Archive for August, 2010

My designer to developer preconference session at MAX

I plan on running a preconference session this year at MAX to showcase some really cool stuff for enterprise application developers. If you have not signed up for this session, you should have a look at this. It might change you mind :-)

With the release of CS5 which includes Photoshop, Flash Builder 4 and Catalyst; provides a completely different approach to building enterprise applications. Imagine being able to start from a Photoshop image that represents the application interface. Blow is a screen shot of the login state of the application in Photoshop.

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The second step is to import that image into Catalyst and use it to convert the artwork from Photoshop into controls. There is much more to Catalyst. You can define design-time data which enables you to run your prototype to see how it would work. The image below shows Catalyst processing the image from Photoshop. This image shows that a second state has been defined. Many properties like transitions can be easily configured.

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Then, once all of the user interaction patterns have been defined, import the project (FXP) into Flash Builder 4. All of the components are available for coding. This is where we will leverage the LiveCycle Service Discover Plugin to hook up the application to LiveCycle ES. This could be any service made available by your LiveCycle ES server. In our case, we are using two simple processes that expose Content Services functionality. The first service retrieves a list of documents in a specific space. The second service enables the application to retrieve a document based on the user’s selection. And while we are at it, apply a Rights Management policy to the document to encrypt it on the way out. In the following image, you can see our project in Flash Builder 4. At the bottom are the LiveCycle ES services.

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As you can see, this stuff is really cool and is just a sample of all the stuff we will cover in the preconference session.

AIR application creation for dummies… like me!

Today, a brand new project call Adobe AIR Launchpad has been posted on labs.adobe.com. This utility makes the creation of Flash Builder 4 AIR application projects painless. For those of us that have created AIR applications, we all know the many configuration settings (sometimes confusing) required to have a transparent application with a custom install badge and icons. Not to mention the coding required to center the app on the screen, add native menu support, etc.

This is where the Adobe AIR Launchpad comes in. This small, but very valuable utility (also built on AIR) provides an intuitive and easy to understand visual interface that exposes these low-level options via simple checkboxes. Now THAT is going to save me loads of time. This utility was written by one of the developers that brought us Tour de FlexHolly Schinsky aka DevGirl. You can read her post about the app on her blog.

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But wait… there’s more!

Really? Can it be Marcel?

Yes, it can… Holly and the rest of the team have built enough AIR applications to know that there is a number of recurring things that many AIR apps require. If we look at the Samples section, we see that these application patterns are available for our new application. By selecting one or more of these patterns, the generated project will include the Tour de Flex samples which give you a major kick start in the right direction.

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I highly recommend that you get the Adobe AIR Launchpad and give it a try. I am sure you will come to the same conclusion I have – this is going to be a major time saver!