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AIR for Mobile Tutorials, Mobile Math Apps

Doug Ensley and Barbara Kaskosz of Flash and Math was awarded a National Science Foundation grant (DUE 1140299) for the project Mobile Math Apps. The tutorials below are based on our solutions to technical problems as they arose over the course of that grant project.

Android phone or tablet users can install the finished apps Logarithm/Exponential Tutorial and Trigonometry Tutor, on Google Play by searching for the publisher name, MobileMathApps. Other Android apps related to the tutorials below are listed under the publisher, flashandmath.

  • NEW! Mathematics Typesetter  One of the most broadly useful classes developed for the Mobile Math Apps project is the mathematics typesetter, which uses the parse tree inherent in our expression parser combined with placement of textfields with embedded fonts. The Mobile Math Apps are focused on precaclulus-level mathematics, the typesetter has not gotten a robust workout, but it should be a good starting point for others nonetheless.
  • Mobile AIR: Loading an External SWF as a Scrollable Help File  Our goals are to bundle help files with a mobile app so they can easily be accessed without Internet connection, will not be trying on the memory, and will scroll smoothly. Our help files contain text and graphics. We find that bundling and loading at runtime AS3-free SWF files is a good way. We provide a custom SWFScroller AS3 class. All Flash and AS3 source files are available for download.
  • Display Web Content within AIR Mobile App - StageWebView Tutorial  There is a couple of ways to display web pages in your AIR mobile app: the navigateToURL method and the AS3 StageWebView class. We discuss both, but focus on StageWebView as it displays web content without leaving your app. We explain the finer points of using the class, e.g. disabling and enabling zooming in StageWebView instance. Complete Flash CS5.5 and CS5 code ready for download.
  • BitmapData.draw or cacheAsBitmapMatrix or Vector Content - AIR Mobile Experiments  You want to zoom and pan a MovieClip with static but otherwise complex vector content. From the point of view of performance - memory and frame rate - is it better to leave it in the vector form, draw a scaled up version into a BitmapData or use cacheAsBitmapMatrix AS3 method available in mobile AIR? We compare these three techniques and provide Flash source files and AS3 code which make it easy to test. Also, we show how to create one-finger panning effect.
  • Zoom In on a Point in an Image and Pan with Gestures - AIR Mobile Tutorial  We examine two important AS3 gesture events: GESTURE_ZOOM and GESTURE_PAN. We show how to use the AS3 MatrixTransformer class to zoom around a specific point in an image rather than around the registration point. We make panning smooth by removing GESTURE_ZOOM listener in the BEGIN phase of GESTURE_PAN. Complete source code ready for download.
  • Loading Images from and Saving Images to Camera Roll - AIR for Android Tutorial  We discuss loading images from the Camera Roll on your phone into an app and saving images of the screen or a part of the screen to the Camera Roll. Many new AS3 classes specific to AIR on mobile come into consideration. In particular, the CameraRoll class and its methods: browseForImage and addBitmapData. We provide here complete, commented source code.
  • AIR for Android Simple Function Grapher App  We present our Simple Grapher - a free Android app that you can download and install from the Android Market. Simple Grapher graphs, zooms, pans, and traces functions of one variable. Any function of a single variable can be entered and graphed. Tapping arrows can zoom in/out on the graph or move a cursor left/right along the curve. An easy tap toggles between the zoom mode and the trace mode. Panning is accomplished using a standard swipe gesture.
  • AIR for Android Angle of Elevation - Source Code  This simple app illustrates a mathematics tool implemented using Accelerometer events on your mobile device. Stand 20 meters away from a tree, point your phone at the top, and read the angle of elevation from the screen. Calculating the height of the tree becomes part of an active lesson in trigonometry. The interface is kept simple so the mathematics involved is crystal clear, and of course our code is commented diligently.
  • AIR for Android PeekAMaze Game - Complete Source Code  This app is a new twist on the classical maze puzzle. The purpose is to find an exit out of a maze but at each point you can see only a portion of a maze. You have an option of 'peeking' at the maze by dragging it in a view window. You can peek and try to remember your way out but the number of 'peeks' is limited. At each level of difficulty, a practically unlimited number of mazes can be generated using our custom AS3 classes, including a perfect maze generator.
  • AIR for Android Traffic Lights Game - Source Code  Complete source code to dowload and discussion for our TafficLightsFM Android app. Traffic Lights is a very challenging variation and extension of the classic 'Lights Out' puzzle. The goal of the game is to click on the lights until you can get them all to be green. Clicking on a light will change its color, but also the color of all of the neighbor lights attached to it. The light colors cycle through green, yellow, and red, just like a traffic light. The puzzles are made from a grid of lights (of varying sizes depending on the settings) which are connected in randomized configurations.
  • AIR for Android Rolling Cubes 3D Puzzle - Source Code  A new 3D rendition of the classic Rolling Cubes puzzle. The puzzle is very challenging and takes a minimum of 36 moves to solve. A 'move' consists of rolling a 3D cube to the only empty space on a grid. Initially all cubes have their black sides facing up. The goal is to invert them so their red sides face up. We provide several simpler versions as a 'warm-up' for the main puzzle. The post contains complete source code, including a Flash CS5 file and custom AS3 classes.
  • Flash CS5 AIR for Android GraphSlider Application - Saving Puzzle State  The post contains complete source code for our GraphSlider Android AIR app that you can download and install from the Android Market. We comment the code with special emphasis on saving the state of the game. The app contains 30 different puzzles at different levels of difficulty. The purpose is to solve the puzzles and to do so in as few moves as possible to earn a three-star rating.
  • AIR for Android MazeFM Application, Cool Control Wheel!  We provide complete source code for our Android app, MazeFM. The app is a new rendition of the classic maze game. Generate a new perfect maze at a touch of a button. Steer the ball through the maze by moving your finger around a cool and easy to use steering wheel. Choose a level of difficulty you want to play.
  • AIR for Android Application KaleidoscopeFM - Source Code  We provide complete source code and comments for our Android AIR app, KaleidoscopeFM, that you can download and install from the Android Market. This simple but entertaining application uses the live feed from your phone's camera to create beautiful, dynamically changing kaleidoscopic images. Just launch the app, point your camera, and move your phone. The image on your screen keeps changing. We also provide useful links and tips how to start Flash CS5 AIR for Android development.


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