A journal that focuses on Flash Platform development, and a little bit about what I am up to on any given day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Apollo : It's Real First Class Feature

It seems like people are starting to get what Apollo is all about, but I'll bet the majority of people are still missing the most important thing/feature of all. I missed it totally until it was fully explained to me.

Before I tell you what it is, I want to say that I missed it because I am a person that has been working in Flash for a very long time, and have done alot of Flash Desktop applications (mostly in SWFStudio(which rocks BTW)). I was under the assumption that certain things were not possible based on the way things have been done in the past, but ladies and gentlemen:

The impossible is now possible!

"Ok, Tone, cut the BS, what is this first class feature you are talking about?"

Here we go,

Apollo renders HTML/JS and PDF in Flash Player Displaylists!!!!!

***Edit, thanks to Marco Casario***

-->See for yourself

Here is what it looks like in AS3:

private var html:HTMLControl = new flash.html.HTMLControl();
html.width = 100;
html.height = 100;
html.loadFromURLRequest(new flash.net.URLRequest("http://casario.blogs.com");

//perhaps the next line would be(not sure though):


***end edit***

Some at MAX already know this, and some may have deduced this from the FAQ's for Apollo, but I am willing to bet that not many people out there know this.

What does this mean?

It means I can load an HTML document with CSS, JS, etc functioning and

1/ control it with AS.
2/ I can mask it.
3/ I can apply filters and blend modes

and anything else you can do to a Display Object!

The HTML support is not being done by overlaying browser controls, it is actually being rendered by WebKit and then viualized in the Flash Display list.

To prove this is possible, download Adobe Digital Editions

When you run it and open a PDF, you will see that the PDF is tweened, alpha'd, etc..... When you think about it, Digital Editions looks more to me like a proof of concept app for PDF Display List rendering than it does an actual production release app.

So when I finally realized this power, I started to have other thoughts, like:

1/ What if it could render Windows Media Player on the displaylist?!
2/ What about Quicktime!!!!?

Oh my god Trabeck, this is one of the biggest things ever to happen to Flash, and that my friends is why Apollo is such a big deal!

AS/Flex Posters from MAX

Paolo and Mike from Teknision are at MAX. I couldn't make it this year due to the fact that I have so much work to do. I wanted Poalo to get me a copy of the MAX posters for AS and Flex, so he did, and FedEx'd them back to me.

Wow, I see why they wanted to charge for them. They are huge! I don't even know if we have enough wall space available for them all. Ah well, I'll make em fit.

They are very nice, and very detailed. Worth having for sure.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Apollo, they got it this time!

I have noticed around the community there are still many that don't quite understand why Apollo is such a major breakthrough technology, and why it will be so important. For those that are still in the dark, let me offer an explanation,

but before that I just want to point out a few things:

An old post of mine on Central

Man, that was a while ago and alot has changed. I really think that from what I have seen and heard regarding Apollo, that they are on the right track with it.

A $100,000,000 investment budget for Apollo applications though takes my breath away. In the Central model, they wanted to charge us(and our clients) for deploying apps, now they are going to invest in us to do it! Brilliant, sign me up!

So, Apollo..........

The first thing one has to realize is that Apollo is not Central at all. Apollo is an enviornment for building desktop applications with technologies that are familiar to web(like) developers. Apollo is NOT a tool to run your web applications on the desktop. While this can be done, and can be cool, it really is not the focus of the initiative.

The best Apollo applications will likely be the ones that take traditional desktop applications, and make them easier to:

port cross-platform

For those familiar with Actionscript 3/Flash Player 9, you would know that we now have access to data at the binary level. There is not one filetype that you cannot read and write! So, the sky is the limit, and the focus is the desktop.

Web Applications can do alot these days, but the sandboxed constraints of the web browser stop us from being able to do great things without powerful server technology. Apollo allows us to start at the desktop with real data to read and write as we see fit, and leverage server technology in support of the primary desktop feature set. We will do this all with tools that we are familiar with as web developers.

If making an Apollo Chat Client, or Flickr Image Viewer, or News Aggregator for the desktop is all you can imagine, then expand yourself. Start with a Bitmap Image Editor, MP3 Player, Document editor, SWF compiler, Web Browser, Vector Illustration program, etc. Time to bust out file format documentation for the thousands of file types out there!

It is important to note that Apollo is the competitor to Windows Presentation Foundation. Remember those apps MS released a year ago built with Sparkle? It is funny that the app they released was called MAX!:


This is the class of application that Apollo apps will compete with.

Adobe intends to cut Microsoft off at the pass, by releasing a robust runtime that works accross all desktop operating systems at a fraction of the size.

This will lead us to a world, where operating systems become irrelevant, and applications are always available for everything everywhere. (Sounds like the Java promise..... but hey I'm optimistic)

So the Apollo project introduces a new class of application that will be indistinguishable from a regular desktop application, it is not meant to be an extension for Rich Internet Applications.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


This has nothing to do with Flash,

but tonight I went to see KRS ONE play live down the street here in Ottawa at Babylon. Honestly, KRS is seriously the best MC I have ever seen perform. I kind of knew he was before I saw him, but after that performance it was solidified for me. #1 MC no doubt.