April 26, 2007
Open Source Flex
Perhaps I'll be making changes to the Flex compiler once again. The Flex SDK is going open source.
This is a great day for Flex! A few random thoughts:
1. I think the biggest change for a long time will not be open submissions but open bug reports. In time, the community contributors will matter more, but having everyone adding and sorting bugs will be a big deal. Flex has had a great beta program, but it doesn't compare to having everyone on the bug base.
2. I joked about making compiler changes above, but in the long term, I'm most excited to see what people do with the AS3 and Flex compilers. I always enjoyed compiler work, but I don't count myself in the group of people who thrive off of it. There's a small group of people who love compiler work and can change how we write code. While there's a number of these people already working on AS3 and Flex, I hope a few more are inspired by this.
3. The number of cool new Flex components is going to make my head spin.
4. The SDK was already free, so it doesn't change the revenue model for Adobe. This means (or at least I think it means) we still get a large team of developers working full-time on all things Flex.
5. In time, we will start seeing AS3 in the strangest places. Since both the runtime (in Tamarin) and the compiler will be available, people will end up putting AS3 in new plug-ins, devices, and more.
6. I'm happy that this is going to take awhile to get out there. That sounds strange, I know. But I don't want to see the team get too distracted from working on Flex 3, as I'm still waiting for a few features. After that, I'll be ready to play.
April 22, 2007
Snacking with Henry Jenkins
Henry Jenkins wrote a contrarian post about the conventional wisdom on the video snacking culture. While I agree that snacks can be good for you, I found it hard to swallow (if you'll excuse the pun) that we only have more snacks now because "the menu itself has gotten longer". The menu may be longer, but I don't see it expanding at a uniform rate, as the shorter form has taken over the Web.
On the subject of Henry Jenkins, if you're interested in online media, you really should be reading his blog. I don't find the time to read most of his posts, and I found it amusing that he joked about their length in his latest post. But his blog posts, which take a lot more brain cells to read than the average item in my aggregator, are worth a read.
I first heard about Henry Jenkins six months ago when I was starting out at Brightcove. I was trying to find books and blogs on new media, and I picked up Convergence Culture. I really liked the book and highly recommend it. I hope to write some longer thoughts on the book some day and how some of the ideas apply to Aftermix.
Why Use MXML?
Why should you use MXML? Given that Flex Builder doesn't require the use of MXML, why not write everything out in Actionscript, especially if that's what you are used to?
I was asked a question like this recently, and I'm sure others have asked similar questions. I expected to find a simple answer in searching, but I could only find more general articles. Did I miss an obvious post or page?
I wrote parts of the answer below and then expanded on it for everyone to read. I've grown so used to using MXML with Actionscript that I had to think about my answer for a bit to express what I now take for granted.
Here's the advantages I see in MXML:
1. The declarative nature makes it a lot less verbose for setting up visual components, and it's easier to picture the layout. A Canvas within the Canvas can easily be seen in MXML, while addChild() scripting is harder to visualize.
2. It's easier to separate your view code from the rest of your code. MXML is almost completely visual components, which solves the V in MVC.
3. There's a lot of shortcuts and syntactic sugar in MXML to help in writing code. Styles can be put into CSS, and styles and events can be set as attributes. Embeds (and the other @ directives) are less verbose than the equivalent Actionscript metadata. Binding with curly brackets is easier to write and read.
And here's a few potential reasons to not to use MXML:
1. You aren't using any of the Flex framework classes. I don't agree with this one, personally, as you still get the benefits mentioned above.
2. You're creating a super small widget, and the size of your application will be slightly bigger with MXML. I believe that MXML will add a very small amount of size, due to some generated code, but I don't know the exact amount.
3. You want to use all of your code inside of Flash Authoring. There's an emphases on the word all here. Often you can separate out your utilities or components in ActionScript and still use MXML in places.Posted by Brian at 11:25 PM
April 17, 2007
Runtime Resources Bundles in Flex 3
Gordon mentioned on flexcoders that the next version of Flex will have runtime resource bundles. I'm very happy to hear this. It's something that has been talked about before (and I mentioned in this article), and I think it's been holding a lot of people back from using resource bundles, including me.
April 16, 2007
Brightcove's Planned Support of Silverlight
Brightcove is now planning to support Silverlight in addition to Flash video.
Back to Aftermix work, which yes, is still in Flex 2.
April 15, 2007
How Do You Find Incoming Links From Blogspot or Technorati?
I'm reposting a question from Paul Levy at Running a Hospital. Paul asked for a better way to find incoming links from Technorati after porn sites and spammers have infected the results. Since he didn't get much of a response, I thought I'd see if anybody here knows what to do. Or is there a better way to track incoming links from Blogspot?Posted by Brian at 1:55 PM
CBS and More from Brightcove
I don't usually publish details on the content deals from Brightcove, as it would bore almost all of the geeks reading this blog. And writing the daily posts would put me to sleep as well. But as a wide-ranging deal, the CBS deal is pretty interesting. Brightcove also provided some interesting hints of future possibility in the press release:
Brightcove will feature ad-supported CBS video channels on its popular consumer destination, Brightcove.com. Fans of hit CBS programs will be able to post comments and interact with other viewers, remix content through interactive editing tools, and share videos through personal channels on Brightcove.com. For long-form CBS content, Brightcove will also provide a full-screen theater-mode viewing experience.
April 10, 2007
Using Multiple IFrames With Flex
If you're looking for a way to get multiple HTML pages in a Flex application without using Apollo, check out this code. It's an update to the Embedding HTML code which allows multiple iframes in a page. I haven't tested it myself, so let me know if there's any issues with it. I would give credit for the update to the code, but the person who wrote it is being humble and asked not to be mentioned. So you can just thank me instead. :)