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Keynote: Flex 4 Preview (Flex Camp Boston 2008)

Introducing Flash Catalyst ("Thermo") and Flex Builder Gumbo (Flex 4)
Tim Buntel, Adobe

Overview of the Flash platform.
Design and Develop: Flash CS4 Professional, Flash Catalyst, Flex Builder
Framework: Flex
Clients: AIR, Flash Player and Servers, but not the focus of today's talk

Two different drivers for application, coming at it from the design side versus the data side. Independent of starting point you end up with code.

Focus Areas for the Flash Platform
Design tools focused on: Flash Catalyst, Flash Pro CS4, FXG
Data: Data-Centirc Development
Code: Developer Productivity
Flex Framework: Next-gen components, declarative states and behaviors
Tight integration across teams

"Thermo" introduced at MAX 2007 have been laying the foundation since then, FXG, component model, CS4 FXG support, argue with marketing

Flex 3 had baked in presentation: can only replace individual components, non-boxy designs are hard.
Next-gen components separate presentation from controller: layout almost all controlled by the skin,.

Next-gen: graphics and text as first-class citizens, revised component architecture, declarative states and behaviors

FXG: Graphics format based on MXML, supported in key CS4 applications, just another file format for the CS4 suite, needed a portable notion of states and transitions that could be more declarative.

Flash Catalyst
Why? Harder for one person to do everything design to development. Web applications are getting bigger, "Developer-Designers" are harder to find.
Today: limited roles, designer creates visual design and developers adds interactivity, linear process making it hard to incorporate visual updates, interactivity is hard for designer to add.
Pre-alpha released at Max 2008, public beta early next year

Flex Builder 4
Designer/developer workflow improvements: introduces FXP, launch Flash Professional from Flex Builder
Data centric applications: making visual connectivity easy, end-to-end development with BlazeDS and LiveCycle Data Services, common application templates, code generation for common tasks
Feature improvements: Refactoring, code generation (get/set) debugger, profiler, improved compiler speed, bi-directional text, automated unit testing, network monitor

Demo of Flex Builder 4
Data Centric Application
AMF is now part of the Zend framework, project explorer now has package views instead of folder based,
Data and services tab, new cold fusion IDE called Bolt built on Eclipse, does introspection of the service and builds internal data model, can drag and drop data type into design and generate data grid that can call backend. Can manage a data type and map client side operations like update to the server side calls. New generate event handler from either design view or within code assist. Strongly typed wrapper of data returned can call something like "actorService.comit()", where actor is the manager data type. Network monitor will let you see the traffic between the client and server. Can setup data type to support paging, will call backend as needed. Service also adds support for easy revert of changes.

Flash Catalyst and Flex Builder 4 have pages on labs where you can keep track of the progress of the tools.

Does client side data management work with LCDS? Preview release has some issues that will be fixed by first public.
Network monitor support RTMP? Not yet.
Will real-time protocols be supported? Not implemented at this time, but will expand in the future, no firm timeline. Right now only HTTP and AMF, maybe .NET in the near future.
Flex Builder on Linux? Only a few people raised their hands for using Flex Builder on Linux. Some supporting tools not on Linux yet so the support is lagging. It is a stated goal.
Workflow flow such as Catalyst, Builder, Catalyst. Yes the two projects will work well together. FXP is a way to move between the two with tools to manage it. Difference view for merging FXP projects.
How much data access will be available in Catalyst? Know designer needs data access within Catalyst, sample data available now, trying to figure out the best approach. No live connection but most likely representative data.

Tags: catalyst flex flexcampboston2008 gumbo thermo