PureMVC Skeleton App for FMS

It's a bit embarrassing to admit that it has taken me this long to post this app. I first spoke about it at my talk at MAX 2008 in Milan but then Christmas came and went and I got swamped with work... Apologies, but better late than never.

So what have we got here? My PureMVC Skeleton App is a simple Flex project that uses the PureMVC framework to give you a bit of a head start with your next FMS project. I'm by no means suggesting that this is the best way to build an FMS app but what I can say is that it works well for me. Not only that but since I've picked up PureMVC I have been able to build much larger projects than ever before, and the framework allows me to come back to an app months later and pick it up in no time at all. Everything has its place and it's easy to find your way around, and projects generally end up well maintained.
One thing I should point out is that the app itself has no UI - there's nothing to see when you compile it (hence the skeleton bit in its name). You will however see traces if you compile a debug project, or install Firebug for Firefox so you can see the Thunderbolt AS3 traces I tend to use extensively.

In order to connect to your own FMS application you first need to create it on FMS (mine is called pmvcskeleton) and then go into the ResourceBundleProxy and on line 42 add your corresponding RTMP string. I'm not sure if this is a good idea but I often use ResourceBundles for configuration options such as the RTMP string, I find it quite handy since they usually do not change so I just compile that in.

It helps if you are a bit familiar with FMS based applications and the MVC design pattern. For everything else check out the PureMVC website, it has tons of info and a lively community. Or why not sign up to my FlashMedia List, there's always a bunch of knowledgeable people there ready to help.

On this note I will leave you to it, take a look at the app and feel free to post a comment if anything isn't clear.

Massive thanks to Simon who gave me some excellent tips when I got stuck with certain PureMVC nags.

Download the project .zip here.

Media Player Development with Flash

Here's a Connect presentation that some of you may find useful. Kevin Towes presents on the history, concepts and development tasks of building a media player in Flash.
I think his presentation is particularly useful to less technical people who would like to understand a bit more about the Flash development process, and also get a feel for the challenges in building a video player - it turns out it's not as easy as some may think. And since this is what I have been doing a few times over it makes me look really clever.

Flex and ColdFusion Connection Tester

My friend Simon has just released a neat little Flex application that allows you to test and troubleshoot a simple RemoteObject connection between Flex and CF. It's mainly aimed at people who are new to Flex (or CF) but it will undoubtedly also come in handy for more experienced developers. In fact I think this would also make a great little AIR application.
Sources are provided and you can find all the necessary information here.

Coenraets' Map Rooms Ported to FMS, Wowza and Red5

I've spent a few hours over the last week or two on porting Christophe Coenraets' Map Rooms application to FMS, Wowza (and Red5 I think _ I haven't tested that one).

Map Rooms is a Flex application that uses the Google Maps API for Flash in order to provide collaboration features as well as a text chat. You can test drive the application for yourself here.
The original application is powered by BlazeDS, but since I am more familiar with FMS I decided to port it over. All source files are posted here (Zip file with sources is here) and I left some of the original BlazeDS code in there (commented out). The basic differences between Christophe's version and mine is the fact that my application first connects to FMS and then uses SharedObject onSyncs to provide the data sharing features.

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More Webcasting Live From b.TWEEN08 Today

Just a quick heads up. There will be some more live webcasting throughout the day today, and we'll also be utilizing the chat a great deal. This was a well received feature yesterday and actually brought tears to my eyes with laughter at times.
The chat is projected up front on the stage and constantly used as a talkback channel to the speakers on stage - a great concept in my opinion.

b.TWEEN is turning out to be a great event. It's my first time in Manchester and which is a great city and a brilliant place for a venue. We're at the Museum of Science and Industry, so there's some cool old school tech to be seen, too. I'll head down to the powerhouse later and check out the steam engines...

At b.TWEEN08 in Manchester

I've just arrived at b.TWEEN08 in Manchester.

The official line about the event is as follows: b.TWEEN is a unique cross media gathering where interactive ideas are seeded, shared and sold.
(It uses technology in innovative ways and radical formats to deliver cutting edge, interactive events with networking and business at their core.
b.TWEEN is about knowledge sharing, being inspired, learning from peers and doing deals.

My company muchosmedia has built the text chat that runs alongside the live webcast (all the streaming is being handled by our friends at Kinura). What's unique about the chat is that we've come up with and built a gateway to allow the audience to take part in the chat (which is projected onto a big screen at the venue) via sending an SMS text message to a dedicated number. I'll post some images as soon as I can.

360 Degree Interactive Video

Forget spinning cubes with video stuck on their sides and instead check out the demo below. From Immersive Media, same the guys that brought you street view on Google Maps, comes an innovative new way to navigate 360 degrees inside a live playing video. How is it delivered? Flash of course.

Check out this demo. Once the main content starts to play you can click inside the video and drag your mouse into the direction you want to view. Make sure you check out the snowboarders at about 1 minute in - and follow them as they go over the kicker.

There are more demos here.

Scratchpad on Facebook

I spent a couple of hours today on getting my good old Scratchpad application to run on Facebook - a rather pointless exercise I know, especially since I hardly use Facebook at all. Still, please do me a favor and add the app to your profile so it gets some eyeballs - I need at least 5 users before I can submit it to the application directory. Thanks!

How to Stream H.264 Flash Video *Today*

Or maybe I should say pseudo-stream... but hey, at least the headline got you to read the post :-)
I'm sure that by now you all know about this popular PHP approach to serving FLV videos progressively, but with the added benefit of being able to seek to any part of the video more or less immediately - something that traditional progressive delivery is not capable of.
The PHP approach (which in the meantime has been ported to many other server side languages such as ASP and ColdFusion) is targeted squarely at FLV delivery, a format which may lose a bit of its popularity over the coming months as H.264 support for Flash video becomes more widely available.
But fear not, because the clever guys from code-shop have alread been busy developing a H.264 pseudo streaming plugin for Lighty, a very light weight and performant webserver. The plugin allows Lighty to serve up H.264 encoded video content in an almost identical way to the 'old school' PHP method. The implementation as a webserver plugin is also much more efficient than the script based approach (which itself is not bad at all).
You can check out a demo here.

PureMVC kicks (everyone's) butt

I've recently started working with Cliff Hall's PureMVC ActionScript framework (an alternative to Cairngorm or ARP for example) and after investing in a day's training and some sit-down-and-read-the-docs time I really started to like it. I believe it fills a gap in the market for coders like myself who know their way around AS, Flash and Flex but who struggle sometimes with implementing a good architecture. And that's where frameworks such as PureMVC come in - they force you into a best practices approach and to me that's exactly what I needed. You end up with an application that is much tighter, better structured and scalable, yet easy to maintain.
PureMVC is a bit of a new kid on the block when it comes to MVC frameworks so it's great to see that it stacks up well against the alternatives, so well in fact that it came out on top during a shootout at the Silicon Valley Flex Users Group (SilvaFUG).
PureMVC is my chosen framework for the time being and I am using for all my current projects.

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