Archive for January, 2008

Flex Camp 2008! Washington, DC

Posted: January 29, 2008 in Adobe, AIR, Flex

Hello World,

AboutWeb LLC in partnership with Adobe Systems will be hosting Flex Camp 2008 on February 13th. Flex Camp 2008 is a FREE one-day boot camp style event geared towards those who want to learn how to harness the Power and Functionality of Flex 3!

A special Adobe AIR presentation has also included in the agenda (given by yours truly).

Continental breakfast will be server in the morning, lunch will be served around noon, an Open Q & A session featuring all the presenters will be held towards the end of the day, and very informative presentations will be given throughout the day.

Did I mention that all of this  is FREE?!!

Although this event is limited to 70 seats, I’m sure you won’t want to wait to register. So here’s the URL;

See you then!



Hello World,

This morning I attended the Adobe RIA Pre-Release Tour at the DC location. This event was hosted by Fig Leaf Software (the producer of the WebManiacs conference coming this May). and sponsored by AboutWeb and Carahsoft. After Steve Drucker gave us a “warm” introduction and thanked us for coming on the coldest day of the year, Adobe Product Marketing Manager Dave Gruber was our first host for the event.

Here are some of the highlights from Dave Gruber’s presentation (9:00a);

  • Servers/Services included Scene 7, Flash Cast, ColdFusion, and LiveCycle.
  • Adobe Technologies have reached over 700 million OCs and over 200 million devices. Can you say s-a-t-u-r-a-t-i-o-n?
  • Thermo is a new tool that will allow designers to bring together thier assets using one tool and produce output that the developer can use to further build the app.
  • The Harley Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories Customizer was one the the more impressive sites that showcase the use of Flex. (see
  • Adobe Flex Builder 3 pricing/upgrade; Standard – $249/$99, Professional – $649/$299.
  • The professional edition includes; Memory and performance profilers, Charting components, Advanced datagrid, Automated testing.
  • Flex 3 IS open source and is available under MPL. (see
  • BlazeDS, Flex remoting and messeging, IS open source and is available under LGPG v3 (see
  • Flex Builder 3 Enhancements/Additions: Enhanced Constrints, Advances DataGrid, CSS Editor, Charting Enhancements, Advanced Data Visualization, Web Services Introspection, added Data Wizards for ASP.NET, Java and PHP, and much more.
  • Every wonder why move back to the desktop? Total control of the user experience, desktop consistency, Rich media support, Network resilience, desktop access to services.
  • A question was asked about the size of Adobe AIR. Here is a quote from an Adobe FAQ; “The current size for Adobe AIR is just over 10 megabytes. It is important to note that the runtime only needs to be downloaded once.”
  • They committed to release early 2008. (before your Flex 3 beta expires!)
  • A question was asked; “Could I associate a file my AIR app created with my AIR app?” The answer is yes. (here is an example –
  • There were a lot of questions about Security with a Flex 3/AIR application. Tim found an URL for a security white paper. (see and
  • There are some limitations for AIR version 1.0; No USB API, no access to native libraries or executables, limited printing support, limited localization.

Here are some of the highlights from Tim Buntels‘s presentation (12:05p);

It was a wonderful morning meeting old and new friends and listening to Dave and Tim talk about Flex and AIR. The end of the meeting was punctuated with prize giveaways, copies of Adobe Flex, an iPod nano, and several Adobe bags. Of course if you didn’t win a prize, there was always the free pens and markers at the sponsor desks.


Hello World,

WebManiacs 2008This May I will be giving two hands-on presentations at the WebManiacs 2008 conference! This five day conference will cover technologies such as; ColdFusion, Flex, AIR, AJAX, various frameworks, and much more.

This first of my presentations will be a hands-on session called Consuming and Creating RSS Feeds (CFManiacs Day 2). In this two hour session I will cover everything you need to know about reading, parsing, and creating RSS feeds using ColdFusion 8.

The second will be another hands-on session called Using Custom Events (FlexManiacs Day 3). This will be a Flex session created to help you fully understand the Flex 3 event model and how to create and dispatch your own custom events.

I am very excited and looking forward to giving these two presentations. I have done extensive work using these two concepts within these two technologies and I am looking forward to sharing what I know to those who attend my sessions.

Each of my hands-on sessions will come with printed materials and code examples on CD. Just bring your laptop and a willingness to learn and explore.

So register for event now! With the release of the most anticipated version of Adobe Flex (version 3) and Adobe AIR coming soon you’ll want to take advantage of the invaluable material that will be presented at this conference. See you then!


Hello World,

It’s been a very busy week (and two days) however 14 hours and 39 minutes (total spent on app) I have finally released the app. You can find more information on the app including the ability to download the AIR file and source on the site.

Lessons Learned:

It was definitely a learning experience for me to complete an app in a week (actually one week and two days). I found that with proper time allocation and management I could have completed the app sooner (it’s a miracle I was able to find any time with a family of six).

I need to learn more about packaging and delivery an AIR app. I really would have loved to use the web browser deployment method but I simply didn’t have time to learn it. Next time.

I also need to learn more about creating native operating system menus. If I’m going to create more AIR apps I need to learn how to create native and window menus. The Flex-based menus just don’t cut it for true Desktop apps.

I’ve been able to stick with my promise to use only Adobe tools in the creation of this app. I used Fireworks 8 for the images, Flex Builder Beta 3 for the app development, Dreamweaver 8 to update the web site. The Flex Builder Beta 3 install had all the AIR classes I needed to create an AIR application.

Classes and Functionalities Used:

Of course this being a timer applicatio, the app focuses heavily on the use of the Timer class.

Since the timer event data is being saved to a SQLite database I decided to use my fxaData library to make it easy to interact with the database. I gave a presentation in December where I introduced am Alpha version of the library. Since then I have updated portions of the library for the Beta 3 version of Flex and produced a SWC. That SWC is being used in the app. Soon after Flex 3 is released I will release the full library, its source, and documentation.

Up Next!

The next app should be somewhat easier and that should allow me to complete it on time (Sunday at midnight). The app for Week 2 is going to be a ColdFusion/Spry app, RSS Creator. It’s going to be a browser-based app that would allow the user to create an RSS file based on the data in their database. This has been done so many times before but what will make this app somewhat unique is that ability to inspect the database, select and merge column information, and filter data – on the fly. You’ll even be able to schedule the RSS creation task to execute at a specified date/time interval.

So keep your eye on the FiftyTwo Apps web site and this blog to get the latest information on my virtual journey.


Low-Tech to the Rescue

Posted: January 3, 2008 in Misc

Hello World,

It’s not everyday I stumble across what I like to call a “paper clip” idea. These are ideas that are so simple in design that it even surpasses the intellect of the “well educated” … like the paper clip. Props to the man or woman who invented the paper clip. Well I came upon what I think is another such idea.

For years web developers have been developing way to prevent spam bot from infiltrating their sites and submitting hundreds of form entries. Thus was born the Captcha, a dynamically generated warped image of a word or phrase. The user must enter the word or phrase in the text box before submitting the form. This technology helps prevent spam bot from automatically reading the word of phrase and successfully submitting the form. Unfortunately, many times it is difficult for even the human to read the word or phrase.

Captcha Sample

Can you tell what letter (or number) that is between the 5 and 3? Neither can I.

As I was registering at another forum site I was presented with a rather unique, what I like to call a low-tech way of validating human response. Ask the user to solve a simple expression.

New Captcha

You simply supply the answer to the expression. The expression is dynamically generated and can contain any combination or numbers and operators. Yes, a computer would be able to recognize and calculate such an expression much faster than any human but that’s assuming that the spam bot can read the expression. Could we not use a form of Captcha technology to provide the expression and allow the human to enter the answer? One number … not some word or phrase, uppercase or lowercase, just one number.

Just a thought.