On Air – Specifying an interactive gallery application

Air development, specifying an interactive galleryA few weeks ago I mentioned a dev-off between the Silverlight-loving developers and the AIR-fanatic design team and promised to keep you guys in the loop as to what is happening in the meantime. As you may remember from a previous article, we are planning to develop an application for users to view a photo gallery of a client’s website, to receive updates, and to give the user the ability to rate and / or comment on these photos. We have now begun working on the first steps for this project and to prepare a base of information for the application to source the information from and to work on.

I have now set up a production environment which hosts a demo site with the exact gallery-specifications as per discussion with the client. The gallery will host a number of images as uploaded by the client (client-images), give registered users the ability to upload and tag their own images (user-images), as well as rate and / or comment on any images (rate-client-image, rate-user-image, comment-client-image, comment-user-image) other than their own images.

The production environment runs on ASPX, .net, XSLT and outputs an XML feed for the image information, descriptions, ratings, comments and the user names of the uploader as well as the commentator. To keep the number of threads hitting the servers low we specified that the would only use one feed to the rich internet application (as opposed to having the comments sent in from a separate feed).

We are going to leave commenting out for now, as we have a small issue with the way our system is handling user-generated content, so the structure for the XML-feed is going to be as follows:

XML code snippet for the Adobe AIR image gallery

I will be tackling the project in two ways, in the attempt to learn a bit more about Flash’s ActionScript 3.0 I will be beginning a development within Flash. We have also purchased a license for Flex Builder 3.0, so once that has arrived I will be looking into preparing the gallery aspects from within Flex as well. Especially when it comes down to being able to rate images from the rich internet application and uploading the ratings to our system Flex Builder might be the way forward. Sorry, this was just a short update with nothing really noteworthy to say, but I thought I’d keep you guys in the loop that we have begun work on it today.

On another note, Adobe Labs has finally released an alpha candidate for its rich internet application runtime AIR as well as a Linux version of Flex Builder. Good times!