Adobe is finally putting an end to Flash Player. They've announced they're stopping development of the mobile Flash Player, which is where the future of tech innovation is heading, and the writing is on the wall for desktop Flash Player as well. This is a good thing for a myriad of reasons, both technical and political.
However, it is important to remember that Flash drove much of the innovation on the web as we know it today. When Flash was conceived over a decade ago, the web was a glimmer of what it is today. Creating something visually impressive and interactive was almost impossible. Flash brought the ability to do animation, sound, video, 3D graphics, and local storage in the browser when nothing else could.
Flash Player itself seemed like a means to an end. Macromedia, and then Adobe who acquired them, sells the tool that you use to build Flash content. Thus, Adobe's incentive was not to build a great Flash Player, but a pervasive one that would sell its tools. Its technical stagnation provided a market opportunity for browser developers to fill in the gaps that Flash provided. As a result it has a huge market dominance in tools for building rich apps for the web, tools HTML5 lacks.
HTML5 offers developers the ability to build high-performance, low-power apps and experiences. Browser innovation has never been faster; Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla are all competing to bring the best new features to their browsers in compatible ways. But they're just now filling in many features Flash Player has had for years. Adobe can harness this to help build a better web, and few others can. Hopefully they seize this moment.
VillainousStyle is a drawing library for defining a visual style from a chain of individual drawing instructions. Each instruction modifies the drawing context to perform common operations; such operations include shadows, fills, borders, and shapes. It allows for multiple style sheets which can be used to theme an application in multiple visual contexts. VillainousStyle sits on top of CoreGraphics, and does not use WebKit for rendering at all. It is a fork of the VSStyle and VSShape classes, originally from the Three20 project.
VSStyleSheet is an abstract superclass for a set of styles. Subclass it and add methods for each style you wish to add. You will likely want to create a protocol for your styles to implement, to ensure that your stylesheet implements all the necessary styles.
There is a global stylesheet, which can be thought of as the "active" stylesheet. Call
+[VSStyleSheet setGlobalStyleSheet:] to change the active theme, which will fire a
VSStyleSheetChangedNotification. When that gets fired, you'll want to tell your views to update their styles and redraw.
Styles affect drawing and positioning. Most will affect the next VSStyle objects in the chain.
- VSSolidFillStyle - Fills the current shape with a solid color
- VSLinearGradientFillStyle - Fills the current shape with a gradient between two colors
- VSReflectiveFillStyle - Fills the current shape with a glossy-style gradient between two colors
- VSSolidBorderStyle - Draws a border around the current shape with a solid color
- VSBevelBorderStyle - Draws a beveled edge border for a 3D effect around the current shape
- VSFourBorderStyle - Draws a border around the current shape with four colors, one for each edge
- VSShadowStyle - Draws a shadow behind content with a given color, blur, and offset
- VSInnerShadowStyle - Draws a shadow inside the content with a given color, blur, and offset
- VSBoxStyle - Adds a margin or padding to the content area
- VSInsetStyle - Adds edge insets to the content area
- VSTextStyle - Draws text inside the current shape
- VSImageStyle - Draws an image inside the current shape
- VSMaskStyle - Clips the drawing area to an image mask
- VSShapeStyle - Clips the drawing area with a VSShape object
Shapes affect the fills and borders, but do not clip the content styles.
- VSRoundedLeftArrowShape - a rounded rectangle with a left-facing arrow
- VSRoundedRightArrowShape - a rounded rectangle with a right-facing arrow
- iPhone static library
- Cappuccino library
- File-based stylesheets that can be read/written from VSStyleSheet objects
- GUI builder for styles
- More styles!
There's been quite a bit of misunderstanding about what Palm's new WebOS is, versus what it isn't. So I'd like to dispel some of the questions surrounding it from the information I've been able to find on it. There isn't much I was able to find (not surprising, as the thing was just announced today), but we can draw some conclusions from the information.
From Web Apps to Widgets
The Mojo Framework
WebOS applications are much more sophisticated than Dashboard widgets, and certainly more so than regular web applications. This is because WebOS includes a set of tools for creating apps, called the Palm Mojo Application Framework. This, at its highest level, is conceptually similar to Cocoa Touch on the iPhone; it provides common functionality to all applications. It's what will provide all the common code on the device, from data manipulation of stuff like your calendars to the whizzy animation effects you'll see throughout the interface. It's the reason that, in most iPhone apps, the scrolling behavior feels exactly the same.
- apps are installed and run on the device,
- apps are designed to be multitasked and run in the background,
- apps have full access to gestures and the touch screen,
- apps can use a Growl-esque system to display user notifications,
- apps will have access to sqlite databases for data storage (part of HTML5), and
- apps can exchange data via a common messaging mechanism.
The Performance Argument