Tom Ortega II

Archive for April, 2007|Monthly archive page

Flash Exodus is over.

In Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, Technology and Software on April 18, 2007 at 9:54 am

I just saw a demo of the new Flash CS3 and Flex 2 integration. I was a flash guy, strictly for RIA stuff back in the day. I left the timeline behind though and never looked back when Flex came out. After what I saw today though, I’ll be returning to the promise land. Timelines will once again fill my screen

Flash components are full class citizens in Flex. You just set the registration point to 0,0, i.e. top left corne. You can then add properties and events inside of Flash, do a quick little export ditty, and their available in Flex for you to access and do as you bid. The export process from Flash creates a swc that you add to your project property. Once added, it becomes available to you like any other component. Flash Frame Labels auto equal Flex States. Tweens can then map to transitions. It’s amazing.

I’ll be sure to share the connect recording of this at my next Silvafug meeting on May 10th. Flash/Flex Integration AND Doug McCune yapping about building crazy custom components! You gotta be there! =)

Is that THE Ryan Stewart?

In 360Conferences, 360Flex, Business on April 11, 2007 at 4:30 am

That was the inside joke we had during 360Flex. Every time we saw Ryan strutting down the halls of eBay’s Town Hall, we’d scream that at him. (If you’ve never seen Ryan strut, it’s pretty sweet….I wish I had a strut like that).

Going into business with someone is not easy. Ask anyone who has a business and they’ll tell you that. In the case of John and I, when we thought of who we’d like on our side moving forward the choice WAS easy. Lucky for us, he was kind enough to drink our kool-aid.

Welcome, pardner. Let’s do this thing. =)

ASDoc: What comments get used and where do they go?

In Flash*Flex*AS, Programming on April 5, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Josh Buhler was tweeting about ASDoc on Twitter. ASDoc is a little rough to get going, mainly because it’s command-line driven (unless you use Farata Systems Eclipse plugin). I’m not going to get into syntax and such in this post. Instead, Josh wanted a sneak peak at the two files I have on my hard drive. I reckoned if he wanted a peek, some other ASDoc’r would too. Therefore, I’m posting it here for all to view.

What is it?

Basically, the zip has two files of code: 1 mxml file (MXMLTest.mxml) and 1 AS file ( There’s no real code in these files, but there are ASDocs in em. Some start “Used:” while others start with “Ignored:”. The point is to see which ASDoc tags get used and which ones get ignored depending on their location in each of the file types. I keep this posted on my wall and if I have a question, I can glance at them and see when and were to add an ASDoc.

The zip also has the compiled ASDoc output in the ASDocTest folder. To view the output, just unzip the folder and double click the index.html in the ASDocTest folder. Then open to .mxml and .as files in FlexBuilder to see which tags show up in which places.

If you have any questions, let me know. The zip file can be found here:

Note on June 23, 2008: The file has been reuploaded.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Adobe: Google’s Best Kept Secret Enemy

In Business, Flash*Flex*AS, Technology and Software on April 2, 2007 at 8:49 am

Everyone has been blogging and hyping the Adobe vs. Microsoft feud. The real power struggle is actually between Adobe and Google. I know this may sound a bit farfetched, but I think I have some valid points that prove my case.

Flex vs Google Web Toolkit (GWT)

Both are aimed at Java Programmers. Regardless of your thoughts on Java, you can’t deny the numbers. Thousands of enterprises have deployed this technology and therefore, there are A LOT of developers in the Java space. As Bruce Eckel pointed out, Java has not provided a nice way to deliver Rich Internet Applications on the web and that’s where Flex and GWT come in.

Both tools facilitate a simple framework to build dynamic web apps, but utilize different output formats. Flex spits out a swf file that runs in the Flash Player. GWT spits out AJAX code that runs in a browser. Both claim to eliminate the need to program for different browsers, a bane that turns off a lot of non-web developers. Whose version will Java developers buy? I don’t know, but whoever wins this battle will pull ahead in the enterprise space as all the Java-heads will preach that technology solution to those who sign their paychecks.

Apollo vs Firefox (via Netscape)

Both will perform a lot of the same functionality in the future. Google has the main Firefox guys on their payroll and obviously Adobe has the Apollo guys on theirs. What’s funny (in a weird way, not the “ha, ha” way) is how both companies can thank Netscape for their platforms. Netscape took Macromedia’s cash back in the day to include a new plug-in called the Flash Player, while Firefox got its first start toward the end of Netscape’s brief life.

Netscape publicly announced that it was going to take on Microsoft and win. This did do two things though: made Microsoft play catch-up (i.e. asked Macromedia if it could include the Flash Player too) and accelerated the browser as a platform (via the browser wars). Unfortunately, you shouldn’t challenge a giant until you know you can win, Netscape missed that somehow.

Now, both of these technologies are fixin’ to deliver on the timeless promise of a “Write Once, Deploy Anywhere” platform. Firefox wants you to program for its platform and Apollo wants you to build on theirs. Apollo will let you do Flash (Flex), HTML (AJAX) and PDF with any mix in between. Firefox will let you build apps on their platform frameworks such as XULRunner, XPCOM, etc. I’m fairly certain that a future version of GWT will likely support exporting code to the XUL platform. It would only make sense.

The holy grail is both technologies support the 3 big OSes: Windows, Mac and Linux. There’s one big difference to this support though. Adobe wants the OS to stick around, their tools depend on them. Google, however, does not and that leads me to my last point.

Desktop vs Nettop

One day, and sooner rather than later, Google wants the desktop to die. They want the world’s computers to run on their NetOS. I’m not here to speculate exactly what that entails, but let’s look at their profit model. The more time you spend online, the more money they make.

Adobe, however, have tools that run on OSes. They make money off these tools (Photoshop, Flash IDE, Flex Builder, Acrobat Professional, etc.) and they give away the runtimes that deploy content built with their tools (Acrobat Reader, Flash Player, Apollo, etc.) They don’t want the desktop to die anytime soon. In fact, if you look, Adobe seems to be trying to expand its tools to support all 3 major OSes.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Adobe and Google are squarely pitted against one another. The only problem is that they both share a common enemy: Microsoft, who is bigger and tougher than both of them combined. There’s an old saying, “Keep your allies close and your enemies closer.” While Adobe and Google both want to win this war, it seems they want to kill their common enemy first. However, if Microsoft was to pick up on this secret rivalry and bring it to the forefront, Microsoft could force everyone into a 3-way battle. The key question will be how resolved Google and Adobe are at taking Microsoft down. If Microsoft tries to turn the two against each other, will they be strong enough to resist the bait? If not, can Adobe and Google handle fighting two battle fronts? I don’t think they can. If the war between these two goes live and loud, I think Microsoft will have a better chance on trouncing both. I guess only time will tell what happens, but it’ll be an interesting war to track nonetheless.