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Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials

Picture of Judy Breck
Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Judy Breck - Friday, 10 March 2006, 10:13 PM
Today I received the "developer newsletter" from Adobe/formerly Macromedia. One of the features is the release of the Flash Lite 2 for mobile. The page it points to, which I thought might interest some of you, is:

I would be interested from any mobile developers whether you think Flash Lite 2 can be helpful soon in authoring robust cross-platform applications. I am an author and content person and only have a rough conceptual idea of Flash Lite 2 and its potential. Thanks in advance for any clues!
Picture of William Volk
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by William Volk - Saturday, 11 March 2006, 7:26 PM
If Flash Lite 2 really runs 'true' Flash apps (Flash on the web) easily it could have a major impact.  Macromedia 'beat' Java Applets on the web, could history repeat itself?  Probabily not, but I hope Flash Lite 2.0 does very well.
Picture of Elmer Zinkhann
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Elmer Zinkhann - Monday, 13 March 2006, 11:44 AM
I believe there's a big market for flashlite 2 apps.
Many developers/designers who are now working with flash have been very cautious in entering the flash lite (1/ 1.5) world, because of the 'old' syntax, and non-cross platform development. Now flash lite 2.0 is out, it will be very easy for many developers to enter the mobile market, by creating apps and games or rich / branded user experiences.

Flash has been at the forefront of stateless apps (now followed by AJAX techniques) , and I think this will be the way forward for mobile applications / mobile web too. I believe that for flash-web developers the step to mobile will be much easier now.

Picture of Judy Breck
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Judy Breck - Monday, 13 March 2006, 2:18 PM
Elmer, thanks! My interest is in nudging learning toward openness in mobile venues (no walled gardens!). I'm very shallow, as a content author, on my tech understanding. Is "stateless apps" something of a generic term for what Flash Lite 2 is attempting? (Apologies if that is a dumb question.)
Picture of Elmer Zinkhann
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Elmer Zinkhann - Monday, 13 March 2006, 2:42 PM
By stateless I'm referring to 'not having to flick through pages to get where you want'. Being able to change settings on a page without requiring the page to refesh - think of one-page-online-booking-sites for example. Quick access by updating the front-end behind the scenes.

Both Flash and Ajax technologies support this approach, and can be used to create so-called Rich Internet Applications, or Rich Mobile Applications if you will.

I must say I have been working in web development for the past few years, and only recently have started to actively follow mobile developments.
Picture of Judy Breck
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Judy Breck - Monday, 13 March 2006, 3:44 PM
Thanks! I've been following rich media as well as I can. It's cognitive (regarding the meaning of content - thus learning) implications are profound — and fascinating.
Picture of Zigurd Mednieks
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Zigurd Mednieks - Monday, 13 March 2006, 4:10 PM
Strict buzzword compliance is, of course, not required, but "stateless" has a specific meaning to the people engineering these systems: It means that every server request stands alone, or, at least, that state is confined to one Web page where background server requests take place. Look at the Wikipedia article on REST for a proper definition. REST is a simplification of Web services, based on being stateless. It is much simpler to implement than the full load of stuff you need to translate a generalized multi-tier archiecture to the Web, and leads to simpler-to-use applications.

REST is a good choice for mobile applications, since HTTP networking is available everywhere you can run J2ME, the security model is easy for the user to understand (grant one-time or per session permission to use the network), and small XML parsers tuned to RESTful applications use up less than 10k of application footprint. Statelessness has numerous benefits in mobile application design, among which is that you don't feel bad about abandoning a session to take a call. Yeah, some people still do talk on those things.
Picture of Mark Searle
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Mark Searle - Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 8:27 PM

Hi Zigurd is correct of course.  Judy, If I might add, the 'State Machine' is a fairly fundamental (and little understood) concept in understanding the difference between traditional telcos and the Internet. Telec networks were build on the notion that the network is like a newtonian system of cogs.  Each software object (cog) interacts with others in predefined orders laid down in the 'state machine'.  This is a very complex trick to pull off as it requires a lot of software resource and it requires exhaustive analysis to make sure you know what happens in every state.  The advantage is that you have a shot at a very resilient software solution. IP networks have tried to simplify matters by removing the explicit motion of state (so called hard state) and replacing it with soft state instead.  Soft state removes the strict state structure and replaces it with client server request responses.  The question is can you really remove state in any meaningful distributed application?

Please excuse me if I have drifted off the original point.

Regards Mark      

Picture of Bryan Rieger
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by Bryan Rieger - Monday, 13 March 2006, 4:18 PM
I've been following Flash Lite for a couple of years now - it's good, easy to develop for and provides a really nice user experience. I doubt Flash is going to beat J2ME midlets out of the market like it did applets as the Flash Lite sandbox is even smaller than J2ME. There's currently no support for Bluetooth, camera or microphone functions, or any advanced interaction with the device hardware.

You also have the same problem with screen sizes in having to deliver tweaked versions of your app for every device variant. Scaling works in theory, but different aspect ratios and larger variants (ie: 320 x 240 vs 160 x 160) make it very difficult to reuse the same layouts. In many ways XHTML + CSS + AJAX style apps (such as Opera Platform) are much better suited to flexible layouts for various screen sizes to deliver a similar (asynchrous) experience.

It's also somewhat interesting to note that Flash Lite supports SVG-T (not sure which version of the spec) in the runtime, so it also directly competes with the likes of BitFlash and Ikivo.

The big question in my head regarding Flash Lite is has Adobe been able to make the deals with the OEMs and carriers required to begin to make Flash ubiquitous in the mobile space? I can't see OEMs eager to sign up to yet another perpetual licensing of a technology runtime, and without content or consumer demand I doubt it's something they will continue to pay for.

FWIW - Bruce Chizen did mention that Adobe was considering removing the licensing fee in the future, so this may change.

"Chizen: Time will tell what approach we take. Macromedia has been able to charge for Flash Lite for mobile devices, as well as Flash running on consumer electronic devices. Adobe's strategy, with some exceptions, has been to not charge for the client.

Even though I like the revenue, I suspect over time you will probably see us back away a bit from charging for the client and look to make our money through servers, desktop software, advertising revenue models, and so on. But not charging for the actual client.

Clearly today there is so much value in what we are offering that the customer is willing to pay. So, I'm not willing to walk away from that. But if I have to make a trade-off between ubiquity and revenue -- as it relates to the mobile client business -- I'll go for ubiquity. Because if I have my client everywhere, then I can make money doing other things, as we have proven with the Adobe Reader."

(registration required)

In Canada, I believe we have one Sony Ericsson model (w600) shipping with Flash Lite (v1.1). One. Mind you, we're also a country stuck with 2 out of 3 carriers using CDMA networks... ;-)

Are significant numbers of devices shipping with Flash Lite pre-installed in other regions (outside of Japan) yet?


Picture of William Volk
Re: Flash Lite 2 announcements and tutorials
by William Volk - Monday, 13 March 2006, 6:58 PM
Developers would be MUCH happier with Flash Lite 2.0 than J2ME just on the basis of reliability and portability.  SUN is focused on making the licensees happy and not on supporting developers.  The state of J2ME runtime is close to broken.