Archive for January, 2006
You may have seen the news swirling around CNET and a few blogs. I can confirm that what they say is true. Rub your eyes and read the statement again if you must. Most of these news outlets jumped the gun on the announcement, not that I can blame them. I have had a hard time keeping this news quiet myself.
Part of the pricing model for Flex 2 will include a free SDK which contains a command line compiler and documentation. It will also allow you to develop, compile, and deploy Flex applications with no additional server or licensing requirements. There is not a lot more we can say right now but as we get closer to the final release you should see more news about this.
The other part of the announcement is that we will be releasing the Flex 2 Beta and the first public release of the Flex Enterprise Services Server Beta on Adobe Labs very very soon. I really don’t want the free SDK to overshadow how amazingly awesome these releases are. Overall this is a huge update for Flex Builder as well as many changes and enhancements in the language and framework. I will outline these changes in a later post. For now, start freeing up some time to start playing with the updated Flex 2 Beta.
Yesterday, while I was browsing some of the Ruby on Rails blogs, I came across this post. In it, Rick Olson (also known as Rails Weenie) demonstrates in a screencast how you can integrate this new slider component into a Ruby on Rails application using a Rails plugin.
It is great to see all of these technologies integrated seamlessly like this. This screencast also illustrates the fact that Flash and Ajax do not neccesarily have to be mortal enemies bent on destroying the other. Sometimes the debate has been positioned this way, which is a shame. There is no doubt that there is a place for each technology and sometimes they will intersect in interesting and wonderful ways that benefit the end user and thier interaction with your application.
A few months ago I was privileged to be able to attend the amazing Spark Europe conference. It was a great experience and a very well presented and attended event. While Mike Chambers and I were over in Europe, we decided to visit a few of the user groups while we were there. Christian Cantrell was also doing a tour of Asia at the same time, so we decided to work together to assemble some great ActionScript 3 samples (which you can download here. ) The links for the Breezos for the presentations can be found at the bottom of this post.
Inside the archive you will find examples demonstrating the following functionality (as quoted from Christian’s blog):
Regular Expressions. E4X. The new and very simple way to create, parse, and
query XML in ActionScript 3.
ExternalInterface API. Allows your Flash content to
without any additional libraries.
File upload. Shows how to upload a file using Flex and save
it on the server using ColdFusion. (File upload is actually already
available in Flash 8.0, but this is a Flex 2 example).
Data types. Lists all the ActionScript 3.0 data types and
their default values.
Operators. Demonstrates some of the ActionScript 3.0
Packages. Demonstrates how packages work in ActionScript
Rest arguments. ActionScript 3.0 supports a concept of
“rest arguments” which you allows you to make some argument required,
and also handle an arbitrary number of additional arguments.
Proxy. The flash.util.Proxy object is a more powerful
version of __resolve.
Reflection. Shows how to introspect ActionScript 3.0
Timer. Shows how to execute code at a specified interval. The new display list API.
Every once in a while you get a link to a site that you have to send around, or blog in my particular case. The application is called Retrievr and by its unique spelling it is obvious that it is related to Flickr. What is not so obvious is how addictive this application is once you get a handle on it.
In a nutshell, it provides a unique search interface for a subset of flickr photos. By sketching out a drawing using a Flash based widget embedded in the page, the application makes calls to an algorithm that matches your drawing, colors and all, to photos retrieved from the Flickr database. It makes use of AJAX to incrementally make calls to the service so that as you are drawing your sketch you can see your results updated in real time.
I love to see applications like this that take advantage of numerous ‘Web 2.0′ technologies and ideas to subtly combine them in this way (I could write an entire post on how many indiscriminate uses of tags I have seen in the past few months.) The site and interface is clean, and it just works how you would expect. No fluff, just a great application that is a lot of fun to play with.