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Flex will go open source!

Today, Adobe announced that Flex will be releasing it’s source code as open source. Here’s the announcement:

SAN JOSE, Calif. – April 26, 2007 – Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq: ADBE) today announced plans to release source code for Adobe(r) Flex(tm) as open source. This initiative will let developers worldwide participate in the growth of the industry’s most advanced framework for building cross-operating system rich Internet applications (RIAs) for the Web and enabling new Apollo applications for the desktop. The open source Flex SDK and documentation will be available under the Mozilla Public License (MPL).

One of the things I love about Adobe is that they truly have the users in mind. They don’t force people to pay for everything under the sun. Adobe’s forward thinking mentality is what makes them so successful.

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Flash CS3 released!

Flash CS3 is now out. This means that you can create items for your Flex projects in Flash, and they will be able to communicate with the rest of your Flex app. In fact, the whole Web Premium Suite is available now to purchase from Adobe.com. Don’t delay, supplies are limited! (Ok, not really)

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So much time, so little talk

Apollo

If you haven’t seen, Apollo is now alpha and up on Adobe Labs! This is going to revolutionize the way people develop applications that need to run cross-platform and have network abilities. Heck, even some that don’t need network connectivity! It’s just plain easier to develop flashy applications using Flex Builder.

I’m sure I’ll end up posting examples of apps I’ve created in Apollo as soon as I get some time. Adobe has announced Creative Suite 3 and things are a little busy right now, hence the lack of blogging on my part.

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htmlText Editor v2.0

htmlTextEditor v2
Don’t you wish Adobe released new product versions this quick!

Ok, so after playing with the first version of the htmlText Editor, I realized there were some major improvements needed. The main thing I added is the ability to supress tags, so that you can cut down on unnecessary clutter in the htmlText. In doing this, I also gave the ability to “undo” those changes by unchecking the tags to supress and applying it again. There is a little help that gives some tips on how it’s used, nothing fancy since the app isn’t that complicated. If you use this or have feature requests, let me know. I’d like to hear some of the ways it’s being used. My guess is, it will be used mostly when giving a Text or TextArea htmlText or in specifying the htmlText in an XML file, like I’ve done. I hope it makes your work easier like it did for me!

 

htmlText Editor v2.0 (yeah, that was a quick dot release) 😉

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htmlText Editor

Many of you may experience some of the same things I do when it comes to maintaining a Flex site. I try to create tools that help make my job easier, and at times create twice as much work making the tools. Well, here’s a tool that took 2 lines of mxml and made a big difference in the amount of time it takes me now to update htmlText.

The situation: You’ve got a TextArea component with text that you want bold, italic, underline, different sizes, bulleted, etc. Using htmlText is great for that, but here’s the catch: you can’t shortcut the design of it using Dreamweaver or whatever your favorite wysiwyg html editor is, because they generate HTML 4.0. You may do the guess and check type of editing where you do what you think will look good, then build your project to see if you like it. But if you do a lot of editing, that gets old fast.

Another scenario might be that you pull the text from an XML file to populate some of the TextArea’s htmlText components. It’s the same situation.

The solution: Create a RichTextEditor component (id=”myRTE” for the example), and a TextArea (id=”myTA”). You bind the TextArea’s text to the htmlText of the RichTextEditor. If you want to be able to change the html and see it reflected in the RichTextEditor, bind myRTE’s htmlText to myTA’s text property. Here’s the mxml for the application at the link.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<mx:Application xmlns:mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml" layout="vertical" pageTitle="htmlText Editor">
<mx:RichTextEditor id="myRTE" width="100%" height="50%" htmlText="{myTextArea.text}" title="Formatted Text"/>
<mx:Panel title="HTML 1.0" width="100%" height="50%">
<mx:TextArea id="myTextArea" text="{myRTE.htmlText}" width="100%" height="100%"/>
</mx:Panel>
</mx:Application>
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WebORB rocks!

WebORB Last night was the Seattle Flex User Group that featured Mike Piller, founder of Midnight Coders. He is the founder of the company and has very extensive knowledge of Flex, ActionScript3, PHP, Ruby on Rails, Java, .NET… etc. He created a product called WebORB that is an incredibly useful tool for companies connecting to data sources. He doesn’t have a lot of money for PR so the product isn’t something everyone has heard of. I think they should! Check out the website that describes it here: http://www.themidnightcoders.com.

Also, his blog is found here: http://blog.themidnightcoders.com.

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Time to clean the Windows

Here’s a great example of someone harnessing the power of Flex to create their own custom component. It’s a time control very similar to the one that Windows uses. You change the hour, minute and seconds section seperately, using either the keyboard or the number stepper. The source is available to see and extend for yourself. Great work Brendan Meutzner!

http://www.stretchmedia.ca/code_examples/time_entry/TimeEntryTester.html

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srccomadobeflexextraswhatdoesitmean!?

Sharing custom components are a great way to keep from re-inventing the actionscripted wheel. Pulling these off of Flex Exchange, I had been really confused about why developers were nesting their .as files in folder after folder that seemed to be named in some kind of odd pattern. “Why can’t they just put it in the root folder!?” I guess it showed my inexperience because I finally have more of an understaning on the reason and it makes a lot of sense. I guess those professional programmers at Adobe really do know what they’re doing!

So, it’s essentially, reverse domain name notation so something from Adobe.com would be com.adobe… The folder structure would be the same. I found some links to descriptions of the convention, and why it’s done. Here’s a couple that explain it pretty well:
ActionScript 2.0 Best Practices-Great reference, not just for AS2! Under Naming Packages it talks about the classpath convention.
Once you understand classpaths, then you will know how to include custom components downloaded from the Flex Exchange or from other professional programmers. Here’s a link describing how to add the path for the custom classes.
I hope this explains it for people starting out that are as confused as I was before I understood it. It should get you looking professional, quicker.