28 July 2008

Howto Find Local Flash Developers

Maybe it was a dream, nothing else. Few days ago I found unknown to me web2.0 app which displays position of freelancers around the globe on Google Maps. App has a lot of tags, one of them was flash off course and I was amazed how easily one can find local developers. Problem is I didn’t bookmarked this website! How insane is fact that I spent 2 hours searching for that website on Google, Yahoo even Listio etc, but with zero success. I’m hopeless, maybe I was dreaming…

Anyway, while searching for this ghost directory I found this one, ProfessionalOnTheWeb with similar feature, but without maps. No fun. However, someone may profit from it. It has currently 258 professionals in Flash category. Locations of developers are available. Directory is still in beta.

Professional on the Web - a portfolio directory for web agencies and flash freelancers

23 July 2008

Playcrafter - Flash Games Playground 4 Kidz

flash games portal

Already reported by ReadWriteWeb and Ryan Stewart, Playcrafter is new Flex based web application, portal that allows users to create new worlds (games) using predefined objects with simple drag-and-drop technique. Playcrafter is best for kidz under six years old. That's my impression, off course, but as always I just might be wrong.

You should use term 'creating games' very loose if you have big plans with this new acquired tool. If you do succeed and you create some kind of 'game' with Playcrafter, I don't wanna know about it. We'll see how things will develop in future, but right now you have a chance to win few awards too like PS3, XBox360, Wii or $100 in games downloads. Wait, what? You can create a game and then buy it? Oh, great! Totally new concept, something the web has crying for. Something is fishy here, I knew I should watch that intro video. But I didn't.

20 July 2008

SEOed Flash, first steps

Among web developers with SEO (search engine optimization) on their mind, Flash was always a black sheep technology, something to avoid at any cost. Actually, many developers started to hate Flash because of bad search engines visibility. I’m not sure how anyone can hate a particular technology, but many are capable for that, and even claim that they don’t have “Flash” on their computer. I suppose this is the reason why Flash Player is present on only 99% of desktop computers.

Few weeks ago, Google announced improved Flash indexing and started with implementation right away. This is result of joined effort between Adobe, Google and Yahoo! To make Flash SWF file format more search engines friendly. Bots now see every textual content within Flash file, but also URL’s within Flash files are discovered too. Bots can’t index FLV files and Flash files loaded via JavaScript remain hidden.

Reactions to optimized Flash were both positive and negative, but I must notice that many people are concern about how thing are developing right now, even though everybody think global idea behind SEOed Flash is great. Aral wrote about it and he asks if Flash indexing is revealing too much?

My concern goes in slightly different direction. If blog / website has Flash based widget with links to other pages, (like my Bookshelf Widget on right sidebar with links to Amazon books pages) suddenly, I have dozens of new outgoing links and I wasn’t aware of this until few days later page rank dropped from awesome 7 to medium 5! To be honest I don’t know if this is exact reason for page rank drop, but this is what I suspect. Does Google’s PR algorithm take in account links from Flash files?

I wonder how will Flash haters react to dynamic content and RIA’s indexing and what will happen when search engines start to make no difference between Flash websites and “regular” ones?

14 July 2008

Flash on the Beach 2008

flash conference

This year, Flash on the Beach, the most important Flash Conference in Europe will start one month earlier than in 2007. Location is Brighton, UK from 28th sept - 1st oct. Some of the confirmed speakers are: Peter Elst, Grant Skinner, Keith Peters, Mike Chambers, Lee Brimelow, Aral Balkan, Neil Webb and many others. Popular workshops will happen the day before main conference: Papervision3D and ActionScript 3 for Designers.

Here is just a glimpse from FOTB 07, demo of Diesel CS4 and IK (inverse kinematics) tween engine.

Since all tickets will be sold out long before conference start, how about live streaming?

11 July 2008

Adrian's XML Flash Photo Gallery

Someone asked for simple, clean and not expensive Flash Photo Gallery. Here is one where you can add / remove photos without using Flash, but instead, you use plain text editor. Gallery can display jpg, png, gif and swf files.

Gallery features and details...

XML Flash Photo Gallery


08 July 2008

Flash Bookshelf Widget Improved

What is bookshelf widget? It is small Flash file designed for blog sidebar, which allows you to offer your readers additional blog related products like books, images, etc. While saving space, bookshelf widget contains links to books / products details page on Amazon or any other online store.

Flanture Flash bookshelf widget is ongoing work-in-progress. I know this widget is not best one out there, it doesn’t have mirror or 3D effect, but WTH, I made it! Entire file, with images is very small 61 kb. This version has some improvements.

free flash bookshelf widget improvements

New features:

- Categories and category navigation. Besides Flash category (7 books), I added two new categories, Ajax with 6 books and just for fun Blogging category with 4 books.
- Images are now also links, same as “more info…” button links. Rotation of images inside categories is now present.
- Tiny visual differences like navigation arrows, background color and dimensions.

There is not XML based version for this one. Full customization is possible.

Download Bookshelf Widget v1.5


05 July 2008

Flash Scale Menu Explained

It seems that my expectations were to high when I thought this post is enough to explain how Flash Scale Menu works. One visitor, Francesco has convinced me indirectly to post complete Flash scale menu tutorial. Please, read first just mentioned posts to find out what we are talking about here.

Open new Flash document. Create few menu items (movie clips). For the sake of simplicity, let's say we have 5 items. Name movie clips instances item1, item2, ..., item5. You can name movie clips whatever you like, it doesn't matter. In the first and only frame of main Timeline enter 18 lines of code. This onEnterFrame is the only function needed for menu to work properly.

Now let's talk math. We use common math formula to find d - distance between mouse pointer and center of menu item. Dx is radius of circle inside which xscale and yscale properties of menu item change. Amount of change is equal to subtraction dx-d, thus when d=0 and mouse pointer is in the center of menu item, scale is biggest. In this case 100+(70-0)=170. When mouse is on the circle itself, change is 100+(70-70)=100, which means scale is 100 - no change! You can experiment with different values for dx. It depends on dimensions of your menu items movie clips.

flash scale menu explained

Remember that registration points of menu item movie clips have to be centered. That's all. Share this explanation/tutorial if you like it. Thanks.

02 July 2008

Mashups via Flex and AIR

Mashup applications combine and / or transform data from different sources into unique user experience. Sources may include but are not limited to public APIs, web services and data feeds like RSS and Atom.

Imagine what are the possibilities for combining data from Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Flickr, Twitter, Del.icio.us into single desktop application. Indeed, imagination can become your main tool for creation. No technical boundaries, no platform limitations. With knowledge in HTML / JavaScript or Flex / ActionScript you are already cross-platform applications developer, but haven't yet realized it.

Best of all, to get started, you don't need expensive courses and IDEs. You need Flash Player 9 (free), Flex 3 SDK (free), Adobe AIR SDK (free), runtime and examples source code (free). The only thing you will really need is this book.

Mashups applications book


Chapter 1 Introduction to Mashups
Chapter 2 Technologies to Mash With!
Chapter 3 An Introduction to Flex
Chapter 4 Flex Components
Chapter 5 Flexing Your Muscles
Chapter 6 Performance Management in Flex Applications
Chapter 7 Debugging Flex 3: The Tried-and-True, Plus the New
Chapter 8 Getting the Most out of APIs
Chapter 9 Mashing Up Functionality
Chapter 10 SWX: A Native Flash Data Format
Chapter 11 Taking It to the Desktop
Chapter 12 Developing for the Desktop with AIR
Chapter 13 Adding More Desktop Elements to the Web
Chapter 14 Building a Desktop Experience
Chapter 15 Completing the Experience

more details...



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