This year's day 1 keynote was chock full of amazing stuff. Here are some of the key points for developers along with links. If you want to follow MAX with up to the minute news, get MAXimizr, an AIR app we built for those who aren't able to be in SF.
Can't wait to see what the Day 2 Keynote brings.
This year's Adobe MAX conference is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent memory with CS4 just released and much hyped previews of new products such as Thermo to come as well as lots of other cool tools. So in order to follow all of the goings on, we've built an AIR app called MAXimizr.
MAXimizr 0.1.0 aggregates all of the latest MAX related news as well as twitter entries. Also, it will directly link to videos and session files as they become available so you can stay on top of it all. Finally, it includes the entire MAX schedule so you can track what's going on. You can navigate through all of the content using the scrollwheel or the now familiar click/drag/throw as seen in the iPhone.
We have plans to build a lot more functionality in future versions of MAXimizr including:
1. Inline playback of video
2. Customizeable settings
3. Ability to favorite the sessions you are attending
4. Inline browser
If you're presenting at or attending MAX, feel free to email me once your session notes/files or recorded video are available and I'll link to it.
Requires the Adobe AIR Runtime. Use the badge below to install MAXimizr:
iCandy was my entry into the ScaleNine Skin to Win competition. It took third place and a copy of CS4 Web Premium. There were some hiccups in the process of getting these graphical skins into a Flex app, which anyone doing graphical skinning should be aware of (I've documented here), but overall I was happy with the result.
The skins should be available for download on ScaleNine shortly, but you can preview the skins here. Congrats to the other winners, the team from Undefined for their Undefined skin, and Nahuel Faronda for his Brownie skin.
Having done several CSS skins for various projects in the past, recently, I had the opportunity to create a set of almost entirely graphical skins. Having stepped through that process, I wanted to write down some tips when attempting to create graphical skins. All of these skins were created using Flash CS3 as opposed to Photoshop or Fireworks. This isn’t so much a step by step tutorial (a good tutorial by Narciso Jaramillo can be found on DevNet) as it is a list of pointers as there are a few issues you may run into when implementing graphical skins.
I’ll start by saying that my experience in general was positive and in large part, the tutorial was a great resource. For a large number of the components, skinning was super simple and Adobe really did a good job (though skinning in Gumbo is that much better). However, there are some little things that needed massaging in order to work. I’ll touch on each of those below.
As mentioned in the tutorial, install the Flex Component Kit for Flash CS3 as well as the Flex Design Extensions. These will make your life a whole lot easier as they include template files for most components (New > Templates > Flex Skins). Once you publish from the template file as a swc, you can import them easily into Flex Builder.
When modifying graphics in Flash, here are a few tips:
This is old news for some, but seriously, after reading the skinning architecture docs and building a couple of sample skins using the Flex 4 SDK, I have to say that it completely rocks!
Up until Flex 4, the approach for architecting UI components (starting back with MX2004 all the way up to Flex 3) has been largely the same. The result has generally been robust components with an amazingly wide feature set but that could take quite a bit of work to customize, particularly in regards to skinning. Each generation of components has improved upon the previous one, but after looking at the Gumbo components, I absolutely love the new true MVC approach. The fact that the view (skin) is pretty much completely decoupled from the controller makes customization more flexible and easier than ever.
Here is a simple button skin built entirely in MXML (Flash player 10 required). Not super complex, yet it shows how easy skinning really is. This example contains small customizations like animated transitions between states, lots of layered gradients, multiline label, label with glow, and others which could take quite a bit of work to implement in the existing framework.
Here are my top 10 things to love about skinning in Flex 4:
Flex 4 rocks!
One of the biggest issues for me in the Flash/Flex workflow has been bringing graphics created in Flash into Flex. Don't get me wrong...I don't think the workflow is hugely painful. All you need to do is draw in Flash, compile, embed the swf in your Flex app and you're good to go. However, if you need to tweak your graphics, resize a few pixels here, tweak a gradient there, for some reason, it just felt uncomfortable to have to go back to the Flash IDE, tweak, recompile, etc.
However, after reading the FXG spec, I'm excited about what this will add to our arsenal. A markup for graphics is something already implemented in Silverlight and was something we were sorely missing. Degrafa got the ball rolling in that arena, and it showed the capability to do some pretty amazing stuff. That team continues to work with Adobe in the implementation of FXG.
This new feature brings to bear a few questions in my mind:
Then try changing some of that XAML manually and it blows up if you're not careful.
I'm excited about the potential this has for improving workflow.