Author Archive: Randy Nielsen

Check out the Experience Design team’s re-launched site

Our Experience Design (XD) team just relaunched Inspire, their external site, http://xd.adobe.com. The XD team contains a bunch of terrific designers and developers, and is responsible for most of the look n’ feel in the latest Adobe products.

Honestly, I don’t always agree with everything coming out of XD, but I am always amazed at their creativity, visual sensibility, and app development chops. You won’t regret taking time to poke around this site.

New server for Flex 3 ASP.NET examples

This may not be as exciting for you as it is for us, but we just deployed http://aspexamples.adobe.com, a new server that runs the server code for our ASP.NET examples on the Flex 3 Getting Started Experience. In addition to deploying the Exchanging Data and Working with Data server-side code, we updated the importable zip files on learn.adobe.com.

To try this out:

  1. Download the Exchanging Data and Working with Data zip files.
  2. Import them into Flex Builder using File>Import>Flex Project.
  3. Open the ExchangeData_PlainText.mxml and ExchangeData_XML.mxml applications (exchanging data project) and the CRUD.mxml application (working with data project).
  4. Run the applications and review the asp directories to see the ASP.NET server-side code.

If you get a chance, please try this out and let me if you have any feedback.

Thanks!
-Randy

Check out the LiveCycle Doc Team Blog

Our friends and co-workers on the LiveCycle Learning Resources (aka documentation) team have started a blog. If you get a minute, check out http://blogs.adobe.com/livecycledocs/ and I think you’ll be pleased. Over the past few years, we’ve worked a lot with the LiveCycle doc team as we integrate LiveCycle with both Flex and LiveCycle Data Services (formerly known as Flex Data Services) and I have to say that they are a very sharp bunch.

Open invitation to join the Flex Learning Advisors

Hi all,
Last Fall, we invited about a dozen developers to join the Flex Learning Advisors private Google group. This group is a feedback community of internal and external Flex advocates that discusses ideas, provides feedback to the Flex Learning Resources (aka documentation) team, and helps validate decisions as we move into the open-source world of Flex 4. Additionally, members of the Adobe Developer Center team are actively involved in the Flex Learning Advisors and some of the Learning Advisors provide feedback on upcoming DevCenter content.

We’ve covered a lot of topics in the last nine months, including the Flex 3 Getting Started Experience, the Flex Developer Center, and our Community Help pilot.

We want to expand the Flex Learning Advisors to a wider group, so if you’re interested in participating, go to http://groups.google.com/group/flex-learning-advisors, click “Sign in and apply for membership”, and I’ll approve you.

-Randy

RoboHelp Packager for AIR

I know that this blog is usually about Flex and Flex documentation but as a Technical Writer who has used RoboHelp for many projects over the years, I was happy to see our latest release of the Technical Communication Suite and even happier to see the RoboHelp Packager for Adobe AIR, which went live last week.

For more information on deploying RoboHelp-generated Help systems on AIR, see the posting on the Adobe Technical Communication blog: http://blogs.adobe.com/techcomm/2008/08/robohelp_packager_for_adobe_air_is_live_now.html.

Draft Documentation for Flex and Flash Accessibility

Andrew Kirkpatrick has posted some draft documentation for the Flash Accessibility APIs. This is important information for anyone who builds components that need to be accessible, or is curious about how Flex implements all of its accessibility support.

Please make sure to post comments or bugs to Andrew’s post, to this post, or in JIRA.

Download the ZIP file from Adobe Share

Heads-up: Server maintenance this weekend

I just wanted to let everyone know that on Saturday, April 12th, from noon to midnight PDT, our network team will be performing maintenance on the cluster that includes examples.adobe.com. Due to this work, applications running on the example cluster will experience 1-2 minute network outages throughout the service window.  

ColdFusion and Flex LiveDocs are misbehaving

We’re currently seeing a caching corruption problem with LiveDocs in which random files display instead of the correct pages. You’ll see a variety of symptoms:
* The wrong page displays
* Infinite loops in the TOC (this happens when LD loads a .js file instead of an HTML file)
* Bad formatting (when a CSS file doesn’t load properly)

The good news is that our web team has identified the bug that causes this. The bad news is that they’re still testing the fix and it won’t get rolled out until April 17.

I’ve had fairly random results over the last few days. Sometimes changing browsers helps, sometimes it doesn’t; sometimes clearing browser cache fixes it, sometimes it doesn’t. One suggestion is to download the complete Flex doc zip file, which contains usage docs in PDF and the Language Reference in HTML and access the docs locally.
This is available at http://livedocs.adobe.com/flex/3/flex3_documentation.zip. Individual PDFs are available from the Flex Help Resource Center page: http://www.adobe.com/support/documentation/en/flex/

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this is causing.
Randy Nielsen
Flex Documentation Manager

Flex 3 (and Flex 3 Documentation) is Live!

We started shipping Flex 3 today. Wow! This has been quite a release and, although you’re probably reading this on all the Adobe blogs, we think it’s pretty special. I know that we’ve made a number of improvements to the docs, and am going to ask the writers to create their own posts to enumerate their personal favorites. For my part, I’ll call out two:

  • The Flex 3 Getting Started Experience – With Flex 2 and 2.0.1, we had a lot of negative feedback from Flex newbies.My manager, in her infinite wisdom, gave us a lot of support in hiring Inquirium (an instructional design firm) to interview Flex developers, figure out their common patterns/problems, and create a new getting started roadmap. Some hurdles we knew about (understanding that Flex access data indirectly through a server), but others were a surprise (a lot of people got caught up with asynchronous events). We then hired Trilemetry (big thanks to Emily, Annette, and Bob) to “realize” the Getting Started Experience. This turned out to be bigger than we thought, but I think it works really well, and the Beta feedback has been extremely positive.
  • Revised table of contents (TOC) architecture for Flex Builder online Help and LiveDocs – In our work with Inquirium, it became clear that viewers weren’t thinking about “books” in the online doc experience. The revised TOC feels more navigable and I think it makes it easier to find stuff. Please check it out and let me know what you think. Note that we only did this for the core Flex books, so Flex Builder, Data Visualization, AIR, and ActionScript are still presented as books. Also note that material is still available as books through the Flex Help Resource Center.

OK. I lied. Two more things:

  • Obviously, I’m focusing on Flex, but AIR went live today, too, and this is a significant milestone for Adobe. For Flex developers, it’s pretty simple: Any app you write for the browser should just run in the AIR runtime (and the Flex 3 LiveDocs include Developing AIR Applications with Flex). You can also take advantage of the extended functionality inherent in a desktop application and I recommend scanning the discussions of windows, menus, taskbars, files, data, HTML content and Rich media content. In particular, I think the drag & drop and local SQL database discussions are cool.
  • Please use the public bugbase to report problems with the Flex 3 documentation. You can also search the bugbase to see if anyone else has already reported an issue.

Thanks everybody for your feedback during the Flex 3 Beta cycle. You made a difference.

On to Flex 4!

Flex 3 Beta 3 Documentation

Today, we released Flex 3 Beta 3 on Adobe Labs. Here is a summary of doc changes between Beta 2 and Beta 3:

  • Advanced DataGrid, OLAP DataGrid, advanced charting, and automation agents are now part of the Advanced Data Visualization Developer Guide. Advanced Data Visualization is available when you purchase Flex Builder 3 Professional, although a watermarked version is available in Flex Builder 3 Standard.
  • For the core Flex documentation, we reorganized the online table of contents to display information in a topic-oriented (as opposed to book-oriented) manner. Go to http://livedocs.adobe.com/labs/flex3/html/index.html to see what I mean.
  • Of course, the big news is the release of BlazeDS. You can get more information at http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/blazeds/ and Mike Peterson will be blogging about the docs later today.

Other than bug fixes, these are the final docs, so please let us know if you find any problems. In particular, we’re interested in non-functional context-sensitive help in Flex Builder. You can report bugs either by adding comments to this post or by using the public bugbase.

Useful/updated links for Beta 3

Bugs and known issues