Pet Medications

Rich Media EPUB Demo

January 30th, 2009

Someone suggested that I post a demo of what I’m talking about in my last post.  So, we’ve quickly put together a  very, very crude demo of an actual ePub file with rich media.  This demo comes in the form of a fictitious book called “Cross Domain” with an “Ebook Xtras” section that lets you listen to audio, view video, look at book covers in a cover flow and link out to websites.

Ebook Xtras Page Meet the Writer Video

AudioBook Page Thumbnail More by the Author thumbnail

Download Rich Media ePub

1.  “Audio Book ” - this is a simple little audio player mockup and only the “play” button works (click it again to stop playback)

2. “Discuss on Forums” - this is simply a link out to a book discussion forum website

3. “Editorial Reviews”  - also just a website link right now

4. “Meet the Writer” - a video interview

5. “More by this Author” - a cover flow like list of EPUB files on

You’ll need Adobe Digital Editions to view the demo.

You can download the Rich Media Epub file here.

Enjoy! - Micah

Is EPUB the future of rich media?

January 29th, 2009

The EPUB file format is definitely taking off like a rocket for ebooks and text-based “packaged” web content (such as RSS feeds).  But what about rich media?  Well, the format certainly can contain content that includes video, sound, animation, games, apps, etc.   And, Adobe Digital Editions will render that kind of content (if it is Flash-based) and Adobe Content Server 4 can apply copy protection to it (if you need that because you are a library, etc).   Ah, but what about mobile you might ask…

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MTV style book promotion sites

January 28th, 2009

NY times has an interesting essay on promotional websites for books.  I’ve been so focused recently on rich media INSIDE ebooks, this reminds me to keep an eye on the bigger picture.

Ebooks on a card

January 28th, 2009

Scenario: I go to 7-11 and grab the latest NY Times bestseller as a wallet-sized plastic card.  It has a lotto style scratch-off strip…

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Bluefire at O’Reilly Tools of Change

January 28th, 2009

I’ll be heading to NY soon (Feb 8-12) to attend the Tools of Change conference.  While I’m there, I’d love to meet folks that are interested in innovating in the digital publishing space with RIA (rich internet application) technologies such as Flash and Silverlight.   Whether that be video, audio, games, etc. as ebook content, social network marketing tools, or online applications for reading and publishing.  Idle banter is welcome, almost as much so as paid projects ; )  Contact me in advance if you please at or txt me at the conf at  206.714.6265


Micah Bowers is the UX director at Seattle-based interactive agency Bluefire Productions.

Text Layout Framework gets moody

January 28th, 2009

Thibault Imbert has posted source code of “SmileyRenderer” a class for inserting emoticons into Flash Player 10 Text Layout Framework text flows over at  Oh happy Day!  ;-)

Digital Editions resonates with old world

January 26th, 2009

The folks over at Ebook Rumors wrote up a complimentary review of the Digital Editions “feel”.  How nice to hear good stuff this winter.  Reminds me to do that for others more often.

Silverlight Feedbooks RSS Browser - Part 2

January 22nd, 2009

Creating a Thumbnail Grid


In Part 1 of this tutorial we stepped through the process of fetching and parsing an RSS feed from the results of which were bound to a DataGrid UI Control.

In this post we will detail how we can use the new WrapPanel and ViewBox controls, which are a part of the  Silverlight Toolkit December 2008 release to create grid of thumbnails from a Feedbooks RSS source.

Download Source

Feedbooks RSS Browser Application

See it in Action

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Text Layout Framework Resources

January 21st, 2009

The new Text Layout Framework for Flash Player 10 is very powerful and feature rich, but there’s a bit of a learning curve because of that (as we discovered while building the World Class Text Tour for the TLF site on Labs).  Here’s a list of some resources for learning more about it.  Or, if you’d rather hire someone to do it for you, just give us a ring at (206) 781-1411.  We plan to post a few tutorials ourselves in the near future.


Text Layout Framework on Adobe Labs (Note that each section of the “World Class Text Tour” demo on that page has downloadable FLA files with source code - download button is in upper right.)

Text Layout Framework Team Blog

MAX 2008 TLF session videos

Adobe Evangelist Mihai Corlan’s blog post:  ”How to use Text Layout Framework in Flex 3.2 or AIR 1.5″

Flex 3.2 Language Reference for Flash Text Engine

Richard Dermer’s Pagingation example for Flex builder

If you come across any additional resources, please submit a comment with a URL.

Silverlight Feedbooks RSS Browser - Part 1

January 19th, 2009

Tutorial - Creating a Simple Silverlight RSS Reader


This is the first post of a multipart blog tutorial explaining how to create a simple Silverlight 2.0 Web Application that displays a grid of thumbnails from a Feedbooks RSS source.  Under each thumbnail is a button that allows users to download an ePub version of the book to their desktop.

Download Source See also: Tutorial Part 2

Feedbooks RSS Browser

See it in Action

In this first part we are going to step through the process of fetching and parsing an RSS feed with Silverlight and then bind the RSS data to a Silverlight DataGrid control.

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Text Layout Framework: a new reason for publishers to love Flash

January 19th, 2009

The Text Layout Framework (TLF) is new tech that dramatically improves typography and foreign language support in Flash player 10. Adobe recently tapped Bluefire to build a TLF demo for Labs that showcased what it could do, and while working on it we became rather impressed with the capabilities. In fact, it is a game changer in the RIA space. If you are a Flash developer or work in the digital publishing arena I highly recommend checking out the World Class Text Tour we did as a quick primer. Here’s a few screenshots:

World Class Text Tour
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First Library Offers EPUB eBooks

January 19th, 2009

The EPUB file format has taken another significant step forward with the announcement that the Cleveland Public Library has begun offering eBook downloads in the format (via).  This is only the beginning of what will clearly be a massive shift toward the proliferation of EPUB  in public libraries.  Why?
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Bluefire in 2008

January 9th, 2009

Believe it or not, 2008 was a great year for us.  We continued to work in the Digital Publishing arena, which we are really into. We did a few projects in the mobile space, which was a goal going into the year.  And in the fall we got a new client - the Flash Platform team at Adobe.  Given that we’ve always been a huge fan (and user) of Flash Player since the FutureSplash days it was very meaningful to us to do some R&D and a product demo for them.  I’ll try to blog about the various projects in some detail, but here’s an overview of our 2008 work:

  • Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 -  UX design and Flex dev on this update that added content portability and support for the Sony Reader Digital Book.
  • Adobe Content Server 4 Admin Console -  UX design and Flex dev of the admin console for Adobe’s new digital publishing and distribution management tool.
  • Dexter Widget 1.5 - UX design and Flex dev to update a book preview Flex widget that added customizable styles,  fluid layout to work in a variety of sizes and screens,  and mySpace compatibility.
  • World Class Text Tour - Creative and Flex dev on this interactive marketing piece that showcases the world languages and text layout features of Flash Player 10 and the Text Layout Framework.
  • Mogreet Widget - Flash dev on this widget for sending fun video messages to mobile devices.
  • Sumisho Website - Design and HTML on major update to a site we had done in a previous year.
  • Mobile Application - UI designs for an un-announced mobile application: iphone and windows mobile versions.

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Adobe Digital Editions 1.5 Rocks the Scene

May 15th, 2008

Congratulations to our good friends at Adobe for releasing Digital Editions 1.5. (Bluefire provided UX design and Flex development support for both the 1.0 and 1.5 efforts). Digital Editions is a lightweight, rich internet application for reading, acquiring and organizing digital books and other publications. This update adds content portability to protected items in both EPUB and PDF formats. Meaning you can now buy copy protected items online and, well… copy them - to other computers and devices. This portability is enabled by a new feature for authorizing a machine with an Adobe ID.
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Customizing the About Screen of an AMG

January 18th, 2008

All AMG galleries have an about screen, and they are often under-used. Perhaps in part because most people don’t know that you can put all kinds of content in there by simply editing the group.xml file. It supports basic html formatting too. For a basic example of this, check out the “about” screen on our portfolio gallery at

To see how we did this, look at the group xml file here:

Look at the groupDescription node