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Friday, November 26, 2010

Jangaroo at FlashCodersNY

Tyler Larson of FlashCodesNY asked us whether we'd be interested to present and discuss Jangaroo on one of their weekly meetings in Manhatten. The event took place on Wednesday 17th of November in Manhattan, while Andreas and I were connected via live streaming from Hamburg. Well, our time zone offset is not really ideal for meetings in the late afternoon in New York, but with lots of coffee and adrenaline, we hopefully managed to give an exciting presentation of what Flash coders can do with Jangaroo.
After showing some general slides about Jangaroo, we went right into coding with the brand new Jangaroo version 0.7.12. Using IntelliJ IDEA 9 as the cockpit for development, we showed how to import and build a Jangaroo Maven project. Examples of Jangaroo-Flash projects were the well-known Box2DFlashAS3 Jangaroo port and a Jangaroo version of AS3 Lemmings.
Most attendees liked the idea of being able to deploy Flash applications to the browser without a FlashPlayer plugin. However, they were also concerned about performance especially on mobile devices (iOS JavaScript and canvas performance currently only suffices for quite simple applications) and API completeness, correctness and compatibility. One feedback concerning missing AS3 features in Jangaroo was that against our previous assumption, some developers like and use E4X quite a lot. Also better support for annotations is important for using certain Flash/Flex libraries, e.g. FlexUnit 4.

To run Flash code directly in the browser, Jangaroo not only has to compile ActionScript 3 to JavaScript, but also all Flash APIs have to be re-implemented. While the documentation is under a Creative Commons license and can be reused, the implementation is not open. One central feature of Flash are the graphics, which can be emulated in the browser by using HTML5's canvas. Our library "jooflash" does exactly that. This is a big effort.We challanged all FlashCodersNY and of course any other Flash coder enthusiastic about Open Source to contribute to the jooflash library. jooflash is available on github, so please go ahead, fork, code, and do a pull request!
In the session, there were many in-depth questions about how to debug Jangaroo code, how to use other IDEs, and many more, which indicated great interest in the technology.
For example, one very interesting new topic was whether multiple embedded Jangaroo "Flash objects" on the same page are possible and how they behave. The answer is yes, you can run many Jangaroo applications on the same page. Usually, all code is loaded directly into the page, leading to shared classes, but also to shared static variables. If this is not what you want, simply load each application in an iframe. A more elegant solution that shares code, but not state, would require changes in the Jangaroo Runtime.

Although only virtually present, we felt really welcome and were quite amused when we were asked the final question: "When was the last time you stayed up until 3 o'clock in the morning?"
Thanks FlashCodersNY, it was worth it!


Niraj Manandhar said...

Frank said...

Very nice! Just tweeted a pointer to your demo. Are you on twitter, too?