This week I decided to toy with ActionScript/Flash a bit (for the first time, really). I’m using the FlashDevelop IDE, so it’s all free goodness, no shelling out $500 to Adobe. Anyway, I wrote an MP3 player that is devoid of any sort of flash user interface, completely controllable through JavaScript. It’s a mere 162 lines of ActionScript and weighs in at 2071 bytes as an swf. It supports a wide range of operations, load, play, pause, stop, setvolume, getvolume, ispaused, getpauseoffset, getcurrentfile, getduration, getposition, getbytesloaded, getbytestotal, getid3, as well as a number of asynchronous JavaScript callbacks (notifications) on various events, loadcomplete, playcomplete and id3found. You can see it in action with possibly the simplest UI possible here:

The real question that I am trying to answer for myself is, does eliminating the flash user interface somehow make it [flash] more palatable?

Open Source Flash Media Server: Red5

I have been following the development of red5 since very early on. It was the prime motivator behind flixn, as having a freely available flash media server would allow one to do things that were inconcievable previously due to the financial weight of licensing. Just to be clear I have never, not by any stretch of the imagination, been a proponent of flash. To be perfectly honest I am one of those geeks who will steer clear of a website entirely if flash is a hard requirement. That said, I would like to think that I am able to recognize the merits of a technology no matter how foul a taste it leaves in my mouth. Flixn exploits the heck out of one of those merits, there will be no punches pulled here.

Over the last couple of months flixn has gone from one of those little backburner projects that is slowly building steam to seeing near fulltime development by several individuals. As work has progressed it has become abundantly clear that no matter how far red5 has come in its short life it just wasn’t going to be ready for prime time on the same timetable as In our case, the final phases of development are currently underway, including a switch to Adobe’s Flash Media Server 2. It is quite unfortunate, but such is life. I wish to point out that this should not be taken the wrong way, red5 has proved itself to be extremely robust and stable as a development platform. The switch to FMS2 was not a light one by any means, and yes, that does mean we were very seriously considering a launch using red5.

As critical as I am of flash, I am extremely eager to see what the entrepreneurial web 2.0 crowd will do in the next 6-12 months as red5 becomes mature. That Adobe seems to have taken an interest in getting Flash9 out for Linux doesn’t hurt my feelings either.