Category Archives: Adobe Flex

Best way to get Flex Builder in Greece

As I have already mention in older posts, Flex Builder is a really nice coding editor for Actionscript 3. Yes pure AS3, no Flex framework at all.

I know that using an IDE without timeline and library and all the cool stuff that Flash IDE has to offer is  a bit scary, at least for those of us that have an animation background but believe me.. Today, with the power of AS3, Flex Builder is the best code editor that Adobe has to offer.

I can tell you that when I bought Flex Builder 2, I had to pay 900 euros and that was almost a full salary for me back then! Switching to pure AS3 development it wasn’t also an option for me for many reasons so I had to buy it my self.. just for my self! There was no other way to buy Flex Builder like for example buy it straight from Adobe so I had to use the official channel, which was the distributor way. I live in a country were software piracy “shines” but I wanted to buy Flex Builder.

Why?

There are cases that an independent developer writes a really nice app and sells it for lets say 30-40 euros. I can not believe that there are people out there that will still try to use a cracked version of the app, no matter if they spend the same amount of money or more to buy crap. Yes I have met people that pay M$ to use XBox live but they don’t even consider buying lets say Transmit :O

This is what I call sad..

Now for the Adobe case, Flex Builder was expensive and definitely Adobe wasn’t the small company that needed my 900 euros to keep developing Flex Builder of course. But I gave them the money and let me tell you that I haven’t regret. I love Flex Builder and every day I love it more and more. Yes there are alternatives out there but since it works for me I just keep using it. 900 euros was and still is a lot of money but the feeling that I paid the efforts of all these guys from the Flex Builder team is really nice. Other way to express this would be  that every (or at least almost every) bit of FB worths it. A friend of mine believes the same  for Ableton Live. I don’t see this as paying a big corporation.. I see it as paying the salaries of the master minds that write the software.. and yes Adobe gets some money too. But thats the way it is.. As a matter of fact have you seeing what Adobe does since 2005? If there is a corporation to love today, who is it??

For the “thinking different” minds I have to say that yes, I am a Flash Platform freak. I
believe on it and I love it as nothing else out there.
Not paying for such software is like not paying for Twitter and that is not ok for me. You can call me weird 🙂

Anyway lets go back to the rock..

The reason that I wanted to write this post is because for a long time I was expecting some changes but unfortunately I can not see it yet.

A few days ago I got a newsletter that the Adobe’s distributor had a facelift on their site  so I thought I should visit it. To my big surprise I notice that Flex Builder 2 was listed under the Educational section and it cost 87 euros (exl VAT)  and thats when I started screaming on twitter 🙁

..and they almost are here.. 🙂
Since today that I checked again, Flex Builder is still listed under the Educational section but there is no available info like the other apps have there. Actually the whole line is empty (no version or  platform info).

I really like that they don’t sell it anymore if this is really the case but the fact that Adobe offers Flex Builder 3 Pro for education FOR FREE for a few months now you can imaging how  I felt when I saw that FB 2 actually costs money in Greece.

I would really like to see a push of Adobe’s Educational pricing  model for Flex Builder 3 and ColdFusion 8 from its Greek distributor, Anodos.gr.

So here are your options to GET Flex Builder today if you are in Greece:

Adobe e-store
Keep in mind that through the Adobe e-store you can only download the software and not get a box. My experience with the e-store is nice. The first time I used my credit card I got an email saying that it might take up to 2 days to approve it  and send me the license key and I was freaking out because through the e-store you are supposed to get the software immediately but they emailed me my license in the next 2 hours. If this in not the case for you, you should also have in mind that you can always use the trial software until the serial gets to you. The really cool part of buying software through Adobe’s e-store is that you can always download it again and again along with the license.

Adobe’s distributor in Greece
I’m trying to find Flex Builder on their e-store but unfortunately I can’t. I don’t know why but I do know that they have a large channel in Greece so probably they sell it through other stores. I’m curious about how this affects even more the price but I keep thinking positive.

Adobe Events arroung the world
Adobe is well known for the cool events that is organizing arroung the world with the most famous and after the MAX Conference (yes the Macromedia* Conference) the onAir tour that did last year on the US and Europe. Obviously the economic crisis put on hold those kind of events for now and even MAX Europe will not happen this year but on many Adobe or Adobe related events, software is given away for free from the awesome Platform Evangelism Team.

*you really though I could finish this post without even mention the word?

(forgive me and please correct me if I forgot any other way)

Now the coolest part..

Flex Builder 3 Professional is FREE for education.
All you have to do is visit freeriatools.adobe.com and provide a student ID, faculty ID, employee ID or a letter on an educational institution letterhead stating that you are either a current student, a current faculty member or a current employee of the institution.

..and if that wasn’t enought Adobe took it a bit farther..

Flex Builder is FREE for unemployed developers.
You can read more info on the same page but in short if you are affected by the economic crisis  and you are a developer, Adobe is here to help.

You want more?

ColdFusion 8 is FREE for education.
I guess you know the link now..

Kinda Easter Egg..

When you buy Flex Builder you can order the Flex Framework and Actionscript 3 Class Diagram posters for free! Yes it works for Greece too and the shipping is really fast!

So what about the question title of this post?

Its up to you to find the right answer.

I only wanted to get some facts together to help you.

Go try Flex Builder and let me know your thoughts.

Flex Builder to Flash IDE on Valentine’s day: “I love you baby, lets have some swfs!”

Well “Loaded + Embedded assets in AS3 project” would be a better name for this post..

Flex Builder is an amazing tool for me. Amazing not just because it makes the use of the Flex framework so easy but because it gives me freedom when I’m comparing it to the Flash IDE. Flex Builder IS NOT just for Flex. It is also an amazing actionscript editor, actually the best ActionScript editor that Adobe has ever created.

But as you might have guess a tool that creates swf files without a timeline, a symbols library and all the other cool stuff that Flash IDE has to offer can be really tricky sometimes.

In this post I will explain how can we get both of each IDEs advantages to do the job. Feel free to leave a comment if you think you have a better way to do such stuff.

I must give credits to Ted Patrick for an older post on the subject. (wow he just tweeted “Waking”, this is fun!)

The scenario is that you want to build a pure AS3 project (no Flex framework @ all) but you also want to use some assets that you created on Flash IDE.

First move would be to add all the stuff, like images, sounds, movieclips etc to the library of our lets say “Assets.fla”.

There is no need to have them on stage because the next step is to give a linkageID on each one of them and that should be enough in order to have access from our AS3 project in Flex Builder.

On Flex Builder we create a new Actionscript project and this is where we have to decide about another thing.

EMBEDDED FLA ASSETS or LOADED FLA ASSETS?

Lets start with the Embedded assets from FLA.

Our project’s name is RuntimeFlashEMBEDDED and it will include 3 files.

One is the main project’s file, another one is a separate class for embedding the swf (the code on this one could be easily on our main file but anyway) and the last file is of course the swf exported from Flash IDE file which includes all the assets.

Here is the basic code on the main file of our project:

package {
import flash.display.Sprite;
 
[SWF(backgroundColor="0x000000", frameRate="60", width="900", height="600")]
 
public class RuntimeFlashEMBEDDED extends Sprite
 
{
//EMBEDDED ASSETS
 
private var myMC:Sprite = Includes.MyMovieClip;
private var myJPG:Sprite = Includes.MyJpg;
private var myPNG:Sprite = Includes.MyPNG;
public function RuntimeFlashEMBEDDED()
{
addChild(myMC);
addChild(myJPG);
addChild(myPNG);
}
}
}

Here is the code of the Includes.as file which embeds the specific symbols that I need:

package
{
 
import flash.display.Sprite;
 
public class Includes
 
{
[Embed (source="assets.swf", symbol="myMovieClip")] //*
private static var $MyMovieClip:Class
public static var MyMovieClip:Sprite = new $MyMovieClip();
 
[Embed (source="assets.swf", symbol="myJpg")]
private static var $MyJpg:Class
public static var MyJpg:Sprite = new $MyJpg();
 
[Embed (source="assets.swf", symbol="myPNG")]
private static var $MyPNG:Class
public static var MyPNG:Sprite = new $MyPNG();
}
}

*Even though I Embedded the “myMovieClip” symbol as a Sprite, the animation this movieclip contains is still.. “animated” 🙂

Next Loaded assets from FLA:

In this case, because we will load the swf library which carries all our assets after the initialization of our app the least we can do it to be sure that the whole swf has been loaded and then start using its symbols.

On the FLA we need a function on the first frame in order to make it capable of talking to our Flex Builder – AS3 code.

It looks like that:

function getInstance( id:String ):MovieClip
{
 
switch ( id ) {
case "myMovieClip":
return new myMovieClip();
case "myJpg":
return new myJpg();
case "myPNG":
return new myPNG();
default:
return new MovieClip();
}
}

This function will be called from our project and all it does is to return one of the library objects so make sure the objects exist on library and have linkageID.

This time since we wont embed anything, the only files that we need in Flex Builder is the main one called RuntimeFlashLOADED and of course the assets.swf.

This is the code:

//LOAD AT RUNTIME

package {
import flash.display.Loader;
import flash.display.MovieClip;
import flash.display.Sprite;
import flash.events.Event;
import flash.net.URLRequest;
 
[SWF(backgroundColor="0x000000", frameRate="60", width="900", height="600")]
 
public class RuntimeFlashLOADED extends Sprite
{
private var _loader:Loader = new Loader;
public function RuntimeFlashLOADED()
{
_loader = new Loader();
_loader.contentLoaderInfo.addEventListener(Event.INIT, swfLoaded);
_loader.load(new URLRequest("assets.swf"));
}
 
private function swfLoaded(evt:Event):void
{
var sav:MovieClip = MovieClip(evt.currentTarget.content).getInstance("myMovieClip");
addChild(sav);
}
}
}

So first we load the swf and when its fully loaded we can call the getInstance() function which lives on the assets.swf !

Flex Builder is way much better in coding AS3 than Flash IDE. Flash IDE is way better for animations, drawings and organizing our visual-audio elements than Flex Builder.

We love them both so why not using them both?

* I promise to use a code colorer plugin soon 🙂

Tour de Flex!

UPDATE: It seems that instead of just creating a super hot Flex Component explorer for the desktop the guys are turning it into an amazing community resource! Besides the commercial/non-commercial components, flex skins, FXs, code sample for mashing up with a lot of services and so many other stuff now the community can add stuff too. I can see the bright future of this app. TweetDeck is my most popular Air app so far but “someone” is taking place in there 🙂 Thanks guys. Check Greg’s post for more info on how to put your mark on this super hot app!   

Greg Wilson, an Adobe Evangelist for Flex, Air, CF and other Adobe goodness blogged about a new super hot Air app (of course) with the name Tour de Flex. It is a Flex Component Explorer application which features a very nice UI as you can see.

From Greg’s post: “The application showcases the core Flex components, AIR capabilities, Flex data access (BlazeDS and LiveCycle DS), numerous coding techniques, cloud APIs, and a growing list of community-developed components, effects, skins and more.  There are 217 total samples in Tour de Flex as of this writing.  We expect to add more every month and have built in a mechanism to easily push out new samples. Each sample has a running demonstration, source code, links to related resources such as ASDocs, community commenting, and more.”

This is the beautiful UI of the app which I have to say that features many nice stuff.

For the Eclipse users and thanks to James Ward (aka RIA Cowboy), the guys also add an Eclipse plugin so now you can directly search from an Eclipse view window!

You can download the app from the right sidebar of this blog or visit the Tour de Flex page which is of course on Flex.org/tour. There is also a pdf guide there 🙂

Congrats guys!

A note to my readers: I would like to apologize for duplicating posts but sometimes there are things that amaze me and I just can’t keep my self from not posting about them. Just to be fair I would like to ask you to read the original post from Greg Wilson because besides the specific post, his blog is realy amazing. I should also mention that I really like his WP theme (so much that for a few months I used the same).

Greg I hope you are not pissed off 😉

Thanks for the great app.

360|Flex from San Jose straight to your browser!

As you probably know 360|Flex took place in San Jose from August 18 – 20.

The amazing think is that the guys there decided to record the videos of the presentations and post them on a new hot project that Mr. Flex {aka Ted Patrick} and some other Adobeans are working on. 

You can use the AMP to subscribe to the feed of 15 videos in a very nice quality. 
Some people (including me) are having problems in subscribing to the feed direct from Ted’s blog so Ted was kind enough to share the link to the feed while he is working on it. You can use it to add the channel to your favorites on the Adobe Media Player.
Just in case you want to see the videos asap and you are already here, I have embedded ALL of them below.

All videos are under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 

Thanks to the 360|Flex team and Ted Patrick for this.