All the posts I’ve ever written…


Since Flex is Dead, I decided to rebuild my fancy Flex Clock using the html5 canvas element. Here is the result: (click to see it in action) Lots of very vanilla drawing code that is fairly boring, but one interesting part is how the new canvas-based clock uses svg paths. The old flex code used [...]


Adobe killed this blog when they killed Flex. Well I guess Flex is not all the way killed, more like stumbing around with a knife in the neck. So what’s next? I’m breaking out my crystal ball to see what the future holds… Flex’s Future With a singular, spectacular blog post Adobe eviscerated Flex and [...]


Many ways to do the same thing…but which is right? It’s an issue developers face every single day. Here’s one of those issues that I faced this past week: rotating an object in Flex. I was playing with the camera in Flex Mobile, and I quickly learned that it is landscape only even if the [...]


Did a little bit of vanilla Flex work recently, and I needed a Tree component to display an object hierarchy. Everyone, by now, hopefully knows that mx:DataGrid and mx:Tree are two of the crappiest, bug ridden, worst performing components from Flex 3. And, everyone by now, has left the buggy world of Flex 3 behind [...]


Sometimes I feel like I write more test code than real code. For unit tests on iOS our stack is OCHamcrest, OCMock, and GHUnit. For functional tests, there’s nothing better than FoneMonkey. For this post, I’m going to focus on OCHamcrest. Hamcrest was born in the Java world as the matcher framework in jMock. It [...]


Over the past three years, I’ve been programming mostly Flex and Java, with few other languages sprinkled on top (Javascript, PHP, Erlang). Recently, I’ve made the transition to doing exclusively iOS development and slinging Objective-C all day long (I’ve even taken over the Boulder iOS meetup). Here’s my take on Objective-C as a programming language, [...]


I always believe in the right tool for the job, so I’m not an Interface Builder hater per se, but I find it a little pathetic how infrequently IB is the right tool for the job. In addition, I’ve found IB to be at its worst whenever the development team is bigger than one. Don’t [...]


This is all out there on the web, but I’m putting everything here all in one place so as not to forget. Just a simple Stack and Queue implementation as a category on NSMutableArray. It works and it doesn’t suck, and that’s all I’ll say about it. Stack A very basic Stack implementation with just [...]


It’s time to revisit drag-and-drop in Flex 4. For a long time now, my previous Drag-and-Drop in Flex 4 post has been the most popular post on this blog. I get something like 1,200 pageview/month on that one post. This time around, I’ll try to expand on the thinking that goes on before I write [...]


I’ve been writing a lot of Java lately, and a lot of tests. We always write tests, right? Alas, no cool record-and-playback stuff like FlexMonkey or FoneMonkey, just plain old JUnit 4 tests with plently of Hamcrest goodness. Suddenly, I realized that I really needed to test some private methods. So, a quick google for [...]


Back in December 2009, I had the amazing opportunity to teach for a whole week at Boulder Digital Works. BDW had just started that fall and the first class of 12 students1 was just getting started on a 60-week program. Teaching was a ton of fun! We wrote some PHP code together and everyone was [...]


I tried to push my Flex 4 skinning skills to the limit, and the result is a fancy clock skin. (click to see it in action) The fancy clock skin overlays a very simple clock component. The Clock component is quite underwhelming, but here it is in all of its abbreviated glory: public class Clock [...]


FlexLayouts is an open source library of custom Flex 4 layouts that I’ve veen working on with Gilles Guillemin. Today, I’m happy to announce the first public beta release, v0.5, is available for immediate download. The FlexLayouts Gallery will be your source for layouts, sample code, and documentation. Today’s release includes beta versions of two [...]


Another day, another custom component in Flex 4. This time it’s a closeable TabBar that I’m calling TerrificTabBar, because SuperTabBar is taken. This post is basically Part 2 of my previous post on SuperTextInput. And much like that post, TerrificTabBar follows the Enhanced Component Pattern by extending TabBar and adding some new functionality. Extend TabBar [...]


I’ve been building a lot of Flex 4 custom components lately, including a sliding drawer, a multiple content area container, and now SuperTextInput. Nor will this be that last, because I think I have a few more in me (update: see TerrificTabBar). I thought it would be useful to spend some time in the details, [...]


Back in the days of Flex 3, if you wanted multiple content areas in your main application, you’d need to arrange some set of containers (Canvas, HBox, VBox) in the app and fill them with content. It was just your basic Flex 3 development process. The danger, of course, is that you are mixing content [...]


I needed a good way to have a large settings panel with a minimal visual impact. The obvious answer is to hide or minimize or collapse the settings panel when not in use. I thought about using Flexlib‘s WindowShade component (which I’ve dicussed in detail in Styling Flexlib’s WindowShade), but why reuse something when you [...]


The AIR Install Badge is a very handy little flash application for delivering AIR applications to your users via the web. The badge allows your users to download and install both your application and the Adobe AIR runtime. Additionally, the install badge will automatically prompt users to upgrade if a previously installed version is detected. [...]


Photoshop does this annoying thing where purely vertical gradients have some horizontal variation. Yes, it’s usually only plus or minus one bit of color, but it offends! I’ve battled Photoshop for a while on this, but I just can’t seem to get exactly what I want out of it. So to make a perfect gradient, [...]


This post is a follow-up to my previous post, The Schizophrenic Programmer. I must have struck a chord, because I got a ton of fantastic feedback not just on this blog, but also on Reddit and DZone. After further reflection, I still agree with what I said and my conclusions. Moving forward, I plan to [...]


Hi, my name is Justin and I have a problem. I’m insane!1 Being insane really sucks. But I’ve got a plan to get back on track. First, I’ll dole out some blame. Then, I’ll give a little background. Next, I’ll really dig into my current insanity. And finally, I’ll layout my plan for the future. [...]


When we launched the new and improved Gorilla Logic website, we decided to bring all our open source projects together under one roof. In order to migrate all things FlexMonkey back to our website, we need to get our forum data migrated out of Google Groups. Alas, Google doesn’t provide any way to export data [...]


Event-driven programming is at the heart of Flex. It also lies close to the heart of insanity for the developer. When an application becomes too loosely coupled, things get painful fast. The perfect storm arrives when you marry an event-driven UI with an event-driven asynchronous backend. Better async testing becomes the least of your problems, [...]


I needed a very simple Twitter cache for a project I’m working on. And I was very happy to trade off some realtime accuracy for reliability. In addition to caching the tweets, I also needed to pre-process them into css-able html with clickable links, usernames, and hashtags. The web had a few nice examples of [...]


Alas, LCDS 3 doesn’t support the notion of transaction (in the sense of a Database Transaction). I assume that somewhere deep within the system transactions are used to ensure correctness of data in the db, but none of this is exposed to the user. Fortunately, it is possible to bundle up a bunch of updates [...]


I just wrote about how to handle special characters in Flex 4 when written as HTML entities in MXML. Now I’ve moved my data with the special characters out of MXML and down into a MySQL database. Data access is provided by a vanilla LCDS 3 backend. I now have a very different problem than [...]


I tend to spend a large portion of my development time worrying about the various interfaces across the application. I like to worry about UX (aka the interface between the user and my app). I like to worry about the ORM (aka the interface between the database and my code). And I especially like to [...]


Adobe took a big step forward using swfobject.js to handle swf embedding in Flex 4′s index.template.html, but in my opinion they didn’t go quite far enough. Here are my changes: Short and sweet, so I can understand what the hell is going on. Use Google AJAX Libraries API to include swfobject.js. No IE6 crap. No [...]


Recently, I was caught by a special characters vs. html entities issue in Flex 4. For reference, you can read more about special characters in the text property of a text component in the official docs. And also here on Flex Examples. Unfortunately, neither of these was exactly what I was looking for. The Problem [...]


Once upon a time, in what now seems to be a prior life, I became a published author when my thesis hit the university press. That time has come again. After much effort, the second longest thing I have ever written has been published by InsideRIA. I wrote a two-part article titled Getting Real with [...]


Recently, I needed to do some programmatic animation in Flex for a client project. I was looking to achieve a kind of “mouse following” effect where an object would move towards the mouse even as the mouse itself was moved. And since Grant Skinner just updated his tiny GTween tweening engine, I thought I’d give [...]


Continuing my Quest for Cool, one of my favorite aspects of data visualization is user interaction. Interactive visualizations are not only cool, but they can be extremely useful getting information to the user. Here is a screenshot from Google Analytics showing the main line chart of visitors: When you rollover one of the points, you [...]


Axiis is an advanced data visualization framework built on top of Degrafa. And when I say advanced, I mean really advanced. I found my way to Axiis because I wanted the maximum amount of visual control that I could get. Axiis is designed to support any kind of visualization you could possibly imagine, but I [...]


NOTE: See FlexLayouts for all your custom Flex 4 layout needs, and FlowLayout for the latest version. Another one of my favorite improvements that found its way into Flex 4 is the separation of layouts from containers. The fact that layouts can customized and simply plugged into any container is pretty sweet. It’s a real [...]


Flex 4 introduced an awesome new skinning architecture. Among other things, the new architecture provides significantly better separation between a component and its skin. Flex 4 also promotes the use of states to the point where they are virtually mandatory in any non-trivial app. And that brings us to the question of the day: How [...]


UPDATE: I have another Drag-and-Drop Revisited post that covers even more drag-and-drop functionality available in Flex 4. The Flex 4 gods were kind to us developers when they made the great decision to leave the custom drag-and-drop support unchanged. We just do what we’ve always done: detect the user is trying to drag something via [...]


In Part 1, I covered the basic setup of LiveCycle Data Services 3 Beta sitting on a MySQL database. Now, I’ll get into the Flash Builder side of things, and talk about the Modeler plugin and model driven development. Setup Modeler Plugin Get Flash Builder 4 Beta (download) Get the LCDS Modeler plugin (download) Install [...]


With the beta release of LiveCycle Data Services 3, Adobe has changed the game by bringing model driven development to the forefront. The geniuses from the entity formerly known as Macromedia have put together a compelling product if you are in the business of enterprise RIAs like us. Here are a few choice words from [...]


The dream of SVG was probably born sometime in the late 90′s. Version 1.0 arrived in 2001, followed by the current version, SVG 1.1, in 2003. For anyone keeping score at home, that’s over 6 years ago, which is like 120 years ago in internet dog years. Also for those at home, SVG is a [...]


Going from SVG data to a Degrafa Path couldn’t be easier: just copy & paste. You can watch this video tutorial or you can check out this demo. But there is one trick for Inkscape: even though the coordinate origin on the Inkscape document is the normal cartesian origin in the bottom left and the [...]


The plan is simple, take the nice Degrafa-skinned components from Part 1 and assemble them into a video player powered by the OvpNetStream class from the Open Video Player project. Design I knew right away that the design was not going to have any right angles, but I also didn’t want to go with rounded [...]


I’m going to combine my earlier Degrafa skinning efforts with my more recent video work to create a Degrafa-skinned video player. In this post, I’ll build out all the components required for a video player control bar. And in Part 2, I’ll weld the control bar to an Open Video Player OvpNetStream backend. Button To [...]


The ability to split up a large application in smaller, more manageable chunks is one of the pillars of enterprise development. The flash platform is littered with examples: AS3 is OO language, MXML components, SWCs, RSLs, SWFLoader, ExternalInterface, etc. In this post, I’m going to focus on using nested SWFs via SWFLoader. There a few [...]


Recently, I’ve been doing quite a bit of video work in Flex and AIR. My main gripe (that I’ll try to rectify below) is that there sure is a lot of info around the web about streaming, FMS, and friends, but almost none about playing local video. Even the Adobe Media Player, which is a [...]


Before I dig too deep trying to create a Degrafa Skin Explorer (the idea) as an evolution of the Degrafa Button Explorer, I thought it would be a good idea to spend some more time with some basic Degrafa skinning. I managed to create a few button skins previously, but this time around I wanted [...]


Recently, I’ve been playing around with Degrafa in preparation for actually using it on an upcoming project at work. For those that aren’t in the know, Degrafa is a badass graphics framework for Flex. One of my favorite parts so far is the amazing leverage it brings to building custom-styled components. It’s terse and powerful, [...]


We’re pretty big on testing at Gorilla Logic, and in the world of Flex that usually means using FlexMonkey to test the UI and using FlexUnit to test the code. Alas, it is a huge pain in the ass to correctly test the many async objects and services inherent in any Flex app with FlexUnit. [...]


A while back I started digging into the WindowShade component in Flexlib. I really needed a set of cool collapsable buckets for a project at work, and WindowShade was perfect for the task. Alas, I couldn’t find too much info on styling a WindowShade other than Doug McCune’s awesome example of WindowShade and Degrafa. So, [...]


Flex is awesome. In many ways, it’s the right tool for the job of bringing beautiful design to the web. I use flex every day at work, and also at home on my own fun projects. Today’s challenge is to take a very simple blog design and re-implement it in flex. In The Red Corner [...]


Once everything is done (meaning I have a layout, I have a design, and I have it sliced and assembled), I like to make another pass to optimize both the size of the image files, and the number of files. My two favorite techniques are using Sprites to reduce the total number of images, and [...]


The design from the last post is finished, and it follows a very simple blog layout. In this post, I’ll slice the design and turn it into a pretty html page with the magic of Blueprint CSS. Slice It Before we get slice happy, we need to think. First, Blueprint is grid-based, so that means [...]


I’ve been in the game for a few weeks now at Gorilla Logic and I’m really enjoying myself. My first task on my first client project was to write my bio. What fun! So, of course, I started with my usual process of thinking (and thinking some more) before actually doing anything. What is a [...]


I don’t know how a real designer does it, but when I attempt a design, particularly a blog design, I always start with a simple theme. If the ideas begin to flow, I’ll know I chose well. If not, and I still think it’s a good theme, I’ll visit the usual suspects for some inspiration. [...]


I’m a bad designer. No amount of ego, or sugary coating can change that fact. Whenever I hang out with my coding buddies to talk design, they actually think I might border on decent. It’s either midget aliens piloting their husks or their brains have been pickled from over-exposure to Hibernate mapping files. Thankfully, I’ve [...]


This blog is running WordPress on Nginx on a 256 slice from Slicehost.  I’ve diligently followed all of the awesome articles by Slicehost’s tutorial master, Pickled Onion.  And I even googled some other great stuff.  But when it came down to PHP, spawn-fcgi, and particularly the Ubuntu way of daemon initialization, I had to blaze [...]


Welcome to the humble beginnings of my blog.  When I start something new, I always try to start with a goal.  And I also believe strongly in having one, and only one, primary goal.  Sure you can have secondary goals, and yes, things certainly change over time.  So… The primary goal for this blog is [...]

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