Archive for August, 2009

Status of Flex Data Visualization Components

There have been some questions over the last few days on the status of the Flex data visualization components and I wanted to make sure everyone knows our intentions.

First of all, you may notice that the 3.4 downloads page has an updated copy of the data visualization components (charts and the Advanced DataGrid and OLAPDataGrid). While we have made it easier to view the source (you don’t have to run the DMV-source.jar anymore), we still consider these components to be under the Flex Builder license, and the source to be considered “Professional Component Source Files” as described in the Flex 3 SDK EULA. So I hope that clears up the licensing question.

The other concern I’ve heard raised is that Flex 4 is not seeing many changes to the data visualization components, and therefore folks are worried that Adobe is not investing in them. Data visualization remains a “core competency” of Flex, and we absolutely plan on further development of these components along with supporting partners who have expanded upon them like the ILOG team at IBM. In the Flex 4 time frame we plan on making some improvements to the GroupingCollection, a fundamental piece of the ADG in the hopes of addressing one of the larger performance bottlenecks. However, we chose to take on 2 significant agendas that preempted doing significant work in the data visualization components.

The first is the data connectivity features in Flash Builder; the way we’re making it even easier to connect your data from the back end into the data visualization components in the front. We hope that this will make the data visualization components even more accessible for developers, making it simple to get up and running and build powerful data-driven applications.

The other agenda is the introduction of the Spark architecture. As everyone knows, this is a significant improvement to the fundamental component architecture in Flex, but it is too much to bring every component forward into the new model in a single release. While the charting components do not need to be modified significantly to fit well with Spark, the DataGrid (and therefore the AdvancedDataGrid) will take significant effort, and that is work we intend to do in the following release. Knowing that a fundamental re-architecture of the DataGrid is coming, we decided not to make significant investment in the current one for this release other than addressing the most important bugs.

So that’s the status and we hope you’ll understand and agree with our prioritization. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to comment here or post to the forums!

Do you want to contribute to the Flex open source project?

We’d like to gauge community interest in contributing to the Flex open source project. Please take this 15 minute survey and be thorough in describing what your particular interests are. Please provide your contact information so that in the future we can reach out to you and keep you informed about our open source developments. We look forward to hearing from you!

Flex SDK 3.4 Released and Security Update

Flex SDK version 3.4, the latest production quality release, has been released. You can download it from the Flex Open Source page. We are not releasing a new version of Flex Builder. However, the SDK 3.4 version will work in Flex Builder using the multi-sdk feature. You may want to postpone updating if you’re using the Data Visualization components, they will be available in about a week when SDK 3.4 is posted on the Adobe.com site.

This release supports the security updated runtimes for Flash Player 10 and AIR 1.5. Additionally, it includes key bug fixes in the SDK, one of which addresses a critical security bug (more below), and bug fixes provided by the community.

An important vulnerability has been identified in Flex SDK 3.3 and earlier versions. This vulnerability could result in cross-site scripting. We recommend all users of Flex SDK 3.3 and earlier versions update to the newest version, Flex SDK 3.4. Please refer to this security bulletin for further information.

You can find the SDK bugs that were fixed in Flex SDK 3.4 here.

Looking for Flex Developers to participate in research study

Adobe is conducting a User Research study to learn more about the work flows of Flex Developers. If you are currently working with Flex in a professional capacity we would really like to hear from you.

If you are interested in providing Adobe with feedback about your use of Flex and other Adobe products, please click on the link below and complete our survey. Adobe will be in contact with you if you align with our target characteristics.

Survey

Open Iteration Meeting next Tuesday

When: Tuesday, August 18th at 10am – 11am PDT (Find your time zone here)

Where: http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/oim/

As mentioned in our previous post, we’ve had a lot of developments as a result of the beta feedback we received from many of you. We’re taking additional time to improve the experience when using Spark (the new component set introduced in Flex 4) and Halo together. We’ll be hosting another Open Iteration Meeting next week to discuss these updates. Post a comment here if there are particular questions you’d like addressed in this meeting and please continue to post to the forums if you have additional feedback or questions. Look forward to see you next week and if you’re unable to attend the OIM recordings will be posted to the Flex Open Source site.