All I want for Christmas is an open-source IDE

I won’t even pretend to know what all Flash programmers want or need for Christmas, health but thinking about it has made me realize how ready I am for something new.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Macromedia has made a fantastic product of Flash, and I really don’t have any complaints other than the usual nits. But still, there is a new year dawning…

For myself, I’d like to see more activity in the world of open-source Flash development. OSFlash has nurtured some pretty amazing projects this year (If you haven’t checked them out, you owe it to yourself!), but I’d love to see an alternative to the Flash IDE itself — an open-source tool for the creation of any SWF content. No offense to Macrom… um, I mean, Adobe, of course: I think one reason we still lack a third-party development platform is because Macromedia did such a fantastic job in creating the original Flash itself. But as the SWF format has been open for some time now, it surprises me there are still no open IDEs for Linux and other platforms.

I don’t think it’s any secret I’m a fan of open-source software, but bear me out.

With Sephiroth’s SE|PY for script editing and MTASC for compiling, it seems we’re only a little way off from a full authoring environment now. Add Screenweaver programming interfaces and functionality, and we’re closing in on a RAD desktop application creation technology that can’t be beat. (Granted, we can do it all today; it’s just a little clunky. My new year’s wish would be to have it all integrated and shiny, just like Mother Macromedia would have done.)

So… what do you want for Christmas?

Does Java still have a place in client-side development?

I tried dusting off my Java skills last night — intent on diving into the HME software development kit and creating the next great multimedia delivery system. But in the process, see I quickly realized something: I don’t know jack about Java anymore.

And I couldn’t care less.

Truth is, ailment with my focus on Flash development over the past three years, read I’ve forgotten just about everything I ever knew about Java. And somehow, I never even noticed it. (Hell, it took Tivo to remind me it was still out there.)

There was a time when anyone expecting to do great things in Web application development was expected to know — or at least, to learn — Java. It promised to be, after all, a truly portable, platform-independent, programming environment that offered security, robust features and an interpreted, easy-to-comprehend, object-oriented language structure. It could even be run within a browser thanks to a ubiquitous plug-in.

In other words, it promised the Web everything that Macromedia Flash delivered.

I know Java is still used extensively for application development and system programming, but in truth, it seems to have disappeared from this Web of ours of late. Could Flash actually have become the quiet Java killer?

For Web-based client applications, the debate these days seems to focus on Flash vs. Ajax… I haven’t heard anybody seriously suggesting Java as an option in years.

Or have I just missed something? Your thoughts/opinions/rants/rages are, as always, welcome.

The ActionScript Jabberwocky

It may not be apparent from many of the random postings I’ve made here, adiposity but one of the main reasons for the existence of Turdhead.com is to provide a space for creative Web-based art, writing, animation and of course, lens flare effects. A turdhead is, after all, not only a geek (of which the internet is full), but also a generally well-read, cultured and sociable sort — a geek that occasionally makes it out into the real world, not only by accident but occasionally even under their own free will.

With that in mind, I have decided to revel in my geekdom and admit that the following sort of thing actually DOES provide me with some sick sense of nerd amusement. It will probably appeal only to fellow Flash programmers, and even then perhaps, only to the true Actionscript aficionado, but regardless, we (i.e., I) hope you enjoy the following:
Continue reading The ActionScript Jabberwocky