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My First Try at Flex

Flex is now approaching its 4th version. Even since its start, it looked promising. Until some time ago, I didn’t look much into it for it was not Open enough. Two years ago, in order to use Flex application freely, you had to limit yourself to a little subset of Flex.

This has changed. At the end of last year, though, my client gave me the opportunity to prototype a simple application and I dived into it. This development gave me an insight into BlazeDS, Spring BlazeDS and Flex itself. Of course, I realized I barely scratched the surface of it. In order to go further into the user interface itself, I created my resume in Flex.

This screen (I can’t call it an application) has the following features:

  • Resource loading: I made the screen so that the resume is available outside it. I use the URLLoader object and reacts according to success / failure events
  • XML parsing: the resume is available in XML format and each part of the screen uses part of it
  • HTML formatting. Since the XML Schema I use is Europass, I cannot do what I want. In order to display things the way I want them, I had to clutter the XML with HTML tags and use the HTML formatting through Flex
  • Internationalization: the feature is done, I just have to translate the resume itself in English (no small feat for me) and German (will need help!)
  • Mavenization: the entire build is done with the help of Maven and the excellent FlexMojos. The latter let me build Flex without the need of FlexBuilder
  • Components: I used modular components so that the resume displayes at the center of the screen can be shared (provided you supply the resume with valid XML). Anyone interested?

Due to my lack of knowledge, the implementation of only these took me some time. Yet, I’m very positive about the technology.

I only discovered a problem lately: not all the classes documented in the FlexDocs are available freely. Some, such as the AdvancedDataGrid, are not included in framework.swc and are only usable for a fee. Even though I’m French (and as such labeled as a communist in the US), I understand Adobe’s strategy to make some components free and some not. IBM does the same with Eclipse plugins. What I find devious is that the documentation is aggregated and does not make such distinction.

Anyway, my resume is here.

From http://blog.frankel.ch

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