All entries for Monday 01 October 2007

October 01, 2007

Flex 3: Four new features

The Flex team demoed four new features in the upcoming Flex 3:-

  1. A profiler for memory usage and performance.
  2. More language intelligence, especially including refactoring. Apparently refactoring support was the number one requested feature, which I find interesting,
  3. New data visualisation tools; richer styling and graphics support for charts, and a new advanced data grid with hierarchical elements, sorting, filtering, etc.
  4. Support for framework caching; the framework for your app can go into the Flash player cache on the client side, making subsequent loads faster. It wasn’t clear what distinguishes frameworkable elements from the rest of your app, though.

Adobe buys Buzzword

One interesting application demoed during Kevin Lynch’s keynote was the online word processor called Buzzword. It’s a Flash/Flex application which can run either on the web or as a desktop application using Adobe’s AIR runtime. When run as a desktop application it can open files from the web or from your own PC, and it understands at least some sub-set of Microsoft Word documents. It looks like a nice word processor, with a simple, elegant UI, and the combination of being able to work locally or over the internet according to circumstance could make it quite attractive.

Evidently Adobe liked the application a lot, since Kevin also announced that they’ve bought the company (Virtual Ubiquity) who created Buzzword.

Astro: Flash player 10

Three new features were demod for the next release of the Flash player, version 10, code-named Astro:-

  • Advanced text layout support; multiple languages, multiple columns, tables, live editing, reflowing. In the demos, the focus was on support for multiple languages including right-to-left languages, all drawn on the same canvas. But it looks also as though it might make for a really good WYSIWYG editing tool, free of the constraints of ContentEditable and the problems of cross-browser support.
  • Perspective transforms for 3D effects for all display objects including video and all other components and controls. Everything continues working while it’s being transformed in 3D, so controls are still clickable, video keeps playing, etc. Additional functions will appear in ActionScript – rotationx, y, and z as well as the existing rotation functions.
  • It’ll be possible for Flash developers to create their own custom filters, blend modes and fills using a new processing language called Hydra.

Restroom reversal

More on the sessions in a little while, but as I rush from one room to the next I notice one amusing thing: the overwhelming majority of attendees here are male, and that’s had the side effect of creating long queues for the men’s restrooms but no queue at all for the women’s. Since I don’t actually need the loo right now, I can see how that might seem karmically satisfying to some.

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