Flash is King

There is really no denying it at this point for anyone who was seriously contending. Flash has the crown and is in no way giving it up.

After seeing what Alchemy can do at the keynote today, P2P multicast video, Durango, and Server-Side ActionScript (!) during Sneaks this evening…

Good God… what an awesome time to be a Flash Platform developer. I’ve seen more than enough in the past two days to validate all that I am doing, professionally. I neglect to even mention Flash Catalyst or Gumbo in all this- that’s just ‘normal’ stuff compared to what is coming down the pipeline.

I asked the JavaFX guy today why I should use his technology over Flash. His only remark was that Java was 13 years old… okay.

An amazing show of Flash over the entire conference and the competition is defenseless. Go Flash!

Adobe Not to Blame for Amazon Exploit

I had heard about a security concern over Amazon’s video streaming service a few days ago with a lot of people (including some at Amazon) blaming Adobe for the security hole.  Apparently, there is an exploit in their (Amazons) player that allows stream-ripping a full video.

I’ve read the documentation on FMS3 security features and have used quite a few myself.  Knowing these features, I could not understand how the Flash Player security model could be at fault- it seemed much more likely that the developers simply didn’t cover all their bases.

Whenever I read something like this, I am naturally concerned as I’ve thrown quite a bit of support behind FMS over the years.

Well, it seems that my hunch was correct and Adobe is not to blame.  People are far too quick to pass judgement on things like this, whether it’s Adobe, Microsoft, Apple or some other giant corporation, everyone jumps on the bandwagon when a story like this breaks.  Give it a rest…

Client.videoSampleAccess False-Negative

In past versions of FMS, developers were barred from accessing raw audio and video data over RTMP and had to resort to a number of hacks and proxies to get around the restriction.  As time went by and new versions of the Flash Player were released, a lot of these loopholes were blocked as well.

With FMS3, there is Client.videoSampleAccess: a property of the Flash Media Server 3 that allows direct access to raw stream data for video use (“audioSampleAccess” for audio).  This can be used for things like producing visual audio spectrums or grabbing a still from a video stream.  It is applied within the onConnect method of the Application server class as demonstrated here:

appClient.audioSampleAccess = "/";
appClient.videoSampleAccess = "/";

In the above example, the “/” signifies that any streams within the application directory are allowed to be sampled in this way.  You can also specify a semicolon-delimited list of folder names instead if you need to be picky.

Something I came across today and the whole point of this post: even when you have Client.videoSampleAccess set up properly on Flash Media Server, you will still receive a security sandbox violation error #2123 if the stream data is not available.  This can easily happen if you have a timer invoking BitmapData.draw every few milliseconds on loading content.

One way to get around this is using NetStatusEvent.NET_STATUS making sure it reports “NetStream.Buffer.Full” before attempting to access the stream data.  Depending on what you are doing, you can oftentimes check the object recieving the stream data to be sure it is accessible first.  this all seems really obvious now, but threw me for a bit of a loop, initially.

Flash Media Interactive Server 3

We’ve been running Flash Media Interactive Server 3 for over two weeks now on one of our media servers and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I was going to put off the upgrade from FMS2 for a few months while testing and waiting on a point release, but after having so many issues with FMS2 and with the security patch released last week, decided to just push ahead.

I’d recommend anyone having weird issues with FMS2 to upgrade as soon as you possibly can. It only takes about 15 minutes and will preserve all your current applications. I did need to update some of my client SWFs- but only because of how much more accurate this new version is.

While I had to continually monitor FMS2 for various problems, this new server has been nothing but stable, fast, and just a great performer all-around! I am honestly so pleased with the results that I want to give a general ‘thanks’ to the team involved in this latest release. You have taken a load off my shoulders!

Flash Media Server 3 Announced

I really, really hope that one of the improvements is a better security model when it comes to RTMP security restriction when accessing byte-level data…

PLEASE, Adobe…

Allow developers to access RTMP streams via BitmapData.draw() and SoundMixer.computeSpectrum()… please!

Features important to my projects include:

  • Improved performance
  • H.264 and AAC streaming support
  • New security features
  • Improved live video support
  • Tracking

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