how litl and actionscript became BFFs

November 9th, 2009 § 6 comments

it takes a world to build a litl

as promised, i’m back with some technical details about how the litl and flash/actionscript work together to make channels.

as you may already know (and can learn more about from scott and lucas), the litl runs a custom operating system. on top of this, the litl runs an implementation of flash lite which has been fine-tuned for us by the smart folks at calsoft. some examples of features we’ve been able to include, beyond what you’d expect, include bitmap caching and hardware-accelerated video decoding. I have to say, h.264, fullscreen on a radiant 1280x800px screen with a 178 degree viewing angle, is hottt.

you may wonder why flash lite and not AIR. our OS doesn’t have the usual windowing paradigm (no way to create a new NativeWindow). on the other hand, we are fully aware of and excited by what’s happening at the open screen project and look forward to the next generation of flash for mobile.

so there’s the OS, then flash lite, then channels. channels start with content from an existing website – perhaps an RSS feed or other XML or JSON goodness. They ingest and parse the data, then feed it into the three views (card, full, and channel views). in its simplest form this can mean just populating a few movieclips in your library. but the structure is also robust enough to handle full-blown mvc apps.

we’ve written a straightforward protocol to connect the channel with the device over an XML socket. the channel can make requests (to initialize its title bar or set properties) and receive events (such as notice that the user has flipped the device into easel mode, followed by go-button and scroll-wheel actions). we’re wrapping up all this goodness into an SDK to open up the fun, innovative, and rewarding world of channel development to the actionscript community. third-party developers, stay tuned!

in the meantime, we at litl hq are busy developing some beautiful and useful forthcoming channels (hat tip to tremendous designs by the stellar crew at fort franklin). more soon!

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