I’m heading out in the morning to Las Vegas for Adobe MAX 2006. I’ll be doing a 15 minute session introducing a variety of ways to utilize Flash with Robotics and Electronics in the MAXUP Barcamp style community conference. I’m even more excited to hear other techniques and ideas attendees might have in this area, so by all means come out and share your info and ask questions. One of my favorite aspects of speaking to people about my own personal interests, is that i always manage to meet people who are smarter, wiser and have even more experience, doing X, Y and Z. So, if your interested in this kind of stuff as well or just want to say “Hey!” make sure you keep an eye out for me or stop by my session. My other favorite aspect of conferences is getting to meet new people, put faces to emails/names and see what everyone else is up to. MAX was great last year in Anaheim and MAX looks like it going to be even better this year in Las Vegas. I haven’t been to Vegas in several years and I’m looking forward to it. Now, I’ve got to go finish packing!
UPDATE: October 23, 2006 – My session is scheduled for 2:15pm Wednesday October 25th.
Earlier this evening Adobe posted a public beta of an update to Flash Player 9 on Adobe Labs. In addition to some bug fixes, support for Windows Vista and some additional events (ADDED_TO_STAGE and REMOVED_FROM_STAGE) for DisplayObjects in Flash 9 and ActionScript 3.0, Adobe added a really great new feature: Full Screen mode within a browser. Yes, if the application developer implements a few simple commands, (supported in AS 2.0, AS 3.0, Flash and Flex) and add one new parameter to their Object and Embed tags, a special Full Screen mode can be entered into allowing Flash content in a browser to completely fill the entire screen as if it was a standalone player. This is perfect for video and other immersive type experiences made in Flash. However, one current limitation is that all keyboard input and keyboard based commands are blocked while in this special Full Screen mode. When switching to Full Screen mode the user is given a quick notification to use the ESCAPE key to exit Full Screen mode. No other keyboard interaction is captured by Flash while in Full Screen mode. As a potential workaround, I combined part of a kiosk project I had done a while back, which utilized an on screen keyboard in Flash in tandem with a touch screen to allow input right on the screen. Take a look at this example: http://www.impossibilities.com/flash/flash9_fullscreen_wkeyboard.html (Requires new Flash 9 Beta Update) Use the right-click (Control-click for single button mouse Mac users) contextual menu to switch in and out of Full Screen mode, and to make the keyboard Show/Hide. Hitting the “Enter” key on the keyboard will also dismiss the keyboard. With this on screen keyboard example you can effectively enter text and other keyboard input while in Full Screen mode. Its not as efficient as using a real keyboard, or even a touch screen, but it could be an acceptable workaround in some cases.
I also put together a quick update to the Flash based gallery of my Flickr photosets of my son Owen. The gallery now allows a visitor to go into Full Screen mode (again via the contextual menu) if they have the Flash Player 9 Update Beta installed. You can check that out here: http://owen.impossibilities.com/
For example code and download links to the new player update visit the special page on Adobe Labs. If there is any demand for the keyboard example I whipped up, I might be convinced to clean up the code and put it up here. It would be nice to see it made into a component that you could just bind to textfields or other components so it could be really re-useable.
UPDATE: 12/04/06 – 10:40AM – I have had quite a number of requests via email and in the comments for the source to the on-screen keyboard so I have made the .fla example file available for download. It’s got some old crufty AS1 code (I made it for a kiosk several years ago), and uses some older button components, but it works, and should be good to help get you going in the right direction. I’n the hope that whoever uses it will improve upon it and re-share it, I’ve released it under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License – so feel free to use it for any purpose, including commercial purposes, as long as you leave my attribution intact, and if you make any improvements please be sure to share them back with me and the community. Enjoy!