of c/c++ code to as3.

With the addition of domain memory alchemy has gotten a rework as mentioned. This makes it even faster.

The only downside of this is that the new version is only supported in FP 11.2 and up, while the old version is only supported in FP versions lower than 11.2

This potentially means that one must either force their audience to upgrade or that the developers need to support/architect a project to work with two different versions of flash player.

There’s lots of details about the pricing model of the premium features to keep in mind which could also sway how you use it, but be aware of the potential of needing multiple codebases/flash detections to serve up different content based on what flash player your audience is using.

jQuery delaying execution and looping.

One thing people need to do is trigger things on a frame by frame basis. You can create multiple timers in actionscript, but there’s potential to lead to memory holes when implemented with setTimeout and setInterval.

If you are tapping into jQuery there’s a great post on handling delays, mostly in the context of delaying a click.

Expounding upon this you can use this to emulate an actionscript timer in a jQuery plugin.

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Jquery plugin development.

If you are looking to develop a jQuery plugin there’s a few resources that are key.
  • jQuery has some recommendations on how to make plugins. This is great to get started and have best practices. It includes thoughts on simpel plugins, exposing only a single function to complex plugins that expose multiple methods and even have private functions that are not accessible. That’s great because otherwise you’d start to clutter up the $.fn variable space. This article is great because it goes through best practices and really hits on chainability, namespacing, events and data(including default values).
  • Learning jQuery has a plugin development pattern as well. This follows the jQuery recommendations, with a more detailed, yet brief, example. It also includes incorporation of the meta data plugin

Google Analytics, reporting in real time.

Google announced back in September that they were releasing a new beta program that allows you to see analytics requests happening in real time.

There’s some great tools out there that have been used in the past; Firebug(mac/pc), Charles(mac/pc), Fiddler(pc) to name a few. This is great especially for developers and analytics testers because they can confirm that the tags are working and tracking correctly without waiting past midnight for the information to update. This all assumes of course that those people have access to view the

Back when it was announced one would need to sign up for the program to see it, but now it’s open to everyone.

We’ve recently had a chance to test things out.

It doesn’t appear that filtering is included in realtime measurement, so you’ll still need to wait until after midnight to see how the analytics requests fill up filtered report buckets, so you’ll still need to account for time to test and tweak your report filters.

AIR with native extensions for desktop apps.

Recently we’ve been looking into the great things that have been coming out of the as3nui team.

Most of the development team is running OS X, but we do have some production boxes for interactive experiences that are Win 7. We recently worked to take something with as3nui created on Lion to get it deployable on the PC side of things.

When we exported a release build as a signed native installer we were hoping to test the installer executable on the test box, we found a DMG containing an app installer for OS X, but no MSI or executable for windows.

From Adobe’s help

You must use ADT on the same operating system as that of the native installer file you want to generate. So, to create an EXE file for Windows, run ADT on Windows. To create a DMG file for Mac OS, run ADT on Mac OS. To create a DEB or RPG file for Linux, run ADT from the AIR 2.6 SDK on Linux.

This means that you’ll need both a PC and a MAC to do the exporting of the platform for each, possibly utilizing ant build scripts to help in automation of this process.

Semantic Versioning specification.

Looking to create a public API for something? Every wonder about the ways to keep your API compatible? Check out the Semantic Versioning Specification for some thoughts on how to keep yourself from falling into “Dependency Hell.”

Testing server side geolocation

For one of our clients we recently had to test server side geolocation that we were putting in place. One option would have been to modify the backend to fake a different IP, but without actually testing the site loading from one of those geographic locations we wouldn’t be sure that it was working.

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Flex and Stage3D/StageVideo/StageWeb

Recently we worked on creating an actionscript project that used the Molehill APIs through Stage3D. The actionscript project needed to be converted to an AIR application for various reasons. The simplest way was to create an additional project that would just load the original project, this would allow us to continue to change the initial application and drop in new files on the single machine we needed to run the application for testing.

In doing this we noticed that none of the stage3d content appeared; also there were no errors. Oddly enough, when we went fullscreen sometimes we would see a flash of the stage3d content.

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