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Thread: Why Not a Flash Front End?

  1. #41
    Variable Bitrate natedawgg's Avatar
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    I have to agree. much past this point and you really don't have a flash frontend. if you pour that much development time into a backend, you might as well leverage the OS's framework and just build a whole application. Flash is nice, and i love furthering NAS, but it really does have its limitations. NAS is just a fun project for me that works very well for my needs. considering there is no OS X frontend that can really do much more than music and still cant do native navigation (save for Qcar, but who knows when that will be actually available to the public and for what price), Flash works very well and holds its own against the other native frontends IMO. I will say this though, once there is a solid solution for GPS, the native frontends are going trounce flash. But until that day comes, i am going to continue the good fight
    Check out the new version of NAS, a cross platform music frontend here

  2. #42
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    i'ld be interested in a flash frontend but it'ld have to have:

    1. Access to the opperating system upon close
    2. full volume control (maybe using volmouse)
    3. full playlist support both m3u and pls files. (maybe custom xml ones aswell)
    4. speedo with mph and kph
    5. multi-screen selection (so the frontend works on one monitor and doesnt display on the other)
    6. dvd playback (maybe vlc streaming as flv)

    just a few things that i'ld want as a client

  3. #43
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    7. It does have to fry the computer every time it performs just a slightly more complicated operation.

  4. #44
    Low Bitrate ikon240's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    7. It does have to fry the computer every time it performs just a slightly more complicated operation.
    If a flash based front end is developed, the reason I would suggest the architecture I did is to AVOID this exact situation. Flash player runtime doesn't have the resources that your entire machine does. If you try to do a lot, say play an mp3 and do all your gps routing in ActionScript it will bog down the flash player and fry your machine. If you offload whatever is reasonably heavy to a backend, your machine will run fine.

    The main reason I am a proponent of this approach is because it is currently the best approach to having one front end run on all platforms. If your platform supports flash and j2ee/python, this front end will "work". That takes care of just about every flavor of OS one would run on a carputer.

  5. #45
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    This whole multiplatform holy grail is a BS in my opinion. Any such solution will have to make too many compromises and you end up with a system that runs everywhere, but does not run well anywhere. If Adobe and especially Quark products do not ilustrate this very clearly, then I do not know what does.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    This whole multiplatform holy grail is a BS in my opinion. Any such solution will have to make too many compromises and you end up with a system that runs everywhere, but does not run well anywhere. If Adobe and especially Quark products do not ilustrate this very clearly, then I do not know what does.

    As an end-user, I do not give rat's rear end about the other systems or actually about the systems in general. I want a box, that runs reliably and does what I need. Do I like Road Runner? Then I buy/build a Linux box. Do I prefer QCar? A Mac with Mac OS X it is. We have several customers, who would probably never use OS X on desktop/laptop (maybe at gunpoint), but they have no problem with QCar running under that system.

    I understand the situation is a bit different for the developer who wants to sell boxed software - the more platforms, the more potential users. But again - the proper solution in my opinion is to make a good analysis and design, then separate implementations for each of the supported system, using the best technologies, libraries etc. available on that system.

    I understand that buzzwords like sharing of code etc. sound nice in presentations, but the actual difference in the work and costs involved is minimal (because many abstraction layers and the need to re-implement part of the native functionality of the OS). In my opinion, this small (and uncertain) saving does not justify the lower quality of the product compared to a fully native implementation.
    A) RoadRunner is windows not linux
    B) The problems are language specific...flash is probably the most difficult application to make platform specific, then java, then .net. I have full .net code running on all three major platforms.....did it take a lot more planning-yea....but it certainly didn't involve sacrifices.
    C++ with a cross platform library like qt is even easier and involves only minimal work other then cross compiling. Be careful about the generalizations you make based on the limitations of one archaic technology.

  7. #47
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Ups, I decided to remove most of the post and not provoke another flame, but you were faster ;-) OK, the admin can always delete these posts later...

    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    A) RoadRunner is windows not linux
    Mea maxima culpa. But the point is that if I liked RR, I would install whatever system it requires, even if it were Windows, that I do not like at all on desktop. I do not care what OS my printer, home alarm or dishwasher run - why should I if they do the job the way I want?

    B) The problems are language specific...flash is probably the most difficult application to make platform specific, then java, then .net.
    Yes, but also the most difficult to take advantage of the features of the operating systems. Grand Central Dispatch? No, sorry. Communication with other processes and isolation of problematic code? No, sorry... And I am sure there are features of other operating systems that do not have a counterpart on OS X, but can be very useful to a native Windows/Linux application.

    I admit though, that when user interface and low-level stuff is not involved, Java is quite fine, but this is mostly due to standardization and heavy optimization into the VMs that took years of effort, billions of dollars and support of the OS vendors. And when it comes to GUI, it is still a problem.

    I have full .net code running on all three major platforms.....did it take a lot more planning-yea....but it certainly didn't involve sacrifices.
    So you can use all the functionality of .NET framework on Mac OS X and still take advantage of all the unique functions of the OS X like Grand Central Dispatch, text services, Text-To-Speech, playback of DRM-protected media etc?

    C++ with a cross platform library like qt is even easier and involves only minimal work other then cross compiling.
    Why would I use something so ***** like C++ on a OS X, where I have Objective-C with luxurious Cocoa and related frameworks? Why would I use it on Windows where I have C# and .NET framework? And of course, why would I insist on using Objective C on Windows when .NET framework provides so much more functionality than the current GNUStep?

    Qt may be multi-platform and not a bad choice for a custom OS distribution, but why would I use it on systems, that have their own, native and optimized user interface, usually also more advanced?

    Be careful about the generalizations you make based on the limitations of one archaic technology.
    We still have the right to free speech, right? ;-) I am just stating my opinion, that is backed by some experience with software development and also try to explain why I think what I think. In this case, this is not about one particular archaic technology and its limitations. The basic problem is that each operating system is different and has its strong and weak points. Universal solutions are limited by the common denominator or required to re-implement functionality, that is available in native form, just for the sake of portability. This was the case with Quark XPress and its own GUI-drawing routines a few years ago. Of course such reimplementations cannot take advantages of operating system upgrades, need to be maintained...

    Let's forget computers for a moment and think about construction business. You do adjust the technology and design depending on what material you have. If you get standard US 2x4"s, it makese sense to use one of the typical framing designs. If you get massive 10x10"s, you will more likely choose one of the other technologies similar to log house. Of course, you could create one design, that would somehow work for both 2x4s and 10x10s, but it would be a pain in the neck to do this. My approach on the other hand is to make a general, technology-independent plan of the house - shape, layout etc. and then build it using the material that is available and the technology that matches it best.

    SUUM CUIQUE

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Ups, I decided to remove most of the post and not provoke another flame, but you were faster ;-) OK, the admin can always delete these posts later...
    Not trying to flame just sharing my opinion in response to yours
    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Yes, but also the most difficult to take advantage of the features of the operating systems. Grand Central Dispatch? No, sorry. Communication with other processes and isolation of problematic code? No, sorry... And I am sure there are features of other operating systems that do not have a counterpart on OS X, but can be very useful to a native Windows/Linux application.
    GCD aka threading and parallelization (10year old tech just has a nice wrapper to make it easier on devs)? Isolation of problematic code aka sandboxing (thats the whole point of managed code)? On a low enough level everything is the same, but the nice part is that most of the time you don't have to go very low to get identical functionality.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    I admit though, that when user interface and low-level stuff is not involved, Java is quite fine, but this is mostly due to standardization and heavy optimization into the VMs that took years of effort, billions of dollars and support of the OS vendors. And when it comes to GUI, it is still a problem.

    So you can use all the functionality of .NET framework on Mac OS X and still take advantage of all the unique functions of the OS X like Grand Central Dispatch, text services, Text-To-Speech, playback of DRM-protected media etc?
    Actually a lot of them yea. Instead of having to write everything from scratch three times I was able to reuse 90% of the same code without changing a thing and just implement some OS specific stuff using the native frameworks (Carbon is wrapped by .net). I use an OS specific HAL but the entire FE and plugin framework is platform independent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Why would I use something so ***** like C++ on a OS X, where I have Objective-C with luxurious Cocoa and related frameworks? Why would I use it on Windows where I have C# and .NET framework? And of course, why would I insist on using Objective C on Windows when .NET framework provides so much more functionality than the current GNUStep?

    Qt may be multi-platform and not a bad choice for a custom OS distribution, but why would I use it on systems, that have their own, native and optimized user interface, usually also more advanced?
    One word-performance. And no qt is capable of far more then any OS i've seen but not my choice either just throwing it out there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    We still have the right to free speech, right? ;-) I am just stating my opinion, that is backed by some experience with software development and also try to explain why I think what I think. In this case, this is not about one particular archaic technology and its limitations. The basic problem is that each operating system is different and has its strong and weak points. Universal solutions are limited by the common denominator or required to re-implement functionality, that is available in native form, just for the sake of portability. This was the case with Quark XPress and its own GUI-drawing routines a few years ago. Of course such reimplementations cannot take advantages of operating system upgrades, need to be maintained...

    Let's forget computers for a moment and think about construction business. You do adjust the technology and design depending on what material you have. If you get standard US 2x4"s, it makese sense to use one of the typical framing designs. If you get massive 10x10"s, you will more likely choose one of the other technologies similar to log house. Of course, you could create one design, that would somehow work for both 2x4s and 10x10s, but it would be a pain in the neck to do this. My approach on the other hand is to make a general, technology-independent plan of the house - shape, layout etc. and then build it using the material that is available and the technology that matches it best.

    SUUM CUIQUE
    Not trying to in any way dissuade free speech, just sharing the other side of the coin. (Friendly) Debate around here tends to inspire innovation, bring out new ideas or even solve some of the problems we all face in this hobby

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jirka Jirout View Post
    Why would I use something so ***** like C++ on a OS X, where I have Objective-C with luxurious Cocoa and related frameworks? Why would I use it on Windows where I have C# and .NET framework? And of course, why would I insist on using Objective C on Windows when .NET framework provides so much more functionality than the current GNUStep?
    Being a Qt-fanboi, I gotta punch in here on this one.

    You'd use it on OSX because it has a much ligher learning curve than Cocoa, is just as fast, and provides a good number more features. You'd use it on windows because it is blazingly faster than C# and related .net languages, and lightheads ahead of native winapi in features and ease of use. You'd use it on linux because.... well it's fast.

    This entire thread made me laugh a little bit, being a Qt programmer I'm used to speed. That's why I wrote my own frontend, because none of the ones out there were fast enough. Ask anyone who has used it, the interface is fast. Few other language/toolkit combinations can come close to that speed at such high complexity levels. Flash is definitely a bust on that.

    I use Qt for writing apps not because they're cross platform. You say it's not the holy grail, I say it's a damn nice side effect. I use it because it's an extremely fast reasonably lightweight toolkit that does a huge amount of stuff that would otherwise require re-learning a bunch of stuff. It also allows me to develop apps for linux and windows and OSX without having to learn three different programming methods.

    c# is used for a lot of cross platform work because it's easy to learn, easy to use. I think people should stop focusing so much on the fact that stuff is cross platform. I agree with you that it's not the be all to end all of application features, and there shouldn't be as much focus on it... but fwiw, were you to learn native windows API and write an application using the "native" stuff.... you'd learn that it sucks. Same with writing linux applications using raw xlib. And from the looks of it, the same is to be said of OSX. So why not write it in a toolkit that just so happens to be cross platform (like .net or Qt), and add that to the features list?

    Don't get me wrong, Objective-C and Cocoa and even Flash have their place... but I've tried getting into Objective-C and Cocoa and I find them difficult and daunting. Qt just works with a technology I already am familiar with and know how to work. And Flash..... well flash should be limited to web programming. It's worse than using Java for desktop apps :/
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  10. #50
    QCar Creator Jirka Jirout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justchat_1 View Post
    Not trying to flame just sharing my opinion in response to yours
    OK, if that much is clear, I guess we can continue in the same tone...

    GCD aka threading and parallelization (10year old tech just has a nice wrapper to make it easier on devs)?
    That is true, but it does save quite a lot of work (like NSFileHandle does compared to normal POSIX read/write) and you can be more or less sure your application will continue to work in newer versions of OS, sometimes even taking advantages of new functions free of charge.

    Isolation of problematic code aka sandboxing (thats the whole point of managed code)?
    This one was especially targeted at Flash. Sometimes you may want to not only run your app in one sandbox, sometimes you want several smaller sandboxes for parts of your application. At the same time, the sandboxes need to communicate with each other (our hardware connector plug-ins). I do not think this can be done in Flash.

    OS specific stuff using the native frameworks (Carbon is wrapped by .net). I use an OS specific HAL but the entire FE and plugin framework is platform independent.
    That sounds nice, except for the Carbon thing ;-) Unfortunatelly Carbon is not really a native API. It was introduced in the name of easier transition from the old Mac OS to Mac OS X, which might have been a good marketing move at that time, but it has stayed a bit too long and caused way too many problems.

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