Author Archive: Matt Chotin

Flex Builder Linux Alpha 5 release

The Flex Builder for Linux alpha bits posted on Adobe Labs have been updated to extend the hardcoded timeout period. The current FB Linux Alpha 4 product will expire on Dec. 1st, 2009, so if you are currently using Flex Builder for Linux be sure to download the updated Alpha 5 bits from Adobe Labs prior to Dec. 1st. There are no changes to the functionality of the product in these new bits; however they have been tested on later versions of Linux distros. Please see the release notes posted on Adobe Labs for complete details.

Adobe eSeminar: PDF Portfolios for Flex & ActionScript Developers

Join the Adobe Acrobat User Community on Wed. November 18, 2009 for a free eSeminar on how to create highly branded, custom PDF Portfolio layouts using Acrobat 9′s ActionScript API and Flex. PDF Portfolios let you combine Flex/ActionScript with PDF to redefine what a document can be. If you are a Flex developer and are interested in leveraging your skills in a new and exciting way, this eSeminar is for you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009
10-11am US Pacific (1-2pm US Eastern)

Free Registration: http://www.acrobatusers.com/events/1475/pdf-portfolios-developers

What you will learn:

What you need to get started with the Acrobat ActionScript API
How to bootstrap a basic Navigator in Flex Builder 3
How to bundle your Navigator’s SWF file into a .NAV file for use in Acrobat using ANT
How to avoid the most common trouble spots
How to turn on the debugging options in Acrobat

Who should attend?

Flex developers interested in expanding their skills and market reach.
If you are an Acrobat developer or power user and have never worked with ActionScript or Flex, you might want to skip this one.

Skills required:

ActionScript 3
Flex Builder 3
ANT (recommended)

Slides and Source for Glenn Ruehle’s Flex 4 MAX Talk

Glenn has posted his slides and source code on Acrobat.com. This talk was fantastic so I encourage everyone to check them out.

Slides
Source

Questions for the Flex Team at MAX

As we do every year at MAX there will be a Meet the Team session on Monday night. This year we’re actually doing 2 sessions back-to-back so that you have the opportunity to go see multiple teams without losing out. We’ll be doing our session as a panel this year, but it’s always good to get a sense of what questions you guys are looking to have answered. Feel free to post comments here or Tweet with #flexmtt if you want us to have an answer prepared for you.

Please note: for some reason our MoveableType config keeps sending a lot of comments to the spam folder and not mailing us. So it may take a day or two for us to get your comment to appear.

Re-post: Beautiful Reading

Note: This is a mirror of Adobe Evangelist Anirudh Sasikumar’s post http://anirudhs.chaosnet.org/blog/2009.09.01.html which has been down due to too much traffic.

September 1, 2009 10:36 PM
I spend a lot of time reading articles on the web. Somehow, I miss the lack of typesetting and pagination especially when the article is captivating as well as long. This is my attempt at making reading content on the web (and the computer to a certain extent) more beautiful. With a lot of help from Flex 4, Readefine beautifies text, RSS and HTML content for easier reading. Text is laid out in multiple columns, sanitized of stray newlines and paragraphs and a nice font is applied.
What is it?

Readefine is a Flex 4 web application (a desktop one is coming soon) that beautifies RSS, text and HTML content by laying text in multiple columns for easier reading. Take a look at the screenshots below:

readefined - door.png

readefine - text.png

It can load content from the web, a file on your computer or via copy-and-paste. Readefine supports content in RSS, HTML or plain text format.

Text settings like justification, ligatures, column width / count, etc. can be fully customized and saved.

Some nice things about it:

  • Removes stray newlines, empty p, br tags.
  • Newspaper like layout for RSS – my aim was for RSS files to look like a newspaper1.
  • Paginates rather than supporting scrolling. I hate scrolling while reading a lot of text.
  • Makes long plain text files beautiful and also sections them for performance.
  • Copy paste or load a file from your computer (load, not upload)
  • Gives a new look to those valuable Gutenberg text files
  • Remembers the last 30 URLs you have visited.
  • Re-flows text according to the available size.
  • Resizes images to fit within the columns.
  • Tries to compute the absolute URL from a relative link.

Some not so nice things:

  • HTML support is experimental. Certain HTML (even from popular sites like the Wall Street Journal) will make it go crazy. Plain text and RSS work best.

For the Flex Community

This is my first full-fledged Flex 4 application. Flex 4 rocks!

The components used in this extend the existing Flex 4 and Text Layout Framework classes to add pagination, HTML cleanup and tolerant HTML import. I’ve also built a Scroller like component for the overflow of articles from top DataGroup to the one on the left side. I will be open sourcing these components shortly for the benefit of the developers out there.

Try it out and let me know. Any feedback is welcome.

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!

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

Flex 4 Beta Update

The Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4 betas have now been out for a few weeks and we’re very excited to see so many folks playing with them, asking questions on the forums, and posting examples of what they’ve done. From the time we first started showing Gumbo we’ve been monitoring feedback, especially around the experience of using the Spark and Halo components together. While we know that in general using both models together is possible, we’ve decided that there are a number of smaller things that we can do (many suggested by you) to make the experience that much better for both new and existing users.

We’ve therefore decided that we need some more time to take your feedback into account, and are going to release a second public beta this fall. This will give us an opportunity to make the enhancements required, and get additional feedback from the community. Given the second beta, we anticipate the release of Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4 to move from late 2009 to early 2010.

On the Open Source Flex SDK side, we’re planning to host another open iteration meeting in the next few weeks to discuss all of the changes that we’re considering. We’ll also be looking for feedback on things we can do in our docs and messaging to make sure that users from all backgrounds are successful in adopting Flex 4. Stay tuned here for the announcement of that meeting. And keep using the beta, filing bugs, and communicating with us via the forums!

Flex SDK 3.3 Released

The latest official Flex SDK, now at version 3.3 has been released. You can download it from our main downloads page. We are not releasing a new version of Flex Builder, and therefore have made the updated Data Visualization components available from the same downloads page as well.

These releases are entirely bug fixes, along with the inclusion of the updated Flash Player and AIR bits.

You can see the SDK bug fixes here. The Data Visualization bug fixes are:

FLEXDMV-963: Complete chart area not used when day(s) are disabled
FLEXDMV-1882: Changing ColumnSeries itemRenderer at runtime doesn’t remove previous itemRenderer. All previous itemRenderers still get called.
FLEXDMV-1695: RTE for Chart display when using labels, 100% height and ViewStates.

The Flex SDK is also available from the Open Source site.

Edited 3/09/09:
Instructions for extracting the source for the data visualization components can be found in the release notes.

The workaround below is not necessary if you’ve downloaded since 3/07.

NOTE: If you are on a Mac and using AIR you may need to run the script found attached to the bug SDK-19707 as we screwed up the symlinks pointing to the runtimes. This will hopefully be fixed in the downloadable version in the next day or two.

Announcing a Flex Community Feedback Forum

WHEN: January 28th – 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET / 6:00pm GMT (duration 1 hour)

Come speak with the Flex SDK team to voice your interests and concerns. This session will be an opportunity for the community to talk about the Flex SDK itself and discuss our management of the SDK open source project. Please bring your questions and feedback as the session will primarily be led by you (and could be short if there’s not a lot of input).

The meeting will be broadcast via Connect: http://adobedev.adobe.acrobat.com/techweds
** enter the room as a ‘guest’ using your First and Last name **

If you’re unable to attend, the meeting will be recorded and posted on the Flex Open Source site (http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/Flex+SDK) afterward.

We look forward to hearing from you!