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.