I’ve been hard at work on a few projects in my spare time, but no excuses for the lack of recent posts. I’ve been concurrently reading both No More Mondays by Dan Miller and Atlus Shrugged by Ayn Rand. While one is fiction and the other is not, they both ironically (and unintentionally) share a theme – that one must take accountability of their own actions in order to accomplish any worthwhile goals. Otherwise, complaining and shifting responsibilities and blame is the path to unhappiness and a life filled with woes. Of course, Any Rand doesn’t start really getting into this concept until around 450 pages into the book while No More Mondays isn’t even 1/4 the length of Atlus Shrugged. Regardless, I’ve been enjoying both books (although this isn’t my first read of Atlus Shrugged, possibly my favorite novel).
I have some big plans to get through 3 books per month in 2011. At the current rate, it looks like I’ll have to make up time in February, but I’m not at all jaded by the slow progress so far. Onward and upward, so they say.
Life in project land has been moving at a quick pace. Earlier this month I released a new website, Automated Web Design, which flaunts a simple web development technique for bloggers and Internet marketers. www.automated-web-design.com provides a number of tutorial videos chronicling my creation of the site using Artisteer – a brilliant web theme template creator. It is possibly one of my favorite programs that allows me to build WordPress or Joomla themes in minutes (dead serious).
I’m also hard at work on a PlayBook app. My first frontier into PlayBook application development has been a fortunately smooth process. Actionscript is an awesome language and Air is a great framework to be working in. The fact that RIM chose Air as a main SDK for the PlayBook was a smart move IMO.
Along with the app development, I’ve found myself building tools to supplement the BlackBerry PlayBook Air SDK. Some of those tools I’m hoping to release to the community soon.
As a result of all this PlayBook stuff, something that I’ve found myself looking into without much success in the last week has been Adobe’s FXG vector file format. For whatever reason, in the latest Air/Flex SDK, Adobe has decided to deprecate the far more common SVG vector image file type in favor of their own markup that they call FXG. It’s not that the schema or documentation is not available – as always, Adobe provides a good dish of documentation on their website. The problem is that Adobe Illustrator is one of the very few programs capable of writing to this format and I’m not at all interested in purchasing Illustrator. Apparently Illustrator does a somewhat lousy job of converting from SVG to FXG anyway.
So in my quest to find more FXG related resources, I’ve put this tiny list together:
fxgeditor is a simple Flash based FXG online vector graphics editor. It supports shapes, paths, lines and some effects but doesn’t seem to do gradients very well – at least from what I saw. But like I said – it’s simple and free. Certainly no Illustrator, but often Illustrator is unnecessary.
Project ROME by Adobe
This is interesting. In an attempt to create creative software tools as a service, Adobe released “Project ROME”. This app is available in both an online version and Air desktop application. The application allows you to create documents in a variety of ways. The documents can then be exported in a number of formats including FXG files. Despite the potential that Project ROME seems to have, Adobe decided to stop development on it and released the application for free. This, of course, works in our favor.
InkScape SVG to FXG xslt plugin
An extension was recently committed to the InkScape trunk for FXG exporting from the fantastic InkScape vector editor. Post #24 in the link above describes how to install it. Further down in the buglog (link above) there is a link to the updated xslt transform that is used to transform the SVG document to FXG.
Fortunately there is a difference between “deprecated” and “not supported” and SVG files can still be embedded into swf files. I can’t see that changing any time soon. In fact, I’d be seriously surprised if Adobe fully removed support for SVG. It would be like (although arguably opposite) Google removing support for h264 video in Chrome… oh wait….