Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Besides furiously hacking new effects logic for future Flex releases, I'm also busy getting ready for the Adobe MAX conference next week. I'll be giving a talk on Monday evening, so if you're interested in effects, and in 'Filthy Rich Clients' capabilites of Flex in general, c'mon along to that talk. But there are several other talks that should also be interesting to Flex developers that want to know where we're taking the platform and how to take advantage of rich graphics capabilities of Flex.

Note that I'm not trying to highlight all of the cool and useful talks at the conference: there are plenty of other talks on Flex3, introductory and advanced, and other related technologies such as Flash player 10 and new graphics capabilities such as Pixel Bender. I'd encourage you to check out the conference schedule for those other talks.

Here is a [small] sampling of the talks that I'm interested in attending (especially "Filthy Rich Flex Clients". It would be tacky to miss my own talk):

Monday/Tuesday Keynotes: These keynotes should cover a lot of interesting and related technologies. These should be a great place to see what's coming, and what we'll be talking about in greater detail in some of the sessions and labs.

Monday 11:30-12:30: Looking Ahead to the Next Version of Flex
Ely Greenfield (Flex architect) will be giving an overview of the new component model we've been working on, along with a host of other improvements and new features. This should be a great place to get a quick take on what the next version will do for you.

Monday 3:30-4:30 (or again at 5-6): Introduction to Thermo and the Next Generation of Flex
Steve Heintz (Flex tools Product Manager) and others will be previewing and discussing early versions of Thermo and FlexBuilder. For folks interested in these tools, this should be a great talk. But go to the 3:30 one, because you'll want to save your 5:00 slot for...

Monday 5-6: Filthy Rich Flex Clients
This is my talk. Actually, it's about three talks in one. The main focus of the talk is the idea of 'Filthy Rich Clients', which are techniques that you can use to create better user experiences. But along the way, I'll be talking about the graphics and animation capabilites of the current platform (Flex 3), and also covering some of the new Effects capabilites that I've been working on for Gumbo. Since I only have an hour, I may need to either move very quickly or simply give different sections of the talk in parallel (I haven't worked out how to do this yet, but it will probably involve a <Parallel> tag and a new <FxChetPresenting/> effect). Either way, it should be a lot of information, with lots of demos, code, and whizzy stuff.

Tuesday 1:30-2:30: Creating New Components in Flex 3 and Beyond
Deepa Subramaniam (Flex SDK team engineer) will be talking about how to create custom components, including showing how to do it with the new, more flexible component model we have in Gumbo.

Hope to see you next week at the conference...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Video: Custom Flash Graphics

Adobe TV has posted my final Flex in a Week video. This one is on the use of Flash graphics objects in Flex applications, covering both drawing directly into the Graphics object for custom rendering in your updateDisplayList() method as well as creating and adding Flash shapes to your components. (Note that you have to have a completely cusom component, subclassing UIComponent, in order to add non-component children such as DisplayObjects or Sprites to the child list of your component; other Flex components only understand Flex component children).

It's not terribly advanced, but is meant more as an introduction to some of the graphics basics, including Flash's use of retained mode rendering and why you always need to clear() the graphics display list.

The source code for both examples is available here.