Archive for March, 2005

Efficient Component Layout

I recently worked on a project where there were problems getting the components to fit properly, align, and stretch were necessary. Here are some tips to making it easier to layout your application.

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The Story So Far

I’ve now been at Macromedia for a full quarter! I’ve guess I’ve made it past the ‘trial period’. At least I hope so.

I’m most surprised by the diversity of the questions I’ve been fielding on Macromedia Flex. I only get to see a slice of the things you all do with Flex, and it’s pretty interesting.

The types of questions I’ve seen so far can be divided into the following categories:

Installation and Configuration. Our installation engineers have done a great job of making Flex easy to install. But sometimes things don�t go as planned. Keep in mind that Flex is an Enterprise application, run within a J2EE or .NET environment. Unfortunately, not all J2EE environments are the same, which is where the trouble seems to lie.

Component development. While we all know that every MXML file you make is a component, sometimes specialty components need to be created. I had the privilege of writing a couple of articles on components for the Macromedia site. I’ve also seen some terrific components written by our customers. When they launch their Flex-powered sites, you will really see some amazing things.

Architecture. By and large the questions around architecting for Flex are the most common. Flex provides a versatile framework for building very sophisticated applications. But as applications grow and become complex, it is important to know how to make things efficient and follow some best-practices. You should check out the Macromedia Flex web site for articles on performance and other things you can do to make your applications better.

Later this year the newest version of the Flash Player, Player 8, will be released. The demo we saw at Macromedia MAX in New Orleans showcased the potential Player 8 will have on Flash applications – and that includes Flex. You will some great performance improvements. Keep your browser tuned to the Flash website for details.

The tag-line we use at Macromedia is ‘experience matters’ and my experience thus far has been great. All of the customers I’ve worked with have been super and it has been a privilege getting to know you and your work. I can’t wait to see what else you come up.

I also want to thank my teammates for supporting me – giving me the answers, helping with customers, and showing me the ropes.

USA Map

A while ago I wrote about how to use a Flash SWF in a Flex application. This is another take on it, and one I hope you will find useful.

Flex comes with a great set of charts, but no maps. The example uses a map of the USA (a Flash movie) that is controlled by Flex. The map is wrapped in a Flex component so it behaves like other Flex components. For example, there is a dataProvider to color the states; there are also click and rollOver/rollOut events.

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