Interested in what devices support mobile AIR? Want to know how to keep your PlayBook app running in the background? Are you in the market for a $2,750 Tron watch? In this post I’ll share the highlights from FITC Toronto 2011. Being the first conference since AIR 2.6 and the launch of the PlayBook there was plenty of great information to go around.

The Venue
Before we jump into the tech tips, I wanted to mention that this was the coolest venue I’ve ever been to for a conference. They rented out a huge night club and transformed dance floors and lounges into speaker rooms. Cotton candy and popcorn were available at all times. A few shots from the event:

Guvernment Club
Click the image to enlarge.

The PlayBook
Both Julian Dolce and Rajeev Messand uncovered some great tips and tricks for PlayBook development. First, Julian discussed how to use the Throttle mode to keep your application running in the background. This is key for anyone playing music, tracking GPS or that need background services running. He also talked about how to tap into the system media to ensure sound stops when another application (like a YouTube video) starts playing audio.

Rajeev talked about creating applications using Flash / HTML5 with Webworks. Did you know the BAR extension is really just a ZIP file? You can extract the contents to ensure your application has been signed correctly and to adjust meta data if needed. Another great he mentioned is to navigate the file structure by typing file:/// in the web browser. It’s an interesting little trick to find out whats on your machine.

Adobe AIR
I skipped out on the keynote but caught the tail end of Lee Brimelow’s talk and attended a full session on devices with Renaun Erickson. Adobe was really pushing both Molehill and multi-platform development. They had a 3D demo running on the first generation Galaxy Tab showing that Flash truly rocks on mobile devices without taxing the battery or processor. Renaun outlined the full road map for Flash / AIR on all platforms. His presentation is definitely worth embedding here:

Brass Monkey
Chris Allen showed off some really cool games including a Star Wars 3D shooter and Smuggle Truck err… Snuggle Truck for mobile devices. The best part? When connected up to a computer, the games turned into controllers that could be used to play the desktop version! This is some seriously cool shit. The mobile applications are built natively in iOS and Android with the desktop receiver is built using Unity 3D. Both the Unity plugin and an ActionScript version are coming soon. Check out the demos on the Brass Monkey website and download Snuggle Truck for your iPhone today!

Flash Video and Lazy Programming
Robert Reinhardt did a great job comparing HTML5 and Flash video. As he mentioned many times throughout his presentation, HTML5 has a ways to go. Lack of captioning, full screen, DRM and codec support leave much to be desired of the new video tag. Luckily there is still plenty of time for the specs to be finalized. For now, only use HTML5 for simple video and use Flash when you need more.

Lazy programming was about how to be efficient so that you’re working less and enjoying it more. Key tips were to use tools to assist in programming, don’t fix every bug and always have a scope doc. Phillip Kerman concluded with comedy show on his handbill delivery system. Make sure to ask him for one the next time you see him.

Missed Sessions
A notable mention to the session that I wanted to see was Trainyard: a Flash Dev’s Journey to App Store Success with Matt Rix. I hope that Matt presents at a future conference so I can check that session out!

This was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in a while. Sessions were top notch with lots of new material, the event was great for networking and overall it was a blast.

Until next year!

2 thoughts on “Flash is Alive and Kicking, FITC Toronto Highlights

  1. also attended this, and as usual FITC was top notch with both innovation & inspiration. (and though not necessarily flash-based, Hodgin’s presentation was amazing!)

  2. Hey,

    You wrote something about “Julian discussed how to use the Throttle mode to keep your application running in the background”. Can you please tell a little more about this or point me to where I can find more info about this?

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