Saturday, June 20, 2009

Flash Summer Camp Berlin

At the invitation of Bettina Schulz, I came to Berlin Flash Summer Camp to do a talk on Flex and Flash Builder 4. Bettina and Mathias Stäbler arranged a great venue and had other luminaries there such as Sven Claar and Andre Michelle. It was well attended (perhaps 80-120) and the attendees were blessed with some great talks. While tired (I had literally flown in from Vancouver and landed only 2 hours prior to talking) I showed some of the new features of Flash Builder 4, Catalyst etc. Rather than use the standard demo assets, I chose to build my own and was able to demo the new features (network monitor, PHP wizard, data paging, ColdFusion, SOAP wizard, BlazeDS, LiveCycle Data Services, etc.) as well as teach some newcomers about the overall architecture. All I have to say is one thing:

"I love User Groups!!!"

Let me repeat that:

"I REALLY love User Groups!!!"

The fact they are all developers really makes me feel comfortable so we spent a lot of time concentrating on what will bite you when you go from working in Flex Builder 3 to Flash Builder 4 (the successor IDE, which still uses the Flex 4 framework). In general, a lot of Flex 3 developers had issues trying Flash Builder 4. I found it very useful to walk them through the changes starting with all the new namespaces (Spark, Halo, FXG et) plus the variants of MX NS values (2009, 2006, halo). Many of them were confused why we would do this and the complexity that was added. Once explained in terms they understood, they quickly became friendly with it and liked it. The big hits were the new advanced package explorer for each class, highlighting other instances of a class where it appears in the program (something Java developers are used to in Eclipse), advanced code hinting, content assist, class wizards and more. The network monitor won lots of friends, especially when demonstrating data paging.

The idea here is that alike when you request a map on your cell phone, you do not get all the data in one response to your original request, but it pages data as needed (on a cell phone tiles for your map). The server side PHP API takes two arguments, the start index and number of items to return. As the datagrid realizes it requires more data to fill more rows, it sends additional pages back to the server (MAMP in this case) to request the data and display it just in time.

Andre Michelle needed more time for his track so Sven Claar and I did a totally improvised joint session, taking queues from the audience as to what to see or do next. Sven covered the work flow with Catalyst and some other great stuff.

One theme that I found was an intense interest in BlazeDS and LiveCycle Data Services ES and more people wanting to understand them in more detail.

If you have not gone to a user group meeting lately - you better arrange to join and attend one soon. Some of the best times you can imagine (and free beer too!!!). Find one near you here:

1 comment:

  1. Just to make sure it's two of us (Bettina and Mathias) that run the group and the events and we where very happy that all of you guys where here in Berlin. ... To see what's next visit us on


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