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)

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.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
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...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...