Monday, January 5, 2009

TIWC # 1: A swf remote controller in AIR

You know those things that would be really useful to have in most projects, but is not really part of the actual project, thus there is no time to develop them? In this "Things I want to create" series, I will outline a few such ideas. It would be nice to make them into open source projects, and I will if I ever find the time.

Some features on a website requires the swf to be embedded in html, and displayed in a browser. For instance resizing the whole swf, swfaddress navigation, cookies etc. But when you are developing, it can be convenient to run the site within the authoring environment, i.e. not in an html container. It is also quite common that the html container is created much later in some cms that you don't really care about.

The idea is to create an AIR utility that can reside in the mac menu bar or the windows toolbar. The site swf then communicates with the utility through local connection. The utility would have a minimal interface allowing you to control certain parameters and actions on the swf. An api for the swf would of course need to be created as well.

Features I would like to have are:
  • Sound on/off (when testing, you don't want the sound to play, but you don't want to forget to set the default sound to on either)
  • Goto swfaddress deeplink (and default startlink). Preferably a drop down of available urls, populated from the swf. (If more than one developer is working on different parts of a site that shares the same swf, settings the default deeplink could be very useful)
  • Set flashvars

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Buy a used Volvo

Just before christmas we launched a new site for Volvo sweden, where you can search for a used car. The site is a flash front connected to the swedish site backend.

The design might not be spectacular, but if you compare the flow of interaction when searching and tweaking parameters to the native interface of, I believe we did a pretty good job.

Flash-wise, the site is a textbook example of the benefits of using the PureMVC AS3 framework