Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brightkite & Spamalot

Ryan Stewart kindly sent me a Brightkite invite a few weeks ago. Admittedly, at first I wasn't very impressed. It seemed like a more complicated Twitter without any new added value. I don't really care where people are posting their tweets from. I decided to give it another chance though and the more I looked around the more I liked it. I like that you can post photos of where you're at and what you're doing at that moment. I however, do not have a camera on my phone (pathetic, I know) so this feature isn't particularly useful to me but it is fun to see what people are doing "around me."

There was one thing that really sold me on the service though. This past week the musical Spamalot was in town for several performances. A couple of the cast members had Brightkite accounts and were posting notes and photos of their adventures around town. It was very cool to see what they did while they were here. It provided an interesting view into how a visitor sees your hometown. The things they enjoyed doing, what they felt was interesting enough to take a picture of and post for everyone else to see. I can see where this could be useful if you were going to be traveling to a new place also. You could check out what's going on around that location and get some ideas on what (or what not) to do while you're there.

So, I think I'm sold on Brightkite. I have a few invites to give out if anyone is interested. By the way, Spamalot is a great show. If it comes to your town I'd definitely recommend it.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

FlashLite Disappointments

I've had an interest in mobile development for several years now. Where I work however, I don't have an opportunity to do much of it. Every once in a while though I get the chance to build a small prototype to use as a sales or demonstration tool. Being a Flash/Flex guy I of course turn to FlashLite to build these apps.

FlashLite is great for building attractive, rich interfaces in a relatively short amount of time. In addition, Adobe Device Central offers some fantastic tools for running simulations to check various conditions and situations. So what's the problem? The problem is (at least here in the States) that in most cases we are limited to distributing our applications to Windows Mobile 5+ devices only. Verizon does offer distribution program for developers to distribute their content but it is somewhat expensive and quite convoluted. This restriction severely limits how and where we as developers can distribute our applications. In my opinion this renders FlashLite an inviable option for developing mobile applications except in very targeted instances.

There is hope, however. The recently announced Adobe Open Screen Project aims to bridge this gap. To put it simply, Adobe plans to work with carriers and manufacturers to develop a standard platform that will run on PC's, devices and mobile phones. That platform will be SWF and FLV. If they can successfully pull this off it finally mean we can build our Flash (and AIR) apps and freely distribute them to any device available (which, with any luck, will include the iPhone). That will be a good day :)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

FlashLite Demo App

Late last week I quickly threw together a prototype of a mobile app for a big box retailer in the area. It's been a long time since I worked on anything in the mobile world so I was excited to do this. I only had about a day to throw this together so there's still a lot of tweaking but it turned out alright I think.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Flash, Flickr, AIR

I decided I wanted to try creating an AIR app with Flash instead of Flex just to see what it was like. To date, I've never created the obligatory Flickr app that it seems like all developers make at some point so I thought what the hell. The result is this relatively useless but kind of fun little app that pulls the first 50 images from a randomly selected page (up to page 10) of "interesting" photos from Flickr.

I kind of liked the experience of creating an AIR app with Flash. Managing the settings seems to be a little easier since Flash offers a form based approach to creating your app.xml file. In Flex you have to manually edit the XML which really isn't too difficult but just entering a few values into a form is nice.

If you're interested you can download the app here.