Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Future of Automotive From the Motor City -April 19th

By James Salter

Teleca wrapped up an interesting week in Detroit for the annual SAE 2011 World Congress (Society of Automotive Engineers) conference April 12-14. While the automotive industry and the Detroit area have both taken their lumps in the past few years, there is renewed optimism on all fronts. SAE 2011 was better attended than last year and most of the big automakers were present with large booths.

The main focus of the event was on new technologies: hybrid and electric vehicles and new dashboard displays dominated many of the booths. Most of the big automakers will be releasing pure electric cars in the next year or so if they already don’t offer one. A good number of engineers who visited the Teleca booth were very interested in our talents with the Android platform as proprietary closed systems are getting replaced. This will pose some interesting opportunities for the industry as it demands a set of standards for in-vehicle technologies.

How will start-up times be met with increasing functionalities added over time for these dashboard systems? Will the OEMs allow for mobile applications onto their own infotainment units or set up their own Android storefronts? Whatever the answers, it is clear that the industry requires partnering with new players that understand the industry, the hardware to software connectivity issues and the different open source or standardized platforms to choose from.

A final thanks to the GENIVI Alliance. Teleca team members had a great time at the dinner networking event hosted by GENIVI on April 13th. The event allowed members to showcase their demos and discuss the alliance's achievements and membership benefits. Teleca was able to demonstrate Meego on a Freescale unit with touchscreen functionality. Look for more exciting demonstrations of Teleca’s expertise in automotive at the upcoming GENIVI all members meeting in Dublin, Ireland on May 4-6 and at the Telematics Update 2011 on June 8-9 in Novi, MI.

Monday, April 18, 2011

IST, Incremental Scenario Testing, story continues -April 18th

By Matthias Ratert

In October 2010 I have announced within this blog that the Incremental Scenario Testing Tool (ISTT) will be published as Open Source.

Since November the IST tool can be downloaded on SourceForge: http://sourceforge.net/projects/istt.

To advertise this great methodology I have published an article in the Testing Experience magazine (http://www.testingexperience.com) in the December issue about Open Source projects. Listing IST on opensourcetesting.org pushed the public interest even more. And the results are amazing: Almost 500 downloads from 57 countries so far! Almost every day ISTT is downloaded. India seems to be most interested in the tool – 113 downloads until now means rank #1. US (52 downloads), Germany (46 downloads) and UK (24 downloads) are following. Even some people from New Zealand, South Africa and Panama have tried it!

However the feedback could be more verbose: 9 users on SourceForge like the project, but unfortunately nobody has written a review so far.

On the other hand the recognition of IST in Teleca is increasing. Couple of projects are investigating the usage or are already testing with the IST approach.

And the community is growing, I’m not the only one anymore developing ISTT further. Some colleagues from Lodz are implementing features needed in their project!

As you see, the methodology and the tool are continuously improved, we have published already 6 updates and the 7th including cool new features is in preparation.

So just stay tuned or try it, use it, love it ;-)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

for Flash digital creators -did you visit FITC? April 4th

by Peter Buth (UI Architect)

What started out as Canada’s Flash event about 9 years ago has become a world-wide event around Flash and related design technologies with around 50 events so far.

For the 4th time FITC (abbreviation comes from its origin title “Flash In The Canada”) is also held in Europe, namely Amsterdam. All kinds of Digital Creators meet here to learn about new technologies and to get inspired. This year’s FITC Amsterdam took place March 8th and 9th plus option for an additional full day workshop on March 7th. About 350 participants took the chance to meet each other - some maybe merely came for the 2 evening parties...

Flash Developer Evangelist Paul Trani and Flash Senior Product Manager Tom Barclay (both Adobe) presented a lot of hot stuff around what's up and coming to the Flash Platform. "Flash on devices" was the name of the ~6 h workshop showing how to design for multiple screens - meaning for different screen resolutions and even different platforms.
One part of it was Adobe AIR 2.6 for Android, which was just recently released for Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb. Besides some performance improvements related to scrolling, H.264 video and GPU accelerated animations also additional Android gestures, Bitmap Capture for StageWebView and support for iOS/iPad have been added, just to name a few enhancements. [Now even AIR 2.7 beta is available]

The second FITC day started with "HTMLArraaagh!" presentation by Doug Winnie (Principle Product Manager, Interactive Design, Adobe).
Recognizing that there is a shift in mobile technology towards HTML 5 & CSS3 he recently started to experiment with HTML5 which is often used as an acronym for using a bunch of new technologies like HTML5 Canvas (originally from Apple for dashboard widgets), CSS3 (especially Transitions, Transforms, Animations) and JavaScript. As mobile browsers already now quite well support them "they will be an important part of tablet and mobile web design today and in the future."
Adobe is also investing in new HTML5-related tools – see e.g. the Wallyby tool on Adobe Labs.
When talking about games Flash technology is a key player: Many know Flash based games like Farmville by Zynga. More than 65 million daily users on the Zynga gaming platform - with 14 million Farmville users per day - that's really impressive!
With 3D in Flash games it's getting even more impressive - currently many developed using Papervision3D. But there is more: Away3D (recently 4.0 alpha announced), Sophie 3D, CopperCube, Flare3D - just to name a few tools and engines.
Just recently Adobe also made a preview of "Molehill" available on Adobe Labs which is a bunch of low-level 3D APIs for Flash and AIR that use GPU-acceleration. Molehill shall be released within this year!

A separate session with Andrew Shorten (Senior Product Manager for Flash Builder) and Deepa Subramaniam (Senior Product Manager for the Flex SDK) was dedicated to the new and upcoming features in the Flex framework, the Flash Builder as well as the Flash Catalyst tool also enhancing the designer-developer workflow. Now also rapidly building RIAs for mobile devices – either using Flash Player or AIR runtime – will be better supported e.g. by offering special templates for mobile. Same as with the latest AIR release also Flash Player 10.3 comes with a lot of performance optimizations for iOS and Android platform.

Another device that Flash tools can be used to develop for is the BlackBerry Playbook - the 7" tablet device RIM announced last fall. As it's not yet available I chose to get first hand information by attend the session about "Building BlackBerry PlayBook Applications with Adobe AIR" by Sanyu Kiruluta (Team Lead for Developer Relations, EMEA at Research In Motion).
Taking into account the BlackBerry community with more than 55 million global subscribers and 300.000 registered developers (as of October 2010; mainly Java, some for web development) it seem sensible to also take BlackBerry devices into account when developing mobile applications.

The PlayBook uses a Webkit browser and fully supports Flash Player 10.1 and AIR 2.5. Besides HTML5 Audio and Video also Adobe Flash Stage Video as well as SQLite can be used.
RIM offers the BlackBerry® Tablet OS SDK for Adobe® AIR® as well as the Playbook Simulator and a lot of documentation for free.
Interested in developing for the PlayBook? Then go ahead and download the tools. I already did.

If you like to read even more – e.g. about multiscreen development – the entire report can be found here: http://www.teleca.com/FITC