Welcome!

Adobe Flex Authors: Matthew Lobas, PR.com Newswire, Shelly Palmer, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Adobe Flex

Adobe Flex: Article

Microsoft .NET In A Flash, A New Tool Lets .NET Developers Write Flash Applications

Large companies are embracing Flash for rich media delivery, developers are jumping on the bandwagon in swarms

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<Canvas Width="600" Height="400" Background="LightGreen" />

   This is the C# code:
using System;
using SwfNative;

namespace Demo
{
  public class HelloWorld
  {
   public static void Main()
   {
   TextField cn = MovieClip.Root.CreateTextField(55,55,100,33);
   cn.Variable = "Console";

   Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
   }
  }
}

The Hello World example seems a bit cumbersome, but Xamlon comes through on user interface controls. This is the C# code to create a button and attach an event handler to it.

Xamlon.Swf.Controls.Button button = new Xamlon.Swf.Controls.Button();
button.Click += new ButtonDelegate(button_Click);

This sample doesn't completely deliver on the multi-channel delivery promise, since the namespace (Xamlon.Swf.Controls) isn't the same as the .NET controls namespace, but Colton assured me that the final release will completely support the standard Windows.Forms.Controls namespace as well as Microsoft's visual designer. Developers will be able to redraw controls using GDI+ the same way they do now. Xamlon Web will also support skinning controls using XAML markup.

And, surprise, Xamlon Web also supports pure XAML for vector-based drawing and layout. The results are quite astonishing, and open up some interesting possibilities for streamlining the vector graphic creation and management process. The company supplies a free evaluation of a XAMLConverter tool that converts Adobe Illustrator-generated SVG into XAML. The following shows a simple ellipse drawn in XAML.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<Window ID="root" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/xaml"
xmlns:def="Definition" Width="230" Height="255">
   <TransformDecorator ID="zoom" AffectsLayout="false">
    <Canvas Width="300" Height="250" Background="AliceBlue">
     <Ellipse
     CenterX="150" CenterY="125"
     RadiusX="100" RadiusY="75"
     Fill="LightBlue" Stroke="DarkBlue" StrokeThickness="5"/>
    </Canvas>
   </TransformDecorator>
</Window>

The actual XAML support, however, leaves something to be desired, because Xamlon Web only offers a subset of XAML capabilities. It doesn't provide examples that illustrate binding XAML controls to a codebehind file, one of the most important features of XAML, nor does the beta support the visual designer component of Visual Studio. This functionality is expected in version 1.0, and how well the company pulls it off will decide whether Xamlon's version of XAML is a lifesaver or just a neat feature.

Xamlon's most intriguing examples are found on its Web site. One is a Google Maps client that shows a front-end for Google Maps developed exclusively with Xamlon Web. It lacks the complexity and completeness of Google Maps, but it's an interesting achievement nonetheless; Xamlon claims it was created over a weekend without the backbreaking job of writing an AJAX app. The company has coined the term AFLAX (Asynchronous Flash and XML) presumably to jump on the AJAX bandwagon and make a case for Flash. However, one wonders whether the world needs another acronym. In this respect, it seems that Xamlon missed the point about one major advantage of Flash, which is that wonderful things can happen when Flash Communication Server or socket-based connections are used to create stateful applications (something an AJAX application can only mimic).

Another example that deserves attention is the StockWatcher (see figure 4). This RIA is a living breathing stock analyzer and keeps a live feed of stock data available to update datagrids and draw graphs. Possibly the most compelling application created with Xamlon to date, it instills a sense of confidence that Xamlon does in fact work and is moving in the right direction.

It seems that Xamlon might offer the .NET developer a lot, but what does it offer us, the few, the proud, the Actionscript developers? I posed this question to Colton, who quickly replied, "The positive for Actionscript Developers is this: C# is a mature, strongly typed language. It has an awesome development environment, and that's lacking in Macromedia; there isn't a very powerful development environment for Actionscript. Actionscript is great, but how would you like to use a better language with a better IDE, and still target the Flash that you know and love? We're going to bring real languages and real development environments to the Flash community."

While that statement may not exactly warm your heart, it's good to know that Xamlon is keeping us in mind. Xamlon Web has separate tools that let experienced Flash developers access native commands, and ships with components that are more or less specific to Flash development like the Accordian.

Colton also told me that he had met with numerous Flash developers during Xamlon Web development to get their input.

For the most part, Xamlon does its job, but it's definitively a beta product. If Xamlon delivers on its version 1.0 promises it will be hard to knock. .NET developers aren't currently developing for SWF and the adoption of Xamlon might take a while, so don't trade in your copy of Essential Actionscript 2.0 for Learning C# just yet. In fact, Actionscript isn't going anywhere. Macromedia has made a strong commitment to the language and products like Flex use it extensively. The question of whether Xamlon (or competing products) will be effective enough to allow real SWF delivery for .NET developers has yet to be answered. As a developer who uses both Actionscript and .NET, Xamlon and XAML are very exciting propositions, but I'll still be developing in Actionscript for the foreseeable future.

More Stories By Jim Phelan

Jim Phelan, a member of the Editorial Board of Web developer's & Designer's Journal, is VP of Development and Chief Architect for Stream57, a New York City based firm specializing in communication solution development for the enterprise. Jim's expertise in creating solutions for consolidation and collateralization of business communications has allowed his team to create applications for the management and delivery of live and on demand rich media content. He is a strong proponent of the Adobe Flash Platform.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
MXDJ News Desk 08/03/05 01:21:12 PM EDT

Microsoft .NET On A Flash, A New Tool Lets .NET Developers Write Flash Applications
Not long ago developers and IT professionals looked at Flash with disdain. The anti-Flash camp had contempt for its lack of accessibility, minimal standards compliance, and of course there was the infamous back button debacle. But things have changed. Large companies are embracing Flash for rich media delivery. Developers are jumping on the bandwagon in swarms. In the last year there's been an explosion in Flash development tools, including several full-featured development environments and a homespun SWF compiler or two.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
The financial services market is one of the most data-driven industries in the world, yet it’s bogged down by legacy CPU technologies that simply can’t keep up with the task of querying and visualizing billions of records. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Karthik Lalithraj, a Principal Solutions Architect at Kinetica, discussed how the advent of advanced in-database analytics on the GPU makes it possible to run sophisticated data science workloads on the same database that is housing the rich...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
DX World EXPO, LLC., a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, discussed the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DX encompasses the continuing technology revolution, and is addressing society's most important issues throughout the entire $78 trillion 21st-century global economy," said Roger Strukhoff, Conference Chair. "DX World Expo has organized these issues along 10 tracks with more than 150 of the world's top speakers coming to Istanbul to help change the world."
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.