Flash Platform in 2009 by Kevin Hoyt – Flex Camp Chicago 2009

This second episode is from the session by Kevin Hoyt, he is an evangelist with Adobe, and gives the keynote for the first day of Flex Camp Chicago. He talks about the Flash platform, what is upcoming for Flex and tools for designers to create user interfaces that work with Flex so that the developers don’t need to figure out how to do them as non-designers. For those of you who are designers and developers it looks like a great workflow improvement.

I did try and capture the questions this time, so you will hear some differences in the background noise levels as I normalize the audio to get the questions to be audible. They are still hard to hear some times, but most of them should be understandable without killing your ears.

If you have any questions or comments about the podcast recordings, feel free to contact me at http://vandermore.com. If you have questions for the presenters, most of their contact information can be found on the Flex Camp Chicago website, http://flexcampchicago.com.

I hope you enjoy the sessions, now on with the show.

Flex Camp Chicago 2009

Today is day two of Flex Camp Chicago (#flexcampchi), yesterday was really informative even though I have been working in Flex for about nine months now. I got a chance to see a great deal of things that I haven’t needed to use yet in the platform, like video, 3D, and bringing up web pages in Flex and AIR apps. Since working at ShopLocal, we didn’t have a call for those things in our projects. Seeing them opens up a whole creative realm of things that I could do with them.

There was also an all to brief introduction to AMF and it’s capabilities. I would love to be able to use BlazeDS, but I am fairly sure that my current ISP won’t support it. I may have to set up a box at home just to play around with it. It has a lot of capabilities that I would like to use both for The Stone Table (more on that in a later post), and PodioBooks.com.

It’s about 20 minutes until start time here, and today looks to be even better than yesterday. Today is supposed to be the expert session, while yesterday was the beginner session. I consider myself fairly well versed in Flex and ActionScript 3, but I can see that there is a whole lot more that I could dig into, and that excites me to no end.

Edit: I forgot to mention, I am also Twittering during the sessions, and recording them. Follow me on Twitter today (vandermore), or search for #flexcampchi.

A podcast of the sessions, hopefully with the demonstrations, should be coming as soon as I can edit things and get the files.

Interview today! – Day 7

So today I have an interview, and it’s looking pretty promising. There was another scheduled for today, but it was moved to tomorrow, which is good since it was going to involve quite a bit of transportation juggling to make it to both on the same day. The locations of the two places are just too far apart to make it easy.

I was able to get a few more things cleared off of my plate relating to the household that had needed doing for a while. Even cleaned up in the basement a bit.

As far as the coding front is going, I am still working on the id3 tagging AIR application, and have hit a snag with it. I can get the file loaded, I can *almost* read them, but not quite. So I need to dig into that a little deeper. I may just need to write the bit parsing myself. Right now I am working with Metaphile’s open source parsing classes, but I just can’t get them to pull in the data. It’s not helping that there isn’t any documentation and very little commenting in the code. I am reading the code, but there are a few spots that seem unfinished. I am probably missing something simple, rather than them actually being unfinished. So if anyone out there would like to help me out, I would appreciate the insight you could give me.

Lots of snow here today, driving was not fun. I hope tomorrow is clear. Oh, and that is one thing I need to mention. When your prospective employer emails you and asks if you want to reschedule because of the heavy snow, that is a really good sign that you want to work for them.

Flash animations in Flex ignoring their stop() actions?

Remember that issue I had with getting Flash and Flex to play nice and give me events from Flash swfs loaded into a Flex application? Well, it’s the same project, same files, and with a new wrinkle.

So we have the near final files from the client’s agency, and they look good, and perform all the interactions that are needed for the launch in a few weeks. Great! Only one problem. The animations never stop, flash on and off, and do all sorts of other things that are strange.

All of it though, is explained by there being no stop() actions in the Flash swf. To remind you, our gentle reader, both Flash and Flex are published in AS3 for Flash Player 9. I had the foresight to request the original FLA files, so even though I don’t have the fonts available, I can still look at the code, and tweak it to see if any changes I suggest to the agency will actually work. The stop() actions are there! What the frell?

So I do some searching, and searching, and searching. Nothing. I did find out that the default frame rate for Flex movies is 24 fps. So taking that, I thought that the frame rates might not be syncing, since the Flash swfs are set at 30 fps. So I change the setting in the Flash swfs down to 24 fps. Nothing, same errors with things spinning, and button states flashing.

Then I noticed that when I rolled over the buttons, that they stopped flashing, even when I was no longer interacting with them. It was like they caught the stop() that was on their timeline. So after a bit of tinkering I found out this. In our Flex application, when these swfs were loaded, if the loaded swfs had Tweens that tweened an animated movieClip, the animation would ignore the stop() actions in it’s clip.

To solve this, I found out that stop() actions needed to be added to every keyframe that the animation had, and it needed to target the movie that was animating. So if a sign was twirling around, it was, I had to add sign.stop(); to every keyframe where I wanted the sign to not move. I added this on the timeline that had the fade in tween of the sign movieClip.

I still don’t know why this happens, but adding the stop() actions that directly target the movie clip that needs to not move fixes it. If anyone has more insight into this, please let me know. I’m stumped as to why it is happening, and why this workaround is needed.

NOTE: I created a test Flex application, with nothing but a swfLoader to see if I could give that to the agency for testing purposes. In that, the animation behaved 100% correctly. So it’s not all Flex applications, just the one I am working on.