Archive for the ‘.NET’ Category

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Silverlight launched in 2007 to compete with Flash as a rich media and internet app toolkit.  Microsoft had failed before with Liquid Motion competing with Flash back in late 90′s early 2000′s.  Now, over 10 years later, Silverlight might be dying as a technology that was another competitor to Flash, due to poor timing and lack of committment.

Now Microsoft has all but confirmed that Silverlight is losing steam.

I asked Bob Muglia, the Microsoft President in charge of the company’s server and tools business, that very question and got what I consider to be the clearest answer yet about how Microsoft is evolving its Silverlight strategy.

Silverlight is our development platform for Windows Phone,” he said. Silverlight also has some “sweet spots” in media and line-of-business applications, he said.

But when it comes to touting Silverlight as Microsoft’s vehicle for delivering a cross-platform runtime, “our strategy has shifted,” Muglia told me.

Silverlight will continue to be a cross-platform solution, working on a variety of operating system/browser platforms, going forward, he said. “But HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform,” Muglia said.

Silverlight was launched as a competitor to the Flash Flex framework and competing with Flash video most of all.  This was before the H.264 battles, right when the mobile scene blew up and changed the game immensely.  It was actually nice when it launched because it pushed Adobe on Flash and Flex (Flex was even later merged into the Flash brand to help it be more consistent like Silverlight).  This was good for the whole interactive space.

Microsoft is now going with an HTML5 strategy. The odd thing is that the Windows Phone is entirely Silverlight driven, no html5 support. So is Microsoft going to leave their new mobile platfform high and dry due to this change in strategy? It just seems so short sighted and reactionary over at MSFT that everything is wavering.  Who’s developing just silverlight for just Windows Phone? The timing of them stating this couldn’t be worse for Windows Phone.

Microsoft’s html5 strategy is hardware accelerated, something that Silverlight only partially has like Flash (though Adobe is changing that).  It is apparent that mobile has changed even the rich internet applications game as well as gaming in that we are back to multiplatform, native apps and non browser plugins for web content (mobile devices support no web browser plugins at all let alone Flash or Silverlight).  Still for the next 2-3 years limitations in hardware on mobile devices prevents anything software rendered to be fast (including html5 canvas and svg if there is no hardware acceleration), and due to this slowness, not able to compare/compete to compiled native apps that do have hardware access.  This has forced Adobe and now Microsoft to change their strategies to get through it.  We may see a resurgence of Flash and Silverlight like plugins on mobile browsers but not for years.

The only real place we see Silverlight is over at Netflix (maybe they will go html5 video or Flash video) and on Microsoft shop client apps.  It appears with no support from Microsoft it will fall out of favor faster. Microsoft developers are usually forced to go with what Microsoft is recommending as much of it is sold through a business channel rather than developers now.  It is good html5 and standards will be more prevalent in that ecosystem as long as they don’t start marginalizing it to proprietary elements.  But if you step back and see the rumors a week ago that Microsoft might be interested in Adobe, the mobile surge and strategy shifts at Microsoft, it seems to send out a clarion call that Silverlight is over or the credits are about to roll.

The mobile surge, standards, native, hardware acceleration and cross platform aims of current market leaders, we have the new game, again. It doesn’t appear like Silverlight was, or will be, a success.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Unity 3D Indie is now free for all developers and just called Unity now.  The Unity 3D Pro license is still $1500 and worth every penny.  But this news is great for indies and moreso the pro users that want the Unity Web Player to have more penetration and installs in the market.

Companies like EA, Cartoon Network and Lego are using Unity 3D and just about every game developer I know including myself has been excited about the possibility of an engine that allows creation of hardware rendered web based games and desktop games, which are multi-platform and paths into the mobile market (iPhone/Touch) and console like Wii and XBOX in development (for additional licenses).

When Unity 3D released support for Windows as a development environment in addition to Mac it  literally blew up as predicted this year. Also, Unity 2.6 is out which is big because it finally supports third party source control such as Subversion and Perforce. Many of the barriers that were keeping it from integration into gaming pipelines are gone:  the price, the single platform and the source code integration issues.  Unity 3D has addressed all those issues.

What are you waiting for? Get your Unity3D on!

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Silverlight 3 has been released a day early.

Microsoft has released Silverlight 3 to the web a day earlier than expected. You can go ahead and grab Silverlight 3 RTW build 3.0.40624.0 (4.69MB) from Microsoft.com/Silverlight. Version 3 supports Windows Internet Explorer 6/7/8, Firefox 2/3, and Safari 3/4. In addition, the Silverlight 3 SDK (9.5MB) and the Silverlight 3 Tools (32.2MB) have been posted on the Microsoft Download Center. (arstechnica)

As Silverlight versions go it is quite impressive and pretty much a complete solution now including desktop save support and full set of tools for RIA development (early versions were only Javascript or had limited controls libraries).

Granted there are lots of years of gain that Flash has on Silverlight but the path that Silverlight it following leads right to Flash.  Hopefully this will lead to more innovation on both sides (they might need it with Google Wave pushing html5 <canvas>).

One very nice element of Silverlight since it has been released at verison 1.0 is the HD video support.  It has gotten better with each release.  This release has smooth streaming support that is pretty impressive for web video.

Interestingly they chose the open source Blender Foundation project Bug Buck Bunny to demonstrate the smooth streaming feature. Ryan Rea has a bit of analysis on how well the video plays across a quad core and memory compared to flash hd video.

More on the Silverlight 3 new features here and here.

Roy Schestowitz plays the flip side and calls this a ‘silver-lie’ released and has lots to say about the Silverlight 3 release and even using Big Buck Bunny to demo it. He states a true fact that up til now lots of companies have abandoned Silverlight in favor of Flash (mlb, nyt etc).  It is still used at Netflix but that has an XBOX deal to play Netflixon xbox360.

Flash didn’t really get good until version 4.  Typically software is a real version at version 3, that is when most software has the goals and ambitions of 1.0 fully complete and integrated.  We shall see how things play out but I still think Silverlight has a long way to go in winning over developers, myself included, but competition is never a bad thing when you are wanting to see innovation.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Here is a video with more information on Silverlight 3 Beta features that are matches of the latest Flash killer features in pixel shaders, 3d planes (ability to create pseudo-3d engines like papervision3d), local saving, pixel operations/bitmap handling, local messaging (silverlight to silverlight – like localconnection), out of browser desktop running ability of SL3, SEO and search indexing capabilities / deep linking navigation and more.

Video of the features of SL3 Beta, Demos, at a Slow Pace from #mix09
Get Microsoft Silverlight

A few points after the video and taking a tour of the features.

The pixel shaders are written in HLSL (shader 2), however they are compiled to byte code and do not currently use the gpu for rendering. While the pixel shaders are very cool and the language to write them is standard pretty much for shaders in HLSL shader model 2 DirectX-based (the other is GLSL OpenGL based) they have not allowed this byte code to run on the GPU… yet. Here Flash and Pixel Bender actually are ahead there.

Although there are 3d planes which is very exciting, no good pseudo 3d engine exists yet matching the 3 in flash (papervision3d, away3d, sandy). When SL3 comes out I am sure we will see a few emerge or build them ourselves because this iteration of SL3 looks pretty fun.

Pixel based operations will be a huge advancement much like it was in earlier flash versions as it adds some demo scene type abilities and experiments with pixels that are fun.  This also lends to doing cool things like shaders, effects, AR, face recognition, motion detection etc.

Effects like Blur and Drop shadow are good and the ability to add custom ones, great. However currently they are pretty performance intensive.  They are also in Flash but there needs to be some refinement in SL3 effects before launch.

Desktop runnable apps in out of browser will be nice and this is a direct compete with Adobe AIR which was a surprise.

Local Communication supports desktop to browser communication.

Isolated storage (similar to shared objects) supports 1MB in browser, 25MB out of browser defaults.

This version of silverlight is really a 1.0 version as typical with most software.  Version 2 or version 3 is usually what the initial design goals pan out.  Much like the latest unity3d version (2.5) that has windows support and the iPhone SDK 3.0 that both came out this week, even actionscript 3 compared to earlier versions, these toolkits are finally iterated enough that they are really solid platforms for building cool stuff on and become platforms.  The next version of all these could be very, very dangerous.

Huge missing features:

Although there are some great features in SL3 beta, it is still not done and it is still missing some key components that Flash has which make it very attractive in the interactive space.

  • Camera and Microphone support - Macromedia hired one of the smartest dudes around in Jeremy Allaire back in flash 6 days to help add support for Flash Communication Server (Flash Media Server now) Camer and Microphone support.  One of the best R&D periods at Macromedia. SL needs this soon.
  • Printing support – what was long a problem in Flash is so in SL, there is no good printing support
  • No GPU usage for Pixel Effects/Shaders – (neither flash nor silverlight support hardware accelerated shaders in PixelEffects/Pixelbender – Pixel Effects/Shaders need GPU support (see Kevin Goldsmith’s article on GPU mixed with CPU and how this may or may not be good. However processors are speeding up and multi-core helps software rendering, the quality of GPU is well beyond what software rendering can deliver for a few years to come at least while architecture advances, probably more like 5-10 years.
  • No UDP plans yet - Adobe has RTMFP, SL sockets has no public plans for adding UDP that I have seen
  • No Alpha Channel in Video - You can do this with a shader though but not supported by default.

Silverlight 3 Video

Flash has the upperhand in video and probably will still even though SL3 has H.264.  Flash added this at the same time and though they still have FLV which revolutionized web video they are now much broader in support in video than SL3.  Silverlight has H.264 and VC1 support (their own FLV like codec).  Still pretty cool a couple years ago there was no HD on the web now everyone has it in H.264 video support.

Currently nothing innovative, mainly catchup still, but here are some options

Silverlight 3 beta and the video below the features and highlights will look very similar to flash and flash community advancements over the last couple years.  There is no innovation just yet.

But where that could happen is in socket support with UDP. Flash has moved on this in RTMFP and the beginning of larger scale networking support with UDP with samples like stratus.  This is a huge differentiating feature for what I think will be game changer on the web (it already is on desktop mmos) in real-time or closer to real-time support for larger sets of users in online games like MMOs or virtual communities, even tools to make request based real-time sites like micro-blogging faster and able to handle more users (right now it is very linear if users get many followers, UDP will allow a better distributed framework for messaging).

Local Storage

Silverlight and Unity3D all need this, Flash could use better support for this.  Local saving of a files for cache beyond the internet cache and greater than the 1MB/25MB limits of SL3 IsolatedStorage.  This is an issue when you are making large scale games in that you need to save lots of assets to a client but to make it economical you want ot save more than the default internet cache amount. Flash Shared Object (Local) allow you to do this somewhat but it would be great to have a way to just download files for cache (upon user agreement) to store assets in bulk of allowable types (images, video, models, bundles) to the file system.

Hardware rendering for 3d support and UDP support will put Flash and SL3 on par with the killer Unity3D kit for making online web games and other activex/plugins like instantaction that allow you to do these things already.

The one thing SL has over Flash

Flash and Flex are great. But there is this massive division in the community and marketing of Flash. Silverlight is entirely unified and this has much to do with starting clean at a time that interactive development is heading more into a technology and developers control. Flash and Flex need to bring it together. AS3 has been out long enough that the people with skills have hopped on and taken it to a new level, mainly from programmers. If Adobe created a version of Flash that was a new IDE and consolidated Flex and Flash into just Flash, made the IDE as powerful as FDT or FlashDevelop3 there could be hope to bring the platform together. I understand they had to work it in slowly because it was a designers platform really (even though coders still pushed the limits in games and apps built on it) so they had to tip toe carefully on this to not alienate people. But now I think the division is a serious problem with the platform and must be addressed, noone expected Silverlight to be this quick on at least SL3 features. And even though the initial approach might have been bad as SL1 was a huge letdown, Microsoft does not give up and you can see in the XBOX360 and DirectX that they are very pursuant. DirectX really didn’t become huge until version 7 so these guys won’t relent.

I am not a huge fan of using the proprietary tools. Even in Flash I use as much open source as I can even though the player is locked, but Moonlight is something that trails Silverlight development and is a very unique thing in both open source and cross platform/multiplatform development. It is a clear relationship and aims to make Silverlight run on multiplatform mono including Linux. This could win out in the end who knows.

Futures

Great iterations of software happened this week in the latest unity3d version (2.5) that has windows support and the iPhone SDK 3.0 and now SL3 is quite a surprise in feature set.

I have been really busy this week just delving into all them and hope to start making more cool and useful projects in them.  The best part is right now is great to be an interactive or game developer as all major software companies and markets are focused on retaining good developers.  I don’t’ recall a time other than the beginning the the web virtual land rush that has so many options and markets that skilled developers and designers can choose from.  Good times.

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

The guys over at Flashbang Studios, a web game development studio in phoenix, az, and some of the most visible developers in the Unity3d space with Blurst, released something that may interest both FlashDevelop users and Unity3d developers.

UnityDevelop was released by Flashbang Studios recently and it is a modded version of FlashDevelop (originally from SharpDevelop a really nice open source .NET and mono IDE) and it supports intellisense for Javascript or Unity3d’s use of Javascript which is called UnityScript much like ActionScript.  UnityScript can be a little more strict and has access to all of Unity3d’s API calls just like C# and Boo in the mono based virtual machine that Unity3d uses.

FlashDevelop, is by far the best Flash / Flex /haXe IDE in my opinion so it is really great to release this for Unity.  I hope one day I or someone has the time to port to Mono so it can be used on Macs even with the 140 pinvokes, it would be a good spread mechanism for mono.

With Unity3d coming to windows soon, UnityDevelop could be a good go to IDE for unity if you aren’t using solely C# with VS.NET. Currently this is based on FlashDevelop2 source code.

Video Overview of UnityDevelop


UnityDevelop Walkthrough from Flashbang Studios on Vimeo.

Downloads

Thanks flashbang!

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Recently two compact tweening engines have been released. Grant Skinner’s GTweeny and laborat’s ByteTween. This adds to the two that focus on micro-tween kit sizes in TweenLite and TweensyZero

Basically these engines look to be micro and provide pretty nice features while being so small. Micro tweening engines like GTweeny (3k), ByteTween (1.7k), TweenLite (2.7k), TweensyZero (2.9k) and Tweener (9k) have varying levels of support of features (Tweener being the most loaded with color and filter support without other kits just init, also TweenLite with a nice configurator to include only what you need).  Micro kits have benefits when used for banners, animated assets (where you have many assets and the per asset savings is worthwhile) and other places you just want really small output.

Light Transition ByteTween

(1.7k)

This kit has a c# version as well as a small as3 bytetween version.

The ByteTween static class eats only 1.7K of compiled clip! With this size it supports:

  • Creation of tweens of any numeric property (not color/uint properties).
  • Pause,Unpause,Cancel operations based on the tween target and property.
  • Overlap system that cancel tweens of same property in order to avoid erroneous behavior
  • Alpha tween with negative alpha support (negative alpha sets the MovieClip visibility to false)
  • ’scale’ tween of both ’scaleX’ and ’scaleY’ properties.
  • OnComplete callback with any number of parameters
  • Easy interface for creating new tweens!

Download light_transition_CS_0.5a.zip.zip (c# version)

Download thelab_ByteTween.zip

TweenLite

(2.7k) base

  • SPEED – I’m not aware of any popular tweening engine with a similar feature set that’s as fast as TweenLite. See the speed comparisons yourself.
  • Feature set – In addition to tweening ANY numeric property of ANY object, TweenLite can tween filters, hex colors, volume, tint, saturation, contrast, frames, and even do bezier tweening, plus LOTS more. TweenMax extends TweenLite and adds even more capabilities like pause/resume, rounding, event listeners, timeScale, and more. Overwrite management is an important consideration for a tweening engine as well which is another area where the GreenSock tweening platform shines. You have options for AUTO overwriting or you can manually define how each tween will handle overlapping tweens of the same object.
  • Expandability – With its new plugin architecture, you can activate as many (or as few) features as your project requires. Or write your own plugin if you need a feature that’s unavailable. Minimize bloat, and maximize performance.
  • Management featuresTweenGroup makes it surprisingly simple to create complex sequences and groups of TweenLite/Max tweens that you can pause(), resume(), restart(), or reverse(). You can even tween a TweenGroup’s “progress” property to fastforward or rewind the entire group/sequence.
  • Ease of use – Designers and Developers alike rave about how intuitive the GreenSock tweening platform is.
  • Updates – Frequent updates and feature additions make the GreenSock tweening platform reliable and robust.
  • AS2 and AS3 – Most other engines are only developed for AS2 or AS3 but not both.

Download TweenLite

TweensyZero

(2.9k) base

Here are some simple steps to help you get started with creating your first animations with TweensyZero. TweensyZero is a light weight version of Tweensy most core features found in Tweensy are available to TweensyZero. Documentation for TweensyZero can be found under the folder ‘documentation/zero’ or online

Download TweensyZero

gTweeny

(3k)

gTweeny is gTween‘s lightweight younger sibling. It strips a lot of the secondary features of GTween (proxy, timing modes, etc) in favour of smaller file size. It is currently under 3kb…

Download gTweeny

Here is a list of all open AS3 “Micro” Tweening engines < 5k

Here is a list of all open AS3 Tweening engines and base kits

The decision on which to use can be affected be features you want, how it feels (many use the same object syntax so it is dynamic), what performance do they have (all are orders of magnitude faster than the built in tween (flash) or transitions (mx/flex)), which size is ok, author/community support needed (some are more active than others adding features or simplifying and tweaking performance methodically), and many other factors.  There are definitely plenty to choose from.

Speed Tests for many Tween Engines

For more on each features see their sites or these previous lists on tweening engines:

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

The unity3d platform is about to realize about 900% or 9x more possible market for selling their wares and I believe will blow up with unity 2.5.  Unity3d 2.5 will bring a windows IDE and development environment to unity3d developers. Many game companies are heavily invested in Windows and having this option is breaking down a huge wall to get this development platform and engine into many new hands and companies.

The best part about unity 3d development is the hardware acceleration, the fantastic pipeline, the ability to publish desktop, web, mobile (iphone) and console (wii) is pretty amazing.  All using the powerful mono open source .net framework as a base.

Full update list:

Windows Editor Support

Unity 2.5 adds full support for Windows Vista and XP, with 100% feature parity and interoperability with Mac OS X. The Unity Editor has been rebuilt to look, feel, and function identically on both operating systems, each running the same underlying engine. The best part? Unity on either platform can build games for either platform — cross-platform in the truest sense.

A Whole New Look

Find the tools you need quickly and easily. The Play buttons are front and center, clearly visible and inviting you to play, test, and improve your work. And when you do, they light up, dimming the rest of the application, drawing your attention to the most important things in the play experience you’re creating.
Precise Navigation and Placement Tools

Improved Usability

Snap any object to customizable increments of position, scale, and rotation values. Drag objects around, clamped to any surface collision. Manipulate objects in local or world space. Use the new flythrough controls to get around easily. And did we mention the completely redesigned rotation tool?

3ds Max Importing

Drag and drop your .max files right into the Editor, including support for all skeletal based animation, multiple UVs, and vertex colors. Autodesk 3ds Max now joins the existing support for Maya, Blender, and all other 3D applications that integrate with the latest FBX plugin on the Windows platform.

Completely Customizable Editor

UnityGUI, Unity’s own GUI creation system, now powers the entire Editor and allows you to integrate your own unique level design tools, AI control tools, debugging tools, difficulty tuning tools, or anything else you need. Over 130 new API entry points enable you to create specialized, customized editor tools and build them into the existing Editor interface.

Tabbed Interface

We took cues from the best designed applications, and the rewritten editor has received dozens of improvements. The most visible change is the tabbed interface, where every part of the interface can be moved, undocked to a secondary monitor, and even stacked to achieve logical grouping.

Information at Your Fingertips

We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that you always have the info you need, when you need it. Model files have previews right inside the inspector. Audio Clips show their waveform with click-to-play behaviour. Meshes show the detailed rendering stats – and that’s just scratching the surface.

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

This is pretty impressive.  This is Moonlight for mono (a silverlight clone in mono.net for multiplatform) running inside of Ogre3D (a 3d renderer) as a material.

Argiris Kirtzidi (one of the developers behind Managed OGRE) modified Moonlight to run inside the Ogre3D engine. You can render Moonlight applications or XAML files inside Ogre3D.

Some details in no particular order:

-Moonlight uses cairo for the graphics. I developed a new backend for cairo that fully utilizes the GPU (through Ogre’s RenderSystem) for rendering. This is completely independent from Moonbeam and can be used standalone.

-Moonlight’s core is a native C++ engine and is not dependent in Mono. It is flexible enough to be scripted by anything, javascript, managed code, native code, etc. I’ve got it working on both Mono and the .NET framework and I plan on embedding and trying out Lua for more lightweight stuff.

-If you opt for using managed code, it should be possible, in theory, to utilize the silverlight controls, develop a silverlight widget using visual studio and have it run through moonbeam with full debugging support.

-Getting it to work on Windows was no small task as the moonlight team is completely focused on linux, and there doesn’t seem to be much consideration about cross-platform-ness. I think this is reasonable, though, since moonlight is a young project and their specific goal is to implement silverlight for *nix systems. The downside is that it reduces its flexibility, e.g. in order to inject keyboard/mouse events I will have to create and pass to it GDK events or make heavy patches to it.
Hopefully, there will be more push in the future to get the *nix dependencies abstracted away from the core moonlight engine.

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Here is an interesting look to start the new year at Google Trends for some common keywords to this blog audience. Comparing AS2, AS3, Silverlight and actionscript you can see that there is some pretty interesting things happening.

as3 as2 actionscript silverlight  

First off, AS2 and AS3 are clouded because they are also related to EDI and EDI-INT so they get a bit inflated. Silverlight though is pretty unique in the naming. So from this graph we can see this happening:

  • Silverlight and AS3 are growing rapidly
  • Silverlight is crossing over as3 or meeting it
  • The market looking for Silverlight is about 8-10 times as large as actionscript/as3/as3
  • Silverlight and AS3 are growing, AS2 has no growth left and is an EOL language (end of life)
  • AS2 (even with crossover to EDI trends for “as2″) leveled out, where AS3 is starting to lift to a larger market. This is strongly due to it being a fun language based on ES4 and interests programmers.
  • The as3 effect started right in March-April 2007 (hrm I started this blog in April 2007 coincidenc? j/k :))

Another chart including Flex shows a better picture of the keyword wars between flex and silverlight.

as3 as2 actionscript silverlight flex

So from this graph we can see this happening:

  • Flex has a large buzz
  • Adobe’s marketing efforts are many while silverlight is more unique and focused
  • Flex, as3 and Silverlight are popular, and growing in their support (the growth market for technology is in these areas, not in tech from Flash 8/as2)
  • AS2 still taking a nosedive

Flash and Flex programmers and designers should know that with Silverlight 2.0 release coming and the capabilities of Silverlight 2.0 more competitive, flashers should be working on Flex, Flash9 or at least AS3 if not Flex. The RIA competition market will heat up immensely this year with Silverlight 2.0 and possibly Flex3 and coding and programming for Flash and Flex is becoming more involved. It also has a very strong competitor in Silverlight 2.0 coming that will drive this market.

This is all great news if you are ready for it, if you are still coding actionscript2 (AS2) and paying no mind to Silverlight, Flex or at least actionscript3 (AS3) then you will see your market slowly start to fade as things are ramped up and more of a programming focus in the vector wars. If you are a flash coder and ignoring Silverlight, your solutions will suffer. If you are a silverlight coder or .NET coder and ignoring the Flex and AS3 rise your solutions will suffer. I have been playing in AS3, Flex and Silverlight for over a year on both now and they are an entirely new platform with great programming models. The competition puts focus on this market so it is a great time to be skilled in these areas.

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Using SharedObjects in Flash is very simple. Flash has SharedObjects that have been in the player since Flash6 when the introduction of Flash Communication Server which is now Flash Media Server which is releasing version 3 soon (also remote SharedObjects in Red5 is an open source RTMP media server that is based on Flash Media Server). So we can thank this release for SharedObjects, Camera objects, Audio, lots of the NetConnections, protocol enhancements and many other things. However to keep the tips simple we will just touch on the local usage and post a series of posts on these objects.

SharedObjects locally and remote have changed the way offline is thought about and are the backbone of many offline systems and prototypes. They have been influential in moving storage locally to remote in a lightweight AMF0 or AMF3 format.

SharedObject is in the flash.net namespace in AS3.

Here we show how to use the local version of a SharedObject to store data in the most simple form.

import flash.net.SharedObject;
var so:SharedObject = SharedObject.getLocal("userData");
so.data.username= "user1377";
so.data.pwdhash= "[hash] or pwd";
so.flush(); // writes changes to disk

You can see this is extremely simple to store data.Here we show how to use the local version of a SharedObject to retrieve data in the most simple form.

import flash.net.SharedObject;
var so:SharedObject = SharedObject.getLocal("userData");
var username:String = so.data.username;
var pwdhash:String = so.data.pwdhash;

That is it! In the most basic form SharedObjects are more simple than cookies and also are quite nice living outside the bounds of the cookies folder. If a user deletes all cookies it will not delete the SharedObjects. To delete SharedObjects you need to roght click on the Flash player, go to Settings and delete the objects there.You can store any type of data Flash supports from objects to numbers to strings in the SharedObject data.

import flash.net.SharedObject;
var so:SharedObject = SharedObject.getLocal("userData");
so.data.username= "user1377";
so.data.uid= new Number(1337);
var obj:Object = new Object();
obj.prop = "value";
so.data.userobj= obj;
so.flush(); // writes changes to disk

For large applications SharedObjects local are great because users can have their SharedObject space set to a high amount of space or unlmited for large offline type apps or more complex apps stored in a state object. It gets interesting when you pass this to the server in AMF or extremely compact AMF3 format to a remote stored object, via remoting, Shared Object events or any way you want to.We will be posting more on remote shared objects and some of the other tools such as Camera and Streams for AS3 over the coming weeks and deeper into the Sync Events for remote and local SOs.Sephiroth has a great Python tool to peer into the SOs on disk.

The first version of SharedObject Reader was written in python 2.2.
This new version is written in C# (C Sharp) as it’s now part of FlashDevelop editor.

Red5 also does this as well as many AMF kits.

Sync Events for SharedObject (as they change they launch a sync event)

Event object type: flash.events.SyncEvent
SyncEvent.type property = flash.events.SyncEvent.SYNC

Read more at adobe docs:

flash.net.SharedObject

Sample from AS3 docs showing usage

package {
    import flash.display.Sprite;
    import flash.events.MouseEvent;
    import flash.events.NetStatusEvent;
    import flash.net.SharedObject;
    import flash.net.SharedObjectFlushStatus;
    import flash.text.TextField;
    import flash.text.TextFieldAutoSize;
    import flash.text.TextFieldType;

    public class SharedObjectExample extends Sprite {

        private var mySo:SharedObject;

        public function SharedObjectExample() {
            buildUI();
            saveBtn.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, saveValue);
            clearBtn.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, clearValue);

            mySo = SharedObject.getLocal("application-name");
            output.appendText("SharedObject loaded...\n");
            output.appendText("loaded value: " + mySo.data.savedValue + "\n\n");
        }

         private function saveValue(event:MouseEvent):void {
            output.appendText("saving value...\n");
            mySo.data.savedValue = input.text;

            var flushStatus:String = null;
            try {
                flushStatus = mySo.flush(10000);
            } catch (error:Error) {
                output.appendText("Error...Could not write SharedObject to disk\n");
            }
            if (flushStatus != null) {
                switch (flushStatus) {
                    case SharedObjectFlushStatus.PENDING:
                        output.appendText("Requesting permission to save object...\n");
                        mySo.addEventListener(NetStatusEvent.NET_STATUS, onFlushStatus);
                        break;
                    case SharedObjectFlushStatus.FLUSHED:
                        output.appendText("Value flushed to disk.\n");
                        break;
                }
            }
            output.appendText("\n");
        }

        private function clearValue(event:MouseEvent):void {
            output.appendText("Cleared saved value...Reload SWF and the value should be \"undefined\".\n\n");
            delete mySo.data.savedValue;
        }

        private function onFlushStatus(event:NetStatusEvent):void {
            output.appendText("User closed permission dialog...\n");
            switch (event.info.code) {
                case "SharedObject.Flush.Success":
                    output.appendText("User granted permission -- value saved.\n");
                    break;
                case "SharedObject.Flush.Failed":
                    output.appendText("User denied permission -- value not saved.\n");
                    break;
            }
            output.appendText("\n");

            mySo.removeEventListener(NetStatusEvent.NET_STATUS, onFlushStatus);
        }

        // UI elements
        private var inputLbl:TextField;
        private var input:TextField;
        private var output:TextField;
        private var saveBtn:Sprite;
        private var clearBtn:Sprite;

        private function buildUI():void {
            // input label
            inputLbl = new TextField();
            addChild(inputLbl);
            inputLbl.x = 10;
            inputLbl.y = 10;
            inputLbl.text = "Value to save:";

            // input TextField
            input = new TextField();
            addChild(input);
            input.x = 80;
            input.y = 10;
            input.width = 100;
            input.height = 20;
            input.border = true;
            input.background = true;
            input.type = TextFieldType.INPUT;

            // output TextField
            output = new TextField();
            addChild(output);
            output.x = 10;
            output.y = 35;
            output.width = 250;
            output.height = 250;
            output.multiline = true;
            output.wordWrap = true;
            output.border = true;
            output.background = true;

            // Save button
            saveBtn = new Sprite();
            addChild(saveBtn);
            saveBtn.x = 190;
            saveBtn.y = 10;
            saveBtn.useHandCursor = true;
            saveBtn.graphics.lineStyle(1);
            saveBtn.graphics.beginFill(0xcccccc);
            saveBtn.graphics.drawRoundRect(0, 0, 30, 20, 5, 5);
            var saveLbl:TextField = new TextField();
            saveBtn.addChild(saveLbl);
            saveLbl.text = "Save";
            saveLbl.selectable = false;

            // Clear button
            clearBtn = new Sprite();
            addChild(clearBtn);
            clearBtn.x = 230;
            clearBtn.y = 10;
            clearBtn.useHandCursor = true;
            clearBtn.graphics.lineStyle(1);
            clearBtn.graphics.beginFill(0xcccccc);
            clearBtn.graphics.drawRoundRect(0, 0, 30, 20, 5, 5);
            var clearLbl:TextField = new TextField();
            clearBtn.addChild(clearLbl);
            clearLbl.text = "Clear";
            clearLbl.selectable = false;
        }
    }
}