Adobe, Flash Platform, Open Source

OpenSource AVM… Tamarind

Project Tamarind, once so promising and bespoken project… was co-owned by Adobe Systems and Mozilla Foundation, and has been discontinued for more than 3 years now…

However, the sad state of this cool OpenSource project is that it hasn’t been touched since March 2008…

The members from Adobe are mostly names I have never heard of so I sincerely wonder what have become of them (perhaps they are still engineering in the dungeons of San Jose), anyways check the names out for yourself…

If anyone knows the obituary belonging to Project Tamarind, please do share… it seems to have been a massive Adobe effort that apparently ended up in a fruitless archive of The Mozilla Foundation.

Anyways, you can check out the archived project home page here…

Flash Platform, Open Source

OpenSource AVM… Re-Introducing GNASH

In the middle of 2008 I first time wrote about what I then thought was a cool but remotely stupefying OpenSource project… Gnash !

Gnash is the GNU SWF movie player, which can be run standalone on the desktop or an embedded device, as well as as a plugin for several browsers.

Gnash is capable of reading up to SWF v9 files and opcodes, but primarily supports SWF v7, with better SWF v8 and v9 support under heavy development. Since the 0.8.2 release, Gnash includes initial parser support for SWF v8 and v9. Not all ActionScript 2 classes are implemented yet, but all of the most heavily used ones are. Many ActionScript 2 classes are partially implemented; there is support for all of the commonly used methods of each class.

Gnash has implemented about 80% of ActionScript v2.0, and has begun implementing ActionScript v3.0. Gnash supports the majority of Flash opcodes up to SWF v9, and a wide sampling of ActionScript classes for SWF v8.

Obviously Gnash is also very far from providing a serious alternative as AVM machine tor widespread use, its basic use case now would be embedded on a chip, however the advent of readily available Android kind of defeats this purpose now, doesn’t it ?

Anyways, check out the main developers website…


The next version of Flex Builder will be named Flash Builder

Flex Builder 4 (Codename “Gumbo”) will represent a radical namechange as it will be called Flash Builder instead of Flex Builder.
This will strengthen the cohesiveness of the tools around the Flash Platform (Flash CS, Flash Builder, Flash Catalyst, Flash Player, Flash Media Server, etc.) and hopefully make it more easy in the future to explain the difference between Flex and Flash and to distinguish between what is what in the tool-suite and what their purpose is.

Flash CS will keep its name despite speculations of its change into something as exotic as Flash Authoring, Flash Animator, etc.

The logo for Flash Builder looks like this…


You can read much more about that in the exhaustive explanation by Ryan Stewart…

ActionScript 3.0

Reflection in ActionScript 3

To my great regret, it appears that Reflection is not going to be part of Adobe Flex 4 – Codename “Gumbo” since the thoughts of ES4 was dropped.

However, as an alternative it appears that the Maashaack framework is very much alive and have gained additional momentum on account of Microsoft obstructing ES4 (did I hear someone yell “prove it” ?)… however seeing that there are daily commits (the last seen on October 30th 2008) it might be worth to take a look at this framework for your ActionScript 3 works.

Check it out…


The Gnash Project

Gnash is the GNU Flash movie player, which can be run standalone on the desktop or an embedded device, as well as a plug-in for several browsers.

The official project website…

…and this is the official Wiki of the project where you can find loads of documentation which not only relates to the Gnash project, but also can be a rich source of information to give insight into the inner workings of the SWF execution model…


AXIS IP Cameras SWF Streams are not loadable with recent Flash Players

Due to changes in the security settings of the Flash Player Platform its not possible to view SWF streams from AXIS IP cameras with Flash players later than Flash Player 7 effectively preventing anyone from using the build-in SWF streams of the AXIS IP cameras as is.

I therefore uninstalled my Flash Player 9, installed Flash Player 7 and then, voila… no problem loading the SWF’s directly from the cameras 🙂

Nevertheless, since the cameras are NOT shipped with a crossdomain file, and therefore does not allow the SWF to be loaded from other domains than the camera itself, there is no other option than to get a crossdomain file into the camera’s webserver’s root.
Unfortunately did a quick examination of AXIS’s Management Software for their cameras not indicate that it would be possible to access the filesystem on the camera. However, after registering that the there was a FTP server on the camera, i quickly connected through FTP and could easily browse, however I could still not write a file – so only read-access.

However, the AXIS Custom Firmware Tool allows for this, but unfortunately “AXIS Custom Firmware Tool is exclusively available for members of the Axis ADP Program”.

Therefore, I’m gonna do five things now.

1. Examine the Management Tool to see if there is an undocumented way to get access to the filesystem of the Cameras.
2. Examine if there is alternative way to access the filesystem.
3. Apply for membership of the AXIS Application Development Partner (ADP) Program.
4. Ask the vendor providing the cameras here in Denmark to add a crossdomain file to the image.
5. Ask AXIS customer support if they are planning Firmware updates addressing this issue.


Flash Player is the most ubiquitous Platform available

In the past, I’ve voiced that the non-pervasiveness of Flash (rather an average user’s ability to install plug-ins) is one reason website designers should consider before going for Flash. I officially scrap that as a point no longer valid.

Millward Brown, one of the world’s leading market research agencies, recently closed a survey commissioned by Adobe Systems, Inc. with a goal “to track and compare Plug-In technology used to view content on the web.” This study, conducted quarterly, placed Adobe Flash Player at a comfortable 99% as the most pervasive software platform. Java (85%), Microsoft Windows Media Player (79.3%), Apple QuickTime Player (65.5%) and Adobe Shockwave Player (59.2%) round up the top five. The maximum margin of error was reportedly +/-6%.

Pervasiveness, or penetration, is defined based on the presence of a platform on Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets (US, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Japan). The study has results from countries like mainland China, South Korea, Russia, India, and Taiwan as well. However, nothing explicit was mentioned about Philippines, Brazil and Romania which according to my latest trend check are among the top 9 regions searching for RIA technologies.

To me, the biggest surprise is the high position of QuickTime. Can anybody explain it?

Visit the methodology page for in-depth details about the study, and the version penetration page for statistics by version.


SWF now supports SEO !

Adobe has provided Flash Player technology to Google and Yahoo! that allows their search spiders to navigate through a live SWF application as if they were virtual users.

Adobe is working with Google and Yahoo! to enable one of the largest fundamental improvements in web search results by making the Flash file format (SWF) a first-class citizen in searchable web content. This will increase the accuracy of web search results by enabling top search engines to understand what’s inside of RIAs and other rich web content created with Adobe Flash technology and add that relevance back to the HTML page.

Check it out…