Unlocking the iPhone for Flash Developers

I wrote a post for the Flash Platform Blog entitled Unlocking the iPhone for Flash Developers, which talks about the latest apps that have been built for the iPhone using a pre-release of our Packager for iPhone. I’m cross posting it here.

Over the weekend there was a great article in TechCrunch about the large number of Flash developers who are ramping up to deliver apps on the iPhone using Flash Platform tooling.

As you know, since we announced the Packager for iPhone at MAX, we’ve been running a small pre-release program for Flash Pro CS5. Adobe pre-releases give a small set of developers early access to builds of our tools (in this case Flash CS5) to test and to create content. Developers in our pre-release work closely with our product teams to give feedback and submit bugs. The fun part in the case of the Flash pre-release is the end product of working with our developers, they end up building and getting apps into Apple’s App Store.

We wanted to share a couple of the apps that were built by our pre-release developers that we thought would be interesting to our readers.

Alchemist is an addictive puzzle that challenges player’s memory, reaction and logic. You are playing an apprentice who has to help his Alchemist master to test our secret formulas and find the one that produces the most gold.

Boost Your Brain
Are you smarter than your friends? Boost your Brain is a collection of fun and addicting games including logic puzzles, mental calculations and memory trainers.

iGevalt is a 3D dreidel simulator for Hanukkah. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top, played with during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

We’re starting to see our developers coming to the CS5 pre-release with existing web apps and games they have that they want to build for the iPhone. Our own Ted Patrick made his Sudoku game run as an AIR app and an iPhone app from the exact same code base. Want to do the same? If you have an app you want to build, shoot us a mail at [email protected] We’ve got a few spots open on the pre-release if you have a specific app you’d like to port.

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Sprint Backlog Task: Ice Cream

One of the many, many reasons I love working on software is how whimsical it can sometimes be. I was reviewing a sprint backlog for one of the scrum teams that work on the Distribution Service and came across this sprint item.

Ice Cream

Building software is most of the time super stressful but I love when people find a way to add some funny in to the mix. Remember, getting the ice cream comes before updating the production server.

P.S. This backlog item reminds me of a similar story when I was working in China. One of our developers in China was reading a set up document written by a developer in the states. One of the steps read “install Windows Server”, and the step right after that said to “Enjoy a Dr Pepper” since the installation would take a while. Our dev had no idea what that meant and of course Baidu nor Google were of any help. In the end, he ended up having to ask his manager what that step meant.

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Flash Apps for iPhone Video

Lee Brimelow did a video cast of how you can use Flash Pro CS5 to build an app for the iPhone. Lee goes through setting up your project and builds a quick application that uses the new accelerometer APIs. Take a look at the video and the process that’s used to go build the app. Since it’s beta software, the UIs may/will change but the video gives you a good idea of how to get started building an app for the iPhone using ActionScript 3.0.

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AIR 2 and Flash Player 10.1 Betas

Today we made available the betas for Flash Player 10.1 (on the desktop) and AIR 2. While there’s a ton of features in both runtimes, one of the things that’s coolest to me is the shared work that’s gone in to the core of the “Flash runtime”. Across both runtimes, apps will use less memory and consume fewer CPU cycles just by the nature of the work that’s gone in to the runtime.

Since the cores are the same between Flash Player and AIR both runtimes benefit from the shared work. All this matters even more as we bring the Flash Platform to mobile devices (esp memory and CPU). Plus, features like the global exception handler (something the community has wanted for years, as I understand it) get exposed in the browser and in the desktop.

On the features side, I’m most excited about the support in Flash Player for hardware decoding of H.264 videos on Windows. The demo that our CTO showed at MAX had Hulu HD running on a netbook sipping CPU. On the AIR side it’s a tossup between the new networking features and the new native process APIs. My coworker, Rob, has a full write up at Logged In in the Adobe Developer Connection, so head there to learn more.

Needless to say, congrats to the teams and send us your feedback!

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Slides from Flash Apps on iPhone Session at MAX

I’ve uploaded from the slides from my presentation at MAX, “Building Applications for iPhone using Flash Pro CS5”. The slides and the talk cover some of the new capabilities we’re bringing to Flash Pro CS5 to allow developers to create native iPhone applications using ActionScript 3.0.

The talk is archived in two places. First, if you want the full experience with slides, video, audio and queue points check out the MAX 2009 archive. The archive is fantastic. It’s free, not geo-locked, and comprehensive. It’s almost as good as being at MAX in person. Second, if you just want the slides and voice over you can see it at Adobe TV.

Buliding Applications for iPhoen with Flash Pro CS5

Buliding Applications for iPhone with Flash Pro CS5

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Opening the iPhone to Flash Developers

So wraps up a crazy hectic day today, where we announced that we were making available in Flash Pro CS5 the ability to create a native iPhone application. For those who know me, this has been my all consuming, all encompassing life for a long time now. We ran the project in super secret mode and I’m so excited as of today to be able to share it with everybody.

As expected, this has been huge news in the community and we’re really happy to see people getting as happy about it as we were building the product. Flash is still a trending topic on Twitter, 14 hours later.

As of today, seven applications are available in the Apple App Store for download that were built using this technology. For more info on how it all works, you can also read my article on Adobe Developer Connection. In a nut shell, we build native iPhone applications by compiling your ActionScript to native ARM assembly.

So, check out some of the apps, sign up for the beta, or visit adobe.com/go/iphone for more information. It’s finally time to hit the hay here in LA and wake up to the next day of Adobe MAX 2009 (or as we’re calling it, the “bestmaxevar”).

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My Sessions at Adobe MAX

I’m leaving in an hour or so for LA, the site of Adobe MAX this year. We’ve got tons of awesome announcements, talks and labs this year. I’m doing two sessions, named “Building Mobile Applications with Flash Professional”, Monday 2pm, room 402A and again Wednesday 11am, room 501A. Ted Patrick also noted which are some of the Must See sessions at MAX this year. See you in LA!

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Flash Platform Services

We announced today the availability of a new set of Flash Platform Services, namely the Distribution service. There’s really no feeling like shipping software and I’m super excited to have this product out the door. The Distribution service, as a whole, allows publishers distribute content on the web, social networks and mobile devices. We heard time and time again that our customers love Flash, but getting their content seen and used was one of the biggest challenges they faced, both on the web and on mobile devices.

My team specifically worked on building the service that allows distribution to mobile phones. From a web app, a user can type in their mobile number and receive an SMS that allows them to install a platform specific version of their application.  We made it easy to drive mobile experiences that compliment publishers web experiences. It’s awesome.

Like all new products and even more so version one software, getting from concept to development to deployment and the sales cycle along the way is a tough but rewarding process. I want to congratulate the team for a fantastic job of shepherding the product though the stages and for shipping a great piece of software. There’s been really good coverage on the product, too. You can check out TechCrunch and The Register for their articles.

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One Year at Adobe

Last week marked one year for me at Adobe. It’s been a good year where I’ve learned a ton about a new segment of the tech industry and the ways that different organizations work. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work a lot with our partners and customers, spending a lot of time with them understanding the various niches in the ecosystems they play in as well as the goals and desires across the globe. I’ve been lucky enough to do a fair amount of travel in the first year: 13 trips from far flung places like Kansas City and Newark to Seoul and Milan! In that year, groups that I’ve worked with (I can hardly take credit to any of this stuff) launched the Verizon Dashboard, showed a product concept for multi-screen widgets, and a bunch of other things. It has been a great year and here’s to the next!

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Mobile World Congress 2009

Mobile World Congress starts today, it’s my first time here. This place is pretty impressive. The Fira, the conference center in Barcelona, is built to match the architecture style of the city and blends right in to the fabric of the area. It’s impressively large and as you walk in you’re accosted by all the biggest names in the industry, mobile and general technology both. It feels a lot like the first Comdex I went to in the 90s. It also feels like Burning Man for tech geeks. In the entrance pavilion (which is outdoors) are huge 20 foot TV screens showing interviews, etc and race cars and booth babes. And that’s just outside.

Our hospitality suite — which is basically an office building that was shipped and built here — is amazing. There’s a full kitchen, stocked with food and drinks for the employees. And that’s completely hidden from the meeting rooms that our awesome admin and show staff run with full coffee and food service. As one of the companies I met with in the morning said, “this temporary office is better than our regular offices on the peninsula!” Needless to say, it’s quite cool.

Adobe’s booth is in Hall 1, and I’ll be manning it for various hours of the day from today until Thursday. I’ll also be doing two presentations at the theater at our booth, “Delivering the Most Complete Web Experiences Across Devices” and “Deliver Seamless Experiences With Flash”. Come check them out if you’re here.

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