NOTE: Somehow this post got stuck in draft and was set to auto-publish at the MAX Sneaks session. I just noticed it lingering. Uggghhhhh.
Flex is expanding and extending tooling support to Linux and a new IDE code named “Thermo”, and a new component set called “Elixir”. I wanted to take the time and talk about each as they are major expansions of Flex. We need better workflow, tooling, and components for Flex, period. We have seen Flex grow in scale and many are now using Flex Builder everyday in their jobs, it is time to raise the bar. At MAX we announced 4 initiatives that will dramatically improve things for Flex developers and grow the market for Flex overall.
Flex 3 Builder Linux Alpha
We need first class tooling on all platforms not just Windows or OSX. The growth of Linux and OSX are groundbreaking in developer circles. With every event I go to there are more Apple and Linux laptops in use. Having been on the receiving end of email about FXB on Linux, I am very glad to see us move in this direction.
“Thermo” – From ART to RIA
The “Thermo” project is focused on taking designer ART and creating rich RIA that seamlessly works with all Flex tooling. The toolset shares the same project formats as Flex and will allow a designer to contribute to RIA development directly.
Instead of throwing design comps over the cube wall, designers and developers can work in different paradigms on the same project. I am very excited about the skinning in “Thermo” as it completely inverts the problem allowing designs to output the skin vs trying to re-implement a design in Flex. I cannot tell you how much time this would save me across various projects as I am always asked to implement designs in Flex. I know that “Thermo” is in very good hands at Adobe and its development is one of the companies major initiatives in 2008.
ILOG “Elixir” Component Beta
I started working with ILOG in July of 2006 when I joined Adobe on a project to create a visualization component set for Flex. At MAX, we debuted “Elixir” but this seems to gotten lost in the shuffle of all the other news. ILOG is a professional 3rd party component developer and they make some of the best components in the JAVA/C++/C# market and are now working with Flex. These components are some of the coolest on the market today and are very impressive. Don’t take my word for it, run the demos!
3D Charts (Change the elevation!)
It is so great to see the first professional component vendor embrace Flex. ILOG is a leader in visualization components and seeing them doing great things with Flex puts a smile on my face.
Flex Skin Design Extensions
What if you could use Fireworks, Flash, Photoshop, and Illustrator to skin Flex? In that one more thing category, these extensions for CS3 make Flex Skinning a first class citizen in your favorite tools. Now we can all make skins that rival Juan over at ScaleNine!
Unless you are living under a rock, one thing should be VERY CLEAR: It is time to learn Flex!