Please complete the Flex survey!

Further to my earlier post about shaping the future of Flash Builder by submitting feature requests, another way which you can help us is by completing our online Flex survey.

Answers to the survey questions will help us determine the future product roadmap for the Flex SDK, Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst – by completing the survey you’ll get some idea as to the areas we’re thinking of exploring and you’ll have the opportunity to help prioritize what we work on.

The Flex product management team will be taking the results from the survey very seriously and I’d please ask that you spare 15-20 minutes to complete it for us.

Thanks for your help!

Note: for those living outside North America, I can only share your frustration that the sweepstake prizes are not available to you and I hope that we might be able to resolve that issue for a future survey.

Adobe MAX session: Flash Catalyst and Builder workflows

At Adobe MAX this week, I presented a session entitled “Working with Flash Catalyst Projects in Flash Builder 4″ – the recording for this will be available on Adobe TV in the future, in the meantime however I’ve posted the slides below.

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The presentation builds on the Exploring Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder workflows article that was published on the Adobe Developer Connection site, but also includes some example code which may help if you wish to explore the use of Flash Catalyst generated skins for custom Flex components that extend SkinnableComponent.

New resources for Flash Catalyst and Builder beta 2

Today we released the beta 2 versions of both Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder on Adobe Labs – if you looked at either of these products at beta 1 but felt they were a bit early for regular usage then I’d encourage you try out these news builds.

With lots of bug fixes and performance improvements in both products, I’m now using these as my regular toolset for RIA design/development – Flash Catalyst in particular has added a significant number of new features over beta 1, including the ability to work with audio/video assets, as well as import and control Flash SWFs that were created in Flash Professional.

I’d like to highlight two updated developer centre articles that I’ve written and also point out a brand new one discussing workflows between Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder:

If you have any comments/feedback on the articles then please do get in touch.

New resources for Flash Catalyst and Builder beta 2

Today we released the beta 2 versions of both Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder on Adobe Labs – if you looked at either of these products at beta 1 but felt they were a bit early for regular usage then I’d encourage you try out these news builds.

With lots of bug fixes and performance improvements in both products, I’m now using these as my regular toolset for RIA design/development – Flash Catalyst in particular has added a significant number of new features over beta 1, including the ability to work with audio/video assets, as well as import and control Flash SWFs that were created in Flash Professional.

I’d like to highlight two updated developer centre articles that I’ve written and also point out a brand new one discussing workflows between Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder:

If you have any comments/feedback on the articles then please do get in touch.

Video interview with founder of TweetDeck

Just over a week ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with Iain Dodsworth, founder of TweetDeck – one of the most-downloaded applications that have been built using Adobe AIR.

In this video Iain talks about how and why he went about creating TweetDeck, why he built it using Adobe AIR, what worked well (and what didn’t) during development, what he and the team have learnt from the whole process and his plans for the future of TweetDeck. He also offers up some advice for anyone else thinking about embarking on a startup venture.

The full version (below) is approximately 20 minutes in length, but I’m working on a shorter highlight video that hopefully we’ll get posted on Adobe TV – I’ll post a link to that in due course.

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Flash Catalyst best practices article published

An article I wrote on Flash Catalyst best practices for the Adobe Developer Connection site went live yesterday.

Flash Catalyst and Flash BuilderOne of the things I’ve found with Flash Catalyst is that the quality and usefulness of the assets and component skins that you’ll make available for the developers you are working with can vary depending upon how you’ve organized your project, as can the amount of rework and restructuring required on their part when they receive your FXP file. By thinking about naming, structure and being organized throughout the design phase of the project, you’ll help to ensure a smooth flow of assets from design into development.

If you’re considering using Flash Catalyst for creating the user interface for a rich Internet application then I hope the hints and tips shared in the article will help you to make the most from Flash Catalyst and ensure that you’re structuring your projects with the eventual output to the developer in mind.

The article is posted here.

If you have any feedback on the article or additional hints & tips then please do share them using the comments.

Webcast recording: Transcending the Client Experience

Last month I mentioned a webcast featuring a discussion relating to Morgan Stanley’s use of Flex for their “Matrix” rich Internet application. It took longer than I’d have liked, but I finally got access to a recording of the webcast and am pleased to make it available here for playback.

Participants in this hour and a quarter long session discuss how developers at financial firms use rich Internet application technologies to integrate real-time data, with the delivery of audio, video, reports and rich interactive charts to trading applications.

Panel participants were: Hishaam Mufti-Bey (Matrix founder and global director at Morgan Stanley), Stephane Malrait (Global Head of eCommerce at Societe Generale), Mark Greenaway (Adobe), Trevor LaFleche (Senior Analyst at Financial Insights). Moderator was: Vivake Gupta, Managing Director, Lab49

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For a quick summary of the key points and some interesting commentary as to why Morgan Stanley chose Flex over Silverlight check out Tim Anderson’s blog entry and the comments.

Flash-based Wall of Life aims to save lives

Lightmaker have recently completed an ambitious project for the National Health Service (NHS) Blood and Transplant service in the UK that I wanted to highlight here – entitled the “Wall of Life“, it aims to raise awareness of organ donation and sign-up thousands of new donors to the national register.

The site, which has been built using Flash, presents visitors with an image of a child whose life was saved by a heart transplant – zooming in on the image reveals however that it is constructed from up to 60,000 photos of people who have pledged their support for the campaign.

NHS Wall of Life

We’re used to seeing these ‘deep zoom’-style experiences now, but what’s impressive here is that the mosaic image and underlying image tiles are dynamically recreated every four hours so as to include people who have recently pledged their support – this produces a whopping 1.6Gb bitmap image, the data from which is then processed by a custom ColdFusion backend and served up by Zoomify Enterprise Server, rendering the final experience using Flash Player.

An impressive result that is worth checking out – you’ll see that there is still some way to go until the mosaic is full up, so if you’re prepared to support the campaign and live in the UK you could always help out and upload your photo to the site.

Upcoming webcast featuring Morgan Stanley “Matrix” RIA

If my earlier post regarding the Morgan Stanley Matrix application was of interest then I’d recommend that you sign-up for a free webcast entitled “Transcending the client experience” which is being hosted by Finextra and Adobe next Monday.

The 75 minute long session will look at how developers at financial firms integrate real-time data, with the delivery of audio, video, reports and rich interactive charts into trading applications.

The Global Director at Morgan Stanley responsible for the Matrix application will be presenting and taking part in the panel discussion (alongside representatives from Lab49, Adobe, Societe Generale and Credit Suisse) so it will be a good opportunity to learn more about the Matrix project and the experience they gained from implementing a large-scale RIA with Adobe’s Flash Platform.

More details about the event, which takes place on Monday 27th July at 2pm (UK), are available here (note: you need to register for this session).