Posts tagged Adobe
(Please ignore the absurdity of the title–I couldn't help myself!)
A little over a week ago, Adobe officially released Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) 1.0 along with Flex 3 . While I've looked into a AIR a bit in conjunction with Flex apps, I've not really gone beyond that.
However, with the official release, I decided to take another look.
What is AIR? As the full name explicates, it is a runtime that can be used to, um, run programs on your computer, mobile device, etc. So as with Microsoft's .NET framework, AIR allows developers to create programs that can be packaged up and installed on these devices.
However, unlike Windows-only or Mac-Only (or Linux-Only) programs, AIR is ambivalent about the OS. As long as the client machine has the runtime installed, any application developed in AIR can run on it. This in itself is really cool, and takes the bite off the exclusivity of OS platforms.
But the coolest part about AIR is that you can leverage different technologies when building applications. For example, a while ago I built an extremely simple Countdown application using Flex 3. Easy enough.
But what if I don't want to use ActionScript 3? No problem! Using the HTML, CSS More >
Well, Adobe's AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) must be getting ready for primetime, for today a brand-spanking new logo was unveiled.
AIR has had a mildly interesting development. About a year ago, it was pushed in beta as "Apollo" featuring a rocketship-themed logo. Next, it was suddenly switched over to "AIR" with the standard "new" Adobe branding. Today, however, marks the third rebranding in a year–hopefully the last one.
While I'm not wild about the new logo (I like the Apollo one alot better), I think it indicates a more concerted effort on Adobe's part to make AIR a serious tool for developers to consider.
However, about a month after the release of Dreamweaver CS3, the Spry team released 1.5. It included some seriously cool updates on all fronts–data, widgets and effects. But for whatever reason, they did not release a Dreamweaver updater. This means that to use 1.5, the user had to download it and replace the bundled 1.4 files with the new version. While not a huge deal, it is not particularly helpful for Dreamweaver support of the new features as they were not included in the original release. As a plus, a More >
Today, for work, my boss asked for me to create a bit of functionality that would allow users to return lists of people from a database who live within [x] miles of an entered zip code. I've never created something like this before, but I've been around long enough to know that this kind of functionality requires gigantic databases of zip codes, trigonometric calculations, etc. simply to return the distance between two zip codes.
Fortunately, others have created such things and have kindly sydicated them as webservices. Webservices are very simple–they are a collection of functions that are remotely accessible to developers. So, if you want to create a search for Amazon books on your website, you hook up to Amazon's book-syndication service, call the appropriate method (like "getBooks()" or something) and use whichever programming language you is using to parse out the information in a usable fashion. Here's the one I'm using:
ColdFusion makes stuff like this ridiculously easy within its "cfinvoke" tag. In about 4 lines of code, you call the method, pass in the method's require arguments, and create a variable for usage later on.<cfinvoke webservice="http://webservices.imacination.com/distance/Distance.jws?wsdl" method="getDistance" returnvariable="distance">
The zip code webservice required two arguments, "fromZip" and More >
While ColdFusion 8 has some seriously cool AJAX features built into it that handle alot of this kind of thing with ease, it is not free and wonderful hosting companies (like GoDaddy) are slow to upgrade their servers to the newest version. Therefore, the onus is upon the developer to utilize the various work-arounds until ColdFusion 8 is firmly entrenched.