Usability & Prototyping – WebApps2010

So… Here are my slides from my talk on Usability & Prototyping at WebApps2010 organized by SiliconIndia in Bangalore on 15th May.

The talk went well and the audience were pretty responsive and involving. I managed to finish my talk within the time limit. Nice experience on the whole

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Adobe Flex Intro PPT posted

A couple of weekends ago, I did a presentation for The Chennai Cold Fusion User Group (CCFUG Homepage). Am posting the ppt here. The presentation covered the basics – intro to RIAs, intro to Adobe Flex, a couple of examples and a little bit about Adobe AIR. Check it out… if you have nothing else to do 😉 … The audience were cold fusion developers who were new to Adobe Flex and Adoe AIR. I touched the basics and then walked them through some code examples of Flex and Air.

Check out some snaps from the event and check out this post by Akbar after the event. You may also want to check out the CCFUG homepage at http://www.cfugind.com.

Buzzword

I guess this is already old news by now. But, I just recently happened to check it out. I came to know about such an application when my Manager suggested it. After trying it out, I have one word – AWESOME!!!!

Ok. What I am talking about here is a full fledged online document application (Yeah! Just like Writely, Google Docs) developed in FLEX!!!! I was amazed at not only how feature rich the app was. I was stumbled totally because many of the stuff they have achieved. They have done stuff which I never thought was possible using Flex.

For me, Buzzword definitely takes Flex to the next level. It has been developed by the folks at Virtual Ubiquity. It says on their site –

Buzzword, the first real word processor for the web, is a breakthrough in collaborative authoring for documents that matter. Many online pundits agree with us.

And Guess what? Adobe is acquiring them. You can register and try it out yourself here. Check out the screenshots here. Click on thm to see a larger view.

Silverlight, Sparkle and Flex

First it was Sparkle and now the new babe in the block is Sliverlight. A month ago, I saw a video covering the Sparkle developers showcasing some pretty cool stuff about Sparkle. Ok. So, I am not one of those bunch who hate anything that comes out of Microsoft because it comes out of Microsoft. The way I see it, this is how it all maps –

  • Sparkle (XAML) = Flex (MXML)
  • Flash Player = Silverlight

There seems to be some really uncanny similarities between XAML and MXML… (Of course they are both XML!). Check it out. The graphics that these bunch of Latin-Greek-Hieroglyphs churn up are pretty good.

<Canvas xmlns=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml/presentation&#8221; xmlns:x=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/winfx/2006/xaml&#8221; x:Name=”_119_red_scanlione_gloss” Width=”1056″ Height=”816″> <Canvas x:Name=”Layer_1″> <Rectangle x:Name=”Rectangle” Canvas.Left=”0″ Canvas.Top=”0″ Width=”1056″ Height=”816″ Stretch=”Fill” Fill=”#FFFF0000″/> <Path x:Name=”Path” Canvas.Left=”404.558″ Canvas.Top=”258.867″ Width=”258.844″ Height=”258.844″ Stretch=”Fill” Fill=”#FFFFFFFF” Data=”F1 M 411.029,258.867L 656.931,258.867C 660.505,258.867 663.402,261.764 663.402,265.338L 663.402,511.24C 663.402,514.814 660.505,517.711 656.931,517.711L 411.029,517.711C 407.455,517.711 404.558,514.814 404.558,511.24L 404.558,265.338C 404.558,261.764 407.455,258.867 411.029,258.867 Z “/> <Rectangle x:Name=”Rectangle_0″ Canvas.Left=”0″ Canvas.Top=”0″ Width=”1056″ Height=”816″ Stretch=”Fill”> <Rectangle.Fill>

I really don’t think Sparkle or Silverlight is a threat to Flex or Flash Player. But, I definitely think here begins a competition. With Apollo, Adobe definitely has a head start over any new web 2.0 stuff. Lets not forget that Flash Player is what? 10+ years older than anything that will be born 2 years from now 😀 . As they say, we ARE living in interesting times!!! Definitely, we are!

Honestly, I think everyone has to learn from Microsoft to create such lovely sexy logos! It doesn’t make any sense. But, then who cares? Its a damn Logo and it looks great! 😉

Silverlight samples – Pretty Impressive! (You will need to install Silverlight for this)

  1. http://channel9.msdn.com/playground/wpfe/wpfepad/
  2. http://channel9.msdn.com/playground/wpfe/grandpiano/
  3. http://channel9.msdn.com/playground/wpfe/tiletext/

[Raghu]FLEX – i – FRAME

One of the biggeset pain points of FLEX/Flash (as i see it) is its inability to render HTML in its totality. FLEX supports a few HTML Tags, but not all.

The trick is very simple. Its just a clever use of the External API interface that lets the Actionscript inside a Flash movie, talk to the Javascript inside the html (in which it is embedded). In this case, the approach is to let the javascript position an IFrame on top of a specific area of your Flex application to provide a container for the HTML content which will then appear embedded in the application.

The IFrame component extends Canvas and is used like any other Flex container. Behind the scenes, it acts as a proxy for the actual HTML IFrame. For example, when the IFrame component is resized or moved it automatically asks the HTML document to resize/move the actual IFrame. You can easily find the ExternalInterface calls in IFrame.mxml and the corresponding JavaScript functions in iFrameDemo.html (renamed to iFrameDemohtml.mxml for reading purposes).

But what kind of surprised me was the amazing perfomance of the History Managemet API. While still within the FLEX Application, you can use the browser back button to navigate to earlier pages… really NEAT !!!

[ Read More | Demo ]

del.icio.us: what is web 2.0?

Lets take a look at all the tag data going back to February 2004 (the month of the first use of Web 2.0 as a tag on del.icio.us), and analyzed all the bookmarks and tags related to the term. We can report that as of October 31, 2005 there have been over 230,000 separate bookmarks and over 7,000 unique tags associated with the term “Web 2.0” by del.icio.us users. So for this exercise, we lopped off the really long tail and normalized some similar terms (e.g. combining blog, blogs, and blogging), and came up with this snapshot of what Web 2.0 REALLY is – at least according to del.icio.us users’ most popular tags through the end of October 2005:

[ Read more… ]

A List Apart: Articles: Bye, Bye EMBED tag

It has always gotten my goat that Internet Explorer’s non-standard use of the object tag has forced standards-loving browsers to use the non-standard embed tag in order to embed movies on a web page. Even on Apple’s site, the embed tag—a Netscape extension, for Pete’s sake!—is so entrenched that it’s hard to even find information about using the object element for QuickTime, except in a non-standard way.

The use of embed has gone on too long. Wishing for it to become part of the official specs is like wishing your partner would start putting the cap on the toothpaste. It’s not going to happen. It’s time to move on. If you want to validate your website, you have to get rid of embed. In this article, I’ll show you how.

[ Read more… ]