Showing posts with label Flash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flash. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hovering

In computer interfaces, hovering is the familiar behavior that consists of using your mouse to move the cursor to a certain button… but without actually clicking the button. The simple repositioning of your cursor (often referred to as rollover) can cause things to happen, such as the display of pull-down menus.

Funnily, while Steve Jobs has gone to great pains to explain why the Adobe Flash approach has no intrinsic right to be retained in the new iPad context, he has almost totally glossed over the fact that one of the major bugbears in getting websites to run on an iPad is the fact that, on this delightful new gadget, the entire hovering phenomenon is anathema. That's to say, on a touch screen, you can use your finger to simulate the click of a mouse, but there's no way of getting your finger to hover meaningfully over such-and-such a button on a touch screen.

To my mind, this shortcoming is a great pity, since hovering is a most useful technique. Why weren't Apple's design engineers capable of imagining some kind of device that can detect the presence of a hovering finger just above the screen? Even back in the days of Genesis, commentators imagined the Holy Spirit as hovering above the waters. Surely, today, a few millennia later (according to Creationists), it should be possible to invent a technique capable of detecting the presence of a finger hovering above the surface of an iPad.

In any case, it's high time to update Omar Khayyam:

The greasy finger hovers and, having clicked, drags on...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Something in common

Let me mention three interesting things:

-- a website with the photos of François Skyvington,
-- the virtual version of the Vendée Globe yacht race,
-- and the animated film Waltz with Bashir.

Although these three things are totally different, they have something in common. Before I indicate this common aspect (which you may have already guessed), let me recall the nature of each of these three things.

Click this photo [which also appears as a link in the right-hand column of this blog] to visit the website that I built for my son's photos.

Click the above graphic to see my article of 19 November 2008 entitled Virtual yacht race. While a quarter of a million players have been participating in the virtual regatta, it's not possible, unfortunately, for a spectator to simply watch what's happening. In fact, the virtual yachts change their respective positions so slowly on the screen that nothing whatsoever seems to be happening. For the moment, as I move north towards the Equator, on the final leg of the race, my position is 5730. It would be fine if I were to reach Sables d'Olonne among the first 5000 virtual vessels...

Click the above graphic to visit the website dedicated to the outstanding Israeli movie Waltz with Bashir. I saw the movie in Valence a few days ago, and I was very greatly impressed with it. In fact, I would call it both a powerful statement on the absurdity of warfare and a masterpiece of animated video.

Now, what's common between these three totally different entities (a humble website, a fantastic real-time Internet game, and finally an award-winning movie)? Well, all three have been created using the same software tool: Flash.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Components are good for us

Imagine a skilled cabinetmaker who has always considered that the only way of installing good furniture in a new kitchen is to build each cupboard and table from scratch.

Intrigued by new kinds of hinges and drawers available in big hardware stores, he tries to incorporate them into his constructions, but something seems to have gone wrong. His cupboard doors no longer close correctly, and his drawers get stuck, because the woodworker is incapable of correctly integrating these new elements into his old-fashioned construction procedures. Then, one day, a friend invites the cabinetmaker along to an Ikea store, enabling him to discover a revolutionary approach to the installation of kitchens.

Today, concerning my operations as a Flash website developer [links], I'm very much in the same situation as the old-fashioned cabinetmaker. Since 2001, when I started to use Macromedia Flash, I've become quite proficient in the construction, from scratch, of websites based upon this approach. Meanwhile, the Flash tool has become considerably more complex. When I attempt to patch up certain aspects of my old websites, they refuse to function correctly in the new Flash environment. So, I tend to leave them alone, in their old operational state. Fortunately, today, there's an "Ikea solution" to problems of this kind. Instead of trying to patch up one of my antiquated tailor-made website elements, I can simply replace it by an off-the-shelf Flash component.

The reason I'm writing about this technical hitch [a non-problem, thanks to the concept of components] is that I've been held up recently, through bugs of the above-mentioned kind, in my preparation of two Flash websites that should interest Antipodes readers:

— One is an interface that will make it easier to access the Antipodes archives in a user-friendly fashion.

— The other will consist of free online access to my novel All the Earth is Mine, whose 16 chapters will be released on a weekly basis.

I'll provide precise details of these two services as soon as I've got them up and running.