March 27, 2008

Wiki in AIR

I have started my first Adobe AIR project (whoohoo!). After I heard the announcement about WikiNotes, a wiki for Android (by Dick Wall) on the Java Posse podcast, I decided to magic my own wiki implementation out of AIR.

So far I have an AIR app with a TextArea, a Save button and an HTML View. I have reused the wiki parser example from the Flex3 examples to convert the wiki format to HTML. Text that is typed in the textarea is converted to HTML and displayed in the HTML View. It took me about 30 minutes to build that.

Now, I am building the parts that persist the wiki data using the built-in SQLite database manager. When AIR was still in beta (and still called Apollo) I already toyed a little bit with the built-in database components. These components are quite basic and use an asynchronous model. You ask the database to execute some SQL and point out a result handler to deal with the response. So you have to treat the database as a service. Not a bad idea, actually. Back then I built a tiny DAO layer on top of the database components, that allows me to do very crude but useful OR mapping. I think I might be able to reuse that stuff for my little wiki.

I must say that I am very impressed with Flex Builder 3 and the way it is integrated with AIR. Two thumbs up Adobe!

March 10, 2008

Marauder's Map on Adobe AIR

Last week, 3 days after Adobe Flex 3 was released, I attended a product briefing at Adobe in Amsterdam. Although I already knew about much of what was presented, I found it was very interesting and inspiring. Adobe is working hard to create a well integrated enterprise technology suite combined with tools for both designer and developer. These tools will allow designers and developers to work together more effectively.

Thermo is a code name for such a tool. It will have a UI that a designer can work with, very similar to PhotoShop. The designer can add interactivity to the design and export that design to a format that a RIA developer can pick-up and "simply" wire to logic and services. I hope that in the end, Thermo will allow designers to make changes throughout the development of the RIA as well. The designer should be able to edit views that have already been developed.

Recently, Adobe also released the first release of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR). Using the same development environment and concepts as for Flex, AIR allows you to develop RIAs that run on your desktop, outside the web browser (Rich internet comes to your desktop). Obvious uses of this technology lie in the occasionally online applications.

Adobe has developed a very cool phonebook application using AIR. Of course, it stores a local copy of the phone book that is synchronized with the company phone book when connected to the company network. The cool part is in its ability to show you on office maps where a queried Adobe employee has his or her office. Combine that with WLAN 802.11 Positioning (adding the ability to see the exact current location of the employee) and you get the muggle version of the Marauder's Map!

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