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By Gerard Mason
Hi there,

Just the one big post today! Been seeing some great things in hardware interfacing with flash, Google maps and 3D today so much to report.

Started with the keynote from Adam Lehman, Product Manager of the Flex Builder app taking us through his top five web trends for the near future. Adam focused on how web delivered content has moved past the constraints of the print world. We can now have design as an integral part of application development, especially for the web which was traditionally designed for displaying text in a standard, english-read left ot right fashion. We are no longer bound to this kind of printing metaphor as technologies rise that allow us to include richly designed elements.

Adobe are devloping 'Thermo' to deal with this, as it applies to Flex. Flex apps have oft been accused of 'all looking the same' thanks to the use of standard components and the reluctance or lack of time to apply extensive styling and skinning  by developers. Thermo allows a developer to create a Flex application template directly from a design (photoshop file for instance).

Another trend to look out for will be mobile development, which has been touted for years as the next big thing but has struggled due to the lack of a consistent platform for development. Google are developing Android to provide at least one stable and supported platform for rich development, and Adobe have their own set of solutions, that seem to be aimed at getting Flash player more ubiquitously supported across many platforms. The Adobe initiative is the 'Open Screen Project', which involves stripping royalty payments off of the use of Flash player on devices, as well as removing license restrictions third party developers creating their own players.

The second session for the day was by Michael Wise. He demonstrated a myriad of techniques for hooking Flash up to various hardware interfaces - most notably a home-made multi-touch touchscreen, a GPS tracker, an RFID (Radio Frequency ID) device and a WiiMote. It was good stuff and it is really great to see someone pushing this type of 'ubiquitous' computing and hardware interfaces. I'll be interested to see how he goes creating and selling products in what is a growing area (one only needs to remember that Apple has taken a big bite out of the multi-touch screen interface, and Microsoft even have their own table-top multi-touch solution as well).

Next up was a run through of the Google Maps Flash API. The API really takes advantage of all of
 the things that Flash can do easily that Javascript struggles with - like transitions between zooms and drawing many lines and shapes on top of the map without a massive performance hit. The API looks easy to use and I'm looking forward to trying it out. Also, I now possess my body weight in free Google pens, so thanks to them for that too, as well as for their nice API.

Lastly I saw Rob Bateman run thorugh the ins and outs of 3D on the web. Now this is really timely as yesterday we discoverd that Flash Player 10 will have some level of hardware acceleration. The lack of this has stopped 3D from really taking Flash 3D stuff (made with Away3D, Papervision and the like) to the level we saw with Shockwave early in the century, so I wonder if full 3D is going to be everywhere we look again, this time with a player that won't fade away after 3 years. 

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