Flex Camp Cleveland was fun

Yesterday I attended Flex Camp Cleveland.

Slides from the presentation “Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming” are available here. Thanks to Kristopher Schultz for the link.

A few random notes and opinions mixed together:

  • Flex is a topic that attracted a lot of people! We had more than a hundred attendees, and at least drove from places like Columbus, Michigan, and Pittsburgh.
  • There’s a lot of technical talent in Ohio. I don’t believe that we have a technical shortage. Instead, we have a shortage of managers and entrepeneurs that know how to build technology-based businesses.
  • Flex addresses a lot of my personal frustrations with HTML. In particular, I’m thrilled to be able to add tags to the language itself.
  • Flex 3.0 is not just zero-cost, but truly open-source.
  • Search engine spiders may have difficulty indexing flex apps, but typically, you don’t want search engines linking into your app. You want them linking into your documentation and marketing text.
  • People say that there’s a difference between being knowledgeable about a subject and being able to teach that subject well. The same thing is true about public speaking. Speaking well is really hard to do. You can easily tell a professional from an amateur.
  • Air is now available on linux, in an alpha state. Hurray!
  • Flex offers server-initiated pushes out to clients. Flex uses a family of protocols to make this happen. Depending on network configuration, it uses anything from a true server-initiated push to client-side polling.
  • We all got flexcamp t-shirts, but they were all sized extra-large. Any reader that wants mine is welcome to it.
  • I’m a command-line snob and don’t like using GUIs to build user interfaces, but I was impressed by how powerful the designer view was in flex builder. I wasn’t impressed enough to pay for it though.

Learning flex without spending $0.01, day one.

I downloaded the command-line compiler and lots of documentation PDF files from here earlier today.

Then I started working through the “getting started” tutorial PDF.

I made a few edits to my ~/_vimrc file so that working with mxml files would be a little easier:

” Do some specific maps for flex files (.mxml files).
” F10 rebuilds the swf.
autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.mxml map <F10> :! mxmlc %<CR>

” F11 executes the swf.
autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.mxml map <F11> :! start %<.swf<CR>

And I was able to build this do-nothing widget after about 15 minutes of goofing off:


That’s a screenshot of my homemade swf running above the vim session where I wrote it.

Next stuff to figure out:

  • Where do my trace statements go?
  • I need to figure out how to pass in locations of actionscript files when I compile my mxml files into swf files.
  • I need to learn the tags in MXML. They’re different than HTML.
  • I need to learn how to talk to a webserver.