Archive for October, 2004

Flex in action

Want to see a new app out there that uses Flex? Check out the demo of BridgeWerx. Flex is shown starting around 1:30. Congrats to Clint and all the folks at 5by5.

Text Filtering through a lot of data

Check out new iteration::two member Daniel Harfleet’s post on dynamic text filtering. A really nice example.

foo(Void) vs foo()

Sometimes the benefits of a scripting language can come back to bite you in the rump :-) One thing that I’ve seen a lot of recently is the practice of declaring a function to have a single parameter: Void. The intention here is to indicate that the function takes NO parameters, a feature that other languages sometimes support. However, in ECMAScript (and thus ActionScript) it does NOT have that meaning. In fact, the compiler instead declares a local variable called Void! You can debate all you want about how wrong or right this is, but it’s the way the language is designed.

Despite some of the additions to the language in AS2, ActionScript is still a scripting language and still allows you to pass a different number of parameters than what is declared in the function signature. In Flex we added some compiler checking to make sure that if you declare a variable or function that is already declared in the superclass, the type or signature matches between the two. This is to help prevent developers from accidentally overwriting a variable they didn’t know existed in the superclass. However it also catches something like our (Void) problem. All shipped Flex code does not use the (Void) convention. If you then override a function and use that convention (which may have been done a lot in in the V2 components with MX 2004) you will see the compiler give you an error about Void not matching the superclass type.

Not sure how clear this is but I hope it can be of some help.

Flex as a dashboard

We’ve put out a press release describing a dashboard pilot for the California Air National Guard .

Effective Enterprise Java

TheServerSide has posted a sample chapter from Effective Enterprise Java about state and data management within your J2EE application. While the book focuses on J2EE a lot of the concepts discussed apply to general application development. You’ll also get a preview of some of the things I plan on talking about at MAX in a few weeks. The first section of the chapter talks about saving state in the HTTPSession and some of the limitations; it’s practically an advertisement for some of the benefits of RIAs :-) It also discusses data loading techniques coming from a relational database. You’ll recognize some of the issues from the large data discussions we’ve had.

Want to get in the bowels of Flex?

Roger Gonzalez, one of our principal engineers and a regular contributor to flexcoders has written an article that explains how the Flex linker and loader work to deliver your apps. This article is heavy on detail and not for the faint of heart, but useful for those with some Flex experience. It’s especially interesting if you want to understand why I keep talking about dummy variables for linking in classes :-)

Read it here.

Show off your RIA coding prowess

Grand Central Communications is about using Service Oriented Architecture to integrate business processes. They’re introducing a developer’s network and as part of that are creating a developer contest where one category is best use of a rich client. Flex is all about rich clients, so if you think you’ve got some skills go ahead and enter!

More info here.

Free Non-Commercial/Non-Institutional Flex

Press Release
FAQ
Usage Scenarios

Using a proxy to detect changes to models

Someone recently asked how you might intercept changes on an object so that you could know when it is dirty and needs saving. The catch was
that he wants to use binding to populate the object and doesn’t want to put event handlers on his controls just for this monitoring. Finally, he
wants the solution to be generic (meaning that writing your object to have setters and monitor its own dirty state is not acceptable).

I’ve written up one solution to the problem here, using a proxy object to pass changes through to the final object, and using the proxy as the
indicator of when things are dirty.

Continue reading…