Adobe Flash

Time To Bend Your Noodle and Fight Hunger in America.

CP+B have created a desktop and iPad experience for KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese designed to stop food waste, promote creativity, and help stop hunger in America. The application was built using flash and cross compiled to work on iOS. (I’m kind of surprised hey don’t have an Android version of this available as well since the desktop app was developed using Adobe Flash.)

KRAFT’s ‘Dinner Not Art‘ application donates 10 noodles to Feeding America for every virtual noodle saved in the macaroni art that you create. While this number seems small, think about the number of pieces used on average by a kid when making a macaroni masterpiece. It ads up fast. The application is easy to use and a little addictive. So long term, this could create a large payout for Feeding America if the application takes off.

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The application features a fun easy to use interface that is intuitive for younger children, and actually rather fun for adults. The bright colorful UI reflects the KRAFT Mac and Cheese box and branding colors, but does it in a way that never feels like Kraft is promoting their product. It’s this subtle balance that really wins here. Throughout the experience the participant is shown a counter that increases with each noodle added. (The feel good factor). At the same time the KRAFT brand is represented in an unobtrusive way, and subtly promotes the product. At the end of the experience you have the option of saving and sharing your creations. (another feel good factor).

The Death of Flash is Greatly Exaggerated.

Yesterday morning like most people in the tech world I saw the announcement that Adobe was no longer going to continue to develop Flash for mobile devices. That was rather ironic considering that I was starting a 3 day class on developing applications for Android and iOS devices using Flash. Thankfully class was not cancelled.

As the day progressed the headlines rolled out across the internet proclaiming the death of Flash, the victory of HTML5, and How Steve Job’s had been right. My fave was the headline from Fox News “Steve Jobs Was Right: Adobe Halts Flash for Mobile Devices“. The funny thing is, Flash isn’t dead, Steve wasn’t necessarily right, and a more accurate description would be that Adobe has halted Flash development for mobile devices that want to run Flash in a browser using the Flash plugin.

So here we are, once again in a position where we will have to try to explain that Flash does a great job of doing mobile development. That you can build applications with Flash, compile them for Android and iOS devices, and distribute them via any app store. I hate to say it but this is going to be an up hill battle, and it is going to be a hard one. To many people in the design and content development industry don’t fully understand what Adobe announced, but feel compelled to expound on the wonders of HTML 5, and CSS3.

HTML 5 and CSS3 are not technological panacea for mobile devices. Like Flash they are solid tools for mobile development but they are the only solution, and they are not necessarily the best or easiest solution for the job.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in class building a standalone application for both the iPhone and Android phones using Flash CS5.5. We built the file twice. One hard coding the app, the other by using built-in Flash tools, and code snippets. The application was fairly simple, it loaded an image from the library and allowed you to zoom, rotate, scale etc. Nothing ground breaking, but what the application was isn’t the point. The point is Flash provided an easy to use familiar interactive development environment that built applications for both Android and iOS. I say this, and I am not a huge fan of Flash. I am not a programmer. I’m a designer. I find Flash to finicky on the Mac. I think the UI needs a serious update to look more like Edge and After Effects. It is not my favorite application that Adobe makes. With that said though, I think it is a shame that so many people are writing it off as a dead platform without fully understanding the tool, its capabilities, and how it can continue to be used as a development tool for mobile devices.

If you want to see some examples of truly amazing work that has been built with Flash for mobile platforms go to the Adobe Developer site and look around. Spend some time looking at Sylvester’s Band. This app was built with a very small crew on a short time frame and it is a fantastic example of how Flash is used to build apps for Android and iOS.

100 percent built with Flash, and distributed to iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry,


Adobe Released Flash Player 11 beta.

Anyone that thinks Flash is going to be replaced by HTML5 and CSS3, you might want to back off that statement for a while. Adobe is continuing to add features to the Flash player, and their mindset is geared toward TV sets and mobile phones. With the latest beta release of Flash Player 11, there are some key indicators that they really want play in this space, and make the Flash Player a dominant delivery system.

Adobe released betas of both Flash 11 and Air 3 for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux a couple of days ago, and some of the new features that caught my eye include full 64-bit support for Flash Player running in browsers including Linux, and support for delivery of full HD video with 7.1 surround sound to AIR-powered Television sets.

In my opinion, that last part, is a key indicator as to where Adobe wants to go with this. At the Adobe MAX conference last year, Adobe was really pushing Google TV. They are very aware of how and where content will primarily be delivered in the near future, and they are shoring up Flash as a key player. Support for full HD video, and 7.1 surround sound will only help keep this technology at the forefront of content delivery systems.

Additional features for the new Flash Player beta 11 are.

Stage3D APIs (“Molehill”) for Flash Player

A new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that enable advanced 3D experiences and improved 2D performance across devices through the Adobe Flash Platform runtimes.

Cubic Bezier Curves

Using the cubicCurveTo drawing API, developers can easily create cubic Beziers without requiring custom ActionScript code.

64-bit Support

Native support for 64-bit operating systems and 64-bit web browsers on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.

Linux Vector Printing

Currently supported on Windows and MAC you can now print rich and crisp images on Linux.

G.711 Audio Compression for Telephony

Support interoperability with legacy phone system (through Flash Media Gateway, FMG) and other third-party clients (through open RTMP protocol) without the need of transcoding.

H.264/AVC SW Encoding for Camera

Stream beautiful video from your computer’s camera with higher compression efficiency and industry-wide support, enabling both high quality real-time communications (e.g., video chat and video conferencing) and live video broadcasts from within Flash Player.

G.711 Audio Compression for Telephony (JavaScript Object Notation)

Enables ActionScript programmers to take advantage of fast parsing and generation of JSON-formatted text to represent their data. Take existing code written for the JSON interface provided by ECMAScript 5th edition and drop the code, with minimal or no modification, into an Actionscript project.

Garbage Collection Advice

Provides a simple facility with which AS3 code can advise the GC on when to schedule the disruptive end-of-GC pause.

Socket Progress Events

Provide a means by which content can determine how many bytes remain in the AS Socket’s write buffer. Provide an event which will inform content whenever data is removed from the AS Socket’s write buffer so that it may easily monitor the status of the write buffer without having to set up a timer and manually poll the size remaining in the AS Socket’s write buffer.

Secure Random Number Generator

Generate secure random numbers that are cryptographically as strong as the underlying operating system. Utilizing native OS APIs this feature will be used by Flash Player on the desktop and mobile platforms (Android) by Flash Platform Services.