Flex

Adobe Responds: Flash isn’t Open Source, but we’re trying

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 | Business | 1 Comment

A few days ago I had posted Apple, Adobe, Flash, iPhone, iPad and Open Source with reference to a debate on various blogs.  The debate is whether Flash will ever go open source, should they, and what it means to the Apple / iPhone / iPad contingent.

Adobe came back with the blog post Following the open trail, by Dave McAllister. › Continue reading

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Windows 7 – First Impressions

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 | Personal | No Comments

It’s been a while — life has been quite busy.  Drupal, WordPress, Blender, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Illustrator, Flex, Flash, Actionscript, Papervision.  Even got some bicycling and racquetball in there on the weekends.

In the past, wow, month.  I’ve been up to quite a bit, and will be posting things on here about them all.  Right now my main focus is on my new install of Microsoft Windows 7 (the Release Candidate) while it is still fresh in my mind.

Background, Vista Recovery

A little bit of background, last week on Thursday I woke up to my Vista (32-bit) workstation completely hosed.  After a lengthy chat session with a Dell support rep (I can’t say how happy I was with the Dell support guy, he was friendly, smart, and patient through an almost 6 hour long chat session), I managed to get access to the files on my disk to back them up.  Happily, I reformatted.  I really needed it. 

The most amazing thing was when I put the Microsoft Vista DVD in, and it actually got my system to boot into “windows’.  Of course I had no icons or anything, the system was actually fixed by the Vista repair actions (a first for me, usually the only use I have for those is to get a command prompt to see the extent of the damage).

While the machine was on, but with no desktop — I was able to map to the drives through another computer and backup information (\\{Computer IP}\C$, D$, E$ until I found drives K, L and M).  That took forever, but it was successful.

Windows Vista 32-bit Install

It took FOREVER to get all the updates installed.  I know updates just accumulate while software is out.  I don’t remember it taking this long to update my XP machine which I had to reinstall 3 or 4 years into the lifecycle.  Maybe Vista just has more updates, but it took forever to get my machine back in working order.

Once I was up again, things were much faster (as they always are after a fresh format). 

I want to note, I’ve never had many Vista 32-bit driver issues, or any performance issues.  The few issues I had revolved around a few pieces of software that didn’t have drivers or fully compatible version for a few months after the Vista launch.

Welcome to Windows 7, how Vista should have been – the first 24 hours

Wow.  I downloaded the 64-bit Release Candidate from the official Windows 7 page yesterday.  I want to take advantage of the 16 slots my machine has for RAM.  Who wouldn’t?

I have a lot of good, and some bad, things to say about Windows 7 so far.

I’ll start with the positive:

  • The install process was a piece of cake, I’m running a raid controller for my OS drive (raid 0, living on the edge) — and didn’t have to do anything special
  • Updates to the OS through windows update were painless.  I want to say it was less than 10% of the downloads required by my Vista install a few days earlier, though the software isn’t even released yet.
  • Hardware wise, I have had ZERO, 0, problems with Windows Live 7.  not like the handful of hardware issues Vista32-bit had at launch
  • Google Chrome is giving me some issues.  I can get it to work occassionally but it always ends up “crashing” somehow.
  • I actually am not minding IE8, but I miss Chrome
  • Faster.  It’s true, this runs faster out of the box than my tweaked Vista install
  • Clean and easy interface.
  • Lots of room for running applications
  • Most of my old installers worked, a few of the installers had 64-bit versions I had to download
  • Everything with regards to the network seems to respond faster
  • It’s free! (for now)
  • Cleaner Start Menu
  • Higher Windows Experience Ratings

The Bad:

  • IE8 (yes, I don’t mind it, but I dislike having to use it instead of my Chrome)
  • Google Chrome won’t work well
  • Things have obviously moved, and I”m not comfortable with the locations yet.  This is really just me being stubborn
  • It will expire in 2010, and require a purchase

Conclusion

I’m happy with the install and highly recommend it.  I have not lost any productivity.  I’m not sure I’ve gained any though. 

I will continue to report on my experiences.

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Flash or Flex?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009 | Business | No Comments

Both Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex build SWFs.  They are the same right?

I’ve asked myself the Flash or Flex question recently and wanted to post my thoughts.

It’s a good idea to think about platforms when building web applications ahead of time.  Factors I traditionally use, but will not reference here, are the current employee skillsets, ability of the team to learn, and cost to update software.  I know — it’s good to get updated software in a company, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense for a company to spend $1,000 for 5 users, to maintain a project that only costs $5,000 to build.  If the company is already equipped with Flash but not Flex — it may make sense to choose Flash even though the project doesn’t lend itself.

That being said, here’s the breakdown of Flash and Flex

FlashFlash CS4 

Flash has always been the tool used by develops wanting to create vector animations on the web.  Recently Microsoft has introduced Silverlight, we will be ignoring that option for this scenario as I don’t believe I have the expertise to judge Silverlight. 

Strengths

  • Comes with standard Adobe Creative Suite Bundles
  • Timeline based animations
  • Hand animated assets
  • Standard Animation
  • Self Created Vector Assets
  • Highly customized interfaces
  • Animation / Design leaning IDE
  • Visual
  • Familiar environment, as it is the standard way to deploy SWFs

Weaknesses:

  • Not meant for AS3 development
  • Becomes a basic text editor in most Object Oriented development exercises
  • Timeline approach means maintenance is more expensive long term

Summary:

Basically Flash is the ideal environment for development if you are doing things such as banners, animations, logos, or any other visual type of project.  It leans itself towards graphic design and animation.  

Flash is found in the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Web Premium

 

FlexAdobe Flex 3

Flex is the newcomer to the vector animation IDE’s from Adobe.  Flex is primarily targeted at developers working in the Flash environment.  Flex 3 Builder is a modified Eclipse IDE.  The Flex platform was built to enable developers to adapt better to Flash, and be able to create Flash O-O applications.  

Strengths:

  • Developer friendly IDE
  • Built in components for standard GUI elements
  • Meant for highly interactive applications
  • Performance tools
  • Debugging
  • Maintaining code
  • Can leverage SWFs
  • Can leverage AS3 code

Weaknesses:

  • No Timeline
  • Not for designers
  • May seem “cryptic” to traditional Flash developers
  • Not visual
  • Requires learning new MXML code
  • Complex working environment

Summary:

Flex is meant for application development.  The IDE lets developers work in a familiar environment, separate from the graphical tools designers are traditionally used to.  Flex will give developers the tools they need to rapidly prototype application interfaces, with standardized tools and interface elements.  

Flex is available as either Adobe Flex Builder 3.0 or Adobe Flex Builder Pro 3.0

  

So which one should I choose?

Ultimately both Flash and Flex compile into the Flash SWF format.  That means they are both capable of the same functionality and same graphical quality.  The major difference is in the individual building the SWF, as well as the goal of the SWF.   If your goal is for a design oriented SWF, then go with Flash.  If you want an application, or a complex interactive interface then Flex will most likely be your tool of choise.

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