February 25, 2005

7 new Central applications from e2easy

e2easy has 7 Central applications for home and business use. [via blog.gsolo.com ].

18:39 — No comments (closed)

January 11, 2005

Central lacks ‘wow’ factor, scrap it

Interesting post from Matt Round: Decentralise:

[...] Here’s a suggestion for Macromedia for making Central a success: scrap it.

Some thoughts in response from JD.

09:44 — No comments

January 03, 2005

Central Tic Tac Toe

Jesse Warden: Central Tic Tac Toe:

[...] I made a Tic Tac Toe game with the all the free time/days off I could using Flex, Flashcom, and Central. I learned a lot, and have the classic "I hate how I did this, I must redo it knowing what I know now because I at the time, I didn't know what I know now." I coded myself into a corner on the Flashcom side, and couldn't allow connection instances; meaning, all users share the same NetConnection instance; you all play the same game of tic tac toe, and have to share. You CAN chat, however, while waiting. She's buggy and sort of works, but I fixed all of the horrible crashes... that I couldn't find anyway. I plan on re-doing the core architecture in the future so you can play more than 1 game; I like how the UI fits, I like the Flex code, I like the Central code, I just don't like the Flashcom code, both client and server.

13:19 — No comments (closed)

December 18, 2004

Publish Profiles Tip

Mike Lyda has a a little tip about using Publish Profiles to smoothen Central development workflow.

11:59 — No comments

November 21, 2004

Source for XMPP Instant Messenger for Central

Sean Voisen has relesed the source for his XMPP/Jabber based instant messenger XMPP Instant Messenger for Central:

Back in February of this year, I started working on an XMPP/Jabber based instant messenger for Central 1.0. I worked on it for a good 3 months in whatever spare time I could afford, but then the project sort of died when other time commitments nudged their way into my life, and Macromedia started revamping their Central SDK and components in preparation for Central 1.5. The project, called XIFF Messenger, after the XIFF Library that powers it, has been going stale on my hard drive ever since. Considering the instant messenger works pretty damn well already, it’s kind of a shame.

So, in an effort to give it another chance, I’m releasing all the source code free to the community. Download it, play with it, tweak it … maybe you’ll find it useful. I’d love to see a real XMPP-based instant messenger for Central, but I don’t have the time or the dedication since I’ve started focusing on other things.

22:16 — 1 comments

November 13, 2004

Central Application Portability

Advanced RIA engineering: applications that run in the Browser and in Central:

One of the most overlooked things about Central 1.5 is probably the fact that it is fully ActionScript 2.0 compatible. Combined with some best-practice design patterns it's now pretty easy to expand a Central application's field of operation into the browser - and vice versa.

18:43 — No comments

November 12, 2004

Central 1.5

While this blog was hibernating it slept through the release of Central 1.5. I'm going to try and gather a few links highlighting some of the new features and oportunities brought by the latest release.

00:20 — No comments

November 10, 2004

Central Stream

This blog is in super-catchup-mode at the moment, so this isn't exactly new, but Central Stream looks interesting:

[…] developed as a way for Independent Artist to expose their music to the masses. Central Stream is a free service to both the user and the artist.

22:48 — 2 comments

Oops! World Time Application Broken

I've only just realised my World Time application is fairly broken in Central 1.5, I've been spending a bit of time fixing it recently, and learning a bit more about Central in the process! I should have it updated within a few days.

17:56 — 1 comments


Mike Lyda announces his new Central application — AIMWatcher:

AIMWatcher allows you to see the usage history of people who are in your Buddy List. It shows when they have been online, offline, idle, away, etc. You can set it to check their status at different intervals.

Daniel Dura (who works for Macromedia on the Central development team) explains it rather well:

The app is really quite simple but I have already found it extremely useful. Basically, it lays out the status of all your buddies in a timeline. Using this app, you get more of a sense of when their status did change, instead of just seeing who is online, offline, or away at the moment.

17:01 — 1 comments

February 18, 2004

Not Quite Extinct!

Due to lack of spare time, this site has been dormant for a while, but may return to rear it's ugly head sometime in future. If you want the latest skinny on Central, CentralMx keeps on updating at a rate of knots. Check it out.

23:03 — 2 comments

December 13, 2003

Filtering Traces by Application

Mike Chambers documents how use the App Name Filter field in the Central Trace Panel. Application developers can set the variable Central.tracer.appName, and use that value in the panel's filter field.

10:13 — 1 comments

December 11, 2003

Using Large Data in Central

Jesse Warden encounters preformance issuses while populating a DataGrid using LCDataProvider and some insanely large XML.

I face similar issues in my World Time application. The size of the XML data I use isn't quite insane, but large enough to cause a noticable pause when parsing. Luckily the data I need isn't regularly updated, so here's what I do:

  1. Install Application
  2. Locally cache XML data as part of the install process
  3. Agent parses the cached XML (a WDDX file)
  4. Agent attempts to save the parsed data to a Shared Object
  5. Agent populates a LCDataProvider server in the with the parsed data
  6. Use DataGrids in my app with LCDataProvider clients

On subsequent launches I look for the presence of the pre-parsed data in the Shared Object and use that, otherwise parse the WDDX data again and use that instead. It works okay, but I've got a feeling there are better ways of distributing local data for Central.

10:41 — 3 comments

December 10, 2003

Standalone Trace Panel for OS X

Mike Chambers has released a Standalone Central Trace Panel for OS X:

I have created an OS X version of my stand-alone Central Trace Panel. This basically allows you to run the Central Trace / Debug panel outside of the Flash IDE.

It's more useful than it sounds — the Central Debug Panel that ships with the SDK has a floating palette window-type, so whenever Flash isn't the frontmost application, the panel disappears. To watch the live trace output from Central, you had to run Central in the background. Now, you don't! What else is there to say? It works. Good job!

Sidenote: notice the subtle change in nomenclature? It's now a Trace Panel instead of a Debug Panel ;-)

Update: Version 1.0 has been released.

[via Central MX]

15:22 — No comments (closed)

December 04, 2003

Central App Modders

Eric Dolecki has posted an interface mock-up of Central on MacOS X using a Drawer to display a list of applications — maybe a Source List would be a better candidate? Presumably the idea would be to replace the toolbar — which (on OS X) should have a toggle toolbar button in the titlebar!

[via Central MX]

23:19 — 4 comments

December 03, 2003

Command Line Compilation

Ethan Malasky's Command-line Flash Compilation with Ant now works on OS X. If you've got fink you can download and install Ant by typing sudo apt-get install ant. I tried it today and it looks like a real timesaver.

Update: Ethan's work has been extended and tweaked to become the Flash Ant (the software package), which now lives at Flash Ant (the weblog).

The Flash Ant blog gets its name from, and is the home of, the Flash Ant package for Apache Ant and Flash MX 2004 Professional. Flash Ant includes an Apache Ant task for Flash for integrating Flash into the build process of Rich Internet Applications. We will continue to actively maintain and support Flash Ant as well as any tools and utilities we may release in the future.

18:17 — No comments (closed)

December 02, 2003

Developer Chat 0.90

There's a new version of Developer Chat available, get it from Mike Chambers' Weblog. The UI has been tidied-up and there's a bundle of new features and improvements. The new User Profile support looks interesting, you can use Central's built-in Blast feature to subscribe to participants 'blogs in the BlogReader application. Blast is a standardised method of sharing data between separate applications, slightly similar to Services in OS X.

It may be prudent to wait a day or two before installing, on my installation the type-in field seems stuck in an inactive state, so I can't send messages. I also experienced a few cosmetic issues with the preferences dialog and ComboBox menus in the Pod.

For the curious, there's a screenshot and a scoop on future features at CentralMX.

10:41 — 3 comments (closed)

November 27, 2003

YACO: Jeremy Allaire

Yes, it's time for YACO (yet another Central overview)! It's Jeremy Allaire's turn in his latest Logged In article, Macromedia Central and the Next-Generation Internet. It's a good “big picture” overview of how Central embraces these 10 trends of the next-generation Internet:

  1. Broadband
  2. Wireless
  3. Devices
  4. Rich Clients
  5. Web Services
  6. Real-Time Communications
  7. Hosted Applications
  8. Big Data
  9. Paid Content
  10. The Software Manufacturing Economy

Central is introduced as a desktop environment — an interesting turn of phrase. With enough useful applications, and on small devices (especially those without well-loved legacy desktop environments) I guess you could live “full-time” in Central.

00:16 — No comments (closed)

November 24, 2003

Short term to long term process

Theodore Patrick posted a round-up of the recent MAX 2003 conference which includes this perceptive snippet on Central:

Central's value is subtle and is very easy to miss. Unlike internet applications, parts of Central apps run all the time vs running only when I visit the web page. With all other internet applications, I must do something to use them (Remember the service, Enter URL, Use application), with Central the information comes to me with no effort. Mike explained that after a long period of use, Central provides much greater value in that agents provide updated information and alert you to changes in data. Considering that I missed the big reason Central was important, I am sure there are many still pondering its development. Central is important as it shifts execution of short term (browser) applications to a long term process on your local machine combined with seamless installation and updating.

19:34 — No comments (closed)

Standalone Debug Panel for Windows

Mike Chambers has posted a Standalone Debug Panel for Windows:

[…] a simple shell that allows the Central Debug panel to run outside of the Flash IDE. Among other things, it allows you to set the panel to always be on top, which makes it easy to watch trace information from Central.

Mike also mentions there will be a MacOS X version in a few weeks.

10:28 — No comments (closed)

Central Features Overview Presentation

Kevin Lynch delivers a good Macromedia Central Features Overview. Interestingly it mentions the following additional applications authored by Macromedia coming in 2004:

[via ActionScript Hero]

10:10 — No comments (closed)

November 23, 2003

Blue Fadey Land

Central MX: Easter Egg In Central?

We all know Macromedia loves putting Easter Eggs in their products, so when 'a little bird' told me there was at least one in Central I believed it. Wanting to discover one on my own, I explored Central more closely last night and I'll share with you something that might be part of an Easter Egg. With the latest upgrade to Central, go into the "about" box and CONTROL-CLICK on the logo. A 'password' box comes up! I wonder what this is for. So far, common words don't yield any actions. If you do try something, drop a comment and let me know.

Didn't take long to discover the secret password… But I'm not telling!

17:49 — 2 comments (closed)

November 21, 2003

Application Finder Ratings

Does anyone know how the ratings in the Application Finder and Freeware Finder are assigned?

01:19 — No comments (closed)

Walk around it, like a sculpture

There's some classic marketing moments in the latest showcase pages for Macromedia Central:

To understand Central, you have walk all the way around it, like a sculpture. At its core, Central is a clean, elegant environment that harnesses the power of the Internet and empowers the user to control it in meaningful, relevant ways.

Even this jaded cynic couldn't help raising a smile at this one:

Movie Finder set out to do what no single application could do: aggregate huge amounts of raw data from the Internet, seamlessly filter it the way the user wants, and deliver it to the user's desktop in a kind and gentle manner.

They're actually pretty good articles, explaining Central in terms your boss will understand. [via mesh on mx]

01:14 — No comments (closed)

November 19, 2003

More on the AOL Deal

More on the AOL Deal at News.com Macromedia developers get a shot at AIM:

The deal marks the first time AOL has opened its IM software to third-party developers. The company has long guarded its IM products from any outside influences and has blocked companies from communicating with its millions of users.

Umm, how about iChat? (Screenshot of iChat scripting interface).

16:00 — No comments (closed)

IM and AOL and Central

Macromedia and AOL have announced a partnership to integrate IM functionality into Central, and to promote Central on AOL. Short on details at the moment, but looks like the Central IM SDK will be released some time next year.

Infoworld: Macromedia, AOL bring IM capabilities to Central:

Alongside the Developer Release of Macromedia Central announced Wednesday, Macromedia also announced the availability of a software development kit (SDK) for Central. The SDK includes user-interface components, a debug panel, Flash authoring templates, source code for sample applications, libraries of application graphics and icons, documentation for APIs, and APIs and other development tools for AOL's IM platform, the company said.

MacCentral has more:

[…] the full scope of the instant messaging SDK hasn't been determined yet, so it's too soon to tell how much AIM and ICQ functionality Central instant messaging-based software will have. Macromedia plans to release the SDK to developers in the first half of 2004, however.

(My emphasis)

Update: Macromedia press release.

10:49 — No comments (closed)

Central SDK

The Central SDK out! Installing now. New useful bookmark: Central documentation with user annotations at Macromedia LiveDocs.

Not in the SDK, but useful for developers is the Central Developer Reference Poster, previously previewed on Mike Chamber's 'blog.

Update: Macromedia press release.

10:14 — No comments (closed)

November 18, 2003

Buy Application Dialog

Through a (maybe) corrupt installation I just saw this:

Screenshot of the Buy Application dialog box featuring a Yahoo! Payments logo

Looks like Yahoo Payments are handling the transactions for Central.

18:21 — No comments (closed)

November 17, 2003

New Version of Central

There's a new version of Central out! It just prompted me to upgrade, the version has been bumped from 6.0r78 to 6.1r80. It says Developer Release in the snazzy new about box.

Update: the Application Finder app is active now, but it's not populated with data yet. :-(

Update: Central MX has a post outlining a few of the changes in the new version of Central.

20:31 — No comments (closed)

November 14, 2003

Macromedia Central MAX Guide

Central based guide to the Macromedia MAX Developer conference:

Install this Macromedia Central application to get comprehensive information on MAX. The application includes detailed news and information on sessions and conference events. You can also find your way around the conference using the interactive map, or set up a notification to be alerted when a session is about to begin.

Nifty app.

I wish I was going. If anyone is at the Best Practices for Central Application Interface Design session ask about those graduated panels in the pod and thick gradient backgrounds around the buttons!

22:22 — No comments (closed)

Central Developer Diagrams

Michael Williams has posted a couple of good simple Central-related diagrams illustrating:

I didn't use the new LCService methods when building my World Time application (I used the plain-vanilla LocalConnection object) but I ought really be using it.

10:37 — No comments (closed)

November 11, 2003

SDK Screenshot

With consent from the mothership, CentralMX has scooped a screenshot of Flash MX 2004 with all of the Central development content that will be included on the final SDK.

The new App Name Filter field in the Central Debug Panel looks useful!

00:34 — No comments (closed)

November 09, 2003

Brajeshwar's Central Overview

Brajeshwar posted an overview of Central with a few thoughts on benefits for users and (Flash) developers.

23:10 — No comments (closed)

November 05, 2003

A Python Shared Object Decompiler

Central IO via Python? A shared object reader written in Python.

SOLReader is a decompiler for the .sol files used by flash to save its own cookie (the SharedObjects). It will decompile the entire file and will show you every saved variable, its class type and its value.

Presumably will also read SharedObjects written by Central.

00:59 — No comments (closed)

Central File IO via Director?

Central Beta: What's really possible? is a (little bit grumpy) review of the state of Central today. It doesn't mention the Blast API which is an interesting feature Central offers over a browser or CD based host. However, this quote got me thinking…

The output of a Central app is mostly transient. The only way a user can take away some end result from their interaction is by a) committing information to memory b) copying and pasting text, or c) printing. Saving things in the Central cache or shared objects doesn't really count here, since the output is still locked inside Central and unavailable to other programs. Secondary outputs do exist in the form of web-based storage, or the transfer of data to another remote system (such as email, or a fax server), but these have niche appeal.

Can you read local shared objects through the Flash Xtra for Director? Is there an opportunity to load and save or at least back-up selected Central data via a Director-authored tool? It would be kludgy – for sure – but it could be an avenue.

00:46 — 1 comments (closed)

October 27, 2003

API Viewer

Mike Chambers' Central API Viewer:

I was playing around with Flash MX Pro 2004 last night, and created this simple Central API viewer.

Update: A new image of the Central API heirachy.

11:54 — No comments (closed)

October 26, 2003


Welcome to central.twisty.com. I'm going to add more detail here eventually, honest. In the meantime I can exclusively reveal that this site was set up by Tim Brayshaw to host some Central Apps I'm developing, and a place to ruminate on all things Central.

17:11 — 4 comments