Tag Archives: Mobile Web Development

Mobile Design UK Meeting

Mobile Revolution Last night I attended the Mobile Design UK event held at the RSA Tavern room, near London’s Charring Cross. It was a great evening and the venue was fantastic, a really well equipped space that made the evening feel wonderfully personal. The smaller location really fostered some great discussions following each of the speakers presentations. The mix of content, concepts and ideas presented was really good.

The evening was introduced by Arabella David from Nokia. She outlined the growing importance of user experience in the mobile space and how Forum Nokia is pushing to support Designers and User Experience experts through the Forum Nokia Channel. More information can be found at the Design and Media section of the Forum Nokia Site.

Scott Weiss (@sdweiss) of Human Factors International kicked of the presentations with a dissection and walkthrough of the usability and information architecture considerations when developing mobile applications that use XHTML to reach a broad user audience. It was good to find out that with XHTML as well as many mobile technologies there is often a trade off between features, richness and audience reach.

Antony Ribot (@ribot) from Ribot provided a fantastic presentation on the speed and growth of the mobile information age, and it’s subsequent effects on physical trends, culture and behaviors. Also provided some great ideas on how we as producers might need to change the way we approach concepting, brain storming and designing to target these new user expectations.

Gil Kahana of Seren Partners presentation provided an enthusiastic insight into the challenges faced when dealing with the barriers that mobile applications present to users and the ways developers should research, test and experiment to break down those barriers. There was some great discussions that followed Gil’s presentation around the fragmentation of some of the technology in the mobile space.

The final presentation by Marek Pawlowski (@marekpawlowski) from PMN – Mobile Industry Intelligence showed some brilliant dissection of the minutia of user value that can be extracted by mobile users and audiences from some of the most innocuous of details, the value of battery life conservation, the range of colours a phone or application is available in or how an application provides user feed back when scrolling.

The Mobile Design UK group offers a refreshing and much needed alternative view of mobile development. At the end if the evening I caught up with Bryan Rieger, one of the event organisers, to find out what types of content they were hoping to present at future meetings,

we don’t want to show code

was his first reply. I for one think that’s a brilliant mantra to hold true to. In a space dominated by massively varied technologies, huge numbers of acronyms and a huge range of user audiences and platforms I found it a very comfortable evening of knowledge sharing in a format that felt like a well organized brainstorm.

If you are interested in designing & producing content targeting any mobile platform I would look out for up coming Mobile Design UK events. Thanks to organisers for putting together a great line up os speakers and also a big thank you to Forum Nokia for the sponsorship of the evening.

Forum Nokia launches Flash Lite Developer’s Library

I missed this yesterday. Nokia have released the Flash Lite Flash Lite Developer’s Library 1.1 . One of the important aspects of this launch is the inclusion of documentation for using the new Nokia S60 Platform Services.

The Platform Services enable flash application to access Device Capabilities and services that were previously only possible through third party solutions Such as Kuneri lite.

Here is a list taken from the Using Platform Services section of the new Flash Lite Developers Library.

The S60 platform allows Flash Lite applications installed on S60 mobile devices to:

  • Access and launch applications on a device using the AppManager Service API
  • Access and manage calendar information using the Calendar Service API
  • Access and manage information about contacts using the Contacts Service API
  • Access and manage information about landmarks using the Landmarks Service API
  • Access device logging events using the Logging Service API
  • Access device location information and perform location-based calculations using the Location Service API
  • Access information about media files stored on a device using the Media Management Service API
  • Send, retrieve, and manage messages such as SMS and MMS using the Messaging Service API
  • Access data from the physical sensors of a device using the Sensor Service API
  • Access and modify system information on a device using the SystemInfo Service API

These new API’s are supported through FlashLite 3.x on Series 60 5th edition devices. Flash Lite applications use the S60 Platform Services through Service APIs. The Service APIs are supported through a Nokia-proprietary ActionScript 2.0 library. Before you can create Flash Lite applications that use platform services, you must install the library for use in your Flash Lite applications.

Here is a run down of updates from the Change History section of the Flash Lite Developers Library.

Change history Flash Lite Developer’s Library 1.1

  • Added information on the S60 Platform Services, the corresponding ActionScript Service APIs, and the ActionScript Service object required to access the APIs.
  • Added section “Flash Lite API reference”. This section describes the ActionScript APIs provided by the S60 platform for use with Flash Lite applications.
  • Added section “Flash Lite authoring and optimization tips”. This section provides tips and guidelines for authoring Flash Lite applications and optimizing their performance.
  • Added section “Flash Lite with S60 touch”. This section briefly introduces the touch UI and Flash Lite touch keypad of S60 5th Edition devices and provides instructions for disabling the touch keypad.
  • Added section “Flash Lite example applications”. This section contains links to example Flash Lite applications that you can download to your computer and then to a mobile device or emulator.

Check out the Flash Lite Developer’s Library Here.

Using MTASC to compile Flash Lite (FSCommand2) on OSX


For some time I have used Eclipse, FDT and MTASC as my preferred weapon of choice when doing AS2 development, I switch to Flex Builder for AS3 , Flex or AIR. One spanner in these works when using Mac OSX had been when producing mobile content for FlashLite 2+. Flash Lite 2 and FLash Lite 3 can both use ActionScript 2 and so as MTASC should be able to compile FLash Lite content. However on OS X MTASC still appears to have an issue compiling the FSCommand2() function, this was fixed in teh 1.13 version of the win32 version of the compiler but It seems the OS X version does not include the same fix for FSCommand2(). The FSCommand2() function used in Flash Lite development to control things like the SoftKeys or forcing an application to display at full screen on mobiles or devices.

Last week I took the time to find a way to work around this issue in order to get back to my development tool chain when developing Flash Lite content. For those users that are more experienced with this form of development the only answer seems to be to create a symbol in the library of your fla associate any classes that make use of the FSCommand2 to the new symbol. Make sure the Clip is exported in some fashion, either by physically placing it on the stage, or setting it to export for ActionScript. Next export a stub SWF from the fla. In eclipse, or when using MTASC you will need to use the ‘-keep’ switch on the command line when you run MTASC to compile your Flash Lite content, this will also make sure the Flash Lite swf header will remain in tact as well. This forces MTASC to keep any assets that are already in the target output swf.

It is also worth mentioning that in your application code you will not be able to refer to the class that contains functionality using the FSCommand2. So applications like FDT will think there is an error as you will be unable to define the ‘type’ of your class. A second note is that MTASC will flag that there is a movie clip associated with a class, but that is has not been compiled.


Warning : The MovieClip KeyController needs the class { Class path containing FSCommand2() function } which was not compiled :
Please force compilation of this class by adding it to the commandline.

I have not been able to completely remove the FLA or the Flash IDE completely from my tool chain, but in all honesty I think there are alot of use cases in Flash Lite development that still require a level of timeline usage, so I happy with this compromise.

I have created an example package of files that you can download from here or in the download area.

NEC Demos Adobe Flash Lite Intellectual Property

Following the announcement from Adobe of the open screen project, news comes from the Embedded Systems Expo that NEC is showing what sounds like it might be an alternative to Adobe’s Flash Lite Player.

Its a little hard to make complete sense of the post from EETimes.com. But some interesting quotes from the short, slightly cryptic article:

By using our new IP, one can design a portable device capable of processing Adobe Flash Lite several times faster, when compared with using a processor.

Also in the announcement is a hint of better video quality as well.

After reducing the number of gates required for an IC and further tuning the video quality output by Adobe Flash Lite, NEC will start offering its IP in August this year.

One thing that does seem to be missing is an explanation of which Flash Lite version they are supporting, although the mention of video implies this is based around the FlashLite 3 player.

You can read the full (breif) announcement of NEC’s new Flash Lite IP over at EETimes.com.

One further interesting thing is that I could find no mention of NEC being involved with the Open Screen Project from its press release.

Credit where its due: EETimes.com

eBook Review of Mobile Web Design by Cameron Moll

After stumbling upon Cameron Moll’s Blog and site, which is pretty much focused on mobile web design and development, I downloaded his eBook, “Mobile Web Design“. Now that I have finished reading the book I thought I would provide a review. Book reviewing is not something that I have done before, but I hope the review shows that Cameron’s work certainly warrants it.

Continue reading eBook Review of Mobile Web Design by Cameron Moll