Browsing: Third party

Shu brings AIR standalone and more.

April 9th, 2008 | By Cedric

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Update 10.2010: it seems that shu has reviewed its objectives and functionning check out the official site for more information. Moreover it seems that Adobe allows official deployment of AIR application for b2b through msi. MDM has also a product called Inferno extending AIR runtime.

Update 08.2008: Warning, this blog post was written very early after the launch of Shu (before any Adobe reaction), Shu is NOT LEGAL regarding Adobe AIR redistribution agreement. It is not legal to use Shu and it has been clearly confirmed by Mike Chambers (even if you try to obtain a custom redistribution agreement). (As i guessed back when I wrote the post below.). I will soon add extra information on this matter in a new post.

WhatShup?

That is months that I work on Adobe Runtime Environment AIR, I really appreciate how it is straightforward and quick to work on an AIR project or on a regular Flex project. Unfortunately for specific products you need to go without the runtime approach or starve for few extra features. I like very much AIR, I have a project that I developed temporarily with AIR for the sake of simplicity. I need then to go with another technology because I need to be standalone and without administrative rights for the final project. Fortunately I knew this from the start of the project. So within my PureMVC architecture I have organised everything related to desktop application into a Business Desktop Delegate class. I suggest you to do so in every situation to avoid painful rewriting afterwards. I have been testing various technologies to use desktop capabilities, and finally kept Screenweaver HX and MDM Zinc 3. It is of course time consuming to switch from one technology to another. What you dreams of in some situations, is just to take you AIR project and makes it standalone even if it is something rarely used. Then popped out Shu player!

What ish it?

Shu is an AIR wrapper, they called it an AIR player. It “plays back” AIR projects standalone and add functionalities (usually possible with regular swf2exe softwares). They were a few people arguing about using an Adobe AIR wrapper on AIR’s official forum during beta tests to get what you “miss”. For example, I remember some mentionned JSW (java service wrapper), there were also the Artemis project(check out this demo). I guess Shu Player for Adobe AIR is an evolution of one of these approaches. Shu allows you to develop as you usually do for regular AIR projects, without having to bother to prepare an alternative version using other technologies.

Case studiesh

Imagine that you delivered an AIR application to your client. He/she is very happy with what you created, so he/she asked you to make it distributable as a CD-ROM (for example: to be used as a give-away during Trade Fairs). What would you answer to your client and what would you do? He/she invested money in this AIR project and you convinced him/her of how AIR will be ubiquitous, then you answer that it cannot be standalone… I guess you would certainly convert it with another desktop technology, because regular AIR projects needs a runtime to be installed locally. If you were aware of this drawback at start, you hopefully have gathered everything related to AIR specific API into one busines class (as I advise earlier to be a good practice ). Although it remains time consuming and not very practical to prepare another version.

Shu is like thatSh

If Shu AIR player works as it is advertised (I am currently testing it and will edit this post later), it allows you to transform your AIR application into something standalone and add even extra features. You can just use your current Flex AIR project and put additional features you need and package it. Amazing isn’it? The mentioned only two drawbacks:
1: Shu adds 5 MO to your AIR application (because you add the AIR runtime and wrapper code)
2: Shu needs your application to be compiled on Win system for Windows and on Macintosh systems for Macintosh as you did with Macromedia Director (back in that time), no Linux support currently (I guess because AIR linux support is something in recent)

Are you Shure?

I think Shu player poppes out few questions:
1: Is it legal to do so regarding Adobe AIR rights and use terms? Do you remember year ago discussions about distributing the .ocx file with Third Party swf2exe applications, isn’t this the same situation?
2: Does application runs as quick as regular AdobeAIR applications especially if plaid from a removable media?
3: Does the use of Shu brings new problems or bugs?
4: Is its price attractive?

Flash magazine made an interesting article about comparing it and ZINC, it was made before the release of Shu player and is a bit outdated, but it is still interesting for beginners to better understand how Shu is coming into the game.

Coming soon some answers…

[edited]
First testsh
I have just tested the packaging of an AIR application of around 50Mo. The process took around 55 sec, produced package is a unic exe file of 72Mo. Application starts slightly slower to display something (logical indeed), but afterwards everything seems to be boosted. Very significant advantage on MDM Zinc, Flv can be displayed full screen with hardware acceleration as it does with Adobe AIR. I have not tested extra features and use of the swc yet.
It seems that it is possible to keep things separated(files and folder not integrated into exe file) as long as you go through Shu global var to get path, I’m investigating it…

Update 08.2008: answers to question on “Are you Shure?”:
1: NO, Shu is not legal and their is no ways to have a special agreement from Adobe.
2-3: YES, it benefits fully from the speed of AIR comparing to OCX based swf2exe application but adds startup time (I guess decompression of the runtime to be used standalone)
4: NO, it is not legal and who knows for how much time they would be allow to sell their product? I doubt that it would be much easy to get a refund, if that happens…

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Goasap Go Universal Generic Animation Platform AS3

December 18th, 2007 | By Cedric

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Go! asap! Tweening transitions

Moses Gunesch has just released officially his new project, code named Go in reference to the asian traditional board game. Its full name/official package name is goasap (Go Actionscript Animation Platform).

Background of tweening for actionscript 2

For several months now, people were waiting for an AS3 version of Fuse Kit Tweening Package. Fuse is a very advanced, flexible, efficient and stable Tween engine including ZigoEngine, FuseEngine and Fuse effects. It is very famous within the Flash community and was implemented into projects for some of the most famous companies in the world including Nike, Amazon, NBC, Motorola. I/analogd have used it on numerous commercial projects and I can say that I have absolute trust in products incepted by Moses Gunesch.

New approach for programmed transition for as3

Strategically Moses Gunesch decided to work this time on a higher level of abstraction taking advantage of his past experience on Tweening engine optimisation and architecturing. Instead of working on another Tweening package for Actionscript 3, he decided to setup a standardised open approach for Tweening management. The objective is to propose a solid and efficient structure and engine to serve any programmatic Animation requirements. The proposed Generic Animation Platform allows you to use your favorite Tweening packages/Equations to produce whether simple or complex animations. Goasap target a medium to advanced audience. It is an open solution where you can setup your own syntax and complex mechanism involving for example bitmap manipulations or 3d animations or physics engine or 3d collada animations. It may be difficult for AS3 beginners to approach because it is not an all-in-one Tweening Package solution as was Fuse Kit for Actionscript 2. Go Asap is opened and extensible, it is designed to give great flexibility within a standardised platform. For example you may add managers of your own to the built-in OverlapManager or develop new personalised utils. Goasap will certainly generate enthusiasm within the community and numerous utils and tools will certainly enrich quickly base elements, which is part of strategic foundations of the generic Go Animation Platform.

First pulse: a transition framework

I remember reading one of the first post about Go Asap on the Fuse list. Moses Gunesch mentionned that its primary objective with Go asap was to develop a standardised approach for Animation management allowing to handle not only regular Linear Tweens but also Physic Engines. As far as I know it is the first time that both approaches are gathered within one system, and it is a very interesting approach because it can be sometimes difficult to manage both types gracefully. I also discovered that Moses Gunesch is planning to include Collada animation support. (Collada is a standard format based on XML to export from 3d softwares models and their animations. It is one of the corner stones of Papervision3d and Away 3d.)

Conclusion

The release of Go Actionscript Animation Package is great news for the Flash/Flex community. I feel that in the upcoming months more and more projects will involve mixture of 3d animations and Physics Engines and I am persuaded that GoAsap will leverage development complexity and animations efficiency. I am looking forward to implementing it.

Within the coming weeks I will make my first tests on Goasap in a Flex project working on PureMVC framework and post my results here. So stay RSS tuned on analogd’s blog.
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