Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 2:09:42 PM by Zoe Gillenwater
One of the web design trends I've noticed over the past several months is to make text or graphics appear to be reflected, as if there is a piece of glass that they are sitting on. I've started tagging sites that I come across that exhibit this graphic effect, and you can see the beginning of my collection at http://del.icio.us/pixelsurge/reflective.
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006 4:29:06 AM by Joseph Balderson
Today the Macradobians made history.
For those of you still hiding under a rock (just kidding), the team at Adobe Systems Incorporated just announced the release of a dizzying plethora of software and resources under the umbrella called Flex 2.0, which includes Flex Builder, Flex Data Services, Flash Player 9, the Flex.org resource center and the Flex Developer Center.
After being in development for nearly 2 years, and in public beta for a considerable portion of that time, Flex 2.0 has finally been released, to the accolades and cheers of a great many people in the Flash and RIA (Rich Internet Applications) Development community, including myself.
Some of you may be asking yourself at this point, "what is Flex," and "what does this mean?"
Flex is next step in evolution for the Flash Platform (yes, it's not just a plugin anymore, it's a "platform" now, doncha know?) Flash has gone through a great many changes over the years, and each new version has heralded new capabilities and powers. To list some of these, in Flash 4 (1999) it was, um...
bad intros? :P In Flash 5 (2000) it was Object-Oriented Programming and XML. In Flash 6 (MX) (2002) it was the Drawing API and Components. In Flash 7 (MX 2004) it was ActionScript 2.0, Class Packages and v2 Components. Flash 8 (2005), featured a whole new set of tools around bitmap rendering and effects, as well as a file up/download API.
Now hold on to yer pants folks, it's about to get interesting.
Now we have Flash Player 9. But no Flash 9 IDE (Integrated Development Environment). What we have, instead of the gradual evolution between Flash 7 and Flash 8, or even the big step between Flash 6 and 7, we have a quantum leap. The Flash 9 IDE would be the next step, but in fact the Flash 9 IDE isn't due out until sometime in 2007. So Flex could be called Flash 10. Only it isn't. It's Flex.
The Flash Player 9 capabilities are so radically different from its predecessors, that they have effectively split the Flash Player in two: (Virtual Machine) VM1 and VM2; think two flash plugins-in-one. VM1 is Flash 8 and below. VM2 is Flash 9 and up.
The reason Adobe needed to do this is because ActionScript has not only gotten a facelift, it got rebuilt from the ground up, and is now known as ActionScript 3.0, or as I like to affectionately call it, "Uberskript 3.0" ;). In remaking ActionScript, they eschewed compatibility to a certain extent, but they gained so much more.
Some of the features that excite Flash developers about Flash Player 9 and ActionScript 3.0 are:
- a Just In Time (JIT) compiler that provides a x10 speed improvement in code execution;
- Built in raw data socket support using binary sockets, which means that the Flash Player can accept raw binary data, which combined with the 10x faster code execution, leaves the field wide open for some serious mathematical heavy-lifting with custom parsing, cryptography and compression algorithms in Flash;
- ECMAScript for XML (E4X);
- regular expressions;
- a standardized DOM event model, including event bubbling;
Gone are all the inconsistencies, the hacks you needed to make, and more importantly, the timeline architecture centred around the Almighty Movie Clip. That's why Flex is so different: there is no
spoon, er, I mean timeline. There is no timeline. ;) Which means that everything is class-based and OOP, by default. Bringing ActionScript development in line with most other mature programming languages out there.
The developer community shouted, "give us a robust coding environment for flash," and they listened. And so we got FlexBuilder 2 as the authoring app, which is actually a 'plugin' built upon the Eclipse environment. In FlexBuilder and with Flex Enterprise, you can author an XML document in a markup language called MXML that greatly accelerates RIA development with rapid prototyping and development capabilities. The Flex Server can dynamically compile an entire application comprised of multiple SWFs from a series of MXML documents, similar to what ColdFusion 7 can do now with Flash forms (the Flex release also includes a ColdFusion 7.0.2 Update). With Flexbuilder you can author Flash applications using only ActionScript 3.0 class files, with or without Flex Components. Or you can develop using MXML. Or even a mixture of both, with ActionScript inside your MXML. The key to all this magic is the Flex Framework, or component architecture.
In summary, Flex is:
- Flash Player 9
- ActionScript 3.0
- MXMLC (standalone compiler)
- FlexBuilder (Eclipse-based IDE)
- Flex Data Services (enterprise server)
- Flex Framework (component architecture)
(did I forget anything?)
Basically, Flash has arrived. It is all grown up now and ready to take on the big boys like .Net, Java and C++. It is a robust, rapid-prototyping, server-complied, RIA development tool. Combined with other Adobe technologies like Media Server and Remoting, we got a serious rich applications development environment on our hands, of a calibre never before seen. And let's not even get into Apollo, which is set to usher in another revolution if Adobe plays its cards right.
In 2004 we saw the split between Flash Designer and Flash Developer with ActionScript 2.0. Now we will be seeing the birth of a new Flash specialty: The Flex Developer.
The interesting part about Flash now, as is that it's not going to be the designers who will push the envelope for Flash anymore. Not even the designer/developers. That day has passed. It'll be the Java, .Net, C++ programmers who've been stymied for too long, and discover a much more powerful tool for RIA development in ActionScript 3.0. We are seeing that now even.
At this point I must mention, as Ryan Stewart so eloquently pleaded, Flex is not for websites. It is an applications development tool. Which means a component-based architecture. Which means you would not develop a site like this using Flex.
Despite that Flash is already considered by the ubercoders to be a 'legacy' implementation (at least until Flash 9 comes out in 2007), Flash still has a very large place in the scheme of things. In fact many Flex Developers are, even now using both Flash and Flex simultaneously: Flash to create the FLVs and Rich Content, and Flex to build the application framework. Personally, I love Flex and it's very cool to make stuff with it, but Flash will always be my first love. Flash 8 has barely come out, it seems, and we're on to the next thing. Hey, I've been waiting for three product versions for the features in Flash 8! So for me, there's still too many cool things to discover in Flash before I move on to Flex. For now.
I guess, at heart, I'll always be a programmer who loves to design.
Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 8:46:34 AM by Stephanie
Good grief. I really don't have a problem with Flash banner ads at all. In fact, many times they're the best way to showcase a product. What I am greatly annoyed by though, and they're starting to pop up everywhere, are the ones that move down over the active part of the page. Sure, they're real sexy and all -- but get off my freakin' links!
Last week, I saw one where the guy looked like he was pushing the Flash ad downward and grabbing something from the other advertisment below. Problem is, he has to "traverse" across the top navigation which, when covered by the transparent Flash movie, isn't clickable. You can't activate the buttons or links while he's doing his cute little thing. Well, let me rephrase that -- in IE you can (due to the dangers, errr, beauty of Active X), but not in any other browser.
Today, we have a possible tropical depression off my coast. I quickly went to the Yahoo! weather page to find a satellite pic. I didn't find what I wanted, went up to the navigation to click something else and the stupid Flash movie drops down over the buttons. I had to wait while it did it's thing and got off the navigation so I could get off the page. Now, I understand that usability studies have shown that people ignore the top area of the page where banner ads live. And I understand the advertisers wanting to find a creative way to get users to look at their ads. But don't hijack me. If I want to leave, let me go. I think we need to make a fuss or this will end up being like commercials at the movies. You pay to get into the movie, and then have to watch ads for products. Things like this are just wrong. On so many levels.
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 4:23:10 AM by jojo
This week we have begun a Let's Learn ColdFusion learning track.
The series with dedicated forum support which provides a group learning experience is aimed at folks that have absolutely no server-side knowledge or experience at all. If you are a CMX member or would like to join in order to participate in the Let's Learn ColdFusion learning track now is the time to do it. Part 1 featuring the installation and set up of your local development environment was released this week, in forthcoming weeks you will learn how to implement ColdFusion and gradually build up to creating your own simple CMS.
Category tags: ColdFusion
Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 2:35:49 PM by Heidi Bautista
If you've just upgraded from ASP.NET ver 1.1 to ver 2.0 and discovered that existing pages with editable DataGrids no longer work, you're not crazy. There really is a problem with DreamweaverCtrls.
I've reported the problem to Adobe (Macromedia - Feature Request/Bug Report Form) but no reply just yet. I'll update this post when I hear back.
ASP.NET pages with an editable DataGrid do not update the database. There's no error message. The only indication is that when the page redisplays the DataGrid, it still has the old data.
Why the problem exists
ASP.NET automatically creates unique ID's for controls. For example, the 1.1 version of the .NET Framework, the ID looks like this:
For ver 2.0, Microsoft changed the naming scheme used to generate unique IDs. In ver 2.0 that same control now looks like this:
The problem is that DreamweaverCtrls relies on the naming scheme used by ver 1.1 of the .NET Framework. The code looks for the colon character when it's figuring how whether or not the editable DataGrid uses links or buttons for the edit/update/cancel functions. Since the colon doesn't exist in the ver 2.0 unique IDs, the DataGrid is not updated.
The solution isn't too bad. Only two lines of code in the source file for DreamweaverCtrls have to be modified. The downside to the solution presented here is that once modified, that version of DreamweaverCtrls will only work for ver 2.0. Not a big problem, granted, but something to keep in mind should you decide to implement this fix for your own sites.
Here are the changes that need to be made to the cs file.
Line 2018 --
int index = eventTarget.IndexOf(":");
int index = eventTarget.IndexOf("$");
Line 2054 --
int strIndex = name.IndexOf(":_ctl");
int strIndex = name.IndexOf("$ctl");
Be sure to make a copy of DreamweaverCtrls.cs before modifying it.
If you installed Dreamweaver in the default location, you'll find the source file for DreamweaverCtrls here:
C:\Program Files\Macromedia\Dreamweaver 8\Configuration\ServerBehaviors\Shared\ASP.Net\Scripts\Source\DreamweaverCtrls.cs
That folder has a bat file to assist with compilation of the C# source. For more information about compiling, see Demystifying .NET Compilers.
Posted Friday, June 09, 2006 12:08:24 PM by Stephanie
Announced just yesterday! MAX details:
When: October 23 - 26, 2006
Where: Venetian Resort Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Adobe will have over 90 different hands-on and workshop sessions presented by Adobe experts and other industry leaders on best practices and coming technologies. Currently, there are six tracks:
- LiveCycle and Acrobat
- Web Development
- Rich Internet Applications
- Mobile and Devices Applications
- Vertical Market Solutions
- Web Design
It doesn't appear you can register just yet, but you can sign up for email updates to notify you as information is available.
Posted Friday, June 02, 2006 12:28:49 AM by jojo
What a great idea! myBlogTunes provides the ability for you to add music to your blogs by creating online radio stations with their own custom player.
Dan at myBlogTunes had this to say when I spoke to him about the concept...
myBlogTunes allows bloggers and webmasters to create online "radio stations" and post them on their own blog or web site via the myBlogTunes player.
Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) May 15, 2006 -- Tornadostream, LLC (www.tornadostream.com), a multimedia company from Salt Lake City, Utah that specializes in streaming media of all types, announced today the beta launch of their new myBlogTunes player which allows bloggers and webmasters to create online "radio stations" and post them on their own blog or web site.
A first of its kind, myBlogTunes has a simple user interface in which bloggers can create new stations, select songs for that station to play, and then ad a simple line of code to their web sites to display the player.
As a blogger creates more stations they are automatically displayed in the player on the blogger’s site without ever having to change the code.
Jesse Harding, co-creator of the tool says he and Dan Smith came up with the idea while trying to find a convenient way to share new songs they had discovered. “We’re both music fanatics. We built the player so that we could point each other to new songs online, and then realized the potential this had for the blogging community.”
Harding and Smith are both avid bloggers and both have had the player on their own blogs for the past two months.
“The response has been great.” said Smith. “People love the ease of use and the idea that they can check out new music as they read my blog”.
Interested bloggers and webmasters can sign up for a free myBlogTunes beta account at www.tornadostream.com.
Category tags: Blogs and Blogging