Unfortunately, the Apple Developer Centre is not working at the moment due to an attempted hacking. This is a major problem for me at the moment because I need to add the uni iPad as a testing device, so that I have something to exhibit in our end of year show and it is not possible to do this without the Apple Developer Centre. If it is not up and running soon I may have nothing to exhibit.
In order to publicise our MA Exhibition, I have volunteered to create a website as this fits with my skill-set.
Using a slightly tweaked version of the logo we agreed upon in a previous post, I have created a site that is currently still a work in progress but depending on when you read this post it may actually be finished. The site includes portrait photography by Chris McDonnell and hopefully will soon feature content provided by all of the MA students involved. See the site via the link below:
Since quite early on in this project, I have had the desire to add an interactive map i.e. Google maps into my application, to be used in two different specific ways. The first of which was to be a map which allows users to attempt to locate places with Viking names (i.e. ending in ‘by’, ‘thorpe’ or ‘thwaite’) near the city of York, which was an area of England that was densely populated by Vikings during the Viking age.
The second was a map showing the location of museums related to Viking heritage. So users could then take their knowledge of the Vikings and any interest in the subject, from the application outwards into the wider world to investigate further.
My original plan was to incorporate Google maps, as I have prior experience of working with the Google maps API in my Hull History Viewer application. Unfortunately a potential problem arose when it was announced that the Google maps API for Adobe Flash was been depreciated.
After searching for alternative map options, I noticed that a lot of people where recommending MapQuest as potential solution to the loss of Google maps for Flash. I had a quick look at the MapQuest website and it seemed ideal; it said it had a Flash maps API and it uses the term Flash maps repeatedly across the website , so rather stupidly I bookmarked the site to come back to at a later time when I was ready to develop the section where the maps would be featured. Recently that time arrived and I revisited the site in question, only to find out that all was not as it seemed. On closer inspection, MapQuest is designed to be used within a piece of software called Adobe Flash Builder (formally Flex builder) and this is not the same software that I am using for my project, I am using Adobe Flash Professional which may sound like it does the same but that is not the case.
So what is the difference between Adobe Flash and Adobe Flash builder?
A good description has been provided by an individual going by the name of “heavilyinvolved” in answer to this question on the Stack Overflow website:
“Flash Professional doesn’t “do” what Flash Builder “does” (or vice versa)… however, there is some minor crossover in that they are both tools that enable designers/developers to compile swf’s.”
Both pieces of software have advantages in differing scenarios but the problem is that they are not really compatible, so ultimately the possibility of using a MapQuest map in my application was looking increasingly unlikely. I contacted MapQuest directly to ask if there was an appropriate option that I could use within their product range. In reply I was informed that “Most of our sample code for the MapQuest Platform is for flex” but I was directed towards the link below:
Unfortunately, despite there been a basic source code available on the MapQuest website for a “Flash map”, it is not the mobile version that incorporates the mobile functionality that people are used to using and expect to use on mobile devices. This makes it not ideal for my app but with little other choice I decided to give it a go but unfortunately I have been unable to get it to work. There are lots of tutorials and information available for the Adobe Flash Builder version but not for the Adobe Flash Professional version and I cannot find a solution to my problems, despite posting on forums and contacting MapQuest directly.
With the option of using MapQuest maps within my application now not looking like a feasible possibility, I decided to turn my attention back to Google Maps. This once again was not a long term solution due to its deprecation but as a short term possibility for my hand-in and exhibition I though this may be the answer but alas again my progress was halted due to a difference between Adobe Air for Android and Adobe Air for ios. Most functionality crosses both platforms but there is a problem with displaying Google Maps for ios
I have been unable to resolve this problem as well and unfortunately I have decided that this is now not a practical resolution to my map problems.
I have been searching for another solution to the “The Great Map Problem” but unfortunately I have reached a point where I need to concentrate on other things, in order to have a presentable application for my hand-in and exhibition. I have not given up hope of adding these features to my application and this is beauty of the medium I am working in; my app can be released without these features, with the potential to be added at a later date via an automatic update, should I find a solution. The updateable nature of the medium means that all aspects of my app can be changed in various ways, to incorporate new content, fix possible problems and improve aesthetics and functionality, in the event of new or improved skills, knowledge and ideas.
Although it is extremely frustrating and disappointing to not be able to incorporate all the features that I have desired within my application as yet; there is still a possibility that they will be incorporated at some point in the future and I will do my best to try and make sure that my creative visions become a reality.
I have been meaning to make this post for a very long time but better late than never I suppose. Back in January, as part of my research I came across a very interesting Vikings documentary on one of the BBC channels, it was broadcast in the early hours of the morning and I more or less come across it by chance. The documentary was the third of a three part series and I was a bit gutted to have missed the first two episodes but since then I have managed to find two of them on YouTube and I thought I would post them below:
Although these documentaries are not perfect for my target audience, I would love to be able to add high quality video like this from the great locations visited but presented in a more child friendly manner. Unfortunately, I do not have the financial resources to visit these places, nor do I have the finances or technical skill to produce videos of this quality on my own. I feel that it would definitely not be worth adding sub standard video to the app, so unfortunately my app will not be featuring any video but it would have been a nice addition.
Today I have created a new opening splash screen for my app, you can see the new and old versions below:
In the What Happened to the Vikings section of my application, I explain that “we need to remember that most of the travelling people from Scandinavia who we call Vikings, would not have called themselves Vikings. In the Old Norse language, the word Viking means ‘a pirate raid’, and few of these Northern people actually participated in raiding.“. This sets the basIs for why their dominance of their era came to an end. The vikings did not really change, it was the world that changed around them and they were simply no longer the big bully who could dominate and cause fear in the way they used to, as i explain “European countries had new leaders who were more organised, with well trained armies who could defend against Viking attacks.” I have created an image to reinforce this idea see below:
I have also created a short swipe-able story to show how the viking age came to an end and the Norman age began in 1066, when William the Conqueror invades England with his Norman army and kills King Harold, see video below:
As part of the Viking beliefs section of my application, I explain what Vikings believed in regarding death. I explain how it was a Viking tradition to bury some people in their boats, alongside some of their belongings and their favourite things. Below is a mood board and the imagery that I created for my application.