RIARadio, GangstaCast, TheFlexShow and Tech News Today…

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a few podcasts, and they all seem to have come out this week. Check them out:

The Flex Show – Episode 115

RIARadio – Episode 17

GangstaCast Episode 1: Celebrity Stalker Edition

Also, I was thrilled to find out that I was mentioned on TWiT.tv’s Tech News Today for an article I wrote regarding tracking celebrities by scraping exif data from photos uploaded to TwitPic, yfrog, TweetPhoto and TwitGoo.  The part when they talk about the article is about 15 minutes into the episode.

Tech News Today 34: Take Off Your Pants, America

Article on ZaaLabs

So all in all, it’s been a very interesting week.

Tip of the Day – Updating to Flash Builder 4.0.1

I recently posted about Building AIR 2 applications with Flash Builder 4.

There is now an update for Flash Builder 4 which downloads and installs the Adobe Flex 4.1 SDK. According to Renaun Erickson’s post, Flex 4.1 includes Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.0.

Now, if you’re like me and loathe the Adobe Updater… then you probably turned off the Adobe Updater notifications.

So here’s how to update Flash Builder to version 4.0.1 which includes the 4.1 SDK.

Go to Help > Search for Flash Builder Updates…

Help - Search for Flash Builder Updates...

This will launch the Adobe Application Manager and then proceed to update your software, including Flash Builder 4.

== UPDATE ==

If you don’t see a Flash Builder update available in Adobe Application Manager, you can download the standalone updater from Adobe.

Update Progress

Update Complete

Once the update is completed you can see Flash Builder is now at version 4.0.1.

Flash Builder 4.0.1 about screen

And you now have the option for Flex 4.1 as an installed Flex SDK. You can use Flex 4.1 to develop against Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR 2.0.

4.1 is now avaliable

Tip of the Day – Building AIR 2 applications with Flash Builder 4

:: Update ::

This process has gotten much easier, you can now use software update to get AIR 2 as well as Flash Player 10.1 in Flash Builder… check out this post.

Adobe AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 were released on June 10th, 2010. It’s an exciting time. This weekend I decided to do some development on AIR 2 to try out some of the new features.

On the Adobe AIR Team blog’s post they mention that the free standalone download of the AIR 2 SDK will be available on Tuesday, June 15th… but I wanted to play with the SDK today.

So I went over to the Adobe AIR labs page and downloaded the AIR 2 Release Candidate SDK which is –> here.

You can download the released SDK from –> here

After downloading the Adobe AIR 2 SDK, I followed the directions on the release notes which explained how to overlay the AIR 2 SDK with my current version of Flex 4.

I’m on a mac, here are the commands I used in Terminal:

cd /Applications/Adobe\ Flash\ Builder\ 4/sdks/
cp -r 4.0.0 4.0.0AIR2
cp ~/Downloads/air2_rc1_sdk_mac_051110.tbz2 4.0.0AIR2
cd 4.0.0AIR2
tar jxvf air2_rc1_sdk_mac_051110.tbz2

I then added a new SDK to the installed SDK’s inside of Flash Builder:
Installed SDK's in Flash Builder 4

Now, I already had an Adobe AIR application project set up, and I switched over to the new SDK the I installed:
Switched over to Flex 4.0 (AIR 2)

However, when I tried to run my AIR application, I ran into this error:

VerifyError: Error #1014: Class IIMEClient could not be found.
	at flash.display::MovieClip/nextFrame()
	at mx.managers::SystemManager/deferredNextFrame()[E:\dev\4.0.0\frameworks\projects\framework\src\mx\managers\SystemManager.as:267]
	at mx.managers::SystemManager/preloader_preloaderDocFrameReadyHandler()[E:\dev\4.0.0\frameworks\projects\framework\src\mx\managers\SystemManager.as:2460]
	at flash.events::EventDispatcher/dispatchEventFunction()
	at flash.events::EventDispatcher/dispatchEvent()
	at mx.preloaders::Preloader/timerHandler()[E:\dev\4.0.0\frameworks\projects\framework\src\mx\preloaders\Preloader.as:488]
	at flash.utils::Timer/_timerDispatch()
	at flash.utils::Timer/tick()

After doing a bit of research I found out that my Adobe AIR project’s application descriptor file wasn’t using the correct namespace for the AIR 2.0 SDK. According to the Adobe AIR 2 Release Notes:

You must update your application descriptor file to the 2.0 namespace in order to access the new AIR 2 APIs and behavior. If your application does not require the new AIR 2 APIs and behavior, you are not required to update the namespace from 1.x based namespace. To update the namespace, change the xmlns attribute in your application descriptor to: http://ns.adobe.com/air/application/2.0

Sure enough, I hadn’t changed my namespace from AIR 1.5.3 to AIR 2.

I made the change in the descriptor file, and now everything works perfectly.

Load 40 image formats into Flash. Oh, and it’s open source.

For for those who don’t know, I’m one of two people behind ZaaLabs (the other being Aaron Boushley). Today we released ZaaIL, an Adobe Alchemy port of DevIL an open source C image library.

Built in image support of Adobe Flash Player limits you to 3 image formats: gif, jpg and png. While this has worked well for many, many years… I recently have needed to expand the types of formats that I could use in Flash Player. I should also note that you can absolutely add support for these formats directly in ActionScript using ByteArray. For example Mike Chambers blogged about an AS3 BMP parser.

I was originally looking for support for TGA, BMP and PSD, when my friend Ben pointed me to DevIL and challenged me to port it using Alchemy.

Porting C code using Alchemy is not a very straight forward process, but between Aaron and I… and with help from Ben Garney and Branden Hall… worked our way through it. We plan on a series of blog posts discussing the process of using Alchemy in detail. Hopefully we can garner enough interest in the community around Alchemy to get Adobe to continue work on it.

ZaaIL is being released as open source software (MIT if you’re interested). We will post it all on GitHub when we get the chance.

I have been asked by a few people if I think Adobe should expand from their three image formats and use something like DevIL in Flash Player… I don’t think they should. Adobe has given us the tools to create really cool things such as ZaaIL. I’d rather the Flash Player team focus on things I find way more important… such as 3D support, mobile performance, hardware accelerated graphics, etc…

ZaaIL allows developers to now to load more that 40 different image types… go ahead give it a try, I particularly like using a PSD file or cover art embedded into an MP3 (View source is enabled):

Get Adobe Flash player

More information can be found over at ZaaLabs.