~ July, 2006 ~


Yes, Virginia, there is a Mac build

Ever since the day we shipped Flex Builder 2.0, Greg Dow, our resident Mac genius, has been resurrecting the Mac version of Flex Builder. Today, the Mac build is finally up and running as part of our internal builds. Woohoo! Check out the screenshots below.
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Flex tags and AS classes (continued)

In the previous post, I talked about how MXML tags map to ActionScript classes. I was planning on following that up with a short post about the exceptions to the earlier rules. However, a number of thoughtful comments helped me understand that there are more things that need explaining than just the original rules and the exceptions.

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The best way to learn Flex

A quick note about learning Flex.

During our usability research, it became clear that the best way for people to learn Flex was to see example code. To address this, we have been working with Aral Balkan to develop a set of Quick Start tutorials for Flex that focus on code, code code.

Aral has done a fantastic job of introducing the concepts of Flex in an easy to understand way. Today, we are publishing four more quick starts for your enjoyment. Check them out!


Flex tags and AS classes (the simple version)

One of the most powerful aspects of Flex is that it creates a simple mapping between tags and ActionScript classes. It’s a simple concept, but time and time again, I find that people who don’t know Flex have trouble understanding how this works, or why it would be useful.

For those of you who are new to Flex, here are the rules, along with some simple examples to get started with this concept.

Example 1 — the first three rules

Rule 1 — Each tag corresponds to a new instance of class Tagname.
Rule 2 — Every attribute turns into a property on the object.
Rule 3 — Every tag with an id turns into a variable of that name.

Let’s say you have a class that looks like this:

public class Contact
    public var home : Location;
    public var work : Location;
    public var firstname : String;
    public var lastname : String;
    public var isFriend : Boolean = false;

You can create an instance of it through an MXML file that looks like this:

<Contact id="myContact" firstname="Susan" lastname="Smith" isfriend="true" />

Roughly speaking, the MXML above is equivalent to the following ActionScript:

var myContact : Contact = new Contact();
myContact.firstname = "Susan";

Simple, eh? Notice that the MXML compiler knows how to deal with all the built-in types. Strings stay as strings, but Booleans turn into true Boolean values, not the string “true”.

But what if you have types that are more complex? That is what rule 4 is for.

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Nice summary of Flex benefits

The Arc90 blog has a nice entry about the benefits they see in using Flex. The article is written by Richard Ziade who also does basement.org. Worth reading.