Saturday, April 27, 2002

John Wilker offers an article on ColdFusion 5 scalability at Contains an overview of approaches to scalability, and could be a good page to show a client who is concerned and seeks background on the subject.

Friday, April 26, 2002 offers a frontpage interview with Bill Joy in Real, Flash, and text formats. This is interesting... why not just put a small SWF ui element in the front page of such a portal site, which calls up an audio file on demand? This would be a much faster and more responsive way to present audio info on a site than methods commonly in use.
A List Apart focuses on Macromedia Flash MX this week, with articles by Joe Clark and Andrew Kirkpatrick particularly focusing on the accessibility features. Joe gives an overview, and Andrew offers working tips based on his beta experience. The "Comments" field is already active.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Hackers turn tables on file-swapping firms at c|net seems to miss a critical point... if you can't trust an above-ground business like Kazza not to insert trojans on your hard drive, why should you trust some anonymous cracker's code on your drive?

It's vital to know whose code you're executing. I got sensitized to this early, when discussing the installation of arbitrary ActiveX Controls compared to known ActiveX Controls in IE/Win, but the point was really driven home when the issue about executing rogue instructions in SWF files came forward. Even extensions need investment in testing and some type of quality-assurance.

But downloading and running some standalone application from someone who won't stand behind their code... I don't see how anyone can justify that anymore. I'd rather not have some massive denial-of-service attack by a fleet of sleeper zombies prove me right, but I suspect we'll all pay for the poor choices of a few eventually.
Cameron Barrett notes possible advantages with a rich client, but adds the odd line "...that use a standard Java runtime engine. It's a lot like what Macromedia is doing with FlashMX, but without the plug-in technology requirement." Java is a plugin, and a large heterogenous one at that, which is why its overall consumer viewership has been steadily dropping.

(The Java programming language is published, but the source code for most Java Virtual Machines is not published, much less open to public modification.)

I tried to check into the rich-media XML format he mentioned, to see how close it was to SMIL, but couldn't navigate the site to find it. There's been some talk about writing scripts in Flash to render some parts of SMIL files, but the video would have to be preformatted as SWF in order to be usable. Shockwave might be a better match for writing a document which enables the rendering of SMIL instructions. But video relies on system-level support, so your viewership would be subject to video-architecture restrictions. QuickTime and RealPlayer both have their own SMIL rendering abilities, but the implementations differ... it's hard to start with an ideal specification before a benchmark implementation.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Macromedia Quarterly Conference Call took place this afternoon. This is a good chance to hear executives talk on-the-record to analysts. I listened with half-an-ear while typing on the mailing lists, but noted that Rob Burgess got hit up with the "Will Flash kill Dreamweaver?" question. Things will be so much easier once the other parts of Macromedia MX are available for use... it will be easier to see that SWF is just one valuable part of the total picture.

Related info: "Where's HTML in Macromedia MX?" and one person's notes on the conference call on a Yahoo message board.
Jeffrey Zeldman: "Panic in the streets! Zeldman complains structural purity is hard, says something nice about Flash MX, readers freak... The cult of web standards, of Flash, of accessibility, of usability: each reflects the passions of dedicated, intelligent people. But when passion becomes zealotry, we stop listening to each other, and when we stop listening we stop learning. Can?t we all just get along?"

I'm there. It's just stuff.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Flash News Flash: It's Accessible by Lisa Delgado, top news item at WiredNews right now. It describes the captioning component that Jason Smith created. CHris MacGregor is quoted.

(The Macromedia Flash Player's assistive routines for screen readers are device-independent, and tap into system-level assistive routines. Practically, right now that means Microsoft Active Accessibility, with a new reader such as GW Micro's Window-Eyes. As other readers tap into the same system-level routines, and as other platforms add similar assistive architectures, we should see the range of Flash-happy readers increase.)

Monday, April 22, 2002

Jeff Whatcott showed a way to find US government offices which use ColdFusion... Google with term "allinurl:cfm". Here are the current hits.
A new updater for native IE/Mac apparently replaces any existing Macromedia Flash Player 6 with an old 5.0 plugin. There's also some type of symptom with installing a classic rather than native plugin when you try to do it manually. Keep an eye on recently updated technotes for latest word.

Update Wed 4/24: IE/Mac 5.1.4 installs Macromedia Flash Player 5
More than a third of consumers tested by Media Metrix in March could immediately see Shockwave 3D content. This is the fastest adoption rate Shockwave has ever seen. Overall, Shockwave is one of the most viewable technologies on the web.

The numbers for Flash 6 are very small, because the consumer audit was conducted just after the Player shipped. See the sample test for methodology.
XForms Project: There's a thread in the macromedia.flash newsgroup this morning where someone is looking for partners in implementing a component for Flash to "parse, validate display and retreive a XForm." Eventual URL will apparently be .

(I'd post a link to the W3's XForm definitions but all I'm Googling at the moment are voluminous message archives. I'd post a link to the discussion in macromedia.flash except it seems the darn web-board hasn't mirrored yet... thread title is "ATN GURUS: Creating a Open Source W3C XForms Implementation [MX] / [XML]" though.)

The post also points to Kesser's XMPower libraries for Macromedia Flash MX.