Monthly Archives: September 2011



This October we have a Digital Briefcase inspired Indiana Jones pun for you.

Digital Briefcase is a bespoke software application designed by Signals Ltd to let you present your digital media, on brand and with confidence.

See how we helped the British Library to present a variety of digital materials through a single branded interface.

So long, SEPTEMBER 2011


For every first there must be a last. Weep not! For here is the back of September from the Signals Ltd calendar.

What will October bring?! 

CODE: Opening files on Android from AIR via a Java wrapper

Courtesy of Andrew D



We enjoy a challenge in the Signals studio and during a recent AIR based project for the Android based Motorola Xoom we found one:

The tablet app needed to open files with their default application based on their file type/extension.

Sounds easy? Well if you're using Adobe AIR in the desktop environment it is and can be achieved using code similar to the following:

var file:File = File.desktopDirectory.resolvePath("a.pdf");

However, during development we soon discovered that Adobe AIR for Android does not support the openWithDefaultApplication function. Running this code on the Android device simply returned errors or did nothing at all. Furthermore we found the device did not support pdf viewing in either StageWebView or the browser. Attempting to use a combination of URLLoader, URLRequest and the navigateToURL function also proved ineffective.

In fact, the only way to view a pdf on the device was through a third party browser with a pdf viewer plug-in installed and loading the pdf from a hosted server, not a local version stored on the device. As we also needed support for other file types, such as Office documents and videos, we needed to find an alternative approach.

After a lot more research and testing we came across an article that gave us a solution and explains the issue in detail. This resulted in us using the following Java to interpret the AIR commands:

//Example for pdf open with default application
File file = new File(url);
if (file.exists())
     Intent intent = new Intent();
     intent.setDataAndType(Uri.fromFile(file), "application/pdf");
     catch (ActivityNotFoundException e)
          //Decide what to do if there is no application that handle the PDF MIME.

Once our Flash Builder compiled AIR swf within the Java wrapper we were able to achieve the functionality we needed in our application.

Select the CODE tag to see more of our free code blog posts.

Interested in Smartphone and tablet apps?

Signals Cycle!

This summer, encouraged by growing demand from several cycling commuters amongst us, Signals installed a bicycle shelter in the car park.

A grant from Sustainable Routes set us on our way and now more and more of us are leaving our cars at home, donning a helmet and making a greener journey to work. Our bikes are secure and dry whatever the weather and we arrive at the Signals studio full of vim and vigour.

The Bike2Work Scheme reckon cycling to work brings the following benefits to businesses:

• Fitter, healthier and more productive staff
• Healthy staff are less likely to be absent through stress or illness
• Reduce your business carbon footprint
• Cycling to work reduces congestion and demand for parking

Our experience seems to bear this out, and I was proud to arrive this morning to a nearly full shelter beside two empty car parking spaces.


        BikeBlog2        BikeBlog1


We know the motorbike isn't 'green' per se, but it is cool.

A little shout out here for our Creative Director who took cycling to another level last week, completing a 60 mile charity ride for Sue Ryder Care and raising nearly £500 so far. If you meant to donate and didn't get around to it yet you can do it here:


Our sporty clients ought to be pleased! You can see what we have done for the River and Rowing Museum on our 'Clients' tab. The work we've done for the Sports Heritage Network and Our Sporting Life can be seen right HERE.


Welcome to September on the Signals blog!

On the first day of each month we'll be sharing an image from the Signals Calendar. Formally only available to our nearest and dearest clients these images, the result of a collaboration between the Signals Ltd studio, the Signals creative team and Gonfalon (@gonfalondesign), will now feature here for your enjoyment each month. The Signals calendar is something of an institution and we hope you come to enjoy them as much as we do.

Those of you that know us might want to look closely because this year the Signals Calendar made stars of Signals staff, exploiting our skills and super powers to make sure the flash lights find us and get us where we belong: on the big screen.