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 help.adobe.com, readers have easy access to useful, hand-picked content.
- You/Bloggers – Links from our pages on adobe.com 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:
- Jeffry Houser, Component layout in a Flex 4 application
- Tink, Carousel Layout
- Emily Kim/Trilemetry, Introducing Styling and Skinning
- Peter deHaan, many examples from flexexamples.com
- Brent Arnold (aka iBrent), Troubleshooting Android device connections on Windows
- Numerous articles from Holly Schinsky(aka devgirl), including Flash Builder 4.5 – Mobile Highlights
- Xavi Beumala, Flex 4 Accordion3D layout
- Brian Telintelo, Flex 4.5 Spark TileLayout finally pays off for multi-screen apps
- Joseph Labrecque, Building Mobile Apps with Flex 4.5
- Russ Watson, DropdownList labelDisplay tooltip
- Fabio Biondi, Mobile Flex 4.5 Demonstration
- We also link to articles and videos on adobe.com, including videos by Serge Jespers, and articles by NJ and Evtim Georgiev.
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.
About 8 months ago, we added a pair of radio buttons to all the Flex 4.5 doc and ActionScript language reference pages that asks you is the content was helpful:
What we were hoping for was a large amount of data, good or bad, that would tell us where weaknesses and strengths exist in the documentation. This would give us much more insight into the efficacy of individual pages, or into groups of pages. It would also help us decide where to put our resources when updating the documentation. Unfortunately, the number of ratings has been extremely low. Like lower than many banner ad click through rates. Like lower than my Angry Birds score kind-of-low.
So, why aren’t you rating the pages?
Are you too busy as a developer to rate the page?
Maybe you’ve got a lot on your mind when you end up at a Flex doc page, and don’t want to distract from your thought process, especially if you’re copying/pasting a code example or trying to grok something.
Are you worried about privacy?
There is absolutely no way for us to track your rating or any comments you add with that rating. It is completely anonymous.
Is the location of the rating “widget” inconvenient?
The widget currently appears at the top of the page. But Flex doc pages tend to be long and dense with material, so maybe you see it and then just forget about it. We’ve thought about moving the widget to the bottom of the page, or adding it multiple times to the pages, but we don’t want to get in your way, either.
Do you think we ignore this data?
We don’t. We look at it very closely, and even read the comments.
We’d love to get your feedback (here, and, of course, on the help pages)!
-Matthew J. Horn
Flex doc team
Use the ActionScript® 3.0 Reference as the API reference for many Adobe products, including Flash Player, AIR, Flex, and LiveCycle. To improve searching of the reference in Chrome, install the “ActionScript 3.0 Search” extension:
ActionScript 3.0 Search
Flex Doc Team
Context-sensitive language reference Help is not really a new feature in Flash Builder. However, we figured that several people were not aware of the ways in which you can access the ActionScript language reference and ASDoc content from within Flash Builder.
So, this post describes the ways in which you can quickly access the ActionScript API reference and the ASDoc content while writing code.
Display the ActionScript Language Reference in a swift keystroke
The Adobe ActionScript Language Reference is integrated into the MXML and ActionScript editors and lets you quickly view the reference Help for an MXML tag or property, a class, or a Flex framework element.
- In the MXML or ActionScript editor, select a Flex framework element (a word in your code) by highlighting or placing the mouse pointer in the word.
- To open the relevant ActionScript Language Reference topic directly in the Help viewer, press Shift+F2.
Display ASDoc content in code hints, as a tool tip, and in the ASDoc view
Flash Builder displays ASDoc content in code hints, as a tool tip while hovering over a code element, and in the ASDoc view.
- Begin entering a line of code that contains either an MXML or ActionScript class. You can also hover over the class. As you type, ASDoc content for the class displays next to the code hints, as follows:
ASDoc Code Hints
- If you hover over a class, just the ASDoc reference summary appears. To display the content in a separate, scrollable window, press F2.The ASDoc content is displayed as follows:
When you finish reading the documentation, click outside the ASDoc window to close it.
- To display the complete ASDoc content in a dockable ASDoc view in Flash Builder, select Window > Show View > Other, and select ASDoc.A quicker way of displaying the ASDoc view is to press Ctrl+3, type asdoc, and select Views, as follows:
Note: This feature supports user-generated ASDoc documentation. That is, you can document your custom components by adding ASDoc comments to the code that implements the components. The ASDoc comments are then available as code hints in the MXML and ActionScript editors.
For more information on creating ASDoc comments for your source files, see ASDoc.
Use the ActionScript® 3.0 Reference for the Adobe® Flash® Platform as the API reference for many Adobe products, including Flash Player, AIR, and Flex. The new release of the ActionScript Reference (http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FlashPlatform/reference/actionscript/3/) contains several new features:
- Support for a quick search added to the Packages and Classes lists.The quick search lets you filter the content of the Packages and Classes lists as you type. This feature is not supported on IE 7 and IE 8.
- When displaying all classes in the Classes list, selecting a class name in the list continues to display all classes.In the previous release, selecting a class name in the Classes list while displaying all classes changed the Classes list to display only the classes in the package of the selected class.
- Added a Home link to the top of all pages.The Home link lets you navigate back to the index.html page from anywhere in the reference.
- Fixes for issues associated with localization and translation.
Flex Doc Team
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 http://www.remotesynthesis.com/ and read through his “Cool stuff…” posts.
He posts pretty much every week, so I recommend you bookmark this URL and visit it often!
The Flex 4.5 release introduced many new features, including support for mobile devices and tablets. The following links will help you get started with the Flex 4.5 release:
And don’t forget about the Flex documentation at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/documentation.html. In particular, there is new content that focuses on mobile app development with Flex
Flex Doc Team
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:
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 126.96.36.1990 (one customer I spoke with last week was still on 188.8.131.52!)
In most cases, the CHC prompts you when an update is available. However, if that isn’t working, follow the instructions on http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/842/cpsid_84215.html 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.
Senior Content and Community Manager
Adobe Systems Incorporated