Interview, Moods

Eskimo, skin your mobile apps

9 Comments 24 July 2011

Eskimo, skin your mobile apps

Flex 4.5 is a unique opportunity for application developers to develop one code base and compile it for iOS, Android and the BlackBerry PlayBook. I’ve already posted some tutorials to explain how to dynamically adapt the layout of your app depending on the screen resolutions, how to adapt your app to some UI patterns, or how to manage custom gestures. Jason’s blog is also a fantastic set of resources. I was also waiting for some amazing stuff from the community… and here is Eskimo. People in Action is a famous Flex Consulting company in France. They’ve already developed several Financial applications with Flex and they are now naturally focusing a large part of their activity on mobile applications. To help Flex developers who want to target iOS and Android at the same time, they’ve developed internally the Eskimo library. Luckily, this library is now open source. That’s why they need you to review, test and provide feedback to improve this great project.

Eskimo provides native control patterns for your Flex mobile apps. Just import two libraries (a component SWC and a theme) into your Flex projects, and let the magic begin. You’ll also find within the project a sample project named ‘tourDEskimo.fxp’. Based on the famous Tour de Flex navigation, Tour d’Eskimo lists all the components and all the specific control patterns of the project. Here are some samples:

Some classic form controls. I like the check box for iOS !

Thanks to the theme library, my Alert titles and all my components automatically look like native controls.

And yes guys ! They also developed the spinning wheel to choose a date… and it works like a charm.

And that’s just a small preview of Eskimo. You can work with the Back button, the Confirm button, the Contextable List, the Deletable List, the List Wheel (yeah), the Mobile Context menu, the Page indicator, the Pop Over, the Slide Data Group, the Skinable Alert, the Date field, the Form skin… Big stuff.

So what are you waiting for ? The link to the project I guess… Okay, I’m in a good mood so I’ll share with you this little treasure: and kudos to People In Action. Special kudos to Fred de Matos who works on this project and who was my student a few years ago… nostalgia… And the others great developers and designers of PIA: @fennecos, @PIA_Elsa, @jbdoumenjou (another student!!!) and @PIA_Rich, @thibautsailly and Thanh Pham.

Follow the Eskimo project on twitter


Interview of People In Action, the authors of Eskimo

Michaël: “Hi guys, could you present your team and your activity in few words ?”

People in action (PIA) is an IT consulting firm. We’ve been building Flex apps since 2005, and we are passionate by ergonomics and design. We love working through agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban) to help our customers increase their productivity and deliver great user experiences to their customers.

Michaël: “Eskimo is a great library for mobile application developers. Can you tell us what motivated the creation of Eskimo and how long did it take to develop this first release?”

We started playing with the Flex Builder Burrito Pre-Release program last year. We were really exciting about the capacities offered by Flex for developing great cross-platform mobile apps. We began by developing mobile applications for our own needs and realized that something was missing. If we wanted to fully satisfy users, we should have a solution to provide them with the same experience that they have with native apps. Adobe provided us the right technical solution, we had to use it the right way.

We started to develop adaptive components for our Timesheet mobile application. The application had to be used on an iPad and an Android tablet. Thereafter we were continuing building mobile apps keeping our philosophy of adaptive components. We developed components following our needs.  That’s why it is a little hard to say how long it took. From the time we said we wanted to provide our library to the community and this first release, maybe 3 months.

Michaël: “On behalf of the Flex community, I’d like to thank you for opening it. What do you expect from the community regarding Eskimo?”

First to use it, then to provide us feedback ! Tell us what you love, what you hate, what kind of components you are waiting for, those you don’t need… We want to improve it and provide a great library. We hope Eskimo will help coders to develop mobile applications even more enjoyable for users, and will participate in the growth of Adobe Flex cross-platform solution.

Michaël: “PIA  is a very active Flex Consulting company on the field. How would you promote the new Flex mobile offering in front of Enterprise Customers?”

Enterprise customers are interested in two types of apps. Apps for their customers and apps for their work forces. In this last case, they are focused today on two areas: business intelligence and sales/marketing tools. They are also very sensible to the IT side of mobile technologies, mainly: development environment, integrability, ease of deployment and maintenance facilities.
On all of that aspect, the Flex mobile offering provides great answers. Moreover, for our current customers, we are able to demonstrate how simple it is to create a mobile version of their flex applications.


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Your Comments

9 Comments so far

  1. Yoan says:

    Le bouton like ne fonctionne pas 😉 Dommage car super article.

  2. Arnaud says:

    Pour l’avoir déjà essayé, y’a vraiment du bon travail, il y a encore quelques petites choses qui ne sont pas implémentés (et surtout la partie QNX sur les datePicker notamment).

    Sinon je suis un peu déçu du rendu des On/Off IOS : Un exemple de skin amélioré sur le blog de Manuel d’ASFusion

    Sinon super initiative, en attendant une industrialisation et pourquoi pas une reprise par Adobe pour les inclure en composants avancés directement dans le SDK ou dans une lib orientée mobile.

  3. Hugo says:

    Just beautiful :)

    I will try this one later.

    Just one question. Could I use this library in a closed-source paid mobile app ?

  4. Borg says:

    Very nice.

    Now no one can complain that cross-platform apps don’t look native.

  5. Marc Pelland says:

    looking into building my first mobile app using flex.. this is definitely worth looking into, thanks for the info

  6. Eskimo says:

    To get the source code, you can download the 0.9.1 version available on . You can use this preview version without any restriction.

  7. Edouard says:

    A very good initiative but most of the skin are in mxml and are not optimized for mobile. I tried it in my application and deploy on an iPad 1, it was so slowly !!!!!

    But, as I said it’s a very good initiative and It would be my pleasure to improve the code by posting ActionScript Skin instead of the mxml

  8. northwolf says:

    I enjoy this work.

  9. Farid says:

    @Arnaud il s’agit du nouveau bouton tel qu’il apparaîtra dans iOS 5. Ils ont pris un peu d’avance…

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Who am I ?

I'm Michaël CHAIZE, Adobe Flash Platform Evangelist based in Paris. I'm a big fan of Rich Internet Applications and I promote the Flash Platform in the Enterprise world.
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