Archive for March, 2007

New Name: Same Great Taste

Looking back at this blog’s inaugural post back in May of 2005, you start to realize how far we’ve come. What was then a North American consulting group with a handful of very talented consultants has grown significantly over the years, with the acquisition and integration of several very talented groups including Iteration::two, as well as the acquisition by Adobe, and the integration with Adobe’s consulting group. In just the past two years the organization has grown to be quite a force, with representation from San Francisco to Tokyo, from Scotland down to Sydney, and literally everywhere in-between.

Several members of Adobe Consulting have begun contributing to the blogosphere with their own blogs, and rightfully so. The Adobe Consulting organization has grown too large, and it’s members too diverse to be represented by a single blog.

With the growth of the organization, and the rise of additional Adobe Consulting blogs, this blog is being rebranded “Adobe Consulting: User-Experience Hub”, with a focus particularly on the design groups within Adobe Consulting. This is not to suggest that our other Adobe Consulting blogs will not offer user-experience insight, or that you won’t find blog entries of a technical nature within this blog anymore. Steven, Ali, Alex, and the rest of the team continue to pump out some incredible user-experiences (see, Distortion Effects, Scheduling Frameworks, and the like). And Ikezi is still going to give great development tips such as the Flex Builder Cairngorm Plugin and Continuous Integration in Flex.

In our first blog entry, we mentioned that this blog was intended to be an avenue to share the lessons that we’ve learned, and be a window to our “work in progress”. That mission has not changed. We hope that the “User Experience Hub” can continue to serve as an avenue to share with all of you the tools, tips, and techniques to create a great user-experience.

We’ve all reached an important milestone in our industry. Two years ago Macromedia had as it’s motto “Experience Matters”. It seems today that everyone accepts that as a fact. Now it’s a matter of giving the people the tools and resources they need to create the best experience possible. And we believe, as Adobe’s motto states, that the experience can be “Better by Adobe”.

Work for Adobe Consulting in San Francisco

We’re looking for a few great designers to join our User Experience team in San Francisco. In addition to working for a great company using the greatest technologies, as part of the consulting team, you’ll also get to work with some of the best clients, and be “ahead of the curve” on Rich Internet Application design and development.

The positions that we’re looking to fill as soon as possible are the following:

To Apply: Michelle McHargue with resume and online portfolio.

The Flex Style Explorer is a Proud Papa

Two and half years ago, Macromedia Consulting took a chance on the new kid – the greenest among a bunch of very experience senior developers, architects, and designers – and hired him to help design applications to be built with this new technology called “Flex”.

He immediately tried out his first tutorial, Flex Basics Part 1 by Robert Crooks, and created his first “flex app”. He started messing with styling a bit, but after getting sick of changing a style, and waiting to recompile on his (really slow, used) PC, he decided to data-bind the corner radius of the Panel to a slider to update it in the Flex App itself. With the a lot of help, guidance, and code-contribution from others, that little experiment eventually evolved into the Flex Style Explorer.

The Style Explorer has come a long way since then, through maybe 4 or 5 *official* version including betas. It’s been great to see the community involvement around the Flex Style Explorer, many of you contributing suggestions, and even code to it, and people are continuing to contribute code and ideas and you’ll see more functionality in the not too distance future.

What’s been especially heartwarming is the see how many have taken the Style Explorer and extended it, made it better, or and made new tools with it. You may have already seen these come across the wire, but I want to collect them in one place, and say “thanks” and “great job” to their creators.

Flex Styles Creator
Derek Wischusen: Flexonrails.net
Derek did some great work adding server-side css-file creation functionality to the Style Explorer. Derek contributed code to the Adobe Consulting Style Explorer in the form of “Export All CSS” functionality, but if you’re looking to create a new CSS file, rather than just copy-and-paste the CSS, check the Flex 2: Styles Creator out.

Flex Filter Explorer
Joe Johnston: Merhl.com
Joe modifies the Flex Style Explorer to create a Filter Explorer. Alter Flex filter properties and generate the appropriate MXML code to create the filter. Awesome!

Flex 2.0 Primitive Explorer
Jason Hawryluk: Flexibleexperiments.wordpress.com
Jason starts with the Style Explorer UI, and creates a great application for exploring and creating code for drawing primitive objects in Flex. If ever there’s a use case for needing to visualize code, and to be able to graphically manipulate something, it would be this use case. Great job Jason.

Flex Transitions and Effects Explorer
David Keutgens: blog.keutgens.de
David takes inspiration from the Flex Style Explorer and creates his own Flex Effects Explorer.

The greatest thing to me about Flex is that it enables community involvement, and makes “wouldn’t it be cool if” a reality. Flex comes with a set of default components, but we don’t have to make feature requests and wait around for Flex 3 to come out to get new components. It makes initiatives like FlexLib, The FlexBox, and the Flex Component Exchange possible. And it makes it possible for a kid from Boston to make a little style exploring app, get the help and input from the community, and make a difference.

Here’s to all of us making new tools and components, to help make Flex a great product.

P.S.: (Disclaimer: Waxing personal) The Flex Style Explorer may be a proud papa, but it could never be as proud a papa as the new kid, who’s now a proud papa of his first baby girl, Elisabeth Jane Baird, just 4 months old this week.

FlexBuilder (Eclipse) Plugin for Cairngorm Code Generation (and more)

As Flex continues to be adopted by more and more RIA developers, it’s great to see efforts that support developing with the Cairngorm framework (Steven W. has a roundup). For many developers, it makes for an easier transition toward structured MVC architecture and a ‘pattern mindset’ in general. This new eclipse plugin is another one to add to the list.

For a few months now, Luis Lejter has been working on a cool plugin for Eclipse (Flex Builder), and finally I can spread the good word! It’s more than a Cairngorm wizard, and has nice features like ASDoc documentation generators, end-to-end class generators for REST / WSDL / Remoting, and an e4x editor expression builder, to name a few.

Check out the full feature list on his new blog, and the screenshot gallery (running on OSX).

Great stuff, Luis!

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