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This is my personal blog with posts on the Flash Platform, .Net, RIAs, elearning, and technology...

Last Build Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2008 06:22:25 PST


An offline video application using AIR

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 09:15:06 PST

I just saw a video featured on this month's Edge. It talks about Flash Player's new video capabilities. However, I have a question with respect to Video and AIR.

I have been recently doing a prototype of a video application which needs to play HD videos for long durations continuously. Its a complete offline app and almost mission critical for the time its used.

The setup consists of a PC connected with 2 monitors, one of them a big 50 inch plasma configured with a resolution of 1280x720, the same size of the video. The other monitor is a normal screen with video lists and options to control the video to playback.

I am quite impressed with the way you can control native windows in AIR, even if you have multiple screen setup. The functional aspect of the application was simple to execute since it was all done using Flash, and you feel very much at home doing AIR development.

Now to the main question:
Do you think its a bit too much to play videos for really long durations in Flash? Should we stick to more traditional approach - Windows Media player / Quicktime player?

I am slightly worried about how long video can be played without application crashing out. Some of us have faced various memory issues if Flash applications run for very long durations. I know most of this is due to bad coding practices like persistent event listeners etc, but are difficult to pin down.

With my tests I have been overall satisfied by the experience, of both using the application and building it so will like to stick to AIR if anything serious hits me. I have noticed that when you are low on memory, the AIR runtime itself has problems and closing few apps fixes it.

Would love any information or issues I should be looking in particular while working with HD video and AIR, I am sure lot of you would have done something similar already!

Starting AIR development - Update your software!

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 04:36:23 PST

With Adobe working on so many things around the Flash platform and releasing new stuff at breakneck speed, its hard time updating your software with every release specially if you work on multiple machines.

Here are few updates which you should be installing to start developing AIR apps with Flash CS3.

  1. Adobe Flash Player Update for Flash CS3 Professional (9.0.2):
    This update includes a new Video Playback component supporting H.264. Most importantly this should update the debug and release versions of the Flash Player.
  2. Adobe AIR update beta 3 for Flash CS3 Professional:
    This update will allow you to package and preview .air application files directly within Adobe Flash CS3 Professional
  3. Flash player versions (debug included)
Note that you will need to install the Flash CS3 9.0.2 update to be able to install the latest AIR update.

And a nice article introducing AIR to Flash developers.

Duplicating a database using SQL Server Management Studio Express

Mon, 21 Jan 2008 06:56:42 PST

I recently started playing around with Asp.Net and SQL Server 2005. Though we have Visual Studio 2005 Professional, I still use SQL Server Management studio's express edition for administration of the databases. It is a great and easy to use tool, but it lacks few basic features.

One of them is copying a database - Both to a remote machine or locally.

However, with another free download from Microsoft, you can easily do this. You will need to download the tool called: Microsoft SQL Server Database Publishing Wizard

Here are the steps to accomplish this:
  1. Download, install and run the SQL Server Database Publishing Wizard
  2. Provide the server and login information for the server where the database resides and click next. Once the connection is established, it will list all the available databases.
  3. Select the required database and click next
  4. The next screen will show you the option to script the database to a file or publish it to a remote server. In this case, you can script to a file and click finish.
  5. Now, launch SQL Server Management Studio express and connect to the server (where you want the duplicate version of the database to be created)
  6. Create a new database, which will be the duplicate one.
  7. Go to Security and set this as the default database
  8. Run the script we just saved using the Database Publishing Wizard
  9. Thats it! You should now have a duplicate database with all the database objects and the data itself.
For more information on Database Publishing Wizard and its uses, consider reading this article.

If you know a better way of doing this, feel free to comment upon!

Google's approach on Agile

Thu, 28 Sep 2006 09:32:12 PDT

Someone in the office forwarded me this link on Agile by Steve Yeye (Google Developer).

Some of interesting points on Google's approach to Agile:
- There are managers, sort of, but most of them code at least half-time, making them more like tech leads.

- Developers can switch teams and/or projects any time they want, no questions asked; just say the word and the movers will show up the next day to put you in your new office with your new team.

- Google has a philosophy of not ever telling developers what to work on, and they take it pretty seriously.

- Developers are strongly encouraged to spend 20% of their time (and I mean their M-F, 8-5 time, not weekends or personal time) working on whatever they want, as long as it's not their main project.

- There aren't very many meetings. I'd say an average developer attends perhaps 3 meetings a week, including their 1:1 with their lead.

- It's quiet. Engineers are quietly focused on their work, as individuals or sometimes in little groups or 2 to 5.

- There aren't Gantt charts or date-task-owner spreadsheets or any other visible project-management artifacts in evidence, not that I've ever seen.

- Even during the relatively rare crunch periods, people still go get lunch and dinner, which are (famously) always free and tasty, and they don't work insane hours unless they want to.

Read the entire article here.

I have recently started with the Agile way of development, mainly Scrum, and I must say its the most developer friendly way of approaching software development.

Also check out Control Chaos for heads up on Scrum.

Working for the BBC

Mon, 11 Sep 2006 03:53:35 PDT

Well, it has been quite a roller coaster ride since I arrived in the UK last year. Changing countries can be daunting! So, After working for around seven months in hardcore product development (which I would say is quite rare for a Flash Developer...) I have taken a job with BBC as Technical Project Manager. One of the advantages would be I'll be moving to London now, and would be able to attend user group meetings. Have missed almost all of them this year.

The role involves less coding, and more of all round skills, also deep understanding of a complex system, so it should be a massive learning curve for me.
As a developer you are never sure as to when is the right time to take plunge to the next level and may be more difficult for Flash Developers.

Would love to get some advice and experiences from fellow developers...

BBC's Developer Network

Tue, 23 May 2006 04:30:31 PDT

I came across Backstage. Its BBC's Developer Network program and lists free APIs and services to be consumed for non-commercial use.

They also have Ideas and Prototypes sections where you can share your stuff. Some are interesting, and will really benefit from Flash/Flex based user interface.

Check them out...

Flex's Hour Glass Functionality

Mon, 22 May 2006 16:38:29 PDT

First, I have not been using or developing with Flex at all, but being Flash Developer for over 6 years, it keeps me fascinated. Developers obviously take learnings from newer, better applications, and try to implement the good, which also help maintain consistency, and often with time become more of standard way of doing things.

Anyway, I have been viewing Flex 2 demo applications showcased at the Adobe Labs, and really like the hour glass (nice clock animation) implementation within Flex applications. Its a really nice way of letting the user know that something is happening in the background, mostly some data being loaded from the server. I have been using a similar practice in my application, as it has to make lots of calls to webservices.
Well, you can call it a rip off if you want... :)

But there is a difference. Doing so I realized, completely hiding the mouse becomes a bit of a worry. Since the pointer is still functional, wouldn't it be a good idea, if instead of hiding the pointer completely (and showing the hour glass), let the pointer be there and add hour glass next to it? I mean, most desktop applications do not hide the mouse completely if something is happening in the background. When the applications stop responding completely, pointer is completely replaced by hour glass. I know, its a small thing, but Flex is definitely bridging the gap between online and desktop applications, the way they function, so it should behave as closely as they do...

How does this work in Flex? Does it have any way of configuring these options?

Lists in applications also have drag and drop functionalities which I have seen, I don't know if the components with Flex have these capability, but here too, replacing the complete pointer is a bit of a worry.

Here is what I have seen in applications currently:

(image) (image) (image)

shouldn't this be better:

Screenshots taken from the following application demos:
BrightPoint Dashboad

FLASC: Another open source tool in your arsenal

Sat, 15 Apr 2006 18:49:08 PDT

And yet another acronym! I finally gave a shot at FLASC today, the tool that lets you harness the power of MTASC complier right inside the Flash IDE, and helps avoiding command prompt and batch files. It basically provides a nice GUI to MTASC. And as you would expect, the compile time is amazingly fast. I got to know about FLASC at Aral’s presentation during the London MMUG meet last month.


The tool is pretty straightforward to use, and the workflow seems smooth though haven'’t tried it in production environment yet.

You start by defining a project and then you can add packages and classes to it. Once a package is added, the tool recursively goes through folders and adds all of them in the project packages list, which is used in the as package parameter in the MTASC batch command.

Now, the only pitfall to using this approach (or MTASC for that matter) is no matter you use a class or package in your application, it will always be included in it if you have included it in the list of packages, while the Flash compiler will only add the classes which are being used. This can increase the file size of the application if a package, which is not being used, is large enough. However, this is a small thing to do, considering FLASC will save lot of time and frustration when compiling large projects.

FLASC has some good options like displaying the batch command, displaying errors right inside the output window.
You can find more information at

Moments from the Studio 8 Launch

Sun, 19 Mar 2006 11:09:02 PST

The Studio 8 Launch happened in New Delhi, with the likes of Mike Downey and Jennifer Taylor introducing the much marketed and awaited Macromedia Studio 8.
You can catch a glimpse of the launch here.


The launch was kicked off by Jim Guerard, explaining how they changed the product development cycle with Studio 8 by putting the customer upfront, and how big the release is for Macromedia.

The real meat of the session was Mike taking on some of the new features of Flash 8, explaining quite a lot of details, though much is already known (and here).
One of the things that he clearly mentioned was the component set remains the same for Flash 8, as the component development for the entire company has been taken over by the Flex team. Something to disappoint as he actually said that we will have to wait until Flex 2 or even Flash 9?
Not sure what that means, but performance has not been touched upon. We will have to see if they use Bitmap caching to increase component performance.

Jen Taylor introduced Dreamweaver 8 with some of the new features like zoom, more intuitive css, video for web. I feel, support for drag and drop xml and xslt looked very powerful, and worth the upgrade alone!

Just before the end of the session, there was a moment where they spoke about how historic the event is, being the last product launch event as Macromedia... and the next time they come will be wearing the Adobe's hat.


Future of Flash after acquisition

Sat, 04 Jun 2005 06:34:01 PDT

I came across an article: "With Adobe In Charge, What Will Happen To Flash?" by Harley Manning, about the future of Flash products. Few interesting points in the article to note are for Flash Video and the server-side initiatives from Macromedia.
Adobe has strong presence in video market, which will obviously help Flash's video capability, with already the most effective way to put video on web, the capability is still under used.

As far as server-side initiatives, Macromedia still lacks the foothold in the enterprise development market. The recent development with SAP and Flex are rare. Adobe, being a cash rich company, with limited presence in this market will surely back products with good marketing support.

The article does not mention Macromedia's initiatives on the mobile market with FlashLite. As far as I know, Adobe has no presence here as well.

Also check out the exhaustive details in the FAQ on Adobe Macromedia acquisition on Macromedia website.

The best blogs around!

Tue, 14 Dec 2004 23:40:19 PST

I just noticed, the 2004 Weblog Awards are announced! You can view the full poll at:


The Best Tech Blog has been earned by my favorite technology blog: Engadget and a close second is another cool blog: Gizmodo.

Flex 1.5 released

Tue, 02 Nov 2004 18:39:02 PST

Macromedia releases Flex 1.5 and has the trial available for download on the site.
Flex 1 has already been adopted by many companies and enterprizes for RIA development and making the trial available will mean more developers can try it out compared to the trial CD earlier.

You can download it from:

To find out whats new in Flex 1.5:

It includes:
  • New Charting Components
  • Improver DataGrid
  • Easier Skinning
  • Lists

Simple Stepper Class in AS 2

Sun, 29 Aug 2004 22:21:59 PDT

Recently, we had the Delhi Flash UserGroup meet in which I took a session on "Introduction to AS2.0" . I demonstrated a very simple version of a Stepper class in AS2. It covered new features of AS 2.0 like:
  • New keywords: Class, extends, Public/Private
  • DataTyping
  • Getter / Setter functions
  • Linking a library symbol directly with a class
  • and adding custom events with the new EventDispatcher class

Click here to download the source files and the presentation.

Along with me, there were Simon Horwith from Team Macromedia, who took an excellent session on Flex, and Owas Bhat who demonstrated various ways for skinning the Flash 2004 UI components.

Here is the code for the Stepper class:


class Stepper extends MovieClip {
// class definitions
private var next_mc:MovieClip;
private var back_mc:MovieClip;
private var label_txt:TextField;

private var _counter:Number = 0;

// event dispatcher props
public var addEventListener:Function;
public var removeEventListener:Function;
private var dispatchEvent:Function;

// constructor function
function Stepper () {

// will be called by the constructor function
private function init() {
next_mc.onRelease = nextHandler;
back_mc.onRelease = backHandler;
label_txt.autoSize = 'center';
label_txt.text = _counter.toString()

private function nextHandler():Void {
_parent.index++ ;
//trace ('next clicked '+_parent._counter);

public function backHandler():Void {
_parent.index-- ;
//trace ('back clicked '+ _parent._counter);

public function set index (val:Number) {
_counter = val;
label_txt.text = _counter.toString();
//dispath event
public function get index ():Number {
return _counter;

DataProvider in Flash 2004

Mon, 09 Aug 2004 08:30:17 PDT

I have been trying to use a Data Model in Flash 2004 and as I see, the implementation of DataProvider is different in Flash 2004 than Flash MX

The way in Flash MX was pretty straight forward:

// In Flash MX
myDP = new DataProviderClass();

This creates an array called items within the instance created.

Though this approach seems ok, similar approach does not work with Flash 2004:

// In Flash 2004
import mx.controls.listclasses.DataProvider
myDP:DataProvider = new DataProvider();

Now, I have come across a couple of ways to go about it.

  1. As described by Jesse: Using the initialize method over an Array.


    This gets the job done, by adding all the methods of the DataProvider Class to the object prototype. However, what I dont like about it is, that it uses mixins.
  2. I have come across a Vector class, made by 123Webwizard, similar to the one used in Java. This creates an array called data within the object it instantiates and works similarly as the DataProviderClass in FlashMX.

Now I am really dont know which is the better approach and why.
I personally would like to use the one which can be instantiated rather than using mixin simply as its easier to read and understand.

Would any one like to comment on the pros and cons....?
Also... will both the approaches work fine if the target player is Flash Player 6?

Macromedia releases Flash 7.2 Updater

Tue, 27 Jul 2004 01:46:50 PDT

Macromedia has released a new version of Flash MX 2004 this morning. Code-named Ellipsis, the update brings Flash up to version 7.2

The update focuses on a number of key areas:
  • Performance / Stability / Resource Usage
  • Usability (fixing a lot of little annoying issues)
  • Components
  • Documentation

You will be able to find more information as well as download the updater from:

A number of new articles released on the Macromedia Flash Developer Center:
What is the Significance of Ellipsis

Flash MX 2004 Documentation : Responding to users

Introducing the JavaScript Flash File API

Using the new mx.utils.EventDelegate Class

Skinning Flash MX 2004 Components

Well, have already downloaded the updater, shall post more information soon! 

Essential Actionscript 2.0 availlable!

Thu, 24 Jun 2004 23:15:29 PDT

Much awaited book Essential Actionscript 2.0 from Colin Moock is finally available at


Yesterday's message of 'Not released yet' is changed to 'Usually ships within 2 to 3 days' so all those who have preordered the book should expect to get it soon :)

iPod's new rival: Zen Touch

Mon, 21 Jun 2004 08:14:38 PDT

Seems like Creative guys got their act right this time...
The new Creative Zen Touch looks really cool, much better than the former counterpart. Features to look for:

- Touch Pad Control for fast scrolling
- Upto 24hrs continuous playback... sounds awesome!
- Better Navigation
- FM Radio etc...


Personally, I own a Creative Zen 20 GB from last 2 years and havent had any problems, so this product is right up there on my wishlist! :)