Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why Yahoo Maps chose AJAX

Ted Patrick has posted a very frank and thoughtful post discussing the reasons why Yahoo has moved from Flex to AJAX for the latest version of Yahoo Maps. To summarize he identifies 3 main reasons for the shift :
  • Shortage of Flex developers
  • Problems integrating Flash advertising into Flex applications
  • Complexity of migrating from Flex 1.5 to Flex 2.0
Despite these points it seems an odd decision in a year when so many great Flex applications have emerged.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Silverlight vs Flex : the hype and the search trends

There has been no shortage of hype about Microsoft's Silverlight during 2007. But I was playing around with Google Trends the other day and started wondering how well the hype translated into user interest. The graph shows the relative number of Google searches on the terms Flex and Silverlight. The most interesting things was that although Silverlight wasn't far behind in terms of news reference it was a very different story when you looked at actual searches, even when there were news spikes for Silverlight. Obviously search trends aren't the ultimate indicator for market interest but they are still help to give some idea of whats really happening among developers. These results can also be skewed when a search is done on terms that may have alternative contexts. For example, my original search included AJAX and it seemed that The Netherlands were obsessed with AJAX. This seemed odd until I looked at the news items and realised there was a soccer team named AJAX.

Adobe BRIO : did you miss this too?

The second half of 2007 has seen a tsunami of news from Adobe and I guess we could be excused for missing a few things here and there. But I was very surprised when I heard about the BRIO beta. BRIO is a slightly scaled down and re-designed version of Adobe Connect. The beta offers users a free meeting room for up to three participants with a simple easy to remember URL. In that respect it is similar to Elluminate's vRoom. Elluminate is very much focussed on education, while Connect/BRIO has a wider target audience. Pity BRIO wasn't available when CS3 was released. It would have made that "Start A Meeting" link seem less like marketing and more like a useful part of the suite.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

iFlash Switcher : Installing new player versions

We're using the iFlash Switcher Firefox extension to enable testing with different versions of the Flash player on our Intel Macs. It's a very handy tool. Anyway today saw the release of Flash Player Update 3 ( So we were keen to install it if only to do some testing on it's H.264 video capabilities. But getting iFlash Switcher setup turned out to be a bit of a chore. So I'd like to document this process for the next update and to save others my pain:
  • Locate the folder where iFlash Switcher stores the various plugin versions. It should be something like Users:userName :Library :Application Support :Firefox :Profiles:crazyName.default :extensions :chrome:plugins:
  • The plugin versions will be in their own folders (i.e 9.0 r47). Make a copy of all the available plugin folders (I copied them to Desktop:tmp).
  • Download and install the latest version of the Flash Player.
  • The newly installed player will be located at Library: Internet Plug-Ins: Flash Player.plugin. Create a new folder in the iFlash Switcher plugins folder using the version number (i.e 9.0 r115) and copy the new plugin to that folder.
  • Move the copied plugin folders (from step 2) back into the iFlash Switcher plugins folder.
  • Open Firefox and change to the player version you want to work with (there is a Flash icon in the lower right corner).
Most of this is easy. It's just locating the plugin folder that causes grief.