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MLS csv2kml beta 1

MLS csv2kml takes the Membership.csv file that can be created from MLS (ask your Clerk for this file) and by simply dropping the file onto the running application, it will gather the information needed and construct a kml file that can be used with Google Earth to visualize all the members of your Ward or Branch. The file it creates is named Membership.kml and is always placed on your desktop when it’s finished.

Continue reading MLS csv2kml beta 1

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htmlText Editor

I created the htmlText Editor to solve a workflow issue I was running into while working on a project a while back.  I had a Flex app that was getting it’s text strings from an XML file.  Many of the strings were going to be formatted and used in an htmlText control.

The problem: Flex uses a subset of html 1.0.  Only very basic tags are allowed so I can’t just open up Dreamweaver and go to town creating my htmlText visually.

The solution: Create a text editor in Flex so that all the formatting is compliant.

The htmlText editor is simply a RichTextEditor control bound to a TextArea to display it’s htmlText property.  Using Regular Expressions, I gave the user the ability to filter out some of the many unnecessary tags that automatically get created but aren’t essential.

Enjoy!

htmlText Editor

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Tutoring

I now offer tutoring to those who want to learn more about Flex and ActionScript.  I know that learning a new technology can seem intimidating for some so I teach with a style that will give you what you need to know to be a professional developer without all the fluff.  There are two ways you can learn:

One on one tutoring

($40/hr) Just you and me.  If you learn best by structured learning (with “lessons, and homework”) I can do that OR we can find a real world project to take on and work through the problems together.  If you learn best by some other means, just say so.  I can adapt to anyone’s learning style.

Group lessons

($30/hr per person) Two to five of you and your friends or co-workers get together and learn as a small group.  The same options apply when it comes to ways you can learn.  By getting a group together the rate is reduced for each person. I’ve found that small groups allow each person to get the most out of the time there.  If the group gets too big, some individuals end up sitting around while others are getting extra help.  I want each person to get as much as they can out of it.

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Looking good

The Flex Guy site has completed it’s make-over and now is completely running on Joomla!  With a slick new look and feel, I’ll be using it to show off work I’ve done and provide a more straight forward interface to those who want to download and use the finished products.

I’m always open to suggestions so if you see something that really annoys you, let me know.  If there’s something you really want to see or know, please share!

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About Marty

I have been using Flex since Adobe merged with Macromedia.  Because I work at Adobe, I’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities to learn ActionScript and Flex from the best.  Hardly a day goes by that Flex Builder isn’t opened.  I love building applications that solve problems or make peoples lives a little easier.  I also love teaching others how to use Flex.  Now and then I tutor others in ActionScript and Flex.

I am also the manager of the Seattle Flex User Group (SeaFlex), which meets the second Thursday of each month.  If you are in the Seattle area and want to network with other developers or learn more about Flex, check out the SeaFlex website for details about the next meeting.

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SWFs are now searchable!

Adobe announced today that they have teamed up with Google and Yahoo! to provide the means to search flash content on the web. This was one of the biggest drawbacks to sites with large amounts of flash content, so it is a welcomed announcement to everyone. The method of searching does not require anything different to be done by developers and allows old swf content to be searched as well.

“Google has been working hard to improve how we can read and discover SWF files,” said Bill Coughran, senior vice president of engineering at Google. “Through our recent collaboration with Adobe, we now help Web site owners that choose to design sites with Adobe Flash software by indexing this content better. Improving how we crawl dynamic content will ultimately enhance the search experience for our users.”

Read the press release here.

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We fear change

There are many things in life that need to change every once in a while. Jobs, where we live, vacuum cleaner bags, our socks… Whether it’s due to fear or laziness or a lack of resources to make the change, we can sometimes be resistant to change. The Flex Guy website has been using WordPress for the front end blog for quite a while now, but will soon be moving to Joomla!. This will allow for a more full-featured website with the ability to grow to something a little more professional.

I’ve been working with Joomla! lately to deploy beautiful websites that don’t require a lot of initial work to get them up and running. There are a large number of templates out there for Joomla! that are very well designed. My favorites come from RocketTheme.com, and you’ll probably see that the new site will be built with one from them. They have great support and build their themes so that they are easily customizable.

I am also helping to create the Seattle Flex User Group (SeaFlex) website using Joomla! I’m gaining a lot of experience with it lately since I have been creating websites for clients as Sound Design Team. So, I have fun staying busy, building websites, developing Flex applications and keeping Adobe fat and happy.

For now, don’t be surprised if The Flex Guy takes a little break from blogging (or continues to take a little break 😉 )

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The Open Screen Project is announced

The Open Screen Project was announced by Adobe today.  This is a pivotal point in Adobe’s history.  You can read about the details here: http://www.adobe.com/openscreenproject/

Here’s what this will mean for Flash®:

  • Removing restrictions on use of the SWF and FLV/F4V specifications
  • Publishing the device porting layer APIs for Adobe Flash Player
  • Publishing the Adobe Flash® Cast™ protocol and the AMF protocol for robust data services
  • Removing licensing fees – making next major releases of Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR for devices free

Note that this is not making Flash open-source.  It is making it possible to put the Flash player on mobile devices without a fee (even though the fee was small to begin with) and significantly reduces the potential development cost to make it work on a device.  We’ll be able to create Flash content for mobile devices and eventually we’ll see Flex and AIR apps on them.  This is the stuff dreams are made of.  Ok, maybe not all dreams, but I still love it.

The strategy behind it is brilliant as well.  It will ensure there aren’t multiple variations of “flash players” out there that don’t work the same.  We don’t want to have the headaches we had when dealing with CSS inconsistencies. This also will get Flash out there as the platform for rich content.  Sorry Microsoft, but you haven’t been very “open” so what’s your move?

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Now that Flex 3 is out…

Ok, so Flex 3 and thus AIR 1.0 are now out to be used and abused. You’d think I would have been posting like crazy as soon as they hit the shelves. So what have I been doing? You guessed it – using them. I’ve been deep in the world of Trees, ContextMenus and MVC design patterns. I’ve been learning how to use the File class and drag and drop functionality for the desktop. I also broke down and became an Adobe Certified Flex Developer, so now I have something to work in conversations at dinner parties.

I would feel bad if I wrote a post and didn’t provide a tidbit of usable information for the flex community, so how about something I learned about AIR application icons.

To give your AIR application an icon, which you should always do to avoid the default icon being used by the OS, you need to specify the image location for the icon in the <application_name>-app.xml file that will be in the root of your AIR project folder. There are four tags for the icon, and if you don’t use one, you need to remove it. That’s something that got me, although it seems fairly obvious looking back. The compiler won’t automatically look at a tag without an image reference in it and say “hey, I should ignore this”. So either create a png image to use for each of the 16px, 32px, 48px, and 128px icon references it has OR specify one of them and delete the other tags. I recommend creating an icon for each since it’s really not that much more effort and will allow you to tweak the icons to look better for smaller and larger sizes.

Have you wondered how AIR can make icons for both the Mac and Windows platforms? Well, the icons aren’t created until you install the application. At that point, the installer knows what platform you’re installing to and will generate the appropriate icons at that point. Because of this, you won’t see your icon when you’re developing and debugging the application. The icon will only show up when you install the application from a release build.