Yesterday I take part of a pre-event labs at MAX called: Creating Application for the Flash Platform where Matt Boles show how to create a real workflow with Catalyst and Flash Builder.
I was interesting in this pre-event because I had some questions in my mind that I answered during this session.
First of all, I’d like to spend a couple of words about Matt Boles; guys Matt rocks! I love so much his training skills, how he explains during the session and also how he moves around the room, bring my attention for the whole duration of the session.
I think one of the best teacher that I ever seen, thank you so much Matt!
So come back on Catalyst and Flex 4; session was interesting and there are some things that I’d like to share with you:
- until now and probably also in the final release, if you create your project in Catalyst, then bring it to Flash Builder and start to modify it, you CAN’T go back to Catalyst…
This is a problem because I’m sure that during a real project there will be some changes to do, so you must do that via Flash Builder Design mode or via code.
- Catalyst doesn’t export Flex Modules but only custom components, I talk about that with Matt and he is agree with me, after your work in Catalyst you must create in Flash Builder a Module Container and create modules for each custom components.
So you’ll study to organize very well your assets during design process.
- I think that could be miss a part of a process that is a study of GUI usability, I mean, when you create a RIA or a desktop application you must study how users interact with it so if a designer starts to work on GUI but he doesn’t know how Flex works could be a big problem and you must refactoring the code to add a new functionalities or to group some components.
Maybe could be useful start project with a meeting where designer and developer (and project manager or producer too) define informations (GUI, functionalities and so on) to create the final application and with a software like Balsamiq, define how to manage all components and custom components.
- I was surprise about Flash Builder design view, totally different of Flex Builder 3 one; could be useful when you want to make some little graphic changes at your project.
- Very cool news is data wizard of Flash Builder where in few steps you can retrieve remote data and then create VO for your application.
Associate data to a component is really easy, just a drag ‘n’ drop in design view to a component.
This is a little resume of a day with Flash Builder and Catalyst, in a couple of hours starts the first official day at MAX with a Keynote that I think will be very interesting and with tons of news, so start to take a look at labs. I’m sure that Flash Player 10.1 become your best friend!!!
Obviously, feel free to add comment to this post and we could start an interesting conversation on how is the best way to realize a RIA or desktop app with Flash Platform.
I’m so interesting to know what do you think about that!
See ya 😉
Finally is OUT! New Flash Builder version is out in labs.adobe.com
I spent all the evening to try new features, so I think that could be useful talking about that in my blog.
The new features that I like so much are:
- States / Library / Modules: States are totally changed in a new version that make easier write in MXML, I love so much includeIn and excludeFrom attribute to decide in which state you can put or remove a particular component.
If you want you can work also with group and add in the same group N states.
Library is a new object that works like Flash library, so you can create a Definition (like a Symbol) and reuse it during your application, make attention because you are working with Element and not Child!
States and Library increase a lots application KB so I prefer work with Modules that load in runtime mode. They have a new particular argument when you try to load it that is ByteArray (more information on Migration Guide on labs).
- Automatic getter / setter / event handler: YESSS! I switch to FDT in last month because I increase my productivity to write AS3 code, now with Flash Builder you’ve a couple of actions to create getter, setter and event handler, that’s so cool!
- New Drawing API: we have a lots of new interesting MXML tag to define a shape like a square or a rectangle, but the most interesting is Paths that allow you to create particular lines and shape with bezier curve via code
- Advanced CSS selectors: another interesting feature is the new way to refer a component via CSS, in fact you can interact with MXML structure (all buttons in an hbox must be red and all buttons in a vbox must be black).
Very easy and cool!
- Flex Theme: that’s one of my favorite features, in fact with Flash Builder you can create custom Flex Theme and skin your application in a second! You can find more information about Theme in Ted Patrick blog.
- DateGroup: Instead of using Repeater to repeat a particular object, now we have DataGroup that defines a dataprovider and how to render it via an ItemRender or an ItemRenderFunction.
- Switch a Flex project to AIR: finally if your client doesn’t know what he wants, you can swtich a Flex app into an AIR desktop application directly from context menu of Package Explorer (new name of Flex Navigator panel).
Remember to read Migration guide, it’s so interesting! Stay tuned for next Flash Builder and Catalyst tests!
Another great resource that is now live to see Flex 4 features is Tour de Flex that you can view directly from Adobe web site.
Yesterday I was in Milan at From A to Web and I saw Serge Jespers session about RIA workflow with Flash Catalyst and Flash Builder.
In 30 minutes he made a real Flex application that interact with Coldfusion to retrieve data from a database and he started from a normal and static AI file… that’s totally AMAZING!
Flash Catalyst will be a great software that will help us to create desktop applications and rich internet application, in particular could be very interesting to create animations and user interaction on own GUI.
When Serge showed Flash Builder he interacted with a CF script (you can work with WS, XML and other back end tecnologies also) trough a panel and in few steps he was connected to data source… COOL!
I’m so excited, Flash Catalyst will change RIA and desktop apps workflow definitely! I’m sure about that… BUT…
I’d like to investigate more about Flash Catalyst when Adobe decides to release public BETA on Labs, but I asked a couple of questions to Serge during his session to understand better the power of this new software.
For me the first problem is that FC doesn’t work with Flex Modules but only with States and in big projects it could be a problem.
Yes, you can copy MXML code and paste on a Module, but it could be more easy to choose if you want to work with states or modules or better, export your GUI like module and not only custom component.
Another thing that I’m scared is that FC is very easy to use, open new way of business and make your daily work more fast, so designers and developers that approach for first time RIA and Desktop apps could start to release tons and tons of “bad apps” like Flash in 90s… I hope that Adobe will teach around the world with free training courses, not only with one day events, or will begin a new HORROR ERA for RIA and Desktop apps.
That’s my 2 cents, if you’d like to talk about FC on this blog, feel free to leave a comment.