Tom Ortega II

Archive for the ‘Programming’ Category

HTML 5: Is this how Flex 4 will be made?

In Ajax, Flash*Flex*AS, Programming, Technology and Software on May 29, 2007 at 4:00 am

Ajaxian has started this monthly Ajax roundup. It’s a pretty good read, even if you’re not an Ajax developer. I’m a Flexer, so most of the news items aren’t relevant to my daily life, but I think it’s important to keep tabs on tech in general.

Kevin Yank, over at SitePoint, has an interesting post on the HTML 5 working group. HTML 5!? You ask/say in disbelief. Yeah, I was surprised to see it too. With Ajax and browser apps becoming more and more prevalent, this has got to be the toughest “release” of HTML to date. As Kevin notes, anyone can join the working group so if HTML gets you buzzing, head on over and join the HTML working group.

The part that I found most interesting in the post was the section entitled “HTML 5 Issues on the Table”. It talks about various different things that make me glad I don’t spend most of my days in HTML anymore. However, when I came across the “Extending HTML Semantics” item, I got a bit sad for being a straight Flex developer. Flex, while being incredibly powerful and easy to use, does have some major drawbacks: not easily searched and not being able to contribute to the semantic web.

Alas though, Flex 3+ will be open-sourced. Now we, who care about semantics and crazy items like that, will be able to help make them a reality in future Flex releases. Right? I don’t know, but I’m hoping so.

Will we have working groups for Flex 3.x and Flex 4? Will these working groups be open to the public? Or will they be “invite only”? Will we have committees on topics like Logging, Unit Testing, Charting, Semantics, Styles, Component Library, etc? Or will there just be two committees: ActionScript and MXML. I don’t know. I sure hope we find out soon though.

I think that’s why the Open-Source announcement hasn’t whet my appetite yet. Yeah, an open Bug Base is nice…but I need a little more meat before I can take a bite.

Us vs. Them: Let’s stop it already

In Business, Programming, Technology and Software on May 28, 2007 at 7:41 pm

I’m just now reading a May 9th Post by Jeff Atwood. He brings up the “Us vs Them” thing, in regards to Microsoft and Open-Source developers. While it’s a fun read, the best nugget deals with neither side of the fence. Instead, it deals with every developer and an attitude that needs to change.

“As far as I’m concerned, every software developer, regardless of what’s on their tool belt, has the same goal: to craft useful computer software that delights users. We’re allies, not enemies. Friendly rivalry I can understand. But the rabid partisanship that I typically see– on both sides of the fence– isn’t helping us.”

I can’t agree more. I would have to say that until eBay I didn’t think that being allies was possible. For years now, I’ve been interacting with middle tiers not written in the same language as the front tier. Every time, it was the same thing. The developers of the middle tier would say, “Why are you developing the front tier in THAT language? You know, our language can do the front end too.” Then it usually goes downhill and bugs are the front end’s fault because it’s the “lesser” tool and soon it becomes them vs us. At eBay, the Flex team (front end) and the Java teams (middle/back end) realized they had a common goal, got to work and delivered. It was a great feeling not having that animosity and to be a “team”.

As we (developers) get on board with projects, we need to keep that goal in mind and not the technologies. Let’s deliver the best software we can, regardless of what tools we use. In the end, that will make life better for all of us.

SmartClient: An impressive Ajax solution

In Ajax, Programming, Technology and Software on May 23, 2007 at 7:44 am

The folks at Isomorphic Software have this Ajax product known as SmartClient ( One team inside eBay uses the product for internal projects, and so invited them down to demo for the rest of us. I was there and I have to say, the tool looks powerful. The company has been around for a while and if you look at their homepage, they’re client list is rather impressive.

There are two things I’d like to call out that were demonstrated.

  1. The OLAP CubeGrid: This nifty little tool let you quickly and easily view your OLAP data in a datagrid. Any toolset can do that, right? But then, SmartClient let’s you just drag and drop new elements into the datagrid to further enhance the views. I’ve been in corporate America for quite sometime and the number crunchers out there would go crazy for a tool like that.
  2. XML Schema-driven Form: I know Eclipse and other tools have had something like this for years, but not being a Java head, stuff like this still impresses me. The tool will take an XML schema and automatically bind it to a datagrid and create a corresponding form on the fly. The form will have the elements properly typed, show which are required and even populate drop downs. If you’re using XML extensively, that’s a pretty attractive feature.

As you can see by the sidebar of their site (if you clicked one of the example links), there’s tons of other stuff they do right out of the box. With over 210 Ajax frameworks to choose from, it’s probably pretty hard to figure out which one you want to use. If you’re investigating/using Ajax, give SmartClient a look.

Flex Component Kit: Step by Step

In Flash*Flex*AS, Programming, Technology and Software on May 1, 2007 at 3:22 am

I’ll show you step by step how this new kit works.

Now, I know all the hype about Open Source has everyone’s attention. However, the Flex Component Kit for Flash CS3 is the bigger news in my opinion. It’s going to take some time before we see the fruits of the Open Source project. The kit, however, is going to deliver some beautiful eye-candy, very quickly. Everyone needs to give a big thanks to Glenn Ruehle (Glenn, start a blog!) and Ely Greenfield for making this wonderful little tool. Now, you can see Glenn give a nice demo of this here, and you should watch it cuz Glenn can deliver himself a mean connecto (breezo). You can also read the instructions that come with the kit, and you should cuz it makes things clear. However, if you don’t want to do either, here’s a little step by step with screenshots and SWFs to help you understand.

First and foremost you need to install Flash CS3, the Flex Component Kit and prep Flex Builder. Go check out the Labs site for that info.

We’re eventually going to build this simple app. As you can see, it’s just a simple ball component that grows and shrinks. Now, the neat thing here is that you’re not just going to be building and seeing the finished product. You’re going to be seeing the various levels of the kit. You’ll come to see how labels become states, how animations become transitions and how the boundingBox works and why. The beauty and true power of the kit is not clear until you see AND understand all those pieces.

The path I’m taking is complete newbie on both Flash CS3 and Flex Builder 2. Each step has a number, the app to use, a corresponding image and a series of substeps. The image is to help you visualize the substeps and has red “highlights” to show emphasis.

Warning: This little experiment is not for the faint of heart. It is quite lengthy. I promise though, by the time you’re done, you’ll know why the kit is so exciting. Sorry for the crappy Step 1.1 style. I wanted and wrote Step 1.A and so on, but WordPress doesn’t want to keep the Letter list type. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Draw the BlueBall
App: Flash CS3
Step 1 Image

  1. Switch to the Oval Tool (Top Red Rectangle on Tool Palette on Step 1 Image)
  2. Pick Black for the Stroke Color and Blue for the Fill Color. (Bottom Red Rectangle on Tool Palette on Step 1 Image)
  3. Draw a circle on stage. You can hold the “Shift” key down to maintain a perfect Circle. Make sure it’s big enough so you can shrink it later (Mine is 174 pixels)

Step 2: Convert drawing to symbol
App: Flash CS3
Step 2 Image

  1. Select the entire image and in the “Modify” menu, choose “Convert to Symbol…” (Top Red Shape on Step 2 Image)
  2. In “Convert to Symbol” dialog box, make sure “MoviClip” is selected and name the symbol “BlueBall”. Leave all other settings alone.
  3. Click “OK”. This adds the “BlueBall” symbol permanently to your library while leaving a “copy” of that symbol on the stage.

Step 3: Clear Stage and Create Empty BallComponent Symbol
App: Flash CS3
Step 3 Image

  1. After the symbol is created, select the blue ball on the stage canvas and delete it. The stage should be empty now. Note: This just deletes a “copy” of the symbol.
  2. Verify that the BlueBall symbol is in your library. (Lower Red Rectangle on Step 3 Image) If it’s not, start over.
  3. Now that the canvas is empty, in the “Insert” menu choose “New Symbol…”.
  4. This will open up the “Create New Symbol” dialog box.
  5. Name the new symbol “BallComponent”. Leave all other settings alone.
  6. Click “OK”. This adds the blank “BallComponent” symbol directly to your library.

Step 4: Add BlueBall to BallComponent
App: Flash CS3
Step 4 Image

  1. Click on “BlueBall” symbol in the “Library Panel”. (Small Red Rectangle on Step 4 Image)
  2. While still holding the mouse button down, drag the symbol onto the white canvas and release the mouse button. (Large Red Square on Step 4 Image)
  3. Drag the “BlueBall” symbol on the stage and move it towards the center of the canvas. (Red Arrow on Step 4 Image)
  4. Align the black cross-hair (aka plus sign aka registration point) of your “BlueBall” symbol to the cross-hair in the center of the stage. They should overlap completely and appear as one. (Small Red Square on Step 4 Image)

Flex expects the registration point to be the top-left corner of the component.

Step 5: Rename Layer and Add a Keyframe
App: Flash CS3
Step 5 Image

  1. In the timeline, double click the text “Layer 1” and replace it with “BlueBall”. (Red Rectangle on Step 5 Image)
  2. Right click on frame 25 for the “BlueBall” layer and pull up the pop up. (Red Square on Step 5 Image)
  3. Choose “Insert Keyframe”. Note: Be sure to choose correctly and do NOT choose “Insert Blank Keyframe”.

Step 6: Animate BlueBall
App: Flash CS3
Step 6 Image

  1. Verify you’re still on Frame 25, the pink playhead should be on Frame 25. (Check against Step 6 Image)
  2. Click on the “BlueBall” symbol on the canvas.
  3. Make sure “Constrain” is checked in Transform Panel. Note: If you do not see the Transform Panel, in the “Window” menu choose “Transform”.
  4. Change the value of the height or width from “100.0%” to “50.0%”. (Red Rectangle on Step 6 Image)
  5. Right click on Frame 24 or lower on the “BlueBall” layer and choose “Create Motion Tween”.

Step 7: Create Flex Project
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 7 Image

  1. From the File Menu choose “New” then “Flex Project”. (See Step 7 Image for visual aid)
  2. Select “Basic” for “How will your Flex App access data?”. (Top Red Square on Step 7 Image)
  3. Give “BallTest” as your project name. (Bottom Red Square on Step 7 Image)
  4. Write down the default location. It will be in the “Flex Builder 2” directory, which by default Flex Builder puts in your “Documents” (Mac) or “My Documents” (Windows).
  5. Click “Finish”. This will create then open up the BallTest.mxml file.

Step 8: Set Frame rate and Export BallComponent
App: Flash CS3
Step 8 Image

  1. Click on some white space on the canvas. (Small Upper Red Square on Step 8 Image)
  2. This will show the Document properties, which includes the Frame rate.
  3. Change the Frame rate from “12” to “24”. (Lower Red Rectangle on Step 8 Image)
  4. In the “Commands”menu, choose “Make Flex Component”. Note: This will add the UIComponent clip to your library.
  5. Right click on “BallComponent” in the Library Panel. Note: Do not right click on “BlueBall” in the library.
  6. In the pop up, choose “Export SWC File…”. Note: Popup is moved in Step 8 Image for demo purposes. (Red arrow from Library on Step 8 Image)
  7. Browse to your Flex Builder 2 “BallTest” directory and name the file “BallComponent.swc”. (Large Red Square on Step 8 Image)

Step 9: Modify Layout and Add 2 Buttons
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 9 Image
Step 9 SWF

  1. In the mx:Application tag, change the value of the layout property from “absolute” to “horizontal”.
  2. Add a button with the label property value of “Make Small”.
  3. Add a second button with the label property value of “Make Big”. (Finished code is visible on Step 9 Image)
  4. Run the application. (It should look like Step 9 SWF) The buttons don’t do anything yet and there’s no BallComponent.

Step 10: Add BallComponent.swc to BallTest Project
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 10 Image

  1. Right click on the BallTest Project folder in the Navigator Panel.
  2. Choose “Properties”.
  3. In the “Properties for BallTest”, choose the “Flex Build Path” on the side. Note: This is NOT the section open by default. (Big Red Square on Step 10 Image)
  4. Click the “Add SWC…” button. (Small Red Rectangle on Step 10 Image)
  5. Browse to the “BallTest” project directory and select “BallComponent.swc”
  6. Click “OK”.

Step 11: Add BallComponent tag to BallTest Application
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 11 Image

Step 11 SWF

  1. Note: The one sad thing that images and text cannot show is how nice these next steps are. You can start to type “BallComponent” in the editor and it should create the following code for you.
  2. Add the: xmlns:local=”*” property to the application tag.
  3. Add the <local:BallComponent/> tag between the two buttons. (Added code is highlighted in blue on Step 11 Image)
  4. Run the application. (It should look like Step 11 SWF)

If you’ve made it down this far, congrats. This is where it starts to get fun! Yeah, it was pretty boring up to that point. Sorry, but it was needed so that we could have some files to work with. At this point in the project, we see how Flex auto loops the animation from Flash. The animation is of the ball shrinking, never growing. This is because we’re seeing frame 1 to frame 25, over and over. We also see how Flex is constantly updating the width of the BallComponent to match the constantly changing ball animation.

Step 12: Stopping the Loop
App: Flash CS3
Step 12 Image
Step 12 SWF

  1. Add a new layer to the BallComponent Timeline. (Click the icon in the Small Red Square on Step 12 Image)
  2. Rename the layer “ActionScript”. (See step 5A if you don’t remember how to rename a layer)
  3. Right click on Frame 1 in the ActionScript layer.
  4. Choose “Insert Keyframe”. (All the above steps on one half of Step 12 Image, all the below steps on the other half)
  5. Click on Frame 1, then in the “Window” menu choose “Actions”.
  6. Type the code: Stop();
  7. Close the “Actions” Panel.
  8. Re-export the BallComponent.swc to the BallTest Flex directory. (See steps 8.6 & 8.7 if you don’t remember how to export the component)
  9. Re-run the Flex Application. (It should look like Step 12 SWF)

When you build your Flex app this time, you’ll notice that the looping is gone. This is because we specifically added the code “Stop();” to Frame 1.

Step 13: Adding Flash Frame Labels
App: Flash CS3
Step 13 Image

  1. Add a new layer to the BallComponent Timeline. (See step 12.1 if you don’t remember how to add a new layer)
  2. Rename the layer “State Labels”. (See step 5.1 if you don’t remember how to rename a layer)
  3. Right click on Frame 1 in the State Labels layer.
  4. Choose “Insert Keyframe”.
  5. Click on Frame 1 in the State Labels layer.
  6. In the Properties Panel, make the Frame Label equal “big”. (Steps 13.3 to 13.6 on one half of Step 13 image)
  7. Right click on Frame 25 in the State Labels layer.
  8. Choose “Insert Keyframe”. (See steps 12.3 and 12.4 if you don’t remember how to add keyframes.)
  9. Click on Frame 25 in the State Labels layer.
  10. In the Properties Panel, make the Frame Label equal “small”. (Steps 13.7 to 13.10 on the other half of Step 13 image)
  11. Re-export the BallComponent.swc to the BallTest Flex directory. (See steps 8.6 & 8.7 if you don’t remember how to export the component)

Step 14: Using Labels as States in Flex
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 14 Image
Step 14 SWF

  1. Add the value “myFlashBall” to id property of the BallComponent tag.
  2. On the “Make Small” button, add this code to the click event: myFlashBall.currentState=’small’;
  3. On the “Make Big” button, add this code to the click event: myFlashBall.currentState=’big’;
  4. Re-run the Flex Application. (It should look like Step 14 SWF)

Playing with this SWF, you can see how the frame labels from Flash automatically turned into states in Flex for that component. No extra code needed from us to create those states. A Flash Frame Label = Flex Component State. We just point them out in our code. How sweet is that? Ah, but what about that animation we have on the timeline? Can’t we use that? We sure can.

Step 15: Adding transition labels
App: Flash CS3
Step 15 Image

  1. Add a new layer to the BallComponent Timeline. (See step 12.1 if you don’t remember how to add a new layer)
  2. Rename the layer “Transition Labels”. (See step 5.1 if you don’t remember how to rename a layer)
  3. Right click on Frame 1 in the Transition Labels layer.
  4. Choose “Insert Keyframe”.
  5. Click on Frame 1 in the Transition Labels layer.
  6. In the Properties Panel, make the Frame Label equal “big-small:start”. (Steps 15.3 to 15.6 on one half of Step 13 image)
  7. Right click on Frame 25 in the Transition Labels layer.
  8. Choose “Insert Keyframe”. (See steps 12.3 and 12.4 if you don’t remember how to add keyframes.)
  9. Click on Frame 25 in the Transition Labels layer.
  10. In the Properties Panel, make the Frame Label equal “big-small:end”. (Steps 15.7 to 15.10 on the other half of Step 13 image)
  11. Re-export the BallComponent.swc to the BallTest Flex directory. (See steps 8.6 & 8.7 if you don’t remember how to export the component)

Step 16: Adding transition code
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 16 SWF

  2. Re-run the Flex Application. (It should look like Step 16 SWF)

As you can see, just be adding another set of labels in Flash you automatically get transitions in Flex. This requires no other code input into the Flex file. As long as you follow the convention of: {StartingFrameLabel}-{EndingFrameLabel}:start and {StartingFrameLabel}-{EndingFrameLabel}:end. Not only that, but the Component Kit is smart enough to use one animation in two different directions (big to small and small to big). That, to me, is just pure genius.

This is because of how Flex tries to find transitions. From the docs, Flex searches for frame labels that match the view state change in the following order:

  1. currentViewState-destinationViewState (no wildcards)
  2. currentViewState-destinationViewState (reversed)
  3. *-destinationViewState
  4. *-destinationViewState (reversed)
  5. currentViewState-*
  6. currentViewState-* (reversed)
  7. *-*

You can swap out the term StartingFrameLabel for currentViewState and EndingFrameLabel for destinationViewState. Those terms make more sense to me since you have to add the “:start” and “:end” suffixes to the start frame and end frame, respectively.
There is only one thing left though; That is the auto resizing of the Flex component during Flash resizing animation. We want Flex to keep using the same width, regardless of state or transition.

Step 17: Adding a bounding box
App: Flash CS3
Step 17 Image

  1. Add a new layer to the BallComponent Timeline. (See step 12.1 if you don’t remember how to add a new layer)
  2. Rename the layer “BoundingBox”. (See step 5.1 if you don’t remember how to rename a layer)
  3. Click on any frame in the BoundingBox layer.
  4. Choose the rectangle tool. (Wide Red Rectangle on Tools Panel on Step 17 Image)
  5. Find Stroke Color and Fill Color. (Tall Red Rectangle on Tools Panel on Step 17 Image)
  6. Choose “Black” as the Stroke color and make the Fill Color is the white box with red strike, i.e. “invisible”. (Follow the colors on Step 17 Image )
  7. Draw a square that is the size and height you want your Flex component.
  8. Select the entire BoundingBox image and in the “Modify” menu, choose “Convert to Symbol…”. (Note: Make sure you only have the box selected and not the blue ball.)
  9. After the symbol is created, click on it.
  10. Type “boundingBox” as the Instance name. (See Small Red Box at bottom of Step 17 Image)
  11. Re-export the BallComponent.swc to the BallTest Flex directory. (See steps 8.6 & 8.7 if you don’t remember how to export the component)

Step 18: Adding boundingBox code
App: Flex Builder 2
Step 18 SWF

  2. Re-run the Flex Application. (It should look like Step 18 SWF)

The reason why you don’t need any additional code in your Flex file is because again of the kit. Flex will look for a movieclip with the name of “boundingBox”. When it finds it, then it uses that as the set width and height of your application.

I hope this post turns out to be helpful for those who are wondering about the kit. I can’t wait to try some more advanced stuff with the kit. When I do, I’ll post them here to my blog as well.

For those who want the “Solution” code, here is a zip of the completed Flash CS 3 fla file and the completed Flex Builder 2 Project.

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! =)

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.

My 360Flex Cairngorm Session – What do you want?

In 360Flex, eBay, Flash*Flex*AS, flex training, Programming, Technology and Software on March 2, 2007 at 6:04 am

Hi Folks,

I’m doing the Cairngorm Session on Monday and was wondering, what do you all want to hear? I have like a bazillion ways to take the talk. I’ll list a few, then you can choose. By all means however, post your own ideas if you would like.

Here’s my ideas, in random order with commentary :

  1. Straight up – This is Cairngorm
    This talk would cover what cairngorm is. No code other than the framework. I feel that this has been overdone, but I’ll do it y’all want.
  2. Simple App Gone Cairngorm
    It would be nice to see why you need Cairngorm. A lot of people get the idea of frameworks, but would be at a loss to convert their apps. I could take a simple app that has “gone ugly” and make it “frameworky pretty.” I could do a lot of pre/post Cairngorm code comparisons.
  3. Cairngorm @ eBay
    While technically, the talk will be @ eBay. I was thinking more along the lines of Cairngorm in action at eBay. I could show what we’re doing with Cairngorm inside eBay.
  4. eBay Pre/Post Cairngorm
    This would just be a mix of ideas 2 and 3 from above.

Those are the few paths I was thinking of taking. Please, please give me some feedback and let me know what you want. I don’t want the twitter chatter to be, “This dude is boring!”, ” We’ve heard this crap already!” or “This isn’t really very useful.”

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

John Wilker’s available for work…hire him! Here’s why.

In 360Flex, Flash*Flex*AS, Programming, Technology and Software on February 4, 2007 at 10:13 pm

This is in reference to John’s post at about being available for work.

I work at eBay and, if you see my earlier post, I love it. There’s only one thing that could make life better at eBay, that’s if John was there. I’ve been in and out of corporate life for 10+ years now. I’ve worked for the likes of Bank of America, The Walt Disney Company, eBay and Ameriquest Mortgage. In all those years and all those work sites, I’ve only met one person like John.

John and I met at Ameriquest. He tried to leave, but I hunted him down and hounded him until he came back. That’s how much fun he is to work with. How many of your co-workers, who left a company, have you tracked down and did everything you could to get that person back? Me…only one, John.

John has technical skills: ColdFusion, Flex, Databases, yada-yada. Every one in has those skills. John has two things most people in do not have: organization and personality.

In the organization department, John’s topnotch. From the moment your project starts, his organization skillset kicks in. If you let him run with it, you’ll have folders, communications, mailing groups, project sites, time tracking, etc. He’ll make sure you know how to track progress on everything and will ride your bootie when you start to fall behind on the deliverables. He’ll be harsh on that too, but that’s a good thing for you, because that’ll help deliver a better product.

Personality, though, now that’s where he’ll shine. If you have a 1 month project, you’ll see some of it, but not all of it. You need to keep him onboard more long term to fully experience it. When I first met him, we passed each other many, many times for a month or so. We finally started chatting one day, and not a weekday has gone by since in the 5 or so years that we haven’t chatted. Wilker is one of the funniest guys around. He’s not an insulting kind of funny, but one of those calls it as he sees it kind of funny. It’s those views that are funny.

John and I are similar in some things, but total opposites in others. It’s for that reason that he’s been on my short list of possible business partners. He’ll agrue til he’s blue in the face for things that I can’t see at the time. Usually, as the weeks go by, I find myself saying, “Hey, you were right about that thing.” He never makes me feel bad when I do that too, when he could totally rub my face in it if he wanted.

John is 1/3 of the 360Flex Conference committee. When the conference is over and everybody’s yammering about how great it was, it will be because of John. If they leave complaining about something missing/gone awry, I’ll most likely be typing over IM to John, “Ya know, I guess you were right about that one thing.”

One more thing, if you wonder if he knows a particular skill for your project, just ask him. He’ll tell you the truth. If the answer is no, don’t worry, hire him anyway. Tech skills are learnable by buying a book, but personality…like MasterCard says, “Some things, money can’t buy.”

The Flex Team has spoken… build more components!

In Flash*Flex*AS, Programming, Technology and Software on January 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

I went to the “Meet the Flex Team” event last night. How friggin’ awesome is that? Flex 2 and Apollo are creating a revolution in the web space. Not only do we have the chance to participate in the revolution, but we have the power to alter the gameplan.

I’m amazed at the transparency of this group. I can only remember one other time where I was able to chat with a program team. It was for a small product from American Express and the results were amazing. To be able to influence how a program will be built is truly a one of a kind experience. If you weren’t there last night, you missed a chance to help build something special.

After we gave our list of demands, I asked what we, the community, could do to help out. Besides the obvious donations of mad cash (which, strangely, I’m all out of), the biggest thing they want from us is custom components. I know y’all are clamoring for new components and want the Flex Team to make ’em for us, but it’s time we stepped up. Let’s answer the call to duty. Ted’s already ahead of the curve and has set up a Y! group for component builders. Sign up and start answering the call.