Tech Tuesday: Flashbacks from Flash on the Beach

I’m just back from Flash on the Beach 2009 in Brighton, England, where I witnessed loads of inspiring talks, great people and some sneak peeks from Adobe at the three-day conference.  I hope to post video of my “Flash your TV” presentation as it becomes available in the coming days, but meanwhile here are a few key takeaways from the Adobe keynote.

During the keynote session they demoed Flash CS5 and integration with Flash Builder.  Some of the key features of the new software:

Code snippets allowing designers to generate stubs

This can be used by both developers and designers that work in Flash.  The snippet they demoed was for mouse movement on an object.  Having code snippets will allow designers to add basic functionality without having to depend on a developer every step of the way.

Integration between Flash and Flash Builder

You will be able to open projects started in Flash using Flash Builder.  All project files will automatically be generated.  This will allow developers to code in the environment that is most comfortable to them.  You can also build Flash projects straight out of Flash Builder.

Improved drawing tools

In the demo they used the deco-brush to draw various types of trees using one stroke of the mouse.  The brush can be programmed allowing designers to quickly draw common objects.

Code completion in Flash

This one is self explanatory and long overdue but Flash CS5 will support code completion.  You will get completion on methods and properties assigned to a custom class.  Great when you get a rescue project and are forced to use the Flash IDE.  Personally, I’ll be sticking to Flash Builder for my development needs.


Tech Tips: Compress Transparent PNGs with Flash

Do you use transparent PNGs in Flash, Flex or AIR? Want to cut your application file size in half?

Problem:
Embedding transparent PNGs dramatically increases the size of your Flash, Flex and AIR applications. Photoshop and Fireworks dot not have any compression available for transparent PNGs (that I am aware of).

Solution:
Import your PNGs into Flash, give them a linkage id, and export the file as a SWF. Make sure to set your compression level in the publish settings (default is 80%). Using this method, I was able to cut the file size in half for a number of applications.
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Tech Tips: How to fix fuzzy pixels in Flex

What are fuzzy pixels? Semi-transparent lines that appear on the edges of your Sprites that make them appear fuzzy or blurry. This is the result of positioning a custom drawn Sprite (using the graphics property) on non-whole number pixels (for example myObject.x = 1.5).

Your probably wondering why anyone would set a Sprite to an decimal number of pixels? Well, most of the time this occurs when the positioning is based off of a mathematical equation. For example: myObject.x = this.width / 2. This would produce 50.5 if the width of the container is 101. One of the biggest problems with this is that the fuzzy pixel problem has a waterfall effect. Everything contained within that sprite placed at a decimal number position will have semi-transparent edges. Another reason would be designers that set positioning of items to half pixels in Photoshop and attempting to reproduce the design pixel perfect in Flex.
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