~ March, 2006 ~


Last minute change – speaking at FITC

Hi folks.

As it turns out, I will be speaking at FITC in place of Christian Cantrell*, who is on leave. Nominally, the talk is on Flex Builder, but I’d like to solicit your opinion — what should I be talking about? Is it worthwhile to have a one hour session focused purely on the tool? There is only one other Flex talk, which is a Flex overview given by Chafic.

The reason I am asking is that my gut tells me that spending 50% of the time on the framework and 50% of the time on the tool feels like the wrong balance.

* (footnote) This is ironic, because Christian was actually filling in for me, because I was originally unable to do FITC because of my schedule, which has since changed.


Flex 2.0 beta 2 now available

Flex 2.0 beta 2 is now available at labs.adobe.com.


  • The API has been scrubbed for consistency. A lot of names have been changed, but in a fairly straightforward way.
  • The new contraint syntax is in place (yes!)
  • You can now choose a subdirectory within your project to place your source files
  • You can use the [Bindable] metadata on getters and setters
  • You can initialize inherited properties through MXML tags with the id attribute. (this is usually used to support a “code behind” idiom)
  • Many, many bugs fixed, of course.

All the gory details are available at http://labs.macromedia.com/wiki/index.php/Flex:Beta_1_to_Beta_2_Changes


Some personal thoughts on the Flex/AJAX Bridge…

Before moving to the Flex project, I ran engineering for the HTML tools division at Macromedia. Back then, we thought a lot about advanced DHTML techniques, including the technique of using XMLHTTPRequest to update portions of a page locally, which has since come to be called AJAX.

As you can see from my posts, I eventually ended up moving to Flex. AJAX is wonderful and has its share of strengths, but I find working with Flex to be more fun for me personally. Flex is a great way to put together richer and more complex front ends. It has a runtime that is consistent across browsers, and an object model that is designed from the ground up to support networked application UIs.

I’m still a big fan of AJAX. I believed in it way back when, and I believe in it now. But Flex can do a lot that would be difficult in AJAX, both visually and in terms of data connectivity.

I’m quite curious to see how people use the two together. I’m convinced that some of the raw building blocks inside of Flash/Flex (e.g., binary sockets) have a lot to add to the AJAX puzzle.

P.S. In my last post, I mistakenly called this the Flex/ActionScript Bridge, which is obviously much less interesting. :-) Thanks to Robert Penner for pointning this out to me.


FAB – Flex / AJAX bridge

FAB – Flex/AJAX Bridge – is a library created by Ely Greenfield, who is a good friend and Flex Architect.

FAB lets you control Flex applications using JavaScript. Method calls just work, and getters and setters are converted to method calls (because browsers don’t support getters and setters yet).

You can even attach event listeners from JavaScript and pass function objects back and forth. For example, you can create an MXML file with a button in it and drive all of the logic from within your HTML/JavaScript.


<mx:Application xmlns:mx=”http://www.macromedia.com/2005/mxml”>
    <fab:FABridge xmlns:fab=”bridge.*” />
    <mx:Button id=”okButton” label=”OK” />


function init()
    var flexApp = FABridge.flash.root();
    flexApp.okButton().addEventListener(“click”, handleClick);

function handleClick(event)
    // handle the click event here.

You can read more about it on Ely’s blog, which I predict will be worth reading.



Slides from Flashforward 2006

As promised, here are my slides and notes from Flashforward. Some things you will need to know:

  1. The layout syntax uses the new beta 2 syntax, which is not out yet.
  2. The notes cover a bit less material than the slides. That’s because the notes were finalized before the slides were, in order to get them printed on paper for conference attendees. If I have time, I may extend the notes but with so much going on, I am not sure I will have time to do this.

[Slides – ppt] [Slides – pdf]
[Speaker notes – doc] [Speaker notes – pdf]