360Flex Keynote (3rd day)
Experience Design group of Adobe started off the keynote this morning. Tom Hobbs from Adobe Systems started off talking about building experience…taking what we know today and making better. He went over the Amgen Tour of California application that was live just last week. If you haven’t seen the site, check it out at http://amgentourofcalifornia.com. A quick overview, it uses GPS on riders, Flickr photos, Yahoo map interation, live video pods (commentary and the races).
What did it take to build it. 3 ppl 6 weeks…do you believe it? The 6 people where a designer doing comps in Fireworks, a Flash expert and knows nothing about bicycle racing. The next guy on the team was a programmer, he was a C++ developer doing his first Flex application, he was a bike fanatic-the user. The next guy on the team was a System architect, the infrastructure man and had Flex experience. Tom then talked about a non-linear workflow between the 3 devs all focused on the end user experience.
Next up is Ted Patrick, and “Next Flex”. Remember what is being discussed might not come to be, but they want to engage the developers early. The goals are to make a designer and developer workflow, RIA’s on desktop, web and offline (Apollo and Flex), make it easier for people to learn Flex, and invest in the Flex platform and Flex ecosystem. There are 2 releases set for this year, Moxie and Borneo.
One of the areas they have spent a lot of time is integrating Flex with CS3 suite. How deeply does this integration go…Fireworks generating Flex (prototyping), illustrator and CSS skins, point is they all integrate in different ways and will progress over time. He demo’d the Fireworks integration. He brought up a Fireworks file and showed Flex component Graphic symbols, full scale nine support and symbole properties (including MXML support). Designers now can prototype with Graphic symbols in Fireworks and have it create Flex mxml, again good for prototyping.
Moxie release will be for Flex SDK and Builder, focusing on Language Intelligence, integrated profiler, design view enhancements, data integration, and enhanced DataGrid and Lists. On to the next demo with a build of Flex 3. Ted brings up a code snippet with some names that are hard to understand what the component does. He clicks a method name and clicks refactor, and changes all references of the method name to the new name of the method (a typical feature in other IDEs, good to see its coming). Refactoring variable or methods names, it got a nice applause from the crowd. Context mapping is cool, its a quick search of on method names across a project that display all the files/line numbers of where the methods are used.
The profile will be code optimization by viewing all the instances and their memory consumption etc…
Warning don’t look into the big scary laser!
Ted is now moving on to the Flex ecosystem examples. The first example is from a mapping company called ESRI, they have Flex tags to work with their servers. The point is that ESRI as a service provider creating and supporting Flex tags.
Next demo is the Farata systems, he showed an app called Flex BI (Business Intelligence). A nice reporting application that allows grouping and sorting data visually. Full control of look and feel down to column and cells with general functions and expressions.
Flexlib was mentioned next. A community google code repository for community components.
The next example is from Yahoo. Ted demo’d a term extractor that uses Yahoo search to display relative terms. In a dynamic tree view it allows to free form search relative terms to find information.
On to planning the next 360Flex conference…