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November 30, 2007


From a recent article in the NYTimes about the new Facebook Beacon program:

“Isn’t this community getting a little hypocritical?” said Chad Stoller, director of emerging platforms at Organic, a digital advertising agency. “Now, all of a sudden, they don’t want to share something?”

This guy is completely missing the point. There is a big difference between explicitly sharing information, which is what Facebook user's have been doing up to this point, versus the implicit sharing that the Beacon system is doing. I'm not a Facebook member so I can't comment on the opt-in or opt-out features the system which would make it more explicit and only slightly less disturbing.

MoveOn.org is running a petition that I encourage you to sign.

Tags: facebook moveon

November 25, 2007

Born Standing Up

Over my extended Thanksgiving break I picked up and read Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up: a comic's life". I'm not completely sure why I picked it up. I think I recently read a review of it and it looked interesting. I knew of Steve Martin and have seen some of his films, but I've not seen much or possibly any of his stand-up material.

The trials of breaking into stand-up comedy theater when there wasn't much of a scene are wonderfully told through Steve Martin's struggle. The book primarily focuses on his early years. Once he made it big the material speeds up and the book seems to end quickly. I would have enjoyed some additional retrospective about his final shows once he decided he was done with stand-up.

While Steve Martin was trying to become a comedian, many of the life lessons and trials he went through hold true for anyone trying to make it big in any field. His philosophical background helps him bring the right perspective on what made things work out and what failed for him. For this reason even if you haven't seen much of this stand-up career the book is worth reading.

Tags: books

November 18, 2007

More FlexUnit Flex Cookbook Entries

I added a couple more introductory FlexUnit recipes to the Flex Cookbook. They are titled Understanding FlexUnit Output and Run code before and/or after every test. Next up will be some intermediate recipes.

Tags: flexcookbook flexunit

November 15, 2007

FlexUnit Flex Cookbook Entries

I've posted round one of some Flex Cookbook entries that focus on FlexUnit. I welcome any feedback on have about them.

Tags: flexcookbook flexunit

November 10, 2007

Allurent News

Allurent the company I'm working for has been doing well lately and as such we are starting another major hiring push. We've recently signed a strategic deal with GSI Commerce to provide our full product suite to their customers and have closed a $7.5M Series B.

Our details, inline cart, and checkout are live at Anthropologie. To see details you need to visit a product category page and then click on the hotspot marked by a magnifying glass icon below any product image. To see inline cart, just hover over the "shopping bag" link at the top right of the page.

All of our products are build using Adobe Flex. We are also looking into Adobe AIR and other technologies. Some of you may remember our desktop shopping application from Adobe MAX, which is one such product. Colleagues of mine include Joe Berkovitz, Tim Walling, and James Echmalian who you may have heard speaking at recent conferences in additional to myself.

Allurent's careers page has been updated with the UI, PM, QA, and Dev positions we are looking to hire for. If you know anyone that might be interested have them drop me a line. I'm happy to answer any questions.

Tags: allurent

November 8, 2007

Flex Cookbook Code License?

The growing Flex Cookbook is great for finding answers for a wide range of problems. The problem is the site doesn't make it clear what license everything is under. For a developer creating a product that uses some of the cookbook code what might it mean? Your guess is as good as mine. For an entry I posted I cited the license the code fell under. While other examples are not as clear. What does that "@author" mean?

I think for the Flex Cookbook to be a general purpose reference it really needs to clearly state the license all code falls under. Ideally it should establish a blanket public domain license. If I'm missing something please let me know.

Tags: cookbook flex license

November 5, 2007

Styles, Fonts, and Compile Time

There has been some recent conversation about the impact of styles and fonts on compilation time in Flex Builder 3. I figured I'd take the project I'm currently working on and see what the numbers came out as.

Some more details about the test: About 700KB of raw .as and .mxml code. 2 separate CSS files are imported. 120KB of TTF fonts. 650KB of SWF fonts. Compiling using Flex 2.0.1 Hotfix 3 SDK. Each tests was run 3 times with the average time reported. Each test was run by changing text in the top level MXML component, saving it, and timing a manual build. Timing was from time of click until the progress view reported the build was finished. Copy non-embedded and generate HTML template were disabled.

As with all measurements these should be taken with a grain of salt and are meant to be representative. Your project will vary, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Compile State Compile Time (in seconds)
All styles, 11 SWF fonts, and 2 TTF fonts 11.3
No styles or fonts 4.8
All styles and no fonts 6.9
All styles and 8 SWF fonts 9.1
All styles and 2 TTF fonts 9.1
All styles and 3 SWF fonts 8.1

Clearly using TTF encoded fonts has a higher overhead than SWF encoded fonts. More fonts take more time. The next item to explore is using Flex Builder 3's compile CSS to SWF option. Doing that would require looking at application startup time since the styles would no longer be compiled in but instead loaded during startup.

Tags: as3 css flex

November 4, 2007

AIR support added to Antennae build template system

I'm pleased to announce Antennae release 1.0001 has now been posted. The full release notes are available online. Please leave me any feedback if you run into issues or have feature requests. Below is a summary of the key updates:

Flex based AIR application support

New targets and tasks have been added to support the building, running, and packaging of Flex based AIR applications.

A sample project has been put together that demonstrates the use of these new targets.

A key concept used in AIR application support is the concept of an "assets" directory. Since the AIR ADT application packager requires you to specify each file that should be bundled into the application, Antennae has instead chosen to specify a single directory. The goal being that by default all files under "assets" will be packaged with the application and there is no need to include these files in the source tree.

Simplified importing

All template applications have been updated to use the new single build-common-imports.xml file to pull in all standard Antennae build files.

Source code included

The source code for the ARC-FlexUnit pieces are now bundled with Antennae. This is for reference purposes. To rebuild the platform please grab the latest source code from the SVN repository for Antennae. http://antennae.googlecode.com/svn/

Linux fixes

Fixed bug about not being able to run automated unit tests on Linux.

Tags: ant antennae flex