Author Archive: Randy Nielsen

Are you using Adobe’s ActionScript code examples?

Hey there ActionScript developers! As you may or may not know, we provide a lot of code examples in the ActionScript docs. However, these examples come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which sometimes makes it hard to get your bearings. So if you were having trouble running/using examples in the ActionScript 3.0 Developer’s Guide, we have revamped the How to use ActionScript Examples page. Please visit this page and let us know what you think, either by leaving a “Was this helpful?” rating or by posting a comment.

For more detail, see Erick Vera’s post on Tumblr.


PS: We have a lot of great ActionScript usage documentation but Page View reports indicate that it is an underutilized resource. So this is just a heads-up that I’ll be blogging about ActionScript content in the coming weeks.

How we use your content in Flex and Flash Builder documentation

This post is intended for those of you who create articles, tutorials, and videos related to Flex and Flash Builder (although it will be useful to everyone). Apologies in advance for the bland title, but try as I might, I couldn’t think of a snappy one…

Observant readers will have noticed that over the last few years, we at Adobe have been working to identify and link to content that you, the community, create. Whether it’s an article, a video, a code example… whatever, we want to integrate with great community content. And I think this is a great thing for everyone:

  • Viewers – From our pages on, readers have easy access to useful, hand-picked content.
  • You/Bloggers – Links from our pages on boost your site’s page rank, making it even more likely that searchers will find your content in the future.
  • Us/Adobe – Scanning the community for content helps us learn what’s important for customers and identify who’s who in the community.

I don’t know whether or not you’ve noticed, but lately we’ve given even more visibility to your links, moving them to the top of the page, sometimes placing the link inline, along with the related discussion. Also, we are applying some visual treatments to highlight these links:

Pages that link to your content

Here is a partial list of the authors and articles we link to:

We’re always looking for articles, tutorials, and videos, so if you have something, please let us know by adding a comment to this page with your e-mail and a URL.



A great resource for Flex, Flash Builder, and Flash Platform content

Hi all,
Last Summer, Brian Rinaldi joined our group as Web Community Manager for the Flash Platform. This covers a lot of ground, but Brian has done a great job, and one of his biggest contributions is a weekly list of blog posts and other news related to the Flash Platform. So if you haven’t already, visit and read through his “Cool stuff…” posts.

He posts pretty much every week, so I recommend you bookmark this URL and visit it often!

Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 documentation is live!

As you probably already know, we shipped Flex 4.5 and Flash Builder 4.5 today. Although you’ll find a lot of information on the Flex product page, the Flash Builder product page, the Flex Developer Center, and the (new!) Flash Builder Developer Center, I’m using this post to focus on the documentation:

  • (New!) Developing Mobile Applications with Flex and Flash Builder – Contains information on using mobile-oriented Flash Builder and Flex features. We put a lot of effort into making this content as clear and searchable as possible and are all very proud of it. That said, I recommend that you start by reading NJ’s Mobile development using Adobe Flex 4.5 SDK and Flash Builder 4.5 article before jumping in. Notice that the pages in this book contain numerous links to external videos, devcenter articles, and blog posts, which we think will be tremendously helpful as you come up to speed in this new area.
  • Platform ActionScript Reference – Contains new and updated classes for all Adobe products that feature ActionScript APIs. In particular, it has new Flex classes, such as Spark DataGrid, Image, and Form. If you haven’t used the Platform ASR before, note that you can change the filter settings to control which products and versions you see.
  • Using Flex – Contains usage information on new Flex SDK features, such as Spark DataGrid, Image, and Form (remember, we have corresponding reference and usage discussions for most Flex features). This book also contains updates and enhancements to existing discussions.
  • Using Flash Builder – We reorganized this book to clarify the Flash Catalyst, ActionScript, and Flash Professional workflows. In particular, there is new information on implementing two-way designer-developer workflows with Flash Catalyst.
  • Accessing Data with Flex – There aren’t many changes to this book, although we did update screen shots in the Flash Builder workflows.

And lightning will strike me down if I neglect to highlight the amazing work done by the Flex and Flash Builder Community Help & Learning (aka documentation) team: Stephen Gilson, Matt Horn, Mallika Yelandur, Pam Araki, Rosana Francescato, Janice Campbell, Sunil Bhaskaran, and Helen Li all did a great job bringing this content to fruition. Also we received critical support from Cate de Heer, Denise Green, Brian Rinaldi, my old friend Erick Vera, and my manager, Helen Whelan.

That’s all for now, but my team and I will be updating this site regularly over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.


Update – May 4, 2011: – Sorry. I forgot three important links:

Upgrading and reinstalling the Adobe Community Help Client (CHC)

Hi all,
Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to internal and external customers about Adobe Community Help. Some of the people I’ve met have complaints about the CHC not working (a common issue is that context-sensitive help is broken) and in many cases, this is because they have an old version. In particular, customers who were in either the Flash Builder prerelease or the CS 5 prerelease will have context-sensitive help issues and can have trouble updating.

The current CHC release is (one customer I spoke with last week was still on!)

In most cases, the CHC prompts you when an update is available. However, if that isn’t working, follow the instructions on to uninstall and reinstall the CHC AIR application.

If you’ve been unhappy with the CHC, I ask that you please upgrade and try it out again. There are a lot of new features and I think you’ll be happy with all the improvements.

Best regards,
Randy Nielsen
Senior Content and Community Manager
Adobe Systems Incorporated

Using the Adobe Community Help Client in Flash Builder 4

Note: Before using the CHC, please read technote cpsid_83103 to ensure that context-sensitive help works correctly.

Flash Builder 4 and ColdFusion Builder are the first Adobe products to ship with the Adobe Community Help Client (CHC), which is an AIR application that is the platform for the next generation of Adobe help delivery. The CHC provides a portal to Flex documentation and a variety of Adobe and non-Adobe learning content. CHC features include:

  • Always online – If you have a network connection, the CHC accesses content from the web to ensure that you access the most up-to-date material. It can also work in local mode if there is no internet connection.
  • Search-centric – Use Community Help search (which searches aggregated resources, including select 3rd party sites), search (including refinements to narrow your scope), or local search. This post focuses on the search features in the CHC.
  • In-context navigation – Provides a dynamically generated set of related links for key pages. Think of this as the replacement for the tree-based table of contents.

Our research indicates that most of you access content via search engines, and the CHC gives you a lot of control over search. For Flash Builder, you have the following search options:

  • Community help – Searches all of along with a list of selected Flex blogs and sites.
  •>All Adobe Content – Searches all of
  •>Using Flash Builder 4 – Just the Using Flash Builder 4 book.
  •>Flex 4 – Searches all Flex and Flash Builder documentation.
  •>ActionScript 3.0 Reference – Searches the ActionScript 3.0 Platform Reference (use this option to restrict a search to ActionScript APIs only).
  •>Adobe reference only – Searches all Flex, ActionScript, and AIR documentation.
  • Code search – Uses the Blueprints engine to limit your search to code samples.
  • Local Help – Used when there is no network connection.

One nice feature of the CHC is that you can download a set of local content for use when you are offline. (An upcoming CHC update will let you run offline help even when connected to the Internet.)

I encourage you to try out the CHC and experiment with the UI and various search options. Also, Mallika Yelandur, one of the ColdFusion writers, has posted a series of informative posts that you might want to check them before beginning.

Please let us know how it goes. Because the CHC is an AIR app, we’ll be able to update it fairly easily and are already planning new features and enhancements, so your feedback is important.


Check out the Flash Builder 4 and Flex 4 documentation!

Hi everyone,
Today we shipped Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4. This is a significant release with lots of new features and we are all proud of it. I’d like to take a minute to help you get started with the documentation and other learning resources.

You should start by reading the introductions from our Product Managers:

Also, if you are a Flex 3 customer, you should read Joan Lafferty’s Differences between Flex 3 SDK and Flex 4 SDK article.

We’ve provided a rich set of content for Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4:

And lightning will strike me down if it I don’t acknowledge and thank the Flex and Flash Builder Learning Resources team: Pam Araki, Janice Campbell, Linda Adler, Matt Horn, Shimi Rahim, Stephen Gilson, Vince Genovese, and Erich Champion. I also need to thank Akshay Madan, Mark Nichoson, Laura Kersell, Helen Whelan, JuLee Burdekin, Puny Sen, Debbie Chu, and Tanya Knoop for all the work they put into the Adobe Community Help client and the Platform Language Reference.

Stay tuned to this blog as the members of my team post tips and tricks to help you get started.

Randy Nielsen

Why I love the ActionScript 3.0 Platform Reference

Six years ago, when I started managing the Flex documentation, we almost immediately started worrying about future proliferation of the ActionScript API content. You see, we were republishing very similar content to a new location for each product and each version. For example,,, and, while they have different Flex content, all have virtually identical content for the flash.* packages.

At that time, we anticipated customers would have trouble locating the ActionScript API content for their product/version and/or google into the wrong version and miss seeing up-to-date information. And this has turned out to be true.

Obviously, the right thing to do is create one version of this content covering all the Adobe products that feature ActionScript APIs. However, it turns out that this is a non-trivial task, given all the products that use ActionScript, including Flex, Flash Pro, LiveCycle, LiveCycle Data Services, Flash Lite, FMS, and ColdFusion.

So I hope everyone realizes just how happy I am to say that we have released the ActionScript 3.0 Platform Reference and that it includes content for all released Adobe products that feature ActionScript APIs.

Now you have one-stop shopping for all your favorite Flex APIs, including DataGrid, ComboBox, and Button, as well as Flash, AIR, and ColdFusion APIs.

So when you get a minute, please open and bookmark ActionScript 3.0 Platform Reference. It has an updated look and feel, including content filtering by product, runtime, and version, so you can exclude classes for the products you don’t use.

Stay tuned to this blog and other Adobe Learning Resources blogs for more details on the ActionScript 3.0 Reference for the Adobe Flash Platform and tips on how to get the most out of it.

And remember that we’re running on these days, and no longer use

Randy Nielsen

LiveDocs is dead; Long live LiveDocs

“That which we call a rose/ By any other word would smell as sweet…” William Shakespeare.

As most of you know by now, we are moving our comment-enabled HTML content from to, but every once in a while, someone asks why we didn’t put anything under*, so I’m going to post the URLs to the ColdFusion documentation one more time:

The ColdFusion Builder documentation, although technically still in Beta, is in really good shape and worthy of mention:

One of the most exciting developments is that Mallika Yelandur, one of the writers on the ColdFusion documentation team is maintaining a blog for CFDoc topics, and I advise everyone to check it out.

An interesting thing I see is that people still refer to the content as “LiveDocs.” I find this unintended branding to be interesting (and as the developer of the original LiveDocs application, a little bit flattering), but I hope that people aren’t misled by this and are still able to find the most recent ColdFusion documentation.

Finally, Adobe begins its annual holiday shutdown on Thursday, so don’t be surprised that things are quiet until January 4, 2010.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
Randy Nielsen

Can you chip in on open-source Flex documentation?

Hi all,
As most of you know, the Flex SDK has been open-source for quite a while now. We in the doc group have spent quite a bit of time struggling with what that means for the documentation/core content. The thing that seems most practical to me is to expose our code examples as open-source content, but (for whatever reason) this hasn’t really taken off.

Meanwhile, our old friend Ed Sullivan has brought the new DevCenter cookbook to life and it seems like a good place to advertise for some Flex code examples. To that end, I just posted the following recipe requests:

* Spark custom layout class example
* Custom list control
* Spark VideoDisplay control
* FXG/MXML blend mode examples
* FXG/MXML Transform examples

Now I have a great team and we are fully capable of creating great code examples, but Flex is a big animal and we could really use your help rounding out our examples, so please check out these recipe requests and chip in if you feel so inclined.