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12. July 2016

 

OpenFL, a Haxe library previously known as NME, just released version 4.  OpenFL is a media framework often used for creating games that is designed to give Flash developers a transitional path to Haxe development.  A major component of the OpenFL 4 release is to be more consistent with Flash APIs as well as a commitment to support the Stage3D API.  If you are interested in learning more I wrote a multipart tutorial series on using Haxe and NME before it was rebranded OpenFL.

 

From the release notes:

New OpenGL Renderer

We went to the drawing board to make a lightweight, clean, easy-to-understand OpenGL renderer in the core of OpenFL. This has resulted in a number of great benefits, not only for maintenance and development, but also this has enabled support for WebGL by default in our HTML5 builds. We have working ShaderFilter support in Bitmap, TextField,DisplayObject and Tilemap, and plan to add support to Sprite in the future.

WebGL builds will fallback to 2D canvas automatically if WebGL is not supported by a user's browser, but if you would prefer to force the use of 2D canvas when targeting HTML5, use -Dcanvas when compiling.

Greater Consistency with Flash APIs

There are many subtle little differences we are changing in order to better support the behavior you expect when using an open-source Flash library. These will not hurt ordinary projects, but can make all the difference when you port an existing ActionScript project over to use OpenFL. We are on the road to continue to remove the tiny differences that unnecessarily make some porting projects complicated.

Commitment to the Stage3D API

In the past, the Stage3D compatibility layer was developed by our friends on the Away3D project, and maintained by generous contributors through pull requests. As an API, this was not supported by the core OpenFL team, but with our new OpenGL renderer, and continuing commitment to providing the functionality you expect, we have begun the process of improving our Stage3D APIs to conform more closely with the original API. We are partnering with the developers of the Haxe Starling port to continue to make improvements to our core Stage3D implementation so that we can grow to support modern ActionScript projects using Stage3D with as little headache as possible.

Continued Graphics Improvements

OpenFL continues to improve in its support for the shape.graphics APIs, with minor edits to improve accuracy, as well as changes to our renderer to support scaled graphics and full fidelity. For projects that are designed for set pixel dimensions, OpenFL 4 is now able to automatically upscale and letterbox projects, bringing full quality graphics to projects that may have been designed only for a lower-resolution screen.

 

Along with this release there was also an update to Lime, the underlying technology on which OpenFL is built.

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Microsoft Launch Free Visual Studio Dev Essentials
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18. November 2015

 

Microsoft is a different sort of company these days.  Starting back in 2014 they released the free community edition of Visual Studio.  Then in April of this year they launched the light weight and cross platform (and completely free) Visual Studio Code.  Today they announced the launch of Visual Studio Dev Essentials.

So what exactly does Dev Essentials include?

 

Tools

  • Visual Studio Community
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Visual Studio Express
  • Team Foundation Server Express

 

Of those products only Team Foundation Server is new I believe.  So mostly it’s a rebranding of the tools we’ve already got.  However it’s the add-ons that make the package.

 

Training

  • Pluralsight 6 month subscription
  • Xamarin University Mobile Training
  • WintellectNOW 3 month subscription
  • Microsoft Virtual Academy
  • HackHands Live Programming Help $25 Credit
  • Priority Forum Support

 

Cloud

  • Azure Credits ($25/month for 12 months)
  • Visual Studio Team Services account with 5 users
  • App Service Free Tier
  • PowerBI free tier
  • HackeyApp free tier
  • Application Insights free tier

 

For Mac Developers

  • Parallels Desktop Pro 3 months subscription
  • Parallels Acceess 3 months subscription
  • Windows Platform VM 60 days
  • Office Online Apps

 

Now many of these services are either limited time or coming soon, so not everything is available today and not everything is available for ever.  So if this program sounds interesting to you, head on over here for more information.

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