airSIGNS – AIR Digital Signage

So I'm working on my first official AIR application. I'm hoping to get it done prior to the onAIR bus tour landing in St. Louis.  We're going to be installing five, 42" LCD displays throughout the church in August and I didn't want to spend the money on a canned signage solution that only partially met our needs. The solution is to develop one ourselves. It seemed like a great project to do with Adobe AIR.

Here is a rough feature list:

  • import of XML from SlideShowPro Director
  • import  RSS/ATOM
  • import ICS data
  • display loop of images parsed from XML data (initially SSP, later RSS/ATOM)
  • ticker of daily events (initially RSS/ATOM, later ICS)
  • ticker of news items (RSS/ATOM)
  • swapable layouts for 4×3 or 16×9 presentation
  • multiple display windows for output on several video cards
  • countdown timer for upcoming worship services

There is a real spec, and UI mockups, but I'm pretty sure that it will be changing over the next week. My goal this week is to flesh out most of the features that are needed in some form of usable code. So far I've gotten SVN setup and running, trained my assistant Zak to use source control and started prototyping components. Zak has done the basic Flex tutorials and is now working on a countdown timer for the signs. It'll be fun to watch him learn Flex and AS3 at the same time on a real project.

Right now I've got a slideshow component that takes the XML, parses it, and displays the images in a loop. I've also got a simple ticker (no RSS feed for it yet though). I'm beating my head against the window API trying to get custom positioning to work on a new window, so far no luck.

Long-term I'm going to make this thing allow user-definable layouts with a variety of mashup style widgets for various services. It should be a fun project.