TP4 and Flash
GSLogic Posts: 562
Since AMX has updated their site with FLASH we all can see the power of the software. I think it would be a huge asset to incorporate Flash swf files in TP4 design. Flash swf files can send frame markers or even text strings (when they reach different frames) that would trigger TP to react to their commands. The files are small and can talk to just about any outside device. Any other thoughts?
Licensing and cost. The touch panels are rather expensive to begin with; would it be cost effective to add a feature that most companies wouldn't or couldn't utilize? I have a feeling most companies use the stock templates due to the lack of a full time programmer or graphic artist / panel designer. And for the companies that have the full time programmer that doesn't know flash, that's one more thing they'll need to spend time in learning.
Sure, AMX could come out with some stock flash templates, but when was the last time they put out a new TP template in the first place? I thought I heard they were going to be rolling new templates out every month or quarter; that lasted for two templates. I can obviously see their objectives are elsewhere - which is fine by me; I'd rather see them fix bugs of the software we try to trick into doing what we want rather than coming out with some new graphics.
Secondly, would the current hardware support it? Or would a new panel need to be introduced that would be marked as the G5? If so, you could certainly expect to pay more for the panel. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Flash need to run on a Windows, Mac or Linux system? I'd be interested in what type of "operating system" our G4s run on.
I would go for it, and think it would be an awesome addition in capabilities of the TPs, especially if someone is paying $5k for panal. But a realistic goal? I unfotunately think not. (Though I'm certainly open to the idea that it can be.)
Please . . . someone prove me wrong because I would love to see Flash incorperated into the panels.
If they developed software to generate a swf file, then someone could easily use it with a non-AMX hardware device. The other thing is development in TPDesign4 is far quicker than with Flash. I don't think Flash will ever be promoted by AMX or their competitor, as they both have many years invested in their current environment.
You can serve a web based Flash interface from a Netlinx processor now. It requires minor software shims on each end. But again this won't be promoted by AMX or their competitor, as they are in the hardware business. I can provide these software shims on a commercial basis.
I believe the G4 panels run on Linux, not to be naive... but can't the free Flash/Linux player be added to the panels. The difficult part would be to implement the communication to the Flash file frame markers to get control features from the Flash file.
Keep in mind, I'm just throwing out ideas to see what others think. I know there's much more to be hashed out in a venture of this magnitude.
Wouldn't there still be some licensing issues? One other thing to think of: Macromedia / Adobe Flash Pro is $700 as opposed to TPD4 . . . which is free. Flash would be great to implement with TPD4 because I would love to see the capability of having smoother animations without the cost of a gazillion images loaded up in the TP; not to mention the fact that we can only have 100 states in a button. Though you could have two buttons stacked on top of eachother, then hide and unhide when state 100 is reached - if you needed more.
The graphic capability would be outstanding not to mention the file size and it would open up a very easy way to get information to/from the internet.
Even if it was just used for the visual aspects of Flash. You wouldn't have to deal with TP4 button states, you could just send a goto string value to the flash swf file and the flash movie would jump or play to that marker.
Yeah, $399 for the basic and $699 for professional. And the cost of Duet? A bit unfair - I do agree. I'm not debating on the usages of Flash, I'm just bringing up the question of how many companies would spend ~$400 on a program that they may think sounds great, but learn that it takes a quite a bit of extra effort for any end results to look really good.
Thanks for the correction. I thought I ran into a problem of the panel actually displaying over 100 states, which is why I've assume the 100 state limitation. Thanks for the correction.
I can see your point but you then you could also make the same point about needing to have such software as Photoshop or Fireworks to edit your images that are used in TP4.
My thoughts are, you really don't need Photoshop to edit images if you don't use images and the same would be true with Flash.
I like the idea of offering a Flash-controlled touchpanel as a product. There are a lot of Flash programmers out there of all different ages and it would be cheaper to find one than it is to train and certify a NetLinx programmer. (note: this is a time/money comparison, I'm not advocating one of these can replace the other)
On the whole you get a lot more flexibility designing with Flash than with TPDesign4, although TPDesign4 makes a lot of tasks much faster (e.g. Power Assign). Of course, Flash is object oriented whereas TPDesign4 is not, so in large projects designing in Flash is more efficient.
My biggest concern would be the amount of memory and speed that running Flash requires... it could be a real drain on wireless units especially with a lot of MCs (MovieClips) on the page at once running enterFrame scripts such as hit detection or counters. Programmers/Animators would have to exercise restraint.
I wouldn't worry about companies being willing to spend $400 on a copy of Flash. If you're hiring a Flash programmer, why not have him/her design your company's website in Flash during the time between jobs?
I don't think the current hardware can handle Flash, and AMX may be doing more important things right now, but if we're taking votes, my vote is yes, Flash incorporation is worth the resources it would take to create it.
It would certainly elicit a different style of project design, as more of the logic would occur on the panel side than on the controller side like it does now.