UPDATE: The Adobe Connect archive of the workshop has been posted.
Workshop description: Flash is no longer just a plug-in; it has evolved into a massive suite of tools, services and techniques called the Flash Platform. Used for everything from character animation to interactive video to full-featured applications that rival their desktop counterparts, Flash plays a major role in shaping how users experience content on the Internet. This workshop will introduce the Flash Platform with specific emphasis on programming in ActionScript 3.0 and MXML and the basics of working in Flash and Flex (and how you decide when to use which).
For those attending today’s Flash Platform Workshop, this is the place to download the source code and slides.
I encourage you to leave comments on this post with your feedback (positive and negative!) about the workshop. Thanks!
Los Angeles-area Flash aficionados were lured out under Wednesday night’s lunar eclipse to attend the monthly gathering of LA Flash, a great local user group. Sam Rivello (whose blitting seminar I attended at last year’s LA Flashapaloozastock) gave a solid overview of various techniques for maintaining state in Flash and Flex applications, including one technique (custom namespaces) I’d never heard of before. I’d be curious to hear if anyone else out there is using custom namespaces to manage state, or for any other purpose. Afterwards I got to thank Sam for his seminar last year, as it inspired me to build a blitting engine as part of the forthcoming Precision Targets project I’m working on with Caren Kaplan.
Next up was Patrick Matte of BLITZ, the interactive director behind the amazing “Creativity Conducted” multiplayer Wii remote interactive installation. Gasps of “wow” and “cool” were heard from the crowd as Patrick deconstructed the development process, which utilized WiiFlash. The biggest revelation for me (although it’s really kind of a no-brainer) was the fact that the Wiimote won’t generate mouse events; Patrick ended up using the VirtualMouse class from Senocular to connect each remote to its own virtual cursor that sent the appropriate events in response to button presses. I saw this piece on plasma screens at FITC last fall, but wish I could have seen the more immersive “holographic” version when it debuted at MAX (a new iteration is reportedly in the works for this year’s MAX). Great presentation, and great to hear from another WiiFlash user putting the server through its paces. Now if we can just get a Mac version...
Adobe has posed a Connect archive of the ‘Designing for Convergence’ panel I was on with Dmitri Siegel of Urban Outfitters and Peter Lunenfeld of Art Center College of Design back in November. I enjoyed this panel—Dmitri showed a selection of his recent projects with Urban Outfitters and Peter spoke about some the ideas in his forthcoming book The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading. I showed some recent work, including Swing, SpringGraph database visualizations for Vectors, and a sneak peek at the Wii remote-enabled interface for Blood Sugar, the follow-up project to Public Secrets I’m currently working on with Sharon Daniel. We also got into some interesting discussions about professional vs. amateur creative output on the web and ways in which the Wii remote could be used to make experimental interactivity more accessible in installation or gallery settings. Take a look at the Connect archive here; there’s also a page featuring archives from other discussions in the series.
The Flash Platform workshop that was originally set for December has been rescheduled and will now be held on Monday, February 25 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Flash as a platform is a huge topic—I’m going to be concentrating on the Flash and Flex authoring tools, how you know when to use which, and the many ways there are to create content in both using ActionScript 3.0 and MXML.
Anyone is welcome to join this free workshop virtually via Adobe connect. Click here to register. Hope to see you there!
Yesterday I was at UC Davis for the “Beyond the Book” Conference on the digital humanities—which was something of an eye-opener for me as far as providing some broader context for the work we do at Vectors. My perspective on this field tends to be very narrowly project-focused, so it was good to have my horizons expanded a bit with both a sense of the history of digital humanities scholarship as well as the obstacles facing those trying to do this kind of work today—work which still lacks the kind of legitimacy within the academy that would make it a less risky choice for junior scholars.
There seemed to be a genuine interest and energy in the room directed towards making it possible for more institutions, scholars, designers and programmers to participate in this kind of work. A number of Vectors projects were featured throughout the day, along with intriguing excerpts from And Then It Was Now by Frances Dyson and a preview of Precision Targets, the project I’m currently working on with Caren Kaplan. Sharon Daniel joined the proceedings virtually from Berlin, where Public Secrets is currently being shown at the Transmediale festival, and I got the chance to speak a bit about the connections between music composition and interactive design, while showing an early version of a visualizer for Vectors project databases (more on that in a future post).
Thanks to Caren Kaplan, Carolyn de la Pena, Jennifer Langdon, the technical staff and everyone else involved at UC Davis for putting on such an informative event and for featuring Vectors so generously.
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