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.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...