03-17-2011 12:54 PM
I'm putting this out there since I'm not particular knowledgeable about Flash, especially when it comes to putting it in a web page. (My Flash experience comes solely from the last few months learning PlayBook development.)
If you have a SWF that you don't mind exposing to the world, perhaps because it's in a test state, or because you plan to make it a free download anyway, add some conditional compilation to strip out any of the PlayBook-specific stuff and make other tweaks as required, then put it up on the web with a PlayBook bezel image around it, and scale to the approximate size of the actual screen. I used one built from RIM's images in the media gallery under their Newsroom page.
Since actions are better than words, I've tossed up a pre-beta of an app to demonstrate the concept. (I say pre-beta to avoid getting any "bug" reports for it. ;-) )
I encourage others to improve on the concept (shouldn't be hard!) and tell everyone how to do this better than I have.
03-17-2011 12:59 PM
03-17-2011 01:00 PM
03-17-2011 01:15 PM
My first thought was (after I killed a few bugs), was that if an app is available on a website, why would I want to buy it then?
As I mentioned, it would not be appropriate (or even possible in many cases) for a full-fledged PlayBook app. Also pretty silly if you do plan to charge for it but are a long way from completing it, as you'd encourage clones before you've even shipped.
But for free or "lite" apps, if released simultaneously with availability in App World, I think it could be an interesting way to give people a taste. Presumably you'd include a link to the App World download too, and probably note clearly that the web-version maybe even more limited than the app on the PlayBook, to encourage downloads even for people who try it out online.
The main reason I did this was actually because at first I thought it was the only way I had of effectively scaling the 1024x600 SWF down to the correct size, so I could check for finger-size-appropriateness. Of course there are other ways to do that, as I've now discovered, but I like having the bezel showing too.
03-17-2011 01:40 PM
It may be more prudent to instead embed a video of your app with the PlayBook bezel, rather than granting the user actual functionality. That way, you can still entice customers without risking the eventual purchase.
03-17-2011 01:53 PM
03-17-2011 02:06 PM - edited 03-17-2011 02:07 PM
darn BUGS?! still as creepy as the first time i saw it haha
its a great concept - nice initiative. for those a little weary about the security and impact on their overall downloads, i will second the recommendation by @GoldenJoe for a video of your app with the bezel surrounding it instead. so you arent going to give actual functionality, but just a demonstration of how it'd look if it were used. having a video is a plus but then adding a playbook bezel? priceless
03-17-2011 10:38 PM
I agree with the idea of creating a teaser video. Aside from people playing it on your site, you want to leave something to the user's imagination. I'm assuming that clicking the mouse will translate to touching with your finger. Even with the freebie online, if the bugs actually squish under your finger, then you've got a winner! Nice job Pete!
03-17-2011 10:49 PM - edited 03-17-2011 10:50 PM
Very nice demo!
About the 'someone may copy it' or 'people may not buy it' fear after putting something out there like that:
I personally think that whoever thinks the app is worth money and the developer deserves compensation WILL go ahead and buy it. I surely had that experience when I was working on my Scientific RPN Calculator for WebOS.
There were many people who supported my efforts (it took several months) and purchased the final product in the app store.
I have nothing but great experiences with all this.
P.S: There will most probably be a PlayBook port of this application but right now I'm waiting it out to see if the Test House will get their act together and whether I'll actually get my free PlayBook.
Staff UI Prototyper (read: full-time hacker)