Category Archives: Ruby

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 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 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 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.