Today was day two of Flex 360 here in Atlanta and definately the geekiest group of presentations so far. And by geekiest I mean best. My days presentation list included presentations on item renders, deep tour of the new open source Flex SDK, the big bang of your applications start up, open source flex community projects and enhancing flex presentations with bitmap techniques. ...
Building Components that use Item Renderers
One thing that I hated in Flash and Actionscript 2 is the API for generating Item Renderers. The documentation was poor and so were many of the examples that people created on the subject. With Flex there are 3 ways of doing custom item renderers and building an advanced item renderer seems much easier than before. On top of it all, this presentation made me see the reasons behind the item renderer API. I have a feeling I will be creating quite a few in upcoming projects.
Deep Dive Tour into the Open Source Flex SDK
One of the biggest pieces of news with the release of Flex 3 was the fact that it is now officially open source. This presentation was showing the open source project and what pieces of the Flex Framework are a part of the open source project. Along with that we got to get a high level overview of the compilation process. Both Java and Actionscript files that weren't available before are now available for viewing. I may or may not ever contribute to the project but I did get some new ideas about what I could do with this level of access. There is a whole world to blog about inside the Flex repositories.
Dense and Hot: The big bang of your application's start up
I missed the presentation about what's coming in Flex 4 to be in the packed presentation. It was worth it. With everything that is going on at startup, you have a lot of opportunity to slow down your application unless you understand its nature. I learned about application, and really all components, lifecycle as well as the best times to take certain application initialization actions. The onCreationComplete event usually is seen as the best time to do things when you look for examples online and yet it probably isn't. There could be a blog posting on this topic coming soon.
Open Source Flex Community Projects
While I have been very interested in open source projects for flex and flash, this presentation got me interested in some projects I might have dismissed for various reasons. Projects like the physics engines for actionscript or Degrafa. From now on I'll be keeping my eyes open, just in case they can help me with the projects I am working on in ways I wouldn't have originally thought of.
Enhancing Flex Presentations with Bitmap Techniques
Coming from a pure actionscript background, there are many things I already understand about BitmapData objects. I also learned a lot in a previous e-seminar about bit blitting. However, this class focused on the benefits of creating Flex framework components that benefit from bitmap data. There are a lot of opportunities to create applications that can just wow people while still being very easy to use. This is an untapped area of RIAs and occasionally connected applications. Expect to see some posts and possibly some tools or components based on this subject in the near future.
Again and again I am seeing the benefits of coding in the Flex framework versus pure actionscript. Obviously Flex is based off of actionscript, but I could get the best benefit by writing actionscript that allows me to code in the flex framework. Things just get so easy when you take advantage of the framework, I don't know why I have fought it for so long.