With Android’s growing momentum, the Flash platform is perfectly positioned to allow developers to take advantage of its runtime to distribute content across mobile. Part of Packt Publishing’s popular Cookbook series: Flash Development for Android Cookbook by Joseph Labrecque offers over 90 carefully selected recipes for demonstrating mobile concepts related to Android and providing step-by-step practical examples.
While knowledge of ActionScript 3 is a requirement, even beginners should be able to grasp most of the concepts covered and easily lift the code examples straight from the book into their own projects. Impressively, the reader isn’t restricted to a single IDE. Instead many popular options are covered, with time spent in the opening chapter detailing how to configure Flash Professional, Flash Builder and the popular Powerflasher FDT. And while its focus is predominantly on pure ActionScript, the author also finds time to cover the Flex framework where appropriate.
With your development environment set-up, attention turns to your Android handset and the basics of device interaction. A series of concise and straightforward recipes highlight how to take advantage of multi-touch, gesture support, the virtual keyboard, and any physical keys found on the device. For anyone used to development for desktop, the content covered here will help get you in the correct mindset for targeting mobile.
Android devices also feature a wide range of sensors, and the book spends many chapters exploring those that are accessible from Flash. The geolocation sensor is covered and examples of it being used in conjunction with with a third-party API are given. Unfortunately the API chosen was Google Maps, which has now been deprecated. Nevertheless, it does illustrate the point and the techniques can easily be transferred to alternative services.
Valuable time is also spent covering the accelerometer, including how to detect changes in the device’s orientation. The difficult subject of screen layout is also addressed, with examples highlighting how to adapt your application’s layout in response to orientation changes. Some recipe’s demonstrating the strength of Flex for such tasks are also given, which is a useful insight for those who aren’t familiar with the framework.
Probably the most popular sensors on any mobile device is the camera, and the cookbook shows how to capture both still images and shoot video. As well as Flash’s traditional camera support where video is rendered directly within your application, the reader is also shown how to launch the device’s native camera app to perform these duties. When targeting Android, it’s important to deliver a consistent experience to the user by presenting them with familiar native apps for such tasks, and this is successfully highlighting. Loading images from Android’s Camera Roll app is another example of this.
Both video and audio, in general, are well catered for. In addition to capturing video, there are plenty of examples showing how to playback both local and remote video. Streaming video from a Flash Media Server is also included. There’s even room to explore microphone audio capture and the generation of sound at runtime. Unfortunately hardware accelerated H.264 video playback, which is new to Flash, arrived just a little too late to appear in the book, which is shame as it’s a great feature.
The format, allows you to dive right into any subject you like, with the majority of recipes being independent from one another. This makes Flash Development for Android Cookbook a resource worth keeping close at hand during development. You’ll find yourself frequently turning to it, either to serve as a reminder or to learn something new. While it might not always go into the greatest detail, what we have is a wide coverage of what Flash has to offer on Android. You’ll find that after each recipe you’ll be in a good position to go on and seek any further knowledge you require.
A very easy and concise read. I highly recommend this book to any Flash developers wishing to explore Android development.