AS3, AS2, Silverlight, Actionscript in Google Trends for Vector Wars

Here is an interesting look to start the new year at Google Trends for some common keywords to this blog audience. Comparing AS2, AS3, Silverlight and actionscript you can see that there is some pretty interesting things happening.

as3 as2 actionscript silverlight  

First off, AS2 and AS3 are clouded because they are also related to EDI and EDI-INT so they get a bit inflated. Silverlight though is pretty unique in the naming. So from this graph we can see this happening:

  • Silverlight and AS3 are growing rapidly
  • Silverlight is crossing over as3 or meeting it
  • The market looking for Silverlight is about 8-10 times as large as actionscript/as3/as3
  • Silverlight and AS3 are growing, AS2 has no growth left and is an EOL language (end of life)
  • AS2 (even with crossover to EDI trends for “as2”) leveled out, where AS3 is starting to lift to a larger market. This is strongly due to it being a fun language based on ES4 and interests programmers.
  • The as3 effect started right in March-April 2007 (hrm I started this blog in April 2007 coincidenc? j/k :))

Another chart including Flex shows a better picture of the keyword wars between flex and silverlight.

as3 as2 actionscript silverlight flex

So from this graph we can see this happening:

  • Flex has a large buzz
  • Adobe’s marketing efforts are many while silverlight is more unique and focused
  • Flex, as3 and Silverlight are popular, and growing in their support (the growth market for technology is in these areas, not in tech from Flash 8/as2)
  • AS2 still taking a nosedive

Flash and Flex programmers and designers should know that with Silverlight 2.0 release coming and the capabilities of Silverlight 2.0 more competitive, flashers should be working on Flex, Flash9 or at least AS3 if not Flex. The RIA competition market will heat up immensely this year with Silverlight 2.0 and possibly Flex3 and coding and programming for Flash and Flex is becoming more involved. It also has a very strong competitor in Silverlight 2.0 coming that will drive this market.

This is all great news if you are ready for it, if you are still coding actionscript2 (AS2) and paying no mind to Silverlight, Flex or at least actionscript3 (AS3) then you will see your market slowly start to fade as things are ramped up and more of a programming focus in the vector wars. If you are a flash coder and ignoring Silverlight, your solutions will suffer. If you are a silverlight coder or .NET coder and ignoring the Flex and AS3 rise your solutions will suffer. I have been playing in AS3, Flex and Silverlight for over a year on both now and they are an entirely new platform with great programming models. The competition puts focus on this market so it is a great time to be skilled in these areas.

Sandy3D and Red5 Server Attack! – Sandy 3.0 Final Released for AS2 and AS3

Sandy 3.0 was released today. To go along with that a RedSandy (Red5 and sandy demo) has also been released. Sandy is the original 3d flash engine that was around before Papervision3D and Away3D and all the others. Sandy3d is an excellent library and it has many features that others do not have well particularly in the easier control of objects and importing all types of files such as ASE, WRL and 3ds in addition to COLLADA which other 3d engines like PV3d and Away3d support although it has been slower in the past 3.0 may change that.

Sandy 3D engine main features are :

  • Flash player 7 to 9 compatibility.

  • Both MTASC and Macromedia compilers compliant for AS2 and Flash CS3 and FlexBuilder for AS3 versions.

  • Several 3D primitives, allowing fast and parameterized object creation without any 3D modelisation knowledge.

  • Advanced and easy object management allowing some fantastic possibilities during your creations (scaling, rotation, translation, tween, etc.)

  • Advanced camera management ( rotation, motion on linear or bezier-curve path, movements, etc.)

  • Complex object loading thanks to the .ASE and .WRL files parser , but also Collada and 3DS files for AS3, (files generated by several 3D object modeling packages such as 3D Studio Max or Blender)

  • Material system to easily change your objects appearance. Several material are available allowing to create transparent faces, bitmap texture and video texture as webcam video stream.

  • Managment of Flash filters bringing some very nice visual effects

Red5 is the best multi-user media server out there right now and it is built with Java.

The cool and probably most interesting part is Sandy combined with Red5 to create multi-user environments in 3d for flash. There have been experiments with this and many attempts at this and is being done but an open source kit that does this is very helpful and these are two great flash toolkits in Sandy and Red5.

Get your game on!

Getting started video with Sandy 3.0 with a wise robot

Flash 10: Hydra and AIF (Adobe Image Foundation) and Hardware Rendering

Adobe has announced the release of the inital developer views of AIF and Hydra in “Astro” the next version of the flash player (10).

AIF (Adobe Image Foundation) like AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is a new technology just out of the gate but it does show that Adobe is into innovating and the vector wars. AIR is beta2 and Flash player 9 “moviestar” updates for video are coming along nicely but here we have more news out of MAX in Chicago that AIF is now available.

What is AIF? It is a new imaging and effects technology to help people create their own filters for Flash (blur, drop shadow etc are defaults). Hydra the new language for this is reminiscent of processing.org (if you haven’t been to flight404.com since the 90’s then processing is all it is about there) and Cg from nVidia to write and test shaders. The fact that it is based on GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language) will help it easily port shaders coming in 3d gaming into Flash which is really sweet. The direction slowly is that Flash and maybe Silverlight will become more of gaming platforms and this is a nice point in that direction.

From Adobe here is what AIF is:

Introduction to the Adobe Image Foundation Toolkit Technology Preview

The Adobe Image Foundation (AIF) Toolkit preview release includes a high-performance graphics programming language that Adobe is developing for image processing, codenamed Hydra, and an application to create, compile and preview Hydra filters and effects. The toolkit contains a specification for the Hydra language, several sample filters, and sample images provided by AIF team members. The AIF technology delivers a common image and video processing infrastructure which provides automatic runtime optimization on heterogeneous hardware. It currently ships in After Effects CS3 and will be used in other Adobe products in the future. The next release of Flash Player, codenamed Astro, will leverage Hydra to enable developers to create custom filters, effects and blend modes.

Hydra is a programming language used to implement image processing algorithms in a hardware-independent manner. Some benefits of Hydra include:

  • Familiar syntax that is based on GLSL, which is C-based
  • Allows the same filter to run efficiently on different GPU and CPU architectures, including multi-core and multiprocessor systems in a future update
  • Abstracts out the complexity of executing on heterogeneous hardware
  • Supports 3rd party creation and sharing of filters and effects
  • Delivers excellent image processing performance in Adobe products

Reaction is that this is a strong Adobe direction to move towards more capable technology as in AS3 and Hydra and allow more customizable possibly hardware rendered and accelerated shader like technology for Flash filters. The new AVM2 and AS3 allow for faster processing and pixel based operations that you need for buildng filters and or shaders.

This is pretty interesting, it isn’t full blown hardware rendering which would just be excellent. So far hardware accelerated full screen stretching in Flash 9 Moviestar beta and now filters will have an element of hardware capable rendering, it should help performance. Full hardware acceleration seemingly will not happen in Flash 10 so the 3d engines and new 3d elements from Adobe are all software rendered still. However dual and multi-core processing will help rendering of 3d in flash BUT video cards are more prevalent than dual or multi-core for some time. Basic hardware rendering even for a low bar could greatly change the flash platform.

It is still a while off yet but it was good to know that performance and shaders/filters are getting attention but hardware rendering not just yet for 3d and basic drawing/rendering. One thing is for sure, in 2007 developing interactive for the web is being shook up and changing rapidly.

Here’s a video taken by Aral Balkan of the Astro presentation at MAX

Flash Determined to Continue to Lead In Video On the Web

Tinic Uro who works on the Flash player made some amazing announcements about the new beta flash player. Video is getting a major upgrade to the already pwning FLV format on the web, they are moving away from that however towards a H.264 standard format (can you say HD movies on your PC in Flash?). Silverlight (Windows Media VC-9), Quicktime and other formats were looking superior to FLV quality (although noone can beat the file size) but this has changed the game completely.

The people running the Flash product are just answering the calls of the market very effectively.

Some tidbits of what is possible with the new H.264 standard video in Flash:

  • Playing content of other formats inside of Flash without worrying about loading another player or plug-in. (MPEG player or Quicktime movies for instance)
  • Play HD video on your PC in Flash with support from video card manufacturers in the works.
  • Play AAC SBR data instead of MP3, 5.1 channel surround sound.
  • Use open source only tools for your complete video pipeline.

It seems Flash is determined to continue to lead video on the web

DirectX and OpenGL Hardware Acceleration in Flash9 Update?

Tinic Uro who works on the Flash machine recenty posted some great news to hopefully a new direction, possible hardware acceleration with the next Flash update! This is mainly for 2d drawing acceleration but Tinic also notes in his first point that this update improves the speed of Papervision3D (currently a fake 2d painters algorithm 3d).  Adobe is listening to the market on this one.

And what is this, OpenGL and DirectX hardware scaling? It helps to draw the full screen version faster since its more taxing on the processor probably but this will lead to further use of OpenGL and DirectX for 3d, I hope.

Full-screen mode with hardware scaling. Probably the biggest new feature in the Flash Player Update 3. This leverages DirectX on Windows and OpenGL on OSX. There is an new API to control the behavior which was required since we could not change current behavior and we wanted to give the maximum flexibility possible. I know you are probably eager to use this feature, we will post more information on this on labs.adobe.com soon. I’ll also will give you much more technical details in an upcoming blog post.

Found via Zeh. I have dreams of hardware acceleration in flash and what it will do to the gaming world. Microsoft has Silverlight which they could easily make DirectX capable and might as well at such low penetration rates right now, but they would stop at switching to OpenGL I think for cross platform support.  Adobe might be willing to risk it and since they already own Director, roll in OpenGL engine support into Flash and win the 3d web battle not to mention just entirely take 2d effects and animation to a new level as well.

UPDATE: Here is Tinic showing the 1080 video with nhardware acceleration in the new update. Anyone with >2 screens at work, they get stuff done.

http://video.onflex.org/2007/06/14/tinic-uro-shows-new-fullscreen-hd-video-in-flash-player/

FlashDevelop 3 Alpha Released: Best Flash IDE Gets an Upgrade

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketObligatory posting on FlashDevelop3 Alpha being released.  To people like me alpha means “old school” released.  I am ready to use it today!

Download it here

If you are not using FlashDevelop for your coding portion of your flash application, you might be missing out.  There is a reason some of the best actionscripters (ahem actioncoders) use it.

Flash 9/AS3 Ready for Primetime

Today Adobe released the official flash saturation numbers and it’s at 85%, which is safe to go to market with commercial projects. Its been a month since these numbers were ran and anything launching probably in June will be at a 90% penetration rate. Getting tired of upkeeping and working on AS2 libraries, its time for AS3.

Adobe Flash Player Version Penetration

  Flash Player 6 Flash Player 7 Flash Player 8 Flash Player 9
Mature Markets1 98.7% 98.1% 96.3% 83.4%
US/Canada 98.6% 98.0% 95.9% 84.0%
Europe2 98.5% 97.2% 95.1% 83.5%
Japan 99.4% 99.4% 98.6% 81.8%
Emerging Markets3 95.9% 91.0% 86.4% 65.4%

Notes

  1. Does not include Flash Player 5 and Emerging Markets.
  2. Supports Adobe Flash Video (FLV).
  Flash Player 6 Flash Player 7 Flash Player 8 Flash Player 9
Mature Markets1 98.3% 97.3% 94.2% 55.8%
US/Canada 98.4% 97.6% 94.2% 56.4%
Europe2 98.0% 96.4% 93.0% 59.0%
Japan 98.5% 98.0% 95.6% 50.3%
Emerging Markets3 95.9% 91.0% 86.4% 65.4%