~ April, 2006 ~


Sneak peek at Flex beta 3

As you know, we are hard at work on Flex Builder beta 3, which contains hundreds of changes, some of which are under the hood (such as performance enhancements, bug fixes) and some of which are more visible. One of the most visible differences between beta 2 and the upcoming beta 3 lies in how we present information. This is important to us because getting people started quickly with Flex is the main reason Flex Builder exists. Let’s start with the welcome page. The old welcome page looked like this:

old welcome page

In doing usability testing, we found that:

  1. Most people skipped the welcome screen quickly and never found it again.
  2. The welcome screen was confusing. There was no sense of what was important
  3. Even when people explored the welcome screen, there was no way to easily understand the most important concepts

To counteract this, we cleaned up the welcome page, added a “How Flex Works” section that covers the basics, and did a little engineering to make it so that the welcome page shows up in its own editor window so you don’t have to close it in order to start your work. The new welcome screen looks like this:

new welcome page

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CSS is too hard

I used to think of myself as knowing a lot about CSS. For starters, I’d been responsible for the CSS implementation in Dreamweaver. I was also a member of the W3C CSS working group. I wasn’t a major contributor (I didn’t author any of the chapters of the spec, for example), but I thought I knew the spec pretty well.

It’s been a while since I’ve touched CSS, and in coming up with the design for this blog, I was reminded again how difficult it is to use CSS to get the layout you want. It was incredibly difficult. I couldn’t get it to work and I ended up having to google around to figure out how other people had done their page layouts.

Does it have to be this way? Shouldn’t a reasonably smart person who has read the spec be able to create a layout without referring to a guru?

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My blog has moved

Hi folks. I’ve decided to move my blog off the Adobe servers and onto my own domain. The new address is http://kuwamoto.org/. If you have any links, please update them. Thanks!

Why switch domains? Well, I want to be able to experiment. I want to be able install software. Maybe write some apps for kicks. All that is easier to do on my own domain.

As you can probably tell, I decided to finally create a look for the site. It took a lot more effort than I thought, but I’m reasonably happy with how it turned out. It’s accessible, standards compliant, and with the exception of the magnifying glass, it doesn’t use images gratuitously. In six months or so, I’m sure I’ll be sick of looking at it, but it will do for now.


Openings on the Adobe Flex team

Hi folks. We are still looking for great people to help us build Flex and Flex Builder.

Here are the openings in the US:

WW020602-Developer, Flex Enterprise
TB010604-Senior Quality Engineer
LM020604-Flex Builder QE Engineer
WW020603-Architect, Flex Enterprise
SK120506-Computer Scientist
HW020602-Computer Scientist – Flex Builder

And here are the openings in India:

Senior Computer Scientist
Quality Engineer
Quality Manager

If you or someone you know is a good fit for these positions, let us know!



New Flex component – Sliding Drawer v 0.5

[The sliding drawer component has been updated for the beta 3 version of the player. You can find the code here. –Sho, May 11, 2006]

I created a panel that slides into view when you mouse near the edge of the screen as part of a personal project. I’m distributing the sliding drawer under creative commons so that other people can use it.

To use the drawer component, just add the tag to your view:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<mx:Application xmlns:mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml" 
    <ui:Drawer title="Left" dockSide="left">
        < !-- drawer contents go here -- >


This results in a drawer that pulls out from the left edge of the screen like so:

Picture of Drawer component in action

NOTE: Requires Flash Player 8.5 beta 2.
[Demo – sliding Drawers]
[Source code]

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