Posts Tagged ‘silverlight’

Microsoft GeoSynth to compete with Google Street View (MacNN)

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Republished from Mac News Network.

Microsoft has announced plans to launch a mapping service, GeoSynth, that will take on Google’s Street View mapping feature, according to Pocket-lint. The new service will use Photosynth technology to merge high-definition photos taken and submitted by the general public, and then relate the content according to geographic data. The program could also be connected to Virtual Earth, potentially enabling users to browse street-level views of almost any location worldwide. According to Virtual Earth technology specialist Johannes Kebeck, the system will take the best images from a location to create a single image of a specific landmark. All geo-tagged images submitted by users will be uploaded into a central database that combines them into a larger detailed picture of the area.

Microsoft also made an announcement that Virtual Earth will support Silverlight in a beta to be released this summer. The company claims users will be able to access map tiles roughly nine times faster in its Internet Explorer 8 browser, or five times faster in Google’s Chrome browser.

Geosynth is expected to launch sometime later this year.

New Web 2.0 APIs Make GIS Access and Integration Capability Available to Everyone (ESRI ArcNews)

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

[Editor's note: 2 of 2 articles of note from the Fall 2008 ESRI ArcNews magazine. This about new ArcGIS web 2.0 API services for JavaScript and Flex / Actionscript / MXML allow Google Maps style mashups. Includes informative podcast.]

Republished from ESRI ArcNews.

ArcGIS Server 9.3 Radically Simplifies Users’ Experience

click to enlarge An executive dashboard mashup created with ArcGIS Server that provides city staff the ability to monitor the status of capital improvements, 311 calls, and police patrols.

With the release of ArcGIS 9.3, ESRI provides a new set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that extend the range of what developers can do with mashups. These APIs give mashup developers more opportunities to rapidly build lightweight, focused applications on top of ArcGIS Server using JavaScript, Flex, Silverlight, and many other scripting languages. As a result, organizations can begin deploying an entirely new pattern of mashups, which involves combining internal and external data sources to create an application that solves a particular problem. These mashups more closely match the types of relationships, workflows, and administration developers need to support on a daily basis.

GIS-powered mashups empower users to solve real problems by incorporating the business knowledge and resource investments made by the organization and putting it in the hands of the decision makers and analysts who need to rely on trusted information. For example, a city government might build a mashup that focuses on vacant properties or brownfields to support community planning and economic development. In this case, parcel data might be combined with tools to analyze the development potential of a property based on different scenarios. The tools would appear as a simple button or drop-down menu of choices but, when executed, would access internally hosted information, such as zoning, crime, and infrastructure, and perform server-side analytics on the GIS server. The user would be presented with a hot spot or graduated-color map highlighting the areas that best met the selected criteria. This type of mashup could be used at the front counter or on the desk of an economic development specialist to help engage business and industry owners interested in moving their operation to the community. It would provide access to authoritative data not readily available on the Internet.

click to enlarge ArcGIS Server offers a rich set of tools to build lightweight Web applications.

Until recently, mashups have been thought of as Web applications that aggregate data feeds from multiple Web services into a simple and often social or consumer-oriented Web application. Mapping mashups show the locations of points of interest generated from available services and GeoRSS feeds that contain spatial information, such as addresses or coordinates. Now, organizations are adopting the concept that mashups can be useful for conducting business and providing critical functionality to their users and business partners either over the Web or through internal distribution. Enterprise systems, like customer relationship management (CRM) or asset management systems, can be coupled with ArcGIS Server services to provide business and government managers and analysts with unique access to their authoritative knowledge bases. This means that an enterprise mashup must efficiently and seamlessly blend the GIS platform with the organization’s underlying systems architecture.

ArcGIS Server gives organizations the ability to manage and deploy Web services for mapping, data management, and geospatial analytics. These ArcGIS Server Web services allow organizations to leverage their internal GIS resources, as well as services hosted on other GIS servers, and put them to work in enterprise mashups. Because ArcGIS Server is built on industry and Web standards to support service-oriented architectures (SOAs) and hundreds of data formats, organizations are provided with an integration platform for creating and managing enterprise mashups.

In-depth description of the JavaScript and Flex APIs and podcast links on the next page…

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Apple’s open secret: SproutCore is Cocoa for the Web

Monday, June 16th, 2008

sprout core logo 2All this talk of Rich Internet Applications and choosing if one should use Flash, Silverlight, or some Googley “open source” solution can leave the head spinning. Most often it is best just to get the job done with the tools and skill set at hand. But what does the future hold?

Several clues are at hand, revealed at last week’s Apple developers conference in San Francisco.

Safari is about to get much faster at running javascript, the web programming language that powers many neat Web 2.0 style sites. Other browsers are getting faster, too. Why? Because this is the slowdown bottleneck in the Web 2.0 environment. (Example speed increase here.)

Apple has been contributing heavily to the open-source SproutCore javascript frameworks and they form the basis of much of the new MobileMe service that replaces dot.mac. This is their push factor. Almost all vestiges of Flash have been removed from Apple.com and replaced with “standards” focused elements that are just as spiffy.

Why SproutCore? It is being used to deploy Apple’s own Cocoa programming frameworks from the Mac (that’s what gives the Mac it’s look-and-feel) onto the web as open standards that will enable “desktop” like applications (in their look and power) to run in your web browser. And on your Windows PC, to boot. Talk about an end-game run around!

From RoughlyDrafted.com (source):

SproutCore not only makes it easy to build real applications for the web using menus, toolbars, drag and drop support, and foreign language localization, but it also provides a full Model View Controller application stack like Rails (and Cocoa), with bindings, key value observing, and view controls. It also exposes the latent features of JavaScript, including late binding, closures, and lambda functions. Developers will also appreciate tools for code documentation generation, fixtures, and unit testing.

A key component of its clean MVC philosophy that roots SproutCore into Cocoa goodness is bindings, which allows developers to write JavaScript that automatically runs any time a property value changes. With bindings, very complex applications with highly consistent behavior can be created with very little “glue” code.

Read more on this topic at AppleInsider.com and RoughlyDrafted.com.

Flash Wars: Adobe in the History and Future of Flash

Monday, May 12th, 2008

AppleInsider.com’s Prince McLean produced a three part series earlier this month on the Flash Wars.

Direct links to Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

(Reprinted from AppleInsider) 

Pitted against Microsoft’s efforts to crush Flash using its own copycat Silverlight platform, open source projects seeking to duplicate Flash for free, and Apple’s efforts to create a mobile platform wholly free of any trace of Flash, Adobe has scrambled to announce efforts to make Flash a public specification in the Open Screen Project.

Will it help get Flash on the iPhone? Here’s the first segment of a three part series with a historical overview of the wars between Flash and Adobe, Microsoft, Sun, Apple, Google, and the open source community, the problems Flash faces today, and what future Flash can hope for as an open specification.

A Brief History of Flash

Flash originated at FutureWave Software as SmartSketch, an innovative drawing tool. In 1995, the software was repositioned as FutureSplash Animator, with support for cell based animation. It was pitched as a way to quickly draw and animate vector-based graphics for efficient delivery over the web, as a direct challenge to Macromedia’s heavier and more complex Authorware and its Director-created Shockwave content.

FutureWave pitched the product to Adobe, but it was Macromedia that bought it in 1996, hoping to integrate it as an approachable, entry level member of its content production tools as the company’s business was rapidly pushed from CD-ROM oriented products to the web. Macromedia abbreviated the name from FutureSplash to Flash.

It turned out that the easy to use Flash rapidly sidelined Macromedia’s existing Authorware and Shockwave. Flash made it easy for designers to create interactive content with only minimal development knowledge. The real break for Flash came when Macromedia lined up a bundling agreement with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 5, which resulted in the Flash player software being widely distributed.

While Microsoft embraced Flash, it actively worked in parallel to stop Sun’s Java and Netscape’s web browser as threats to Windows. Microsoft’s efforts to sideline Java into a Windows programming language and its strategy to embrace and extend standards-based, platform agnostic HTML into web pages that only worked in Internet Explorer gave Macromedia’s Flash fertile ground to grow as a quick and simple alternative to the more complex and resource intensive Java as a way to create simple, interactive applets on the web.

Adobe Hates, Then Buys Flash

Adobe purchased Macromedia in 2005 largely to obtain Flash, the crown jewel of Macromedia’s web development tool assets. Prior to owning it, Adobe unsuccessfully worked hard to kill it as a competing product.

In 1998, when Macromedia and Microsoft submitted VML to the W3C as a potential web standard for vector graphics (based on Microsoft’s RTF), Adobe teamed up with Sun to push the rival PGML specification (based on Adobe’s PostScript). The W3C developed a new standard that drew from both, called SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

Adobe pushed SVG as a competitor to Flash right up until it bought Flash, distributing the Adobe SVG Player as a free web plugin. Microsoft continued to push its own VML, which it built into Internet Explorer. This prevented either VML or SVG from making much progress, as other browsers didn’t support VML, while the SVG open standard saw little adoption given Adobe’s weak presence in web development tools. That let Flash easily win out over both as the way to develop and present animated vector graphics on the web.

Flash continued to develop at Macromedia, gaining a scripting language based on JavaScript and other features that turned it into a full presentation development tool rather than just a way to distribute small interactive graphics. Macromedia even took swipes back at Adobe, introducing FlashPaper as an alternative to Adobe’s PDF as a way to distribute electronic documents in the Flash format.

After buying Flash, Adobe gave up support for its own weak SVG Player rival and has apparently discarded FlashPaper as a PDF competitor. However, the rest of the industry has plenty of reasons to still hate Flash, as will be presented in part two: The Many Enemies and Obstacles of Flash.

Continue reading on AppleInsider.com . . .