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Adobe Air Runtime
We've all been in this situation. You have developed a mobile app, or desktop application. It has been accepted to the Android Marketplace / Apple's App Store, or you have uploaded it onto your website or intranet for distribution. People have installed it and are using it.

It's time for version 2 and you make the inevitable changes to the database. You have to write code, in the model of your MVC pattern usually, that copes both with a upgrading the database from version 1 and creating a database from scratch for a user who is using your application for the first time at version 2.

And so the pattern continues, and the problem grows, for each version. In version 3 you have to write code that handles people upgrading from version 2 to version 3, version 1 to version 3 and people installing the app for the first time.

What a pain! Not anymore.

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Ubuntu Logo
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, one of the world's most popular Linux distributions, has teamed up with Dell to make roads in to the Chinese personal computer market, which has recently become the largest market in this sector in the world.

Ubuntu's latest version 11.10 will be available pre installed on a range of Dell machines and Canonical has planned a number of strategies to convince consumers that Ubuntu is as good as any operating system they can choose from.

In addition to the operating system a number of applications are preinstalled on the machines to immediately meet the needs of people taking them home. Two of these applications I am proud to say were developed by myself using Adobe Air.

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Flex Framework
Recently I needed to make changes to two desktop Air applications I have been working on for a major Operating System (more details when I am allowed). The task was to change the TextField datatypes (flash.text.Textfield) to Spark Label (spark.components.Label) and a couple of Spark RichText (spark.components.RichText) components and I thought I would record what I learned to help other developers. I have also included some information about the handy RichEditableText (spark.components.RichEditableText) component.

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ActionScript 3 Frame Buffer03 February 2011

Flash Platform
All AS3 programmers have had to cope with situations where what they can see on the screen is different to what their code is telling them. Within Air, Flex and Flash applications the two main contributors to this are; the Flash Player is single threaded, apart from a few exceptions in Air, and internally is based around a frame rate.

Have you ever tried to measure something you have just added to the Display List and even though you can see it on the screen your measurement, something like width or height, is coming back as 0? How about when you are preloading, does your preloader get stuck at 10% and then jump to 100% at the end?

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London's City Hall
A recent trend within the UK government is one of providing access to the data sets they hold to the public. It appears to me at least that the thinking behind this is that transparency is promoted, the public may well come up with ways of using the data that are useful to everyone, and after all the public has paid for the creation of these data sets and so it seems correct that they should have access to it.

Not too long ago I attended a meeting at London's amazing city hall which focused on the Greater London Authority's contribution to this movement, The London Datastore. For someone like myself who develops compelling rich interactive digital media for a living it was obvious that here is a rich source of potential to tell a story using this data and Flash / Flex.

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Nissan Logo
If you live in the UK and you buy a new or used Nissan you get access to the Nissan After Sales website. This site allows Nissan car owners to register their vehicles with their local dealer, book a service and stay in touch with Nissan after purchase. The bulk of the functionality is delivered via a Flex Application which is powered by a Sales Force back end.

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BlackBerry Logo
Like many companies BlackBerry have undertaken sophisticated analysis of the types of people that buy their products and also identified some that don't yet but are likely candidates for the future. This is of course invaluable information to those responsible for developing marketing campaigns and strategies. It is the way that BlackBerry has gone about distributing the information internally that is different.

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Flash on the Beach 200924 September 2009

Flash on the Beach 2009
The first part of this week was spent in Brighton attending the 2009 edition of Flash on the Beach. I had heard good things about it and I was not disappointed. I have come away feeling injected with inspiration, something that had been replaced by fatigue after some demanding deadlines recently. This is filed under 'Work'. I am not sure it should be, it was way too much fun.

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If you have been following the posts on this blog you will know about a 'proof of concept' prototype I built for The Economist earlier in the year. This post is about the refinement of that work into online interactive content now published on The Economist website.

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The Economist put forward the idea that an interactive chart to display some of their data over different time spans would be a great piece of content for their website. What better technology is there for web based interactive charting than Flex? Especially when there are brilliant third party libraries of code developed to achieve just that, such as Flare.

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