Papervision 3d Public Beta Announced

After all the hype and excitement, another big benchmark has been achieved for the open source 3d Actionscript library, Papervision 3d. Papervision is now in public beta and it is well worth playing with this library if you have not yet done so.

I have done some work with the library months ago, however it was understandably hard to work with from time to time. I cannot think of a more ambitious Actionscript project around – this project’s potential knows no ceiling. There are still some very pragmatic issues that cause concern such as performance and initialization times. Still, used correctly, this library literally opens up a whole new dimension for Actionscripters.

Unfortunately, I cannot show the Papervision work that I have previously done due to privacy agreements. However, I plan to get my hands dirty with this code again in the near future – I will no doubt post my results.

Flash 9 Hits Over 83% Penetration

Wow, that did not take much time at all… Adobe reports over 83% penetration for Flash Player 9 in mature markets and 84% even in the US. Of course, Flash 9 penetration is significantly more important than prior releases as the latest release is the only player that is compatible with apps built in Actionscript 3. I have briefly glossed over a couple of the important features Actionscript 3 brings to users which could open up completely new doors for interaction. I knew Flash 9 would be adopted quickly, I just had no idea it would be this fast.

Via Flash Obscura

My, How Far Flash Video Has Come

For the few people out there still questioning the validity of Flash video as the best, if not only, solution for the web, you have to watch this. Make sure to click the ‘Maximize’ button in the top-left corner in order to see what I mean. Flash applications built in Actionscript 3 allow for a fullscreen mode – allowing things such as video to be viewed in a much more traditional, theatrical manner. Surprisingly high-quality video can now be easily viewed over the web with no server-side streaming software – allowing anyone with ample bandwidth to provide video to its audience.

This ability for rich media experiences to be delivered on the cheap is one more reason that: 1) Flash (or perhaps another future rich media delivery system) is going to become an even more integral part of the web/browser experience, and, 2) The TV, in its current form, is becoming more obsolete by the day. We all saw this coming, I am just utterly blown away at the pace that it is occurring. If you thought the public liked web video before, just wait until the next batch of video players to hit the scene that take advantage of all the features Flash 9/Actionscript 3 have to offer. It will make the current phenomenon look pitiful in comparison.

Via Flex RIA

Flash in HTTPS

This is probably a rare issue for most people, but one of my co-workers ran into a security warning when using embedded Flash in secure pages.

After a little Googling, I found out why the problem occurs and how to fix it. In case you’re too lazy, here’s the solution below:


<object classid="clsid:A67CDB6E-AE7D-11cf-96B8-344554540010" codebase="https://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/
swflash.cab #version=6,0,29,0"
width="700" height="300">
      <param name="movie" value="FOO/FOO.swf">
      <param name="quality" value="high">

      <PARAM NAME=wmode VALUE=opaque>
      <embed src="FOO/FOO.swf"
quality="high" wmode=opaque pluginspage="
http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer "
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="700"
height="300"></embed>
</object>

Thanks Mind-Probe

Flash XML Caching Solution

I have found quite a few people run into this problem from time to time and there’s actually quite an easy solution to take care of such an issue:


xml.load("xmlFile.xml?"+Math.random());

Essentially, Flash will think that the file is a different URL each time it loads the file and the psuedo parameter (‘?+Math.random()’) will be ignored for the file request. Clever and effective.

Flash's Transparent Background Performance issues

Almost all of the testing/development on my Flash/XML Slideshow was done either with the actual internal SWF viewer in Flash or in the Firefox browser. I had made the unfortunate mistake of assuming Flash will run extremely similarly, if not the same, on all browsers and therefore I continued on my merry way and actually had a v1.0 on my blog with much pride and adoration.

I soon noticed, after viewing my blog with Internet Explorer, that there were some major performance issues with the fading in/out of objects in the slideshow and it was a complete mystery as to why that could be. The good news is that I soon found out the performance issue had nothing to do with my code. The bad news is I found out it had to do with my choice of how I embedded the slideshow.

Much to my chagrin, the reason for my problem was right under my nose. This article was the very same article I read on publishing with a transparent background which clearly states:

Note: If windowless mode is used, performance can be affected to some degree. If fastest performance is a top priority, you may consider other design options.

What is strange about this whole issue is that the performance problem only showed up in Internet Explorer and ran without a hitch in Firefox. This makes me curious whether there are other performance discrepancies in other situations across various browsers. At least in this case, Firefox’s flash player is far superior with absolutely no performance issues whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this probably means that I’m either going to have to get rid of the transparent background or make sure to warn people about this issue before releasing it.