About Flash Components

Many users have been asking about components. They want to know if we are releasing more components or where they can go to get more of them. Many members of our community have also been wondering what is our vision for components going forward. Apologies for not responding sooner.

The Flash Authoring team does not have plans to release any new components in the CS3 timeframe.   Of course, the Flex team will continue to develop and release new components; components are an integral part off their model and core to the success of the Flex product.

When the Flash Authoring team went out and met with users to research what we should be developing for CS3 and beyond, additional components didn’t make the cut. When we focus on the needs of the community, this is what we hear loud and clear: focus on expressiveness, focus on ground breaking design and focus on enabling the community to meet the needs of other users through extensibility. Demand for components has been very fragmented – some users want x, other users want y – and no matter how many components we have built we were still not fully satisfying all the needs of the community. And, frankly, we realize that in many cases Flex is a better alternative for some of the customers that ask for components to assist in RIA development.

So, for you component lovers, we’re doing two things – 1) continuing to invest in the extensibility of Flash Pro so that you can build and share the components you need and 2) investing in integration with Flex Builder to make it even easier to take advantage of what Flex has to offer.

So what does that mean to our users today? Well, it means that we are looking to third party vendors and our community to help fill that gap.

We have started to provide documentation on how to build and extend the new AS3 components. Jeff Kamerer wrote a comprehensive article on the matter and you can find it at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/articles/creating_as3_components.html

Some community members and third party vendors have already created some great components, for example:

1. The Adobe Exchange for Flash has a large selection of third party components.

2. Grant Skinner has been developing components for some time now. In fact as many of you already know he worked with Metaliq to develop the AS3 components for Flash CS3. <URL?>

3. Yahoo has a great set of components at http://developer.yahoo.com/flash/astra-flash/

4. Digicrafts has some visually rich components at http://www.digicrafts.com.hk/components/

5. There is a nice selection of components at http://www.afcomponents.com/components/

** If your site is not listed, please send me a post and I will add it to the list.

Of course, everything I write today is affected by what our community has to say. When it’s all said and done you really are the ones that determine what we do. So with that in mind there are some other ideas/questions we have that I would like to throw out there and see what the feedback is.

1. What could we do to help promote and encourage the community to start creating new components for Flash Pro?

2. In the future, how would supporting the Flex components help solve the problem?

9 Responses to About Flash Components

  1. Matt Keefe says:

    This is good news. I am one of the advocates of components overall, but I think the community can make Adobe’s job easier.Matt

  2. Hi! First of all I would like to applaud the flash team for making Flash CS3 possible. It is a great product and it syncs better with other Adobe products. I would definitely love to see flash in a more Adobe workspace ambiance as the CS3 version still does resemble the Flash 8 version.

  3. Octavio Hermano says:

    I understand that Adobe wants to force a migration of part of the flash users to flex. Ok. No more components in flash cs3, but, I think that some existing components in Flash 8 shouldn’t be removed, like accordion.

  4. What my team and I want are components that work inside a security boundary.I was maintaining a patch to flex 2 that made it work, but gave up on that. Now I’ve patched the “fl” components from Grant Skinner to work and we use those for some of our projects but I have no idea if we can redistribute what I’ve done to our users.Two things:1) It’s frustrating to be a developer that’s actually using all the features of flash. It seems most flash developers are making games or website navigation or other fluff, and it’s a shame that they’ll be outvoting me on the public bug database. I’ve submitted a few pretty major bug reports and one of them only happens when I load content into a different security domain. The response from the QA team was “import load it so it’s not in a different security boundary”. I had to calmly explain that we actually wanted to use the security feature!2) The problem with toolkits not working in a security boundary is that they typically install a mouse-up listener on the stage when a pop-up is shown (like for a combobox or colorpicker) or when dragging something (a slider). As you know, installing listeners on the stage is a no-no if you’re in a different security boundary from the top-level swf. My workarounds have actually gotten a little more subtle because we have instances where usercode UI is hosted in a flex popup, separate from the user’s top-level swf. Things work fairly well, not as smoothly as if the mouse-up was on the stage, but it’s hardly noticable. And of course, if the UI is loaded such that it does have access to the stage then it falls back to the normal way of doing things.I would be happy to share my patches, to provide input into any new components, or to test new components.I think having more than one toolkit is good. Flex is more powerful than many of the others, but it is also bulky. I actually really like the “fl” components (and the source code is sane), and adding layout managers to that would take it a long way. If I had more time I’d run with that…

  5. Hello Galvan,I would like to have a consistent workflow between flash and flex. Flex Component Kit doesn’t works to convert my custom components to Flex Components. More documentation in this regard would really help.

  6. Flashloaded says:

    Flash components website submission

  7. Mitch says:

    I don’t understand. Why would you eliminate the WebService class from AS3?

  8. Scott says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that the entire ‘reusable component’ idea was great on paper, but it just doesn’t work as well as everyone tries to say it will?For instance, I can remember a giant project in particular that I worked on in Flash 8 that needed all kinds of video functionality, as well as accordian menus and some other features. Each one of these components needed all kinds of customization in terms of both function and design. The accordian menu is ridiculously complicated to deal with – especially if you want to add transitional animation or anything that doesn’t fit the simple ‘change background color on rollover’ type of interactive features that it offers by default.Components by design make this the biggest headache to figure out on your own… unless you are going to simply use an object as-is with very minimal changes, i’ve found that I never use components for anything anymore, simply because I don’t have control over entirely too much of it, and I’m developing blind due to the fact that I can’t see why my application is executing incorrectly.This rings true especially on bigger projects simply because you can’t see the source code of the component to figure out why it’s not looking/functioning like you think it should. I remember one bug in the flv player component in particular that I spent literally 2 days trying to debug and never figured out – something to do with the the width of the loaded video tracing out random numbers onEnterFrame for no apparent reason.With as open as the flash community is about sharing code and new methods to get the job done.. why can’t flash simply allow us to ‘unzip’ components, even if they decide to make it read-only… it would save massive amounts of time trying to figure out why certain things act the way they do. By trying to make these things super-easy to customize, they basically limit creativity and functionality so that you can only easily use it if you go the direction that they want you to.Thoughts?