Probably one of the biggest things to happen to Flash….maybe ever. Last year at MAX Adobe gave us a sneak peak at a research project that took C++ code and compiled it into ActionScript. The demo they showed at the sneak peak at MAX 2007 of Quake running inside Flash Player. This got a lot of buzz. Well now they have released the toolkit (Alchemy) to the community. So you can go and start converting your favorite C/C++ libraries to ActionScript.
I’d personally like to see some XSLT and XML Schema libraries ported. And I’m sure there will be a lot of ports of physics and 3D libraries too.
You probably didn’t notice that Flash Player 10 (and AIR 1.5) shipped with a new protocol for p2p (peer-to-peer) communication. The RTMFP (Real-Time Media Flow Protocol) is a new protocol that supports direct connections between two endpoints.
What is the benefit of p2p communication? This will lower the barrier to entry for people to create real-time applications in Flash Player and AIR. No more bandwidth and server management expenses. The RTMFP protocol will also be a higher quality connection since it is over UDP and not TCP like the RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol) used by Flash Media Server. RTMFP will re-establish a connection if there is a brief outage and maintain a session even if the client’s IP address changes.
This new protocol could be used for a number of applications like: text chat, VoIP conversations, video chat or multi-player games/applications.
Adobe announced Stratus the week. The is a hosted rendezvous service that allows two endpoints to establish a p2p connection. Once the connection is established the service is no longer used to send the data between endpoints. Stratus is currently in beta, but is not yet available for developers to start playing with it.
You can see a few of the RTFMP details in the ActionScript 3 Language Reference (see NetConnection).
When I first started looking at AIR and SQLite I thought to myself, “someone should write an object relational mapping framework to map objects to and from SQLite.” Well someone did. FlexORM handles mapping of relational objects to and from SQLite and eliminates all the messy code for doing this manually. I can’t wait to use this on my next AIR project. Thanks to Nate Chrysler for pointing this out to me.
Ecma just recently announced that the long standing EcmaScript 4 proposal is dead in favor of focusing on the EcmaScript 3.1 proposal. According to the announcment, they will eventually work on EcmaScript 4 again, but under a revised plan. ES4 as we know it in ActionScript 3 appears to be dead. Specifically concepts like namespaces and packages will be dropped entirely.
So what does this mean for ActionScript 4? Will Adobe actually remove features to keep it compliant with Ecma?
Ecma has been split for a long time on the direction of EcmaScript. there are two camps, Microsoft has been pushing the EcmaScript 3.1 arguing that EcmaScript 4 is too much for the web (whatever that means). The other camp is lead by Mozilla and Adobe pushing for the evolution of EcmaScript with the ES4 proposal. I agree with the idea of EcmaScript Harmony. Ecma should be unified. But its unfortunate that the “standard” is now behind the ActionScript implementation.
MN.swf Camp sold out in less than three days. We had to limit the attendees to 100 because of space limitations, however, we are currently exploring other venue options. If we can secure a larger venue then we will reopen registration. I suggest you sign up for the mailing list on the conference home page so you can be alerted if registration opens again.
MN.swf Camp is a one day conference in Minneapolis focusing on the Flash Platform for programmers. Its being organized by the MN.swf User Group and FlashBelt.
Adobe just anounced its plans to open-source the remoting and messaging code found in Live-cycle Data Services. The new project is called BlazeDS and is deployed as a J2EE application. This is really huge. There are many non-adobe or open-source projects to handle AMF remoting including classics like OpenAMF, but most don’t support AMF3 yet or are still in beta stages.
Along with this open-source project, Adobe also released its AMF3 specification. This should allow the community to develop AMF3 solutions for other languages and platforms. This is really great news for everyone and helps to move the AMF3 specification closer to mainstream.
Flash Player now supports H.264 (mpeg4)! Flash video just got a major kick in the pants. You can actually load .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .mov and .3gp files using the same ActionScript API that you currently use to load FLV files. All existing code should now work with these new files formats. If your video player is run off dunamic data you should be able to just start dropping in quicktime and mpeg-4 files. Crazy!
A new version of FMS is coming out soon with streaming support for these file formats.
Check out this post by Tinic for a very detailed explination of what the update includes. I guess it was planned for Flash Player 10, but they got it in this newer version because customers really wanted it.