Category Archives: Flex 2

Flex Solutions, the book: Essential Techniques for Flex 2 and Flex 3 Developers

Following the post by Marco Casario a couple of weeks ago, I was filled with similar excitement. In no way can I claim any of the glory that Marco certainly deserves. But In some small way I am equally as proud to have been Technical Reviewer (thorn in Marco’s side :p ) for his book Flex 2 Solutions: Essential Techniques for Flex Developers, Released by Freinds of Ed.

Marco has put a monumental amount of work into this book. Believe me the 900 hundred or more pages that you read are a slim account of the gargantuan task Marco undertook in documenting the extent of the Flex Application Framework.

I can honestly say I it was fantastic to read the original work. The thing that I found even more incredible as I inflicted my nit picking is that this huge technical resource was produced by Marco in English, not his native Italian. I know i would not be up to the task. Congratulations Marco.

AirPress. Desktop video blogging comes to WordPress thanks to Adobe AIR

The Weblog Tools site has a link to an AIR application aimed at blog authors, its called AirPress. AirPress seems to offer similar functionality to other blogging tools I have seen such as the ScribeFire add-on (used to be called Performancing) for FireFox. The major interesting addition in AirPress is the inclusion of webcam support to allow authors to publish FLV formatted video to there WordPress blog. AirPress still seems to be in an early stage (betr) but could be worth keeping an eye on.

Rather amusingly “AirPress requires Adobe AIR beta (Download Adobe AIR)”. Thats a Beta that needs a Beta to run. Beta2

Flex 3 – The most important feature?

{UPDATE 1}
What I have found use full and Interesting is a post over HERE, related to Flex 3. It provides a useful link if you want to get involved in the Pre-release.

Now on to the rant 😛
{/UPDATE 1}

{UPDATE 2}
After re-reading Ted’s post there is one section that i quite important to point out, that I missed.

The day you download Flex 3.0, you will be able to deploy 100% of the new features to the entire Flash Player 9 installed user base.

Of course we all want to know what those new features will actually be. Also though if the Flash 9 Player is going to be around a little longer than the previous player versions, will it mean we have to put up with its short comings a little longer too? Accessibility, Bi-Directional Support immediately spring to mind.
{/UPDATE 2}

Most of the flash blogosphere will have read the post here . I have to say I was left feeling a little fished in. There appeared to be little information actually about Flex 3.0 although there are an awful lot of mentions of both Flex 3.0 and also Flash player 9. In fact some of the information sounds down right wrong.

This is the first time Adobe or Macromedia has released a development toolset targeting a widely deployed Flash Player

Will this not be the Flash 9/Blaze IDE, which will surely be released well before Flex 3.0. I imagine Flash 9 will be targeting a widely deployed Flash 9 Player and the new ActionScript 3 standard. The clue would be Adobe releasing the AS3 update for flash 8 on Labs. What it would be accurate to say is;

This is the first time Adobe or Macromedia has released a development toolset, that hasn’t been released yet.

Scatter in some simple logical version statements, such.

When Flash Player 10 hits 90%, Flex should target Flash Player 10 in all future releases

Its a wonderful recipe for Google Keyword Candy. But has very little content.

Sorry Ted. Not impressed.

Flash and Flex and Ruby

Its great to get news of an official Adobe supported Ruby based RIA SDK. I have been looking at Ruby and Rails for a few months now, long after Stuart Eccles over at LiveRail.net said I should be looking at it. Those that saw his presentation at LFPUG will understand why. For those that didn’t see it, try and check out the video.

What I saw that evening was pretty incredible. Stuart had been raving about “6 Minute Apps” for some time, I couldn’t believe it when, as his presentation Stuart built an app there and then. From scratch. Database, server logic, flex front end. End to end database driven flex RIA. All that was needed was a bit of beatification and you would have been good to go.

What made it incredible? Well firstly Stuart wrote very little code, most of it was defined in the Ruby Scaffolds that get auto generated as part of a basic application framework. Secondly this was a real world useful app. the type you could imagine a client asking for. Thirdly, Stuart is neither a flash or flex developer. He has only really been looking at flex recently and yet quite plainly he is a man knows how to integrate seemingly disparate technologies in order to produce a useful product.

A great example of choosing the right technology (tool) for the job.

If you are looking at making use of the Ruby SDK I would highly recommend heading over to LiveRail.net to check out Stu’s tutorials on Ruby and Flex. They have been up for a while, but now I believe they are even more relevant. While your at it I can highly recommend picking up the some books on Ruby development too. Ive been plugging through Agile Web Development with Rails: A Pragmatic Guide that and it certainly does a great job of setting you on the right track. Although I have also heard good things of Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide, Second Edition as well.

Balthaser patent .180 reexamination

As Mike over at Flashgen.com and also Aral Balkan reports it seems someone is looking to contest the ridiculous Balthaser RIA patent that was reported a while ago by a number of Flash developers. I have also been contacted by Oliver Lorenz with regard to providing more information and certainly urge anyone that wants to beable to continue RIA development without the potential of infringing on this patent.

The issue I have with the patent is its broad and sweeping coverage of very common interface and application GUI design systems. As an example reading one portion of the “Summary of The Invention”.

When editing a component, the user may modify a number of features associated with a component including, but not limited to, the volume of an acoustic component, the link between a menu entry and an associated component, the font, font size, color, or effect of a text field, or the layout, size, transparency, rotation, color, position, or level of any graphical rich-media component. The user may modify these components by means of a slider bar or a textual input field. In addition, the user may modify the volume of a sound component by means of up and down volume buttons. The user may undo modifications made to a component’s parameters. The user may also modify the position of a graphical rich-media component by a graphical input field, by clicking and dragging said component, or by text fields. When the user modifies the position of a graphical rich-media component by means of clicking and dragging said component, said component may align itself to a grid point or a guide line. The user may also modify the style and the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of a component linked to a menu entry.

Unless I am mistaken the recently posted link to Netvibes would actually infringe on this part of the patent. In that the user can select ‘panes’ or ‘graphical rich-media components’ of the netvibes application and alter there position within the application by clicking and dragging them to a new position.

In this example, because there is no specific technology linked to the patent claim, any RIA in any technology, Flash, Ajax, Appolo, XUL Runner, HaXe, Sparkle, add any other future technology here….. These systems would all be in break of the patent claim.

And this is just ONE of the EIGHTY THREE different claims in this patent.

Very worrying I think any developer would agree. Everyone involved in Internet application development, in my opinion, should take a serious look at this patent. Think about ANY work they have done or seen in past. The work they are doing today. Then consider the possible implications of future networked development. If you know of anything that has been posted, exhibited or shown publicly that can bring this patent down, it is in every ones interest to make it known to strengthen the Magix reexamination.

And remember we are not just talking about flash applications or work here. If you remember or are aware of ANY online application, in any technology, be it DHTML, Director, Java or anything else. If it used any, all or even one of these systems to allow user interation then it may well be enough to show that Mr Neil Balthaser did not invent these systems, and certainly has not right to lay claim to doing so as he has in his patent application.

Ant Build.xml for ASDocs Generation in Eclipse

I am an avid user of eclipse and so this evening knocked together this simple Ant build.xml file. The file allows generation of AS3 class ASDocs from within the Eclipse IDE. I am not an Ant master, far from it, so if anyone has any ideas on making this more usefull feel free to leave a comment.

I placed this in a folder in the root of my project called docs. The final docs are produced to sub folders of the docs folder called output/AppDocs. A screen shot of output can be seen here.

ASDocs_Screen

The XMl source is below the fold along with a link to the raw build.xml file

Continue reading Ant Build.xml for ASDocs Generation in Eclipse

10 years of flash, my how things have changed.

It all started at university. Microsoft or MSN Australia I think it was, that was the first ‘flash’ movie I saw. And it changed everything I had seen on the web until then. Of course unlike everything else on the web at that time there was no way to see how they had done it. Or at least you would think 😉 . A few moments in a hex editor to remove those pesky 10th and 11th bytes, if memory serves, that was the ‘copy protection’ and we were off and de-compiling, perhaps the first flash de-compiler was actually UltraEdit? 😀

As you will have seen Mike Jones (FlashGen.com) and I are meeting to take notes, share war stories and generally reminisce the ‘Good OldSkool Days’. To find out what files we still have, and even which URLs are still live (Flash 3 (alpha) circa 1997/8 btw JD produced by Spooky & the Bandit – you may remember them :p)

Keep your eyes peal for more news as events unfold….

ActionScript 3 & Flash 9 Compatibility Info

Previously I have mentioned concerns with regard to compatibility of Flash Player 9, ActionScript 3, Flex 2, and the recently released Flash 9 Preview. After digging around last night for information on how to get cracking on some Action Script 3 development I found this information on LiveDocs regarding the compatibility of the various flash SWF formats and ActionScript versions.

  • A single SWF file cannot combine ActionScript 1.0 or 2.0 code with ActionScript 3.0 code.
  • ActionScript 3.0 code can load a SWF file written in ActionScript 1.0 or 2.0, but it cannot access the SWF file’s variables and functions.
  • SWF files written in ActionScript 1.0 or 2.0 cannot load SWF files written in ActionScript 3.0. This means that SWF files authored in Flash 8 or Flex Builder 1.5 or earlier versions cannot load ActionScript 3.0 SWF files.

    The only exception to this rule is that an ActionScript 2.0 SWF file can replace itself with an ActionScript 3.0 SWF file, as long as the ActionScript 2.0 SWF file hasn’t previously loaded anything into any of its levels. An ActionScript 2.0 SWF file can do this through a call to loadMovieNum(), passing a value of 0 to the level parameter.

  • In general, SWF files written in ActionScript 1.0 or 2.0 must be migrated if they are to work together with SWF files written in ActionScript 3.0. For example, say you created a media player using ActionScript 2.0. The media player loads various content that was also created using ActionScript 2.0. You cannot create new content in ActionScript 3.0 and load it in the media player. You must migrate the video player to ActionScript 3.0.

    If, however, you create a media player in ActionScript 3.0, that media player can perform simple loads of your ActionScript 2.0 content.

The full information can be found here:

Programming ActionScript 3.0 > Overview of ActionScript Programming > Introduction to ActionScript 3.0 > Compatibility with previous versions