Creating Your First AppJS App with Custom Chrome

It seems AppJS is no longer being updated or maintained for the time being. For a similar platform, check out node-webkit which is backed by Intel Open Source and is consistently being improved and updated. I’ll write a new tutorial for node-webkit sometime in the future. Also, despite the legacy name, node-webkit uses Chromium as its base, so it is now using the Blink rendering engine.

Over the past few months, I’ve been studying up and trying out several cross-platform development solutions and one of the more interesting ones I’ve found, as a web designer and developer, is AppJS. It allows development for the desktop for all three major desktop operating systems using the mix of technologies commonly known as HTML5 and node.js.

Of course, I’ve also been using Adobe AIR since it was introduced, though AIR for HTML isn’t all that great in my experience. AppJS, on the other hand, uses the Chromium Embedded Framework which renders content beautifully, is super fast and has all of the latest and greatest features HTML5 has to offer without awkward workarounds.

Before getting started, it is worth mentioning that AppJS is still a relatively new project and documentation is sparse at the moment, but it is being worked on. I’m also not attempting to compile and package a completed app just yet, so I will be using the distributable version and simply replacing the content files throughout this tutorial.
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Digital Art Academy for Windows 8

Windows 8, the newest incarnation of Microsoft Windows, will officially be released to the masses on October 26, 2012. For those unfamiliar with the new operating system, Windows 8 is a reimagining of Windows and comes with a brand new user interface, Metro Modern UI that is, in Microsoft’s terms, “fast and fluid” and “authentically digital.” It is the first time Windows has seen a major redesign since Windows 95, and it is MAJOR! Check out this video to see a preview:

Ahead of the Windows 8 release, Ratio Interactive, a design agency in Seattle, WA launched a design contest for Windows 8 apps. It gave me the perfect excuse to begin exploring the design possibilities of the new operating system. For my entry, I chose to design an app for Digital Art Academy.

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FruitBat 1.5 Update Available

FruitBat 1.5 with Console

It has been a while since the last FruitBat update was made available and since then, a lot has changed. BlackBerry 10 is on the way and Tablet OS updated to 2.0 with 2.1 in beta. WebWorks also continues to evolve in the BlackBerry github repository. With all of the activity around BlackBerry development, FruitBat needed some attention to keep up as well as improve some of its basic functionality. Continue Reading

FruitBat 1.4.0134: Not Expired

I apologize, everyone. I thought I had disabled the expiration on the build that was posted back in November 2011, especially when it didn’t expire properly on January 1, 2012. I was wrong. It didn’t expire in January due to a bug in that build. It is fixed now and FruitBat no longer has an expiration date at all, not even a disabled one.

Download FruitBat 1.4 Beta (Win)
v 1.4.0134 - 1.26 MB – exe

Download FruitBat 1.4 Beta (Mac)
v 1.4.0134 - 1.18 MB – dmg

FruitBat 1.4.0132 Update Available

The FruitBat 1.4.0132 update includes the following changes:

  • BUGFIX: (Mac Only) Automatic updates did not function in 1.4.0127 (sorry guys – you’ll have to download the installer from the site this time). This was fixed and tested in an intermediate unreleased version 1.4.0130.
  • BUGFIX: Auto-generated WebWorks ZIP file name could possibly be invalid when attempting to package a WebWorks app. This would cause packaging to fail. All ZIP file names should be fully valid now, every time.
  • BUGFIX: Register Signing Keys item in the Publish menu was not linked to its action, so it did nothing when selected. Now, registering signing keys via this menu item should function properly.
  • CHANGE:  The process for installing debug tokens was changed to allow file selection if the Debug Token Save Location in the Settings/Preferences window did not contain a valid file location.
  • NEW: Added messages to the console for:
    •  loading XML from any of the available options (drag & drop, shortcut key, menu item)
    • creating/refreshing the package file list
    • updating the main app panel
    • installing standalone BAR files
    • uninstalling standalone BAR files

Windows users may use the update feature to download and install the update automatically. Mac users should use the download button below for this time. There is no need to uninstall the previous version before installing this one. The old version will simply be replaced on install.

Download FruitBat 1.4 Beta (Win)
v 1.4.0134 - 1.26 MB – exe

Download FruitBat 1.4 Beta (Mac)
v 1.4.0134 - 1.18 MB – dmg

FruitBat 1.4 Beta Release

Considering it has been so long, I’ve decided to release a public beta of the in-progress version of FruitBat… and this time something for the Mac folks too! As there is so much new stuff, be sure to check the main page for instructions, though you probably won’t need them because most actions have only one step. How’s that for easy?

FruitBat: Cross-Platform

This beta installation will expire and no longer run at midnight on December 31, 2011.

Updates have been enabled for all current installations. To install the current version, use “Check for updates” from the Help menu. Settings are not compatible between the two versions, so they will have to be redone via the new Settings window. Update is not required if you would like to stay with version 1.3, despite it’s display bug.

Download links, release notes, known issues, etc after the jump.

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FruitBat 1.3 Bug with SDK version 1.1.0

Using Tablet OS SDK version 1.1.0 and AIR 2.7, the main screen in FruitBat that shows your application’s icon when a descriptor is loaded may show “undefined” for both app name and app version. This does not affect FruitBat’s main functions; it still works as advertised, you’ll just see “undefined” instead of your app’s name or version. This includes the name of any packaged BAR file. You can change the package’s filename to anything you wish after it is generated (all of the important “stuff” is inside).

The fix has already been completed for the next update.