31 05, 2009

Getting Started with Flash Builder 4 beta and Flash Catalyst beta

By |May 31st, 2009|Dev Tools|4 Comments|

The moment that many Flash Platform developers around the world have been waiting for is finally here – Flash Builder (beta) and Flash Catalyst (beta) are now available for download from the Adobe Labs web site.
A Milestone for Rich Application Development
After many months of rigorous testing, migrating, conducting Q-A, and discussing issues in the pre-release forums to solve complex problems, the official public betas were finally dropped early this week.

As noted by Adobe, the intent of these beta releases is to improve upon three critical facets of the development life cycle: developer productivity, designer-developer workflow, and data-centric application development. The extent of the features that have been included in what used to be labeled “Flex Builder” are so ginormous that you will likely agree that it was worth slapping an entirely different name on it. It is clearly light years beyond Flex Builder 3. The release of these two programs to the public – though still in beta – mark a significant milestone in the evolution of RIA technology as a whole nonetheless.
Getting Started, Step-by-Step
In the spirit of all Adobe [...]

31 05, 2009

Designing (RED)Wire, Part 2: Taking the User Experience from Concept to Production with Flex and CSS

By |May 31st, 2009|App Fashion|2 Comments|

Introduction
In the first segment of this series on designing the user interface of (RED)Wire, you learned about the different techniques and applications of CSS with Flex and AIR applications. In part two of the series, you will learn how these techniques can be applied to application components in enterprise level Flex and AIR applications. You will also discover the value of using external stylesheets when developing your Flex user interfaces.

Applying styles in Flex
Choosing your method of CSS implementation with Flex must be based on the situation and the environment. It is important to look at the application you are designing from the conceptual 50,000-foot view when considering your options for design implementation. The following are the most common methods for using CSS with Flex:
Setting Styles on an Instance (inline)
Flex components that extend the Flex UIComponent base class will allow you to set common styles as properties “inline”, or in other words, within the MXML component declaration tag. The layout properties of a display object are often unique to that object, so it is common to see any one of [...]

30 05, 2009

Designing (RED)Wire, Part 1: How to Use CSS to Create Jaw-Dropping User Interfaces with Flex and AIR

By |May 30th, 2009|App Fashion|8 Comments|

Introduction
One of the most powerful features of Adobe Flex is the vast amount of design flexibility that it contains. This is largely due to Adobe’s implementation of Cascading Style Sheets with Flex. For instance, when developing the User Interface of (RED)Wire, an application built on Adobe AIR, I received a number of change requests 2 days before the official launch of the first public release to 160,000 users that were already pre-registered worldwide, eagerly waiting to download their application. While many developers I know would have probably spent the next thirty minutes complaining to fellow developers about how these last-minute requests were an atrocity and an abomination to mankind, I had the changes completed and checked into subversion in less than twenty minutes, thanks to the power of Flex and CSS. It took longer to convince the Technical Director that the changes were complete than it did to complete them.

There are certain inevitabilities that I have learned to expect and prepare for through my experience as a Developer, Architect, and most of all, as a Technical Project Manager.  One such inevitability [...]

28 05, 2009

A Real-World Perspective into the Life of a Consultant

By |May 28th, 2009|News & Stuff|3 Comments|

Generally speaking, I hope that the readers of my postings will leave having felt like they’ve gained something important – a fulfilling learning experience, if you will. This time, I decided to do something a little different. If you are, or have ever been a consultant, and feel like spending a few minutes on the lighter side of life, you’ll certainly enjoy this real world depiction of our lives, in well, a couple of “different” contexts.

16 05, 2009

Architectural Analysis of the Swiz Framework, Part 2: Central Event Control

By |May 16th, 2009|Code Sculptures|3 Comments|

In this segment, we will analyze how Swiz handles events, and how to utilize this feature of Swiz in an enterprise level application. Before moving any further however, here is the “more advanced version” of the Swiz architectural diagram I created for Linux magazine once again:

In the diagram, the Bean Factory represents a pool of MXML Beans that extend the Swiz BeanLoader class. As stated in Part 1 of this series, the purpose of Beans is simply to declare objects that will be used in the application and to assign IDs to them so they can be referenced by name later when they are autowired. The interesting thing about Swiz is that when it does its introspection on the BeanLoader, it instantiates all of the objects and creates a pool, or “factory”, where the objects are handed over on demand. For larger applications, this could potentially result in a very slightly extended load time, but the benefit is immeasurable because the result is that the application runs noticeably smoother and considerably faster.

In order to simulate a somewhat larger-scale application, the diagram displays four beans, [...]

1 05, 2009

Flex in the Enterprise: Architectural Analysis of the Swiz Framework, Part 1

By |May 1st, 2009|Code Sculptures, Dev Tools|4 Comments|

I’ve spent an incredible amount of time recently working with the new Swiz framework for my latest article, which will be published soon by Linux Magazine.  Since Swiz is so new, and in consideration of the fact that very few developers even know what it is, the article was more of an “introduction to Swiz” type of article. However, as a result of the immense amount of time that I’ve spent analyzing the code and speaking with the developers, Chris Scott and Soenke Rohde, I decided to provide a more advanced architectural analysis of the framework here. If you are new to Swiz, my suggestion is to first read the introductory materials that are provided, or this article might make your head spin. I do not expect Linux to publish the article I wrote for them for at least another week, so if you need a basic introduction to the Swiz framework, I suggest taking a look at the project’s wiki on Google Code. For an excellent tutorial on creating a project with the Swiz framework, I strongly suggest taking a look at this [...]