Been so busy with my current consulting gig up in Detroit, I haven’t had the time to keep hardcore tabs on the community. What I HAVE seen is a good public reaction to the v3 Blaze (Flash 9) components that Grant & Metalliq are working on. Adobe has done well in creating a new market for programmers to create RIA’s via Flex while continuing to enhance its tools for the Flash community. The key point here is 2 communities, aka, 2 markets. It’s getting more blatant every day, but there is still seems to be some unrest regarding why Adobe is creating an entirely new component set for Flash 9 using ActionScript 3 instead of simply just integrating the Flex 2 components.
There are a lot of reasons, the primary being what I just said; 2 markets. To say it another way, 150 – 300k SWF’s don’t fly on public facing, high traffic websites. Many Flash Developers have solved their “should I use Flex for my next project” question by creating a small Flex app, and then seen the resulting SWF file size by using only a few components. “Well, that was easy… *sigh*”.
There is a reason we created our own component set on the current project I’m on, related to the above. The current mx component set has too much extra baggage we don’t need. All the CSS and related styling code is useless. We skin the components via the designs the creatives give us, we don’t setStyle(“color”, 0xFF0000). Those things work wonders in the software development world where design is extremely conservative, the last priority, or not even talked about. Not to mention creatives don’t design with the mx component set in mind.
“A tile list? A box button list? A set of foldable panels interspersed with up-side down ComboBoxes? Um… uh… Flash 8 doesn’t have those, bro… what to do?”
Create ’em. That’s what we did. Instead of the 72k (mx components we would normally use) base set, 12k of that being default component graphics we’d never use, we have a nice 15k. Like Adobe’s plans, ours is made to be lightweight with no-code-needed-skinning the primary engineering goal.
The other reasons would take another blog post. Suffice it to say, the above proves a lot of us still working in the design world cannot utilize the Flex 2 component framework. We CAN still use Flex Builder 2, mind you, to code ActionScript 3; she’s the hotness.
So what to do? Get someone from the Flash community who knows the target demographic, and has previous experience producing a professional set of components for the point of sale. Gee, who do we know that has done that and is qualified? Grant Skinner of mCom, Chafic Kazoun with his phat charting components, Peter Hall with some of his past work as well as working with Aral Balkan on Optimizer, Keith Peters of Bit Components fame, and a few others.
Chafic now has a company and somehow became a fireman (wtf?), Peter is doing his own consulting thang, Aral is doing mad teaching, and Keith is dropping AS3 examples like crazy so I guess he’s contracting. That leaves Grant. I’m sure many other peeps were considered (enFlash, etc.).
Flash Developers don’t need layout engines, CSS, or box models. They need a lightweight, low dependency, and easily skinnable component set for Flash 9. A set that takes advantage of ActionScript 3 speed and bitmap caching, yet eloquently dances around some of the new garbage collector challenges.
Hopefully Grant, Metalliq, and thus Adobe will deliver.
…Even better, hopefully by that time people will stop f’ing paying me to do Flash and instead start paying me to do Flex 2! I’m sure after 6 more months of Flex 2, I’ll just miss Flash again and repeat the endless cycle.
Speaking of grass is greener, some Rabbi in Lucky # Slevin, a gangster movie with Bruce Willis, mentioned how he straddles the fence and thus his entire yard is green. W00t! It was a metaphor spoken in monotone, mind you, but cool nonetheless. That’s why I’ve been promoting using Flex & Flash together, so much so I’ll be uber content when it’s an industry norm.