Flex PM Updates

Over the last few months we’ve announced some exciting new members of the Flex PM team: Andrew focusing on Flash Builder and Deepa focusing on the Flex SDK. With Doug focusing on Flash Catalyst and folks like Vera and Bill helping across our ecosystem, the Flex PM team is in better shape than ever. This means that I’ve been given an opportunity to take a new role that will allow to me focus on broader efforts across the Platform Business Unit. After 7 years of working on Flex and its related tools I’m excited to improve my own understanding of how our larger business works and do what I can to make sure that all of us within Adobe are making the Flash Platform the best it can be.

This role change means that I’ll be less involved in the day-to-day operations of Flex, so you won’t see me announcing new builds, beta programs, or responding on the forums. But I’ll continue to work closely with the folks on the Flex team (and still sit right next to them) to ensure its continued success.

A highlight of my current job is working with such a great community, so while I may not be the guy to go to for your detailed Flex needs anymore, you won’t be able to get rid of me completely!

Hope to see many of you at 360Flex!

Reasons to go to 360Flex San Jose

I haven’t been posting to my blog in a while, and honestly I’m likely to keep being pretty bad about it. But 360Flex remains very important to me as it really is one of the best shows out there! Let me provide a few reasons that may not know as to why you should plan on being there in March:

  • Deepa is going to be giving her first keynote, and it’s going to be awesome!
  • Deepa’s keynote is going to have cool videos from the Flex team, which will only be shown at the keynote
  • When they are ready (which may not be by conference time), we’re going to ship every attendee a complete set of the Flex 4 posters. That’s right, the same posters you can receive when you register your copy of Flash Builder. Which means that this is a minimum value of $249!
  • We came up with some pretty cool new swag that we’ll be giving away (in addition to the posters)
  • Tons of members of the Flex team are going to be in attendance, and they want to talk to you

Plus of course you have the usual reasons, the great speakers, the great community, the great organizers! But c’mon, if those posters don’t have you attending, I don’t know what will!

Doug McCune Stalks Me

A pretty fascinating analysis of how i’ve interacted with Flexcoders over the years. Doug of course has focused on the data, but I still love how a great analysis tool like SpatialKey can be built with Flex. What other interesting visualizations can people do with all that data? Anyone want to dig into figuring out what subjects generate good responses?

Spark Sample Themes

I am not a designer. But using some sample code that one of our engineers (Glenn) provided I have a created two simple themes that can be used with the Spark skins for changing the colors of your application. One of the cool new features in Flash Builder 4 is our Theme Chooser, so these are designed to work with that. Simply download this zip and expand it. Make sure you keep the subfolders for now, then in Flash Builder you can import the SWCs either from the project properties or in the Appearance panel when you choose the theme. Right now FB will say that it’s copying the whole folder, we’re going to look to change that after Beta 2. Also you’ll need to remove the hyphen from the name to make it legal (I chose those names for the SWC to enable some style features, but those won’t be necessary after Beta 2 either).

The source is included in the form of fxpl projects. You can import those into Flash Builder and edit away. Make sure that if you add new files you go into your project settings and re-select all the files to be included. We have a bug currently where if you just do the checkbox that includes everything the skins likely won’t work.

The goal here is to show how easily you can change just a few style properties and have a very different color theme running in your app. By the time we ship the custom skins that I included shouldn’t be necessary and we’ll hopefully need even fewer entries.

Automation and QTP, learn from the engineer!

I hadn’t realized, but Rani Kumar who has been doing a lot of the engineering on our automation features now has a blog. This is a great resource for hearing about potential issues and learning how things are actually working under the covers, as well as what might be coming in the future.

My interview on the Flex Show is posted

Jeff has posted the podcast that we recorded a few weeks ago. You can hear a lot of my own opinions on where things stand, what’s cool about Flex 4, and more!

At some point in the interview I embarrass myself in not really knowing what’s coming in CF9 that’s going to benefit Flex developers, but since that time I have played with it a little in building an app I hope my team can use. There really are some great things with CF that make it very fast to build the back end to a Flex app (if you want to think of it as front-end first and back-end second). For example, I played with the upload utility which helps quickly get files up to the server for temporary storage. I’ve also been taking advantage of the ORM features so that you can really just write your value objects and not write any database code whatsoever. It makes writing your services for data storage and retrieval really easy! And then of course you’ve got CF Builder, an IDE that can really assist morons like me who don’t actually know what they’re doing in getting up to speed and being more productive once we do have a clue. Make sure to check out the CF9 betas on Labs!

Have you registered for MAX yet?

MAX 2009 is only about 10 weeks away. We’re of course gearing up for it on the Flex team, planning sessions, reviewing the ones done by our kick-ass external speakers, and making sure we can be there and talk to whomever wants to talk to us. I’m expecting it to be a pretty great conference. If you haven’t registered yet, we’ve posted some good ideas on how you can get to MAX on a budget; making sure that you save as much money as possible in your registration, airfare, and hotel. So go ahead and register and we’ll be excited to see you there!

Speaking at Flash Camp, Italy

Oh how I wish I’d be doing this in person, but I’m actually going to be staying up very late in San Francisco and speaking remotely to the folks at Flash Camp in Italy the 5th of September. It’s looking like there’s going to be a number of top-notch speakers and sessions so I’m excited to be a part of it. Make sure to check out the agenda and register!

Another Flex Book Available

I’m always excited to see how many books have been written about Flex. While I haven’t read this, another one has come on the market recently covering Flex and Java, making sure that you know how to work with the combination of Flex and Blaze DS. It’s called Flex 3 with Java by Satish Kore. It’s available here as well as on Amazon and I’m sure other retailers.

If you’ve read it feel free to comment on it here.

Do you create automation agents for Flex?

Our engineering team is looking to host a session explaining the changes coming in the automation APIs for Flex 4. This session will only be useful to those who have created an agent in the past and are looking to maintain it into the future (I expect this number to be small). If you qualify, please contact me at mchotin AT adobe DOT com.