Adobe AIR: Create Modify Reuse

My publisher was nice enough to send me a copy of the Wrox companion book titled Adobe AIR: Create Modify Reuse to my book Beginning AIR: Building Applications for the Adobe Integrated Runtime.

I would like to offer my congratulations to the authors Marc Leuchner, Todd Anderson, and Matt Wright for completing this excellent new AIR resource.

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Adobe Media Player

The Adobe Media Player AIR application has been officially released.

Adobe® Media Player software provides control and flexibility to view what you want, when you want — whether online or offline. You can queue up and download your favorite Internet TV content, track and download new episodes automatically, and manage your personal video library for viewing at your convenience.

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Indy Flex User Group Tonight!

OK last warning, you can see my presentation tonight at the Indy Flex User Group. The title is Custom Formatter, Validator, and Effects Components.

Here are the details:

Meeting Date:
Tuesday June 19th, 2007
Meeting Time:
6:30 PM

Location:
LANTech Training
The Pyramids,
3500 DePauw Blvd.
Pyramid 3, Floor 2
Indianapolis, IN 46268

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Flickr Images of Flex 2

Ted Patrick has graciously added the ringdesignonline.com application to his Flickr Flex image gallery. If you havent yet visited the gallery, I recommend it as it is very cool to se how Flex is being used in real world apps.

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UPS Tracking via Yahoo Maps

UPDATE:
This sample has been chosen as example of the day at:
http://www.ifbin.com

Using the new Yahoo maps beta I created this application to track your UPS packages as they move about the U.S. Flex is using a web service call to access a ColdFusion cfc which is acting as a facade to fetch the UPS data via cfhttp. At this time Yahoo has not released a Flex 2 swc for it mapping beta so this application is a Flex 1.5 app. The source code is availabe in the Flex By Example section of IFBIN.com.

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Eclipse for Flex Development

Although I love PrimalScript for Flex development on my pc, I was looking for a development tool to use on my Mac.  I have been using eclipse for Java delopment on both pc and mac and have heard of others using it with several plugins for Flex (OxygenXML editor $$ and ActionScript 2 Plugin Free)  so I went through the setup today and documented it below.

If you do not already have eclipse you can download it for free at eclipse.org.
You will also need a get trial license for OxygenXML here or myEclipse here

First we will install the OxygenXML plugin for .mxml files or you can choose the myEclipse plugin instead.

OxygenXML Install

  1. Choose Help -> Software Updates -> Find and Install
  2. Choose Search for new features to install and click next
  3. Create a new Remote Site Name: OxygenXML URL:http://www.oxygenxml.com/InstData/Eclipse/site.xml
  4. Check the box next to the new OxygenXML remote site and click next
  5. Complete the install of the oXygen XML Editor and XSLT Debugger

Now that the plugin has been installed and you have restarted eclipse, just complete the following.

  1. Choose Window -> Preferences -> Oxygen -> Editor -> Tag Insight -> Default
  2. Click new
  3. Namespace: http://www.macromedia.com/2003/mxml
  4. Root local name: <ANY>
  5. File name : <ANY>
  6. Schema Type: XML Scema
  7. Schema URI:  Browse to your mxml.xsd file located in your flex install root\extras\schema
  8. Move your new entry up to the top of the list
  9. Click OK
  10. Choose Workbence -> File Associations
  11. Click Add and type .mxml as the file type and hit ok
  12. Scoll the list of file types and select *.mxml
  13. Add Oxygen XML Editor as the default editor
  14. Choose Window -> Prefernces -> General -> Content Types -> Text -> XML -> Oxygen XML
  15. Click add File Type: *.mxml and click OK

myEclipse Install (instead of Oxygen)

    1. Windows then Preferences then Workbench then File Associations
    2. Add .mxml and associate it to MyEclipse XML Editor
    3. Windows then Preferences then MyEclipse then Editors then XML then XML Catalog
      select User then Specific Entries and New
      enter URI= C:/Flex/extras/schema/mxml.xsd (located inside your Flex installation folder)
      enter Key Type= Namespace Name
      MyEclipse is a great addition to Eclipse, it includes plenty of plugins for J2EE and web development:
    4. Select User Specific Entries and click New
    5. Path to mxml.xsd file
    6. Name
    7. Key= http://www.macromedia.com/2003/mxml

Thats it, you should now get tag insight when you are editing a .mxml file no matter which editor you decided to use.

Now on to ActionScript .as files

1) Download the AS2plugin from sourceforge
2) Copy the org.asdt_0.0.7 (or current version) to the eclipse/plugins folder
3) Restart eclipse
4) Choose Window -> Preferences -> Workbence -> File Associations
5) Click Add and type .as as the file type and hit ok
6) Scoll the list of file types and select *.as
7) Add ActionScript 2 Editor as the default editor. You can go into the ActionScript 2 preferences and change the color coding, paths, templates, etc.

You should now be able to work with both mxml and as files within eclipse.  The OxygenXML editor also does a nice job with the Hibernate xml files which I use for the backend Java delopment for Flex.  Well talk more about Hibernate in the near future.

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SyneregyFLEX Review

I just finished watching the SynergyFLEX presentation would like to offer my opinions of this new framework. SynergyFLEX is a framework which greatly resembles Mach-ii for ColdFusion created by Hal Helms and Ben Edwards and championed by Sean Corfield.

This framework is an event based framework that really seems to work nicely with Flex screen transitions. SynergyFLEX has a config.xml file which contains properties, listeners, filters, plugins, viewpods, templates, and screens. Anyone who has used mach-ii in the past will see the resemblance right away. For those who have not used CF with mach-ii, here is a quick recap.

Properties are application properties.
Listeners are similar to service locators and are created as singletons.
Filters can be called within an event to do things like security checks and then call additional events if neccessary.
Plugins are similar to filters but are triggered at specific times like pre-view, post-view, pre-filter, post-filter, etc. Can be used to log information at specific times in an event process.
ViewPods are pods that are to be used within zones of a template. An example would be the camera, chat, and user lists within a Breeze presentation.
Templates The layout file which declares zones for pods to be placed.
Screens This is the nuts and bolts of SynergyFLEX where screens are declared as well as screen events, viewpods, and properties.

Events can be invoked in a number of ways including a simple button click. When a button is clicked an event can be broadcasts which can then manipulate the view by loading in new viewpods into the template. In an example shown there was a template which contained 3 zones. On button clicks the zones were reloaded with different viewpods based on the viewpods declared for the specific screen event which was triggered by the button click. There was also an example shown of viewpods being loaded into zones declared within a tab menu as well as the entire template being launced as a popup on top itself with no scope problems. The popup as well as the viewpod were able to function independently of the original viewpods and screens.

Although the presentation had a few bugs, it is understandable as the framework is still in early beta and a few pieces are still under development. Overall the presentation was very interesting and the framework shows great promise, especially for those who already have mach-ii experience.

Rich Tretola

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