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Creating Flex Applications for Mobile Devices

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Creating Flex Applications for Mobile Devices

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"The mobile version of the Flex framework (code-named “Slider”) will provide structure and guidelines for creating application experiences that translate well across platforms, and make it easy to build adaptable multiscreen applications. “Slider” may be used by a broad spectrum of Adobe customers, from traditional media brands and agencies to internal IT organizations. Initial applications built with “Slider” will range from simple companion applications that complement existing web or desktop applications, to more complex contextual applications where multiscreen delivery is a core requirement from the outset.

There are several reasons why developing for non-PC devices requires a framework that is different from the Flex framework currently used to create applications for the desktop. First and foremost, the input mechanisms, screen real estate, and interaction patterns, commonly found on mobile devices differ in significant ways from the desktop. Supporting interaction patterns such as five-way navigation, soft keys, and gestures, are important factors in building mobile applications and need to be considered by any framework targeting mobile devices. Second, target devices are expected to be more constrained in terms of both memory and processor speed for the foreseeable future. In the long run, as devices become more capable, some of the key elements of “Slider” will likely be integrated with the desktop Flex framework to provide a more unified software development kit (SDK) across platforms.

Based on the Flex 4 codebase, “Slider” will include significant changes to optimize performance and user experience for more constrained device environments. The initial “Slider” framework will be optimized to run on high-end smartphones (phones with a processor speed of 400Mhz or more and 128MB of RAM), and will initially target standalone application environments such as Adobe® AIR.® This matches the category of devices targeted by Adobe Flash® Player 10 and fits with the type of device that will likely be most interesting for application developers.

While the features of Flex may be modified from their desktop counterparts, the goal will be to preserve the core capabilities of the desktop framework that make sense for mobile. The “soul of Flex” will be maintained, including the underlying Adobe Flash API, the language, and core capabilities such as binding, skinning, layout, styling, and media support. In all cases, any modifications will be balanced with the goal of getting great performance on mobile devices.

“Slider” will also include new capabilities specifically designed for mobile development, such as a construct for managing “screens” of an application, and the notion of resolution-independent sizing to deal with screen-size variations. A new set of user interface components designed for mobile form factors and input methods will be added. Finally, “Slider” will encapsulate design principles and guidelines that make it easy to create applications that fit in across a range of native platforms."

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Published at DZone with permission of Marco Casario, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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