flexpress


For anyone who might have noticed, especially if you’re coming from the flex showcase, the FlexPress application has been put in a suspended state of “permanent maintenance”. There are several reasons for this:

  • The xml-rpc.php gateway (at least as of version 2.4) had to behackedin order to inject additional methods to retrieve standard queries based on predominantly consumer-based methods. If you check the downloads section, it included things like getting data for blogrolls, comments, and a list of posts -where you only want the id’s and intro (useful for high volume). However because it was ‘hacked’ it made it impossible to keep up with the latest install. Since my php skills are elementary at best, it worked for the time being but it definitely had a short shelf life -if I put some time into it (read: not likely with home life), I could probably figure out how to extend the IXR gateway class to inject my own dependencies. With a recent update to 2.8 to eliminate annoying comment spam, this obviously broke the gateway, but broke it even further since I relied on SQL queries to get some of this data directly from the tables -however the tables have completely changed.
  • I’m at a point where I need to start giving serious consideration to updating the ‘portfolio’ side of things, however I’ve put it off as long as possible because while design-wise it still fits with the presentation I want, the management of data is gnarly at best. It was designed/developed with Dreamweaver, but as completely static html using templates -good at the time but considering the maturity of app services using any sort of DB, it finally makes it possible to do things that couldn’t be achieved with static content: popular views, most current views, segregation of recent projects vs. archived material, etc. Using Joomla -I decided on this primarily for the extensive plugin library that makes it possible to build not only a front-end layer (by getting to just the raw data -see my other post about this -for anyone who wants to do the same thing but with traditional fixed property classes) but also in a TeamSite-ish way, this is where I’ll be concentrating my efforts (when I have them) for the time being.

Since the portfolio would be a 2nd ‘mini’ app I would be building (in Flex of course), it gave me an idea to build an overall Portal application that can load and interact with Portlet modules -this of course being an excellent example of some of more indepth things you can do with Flex (especially if one builds cross gateway functionality -ie Mash-Up to either add/modify or implement interactive services from one portlet to another). One of the neat things that makes it possible in building modular applications, is if one was adventurous enough, could event build a second UI layer to manage the administration of the back-end functionality. Initial Portlets that will eventually be built:

  • The Portfolio (and Archive) with it’s Joomla back-end.
  • The FlexPress with a WordPress bank-end will be resurrected -most if not all of the UI will be re-incorporated but obviously the entire data services layer will probably have to be updated in a meaningful way.
  • A Gallery: this won’t be open to the public since it’s the media management center for our family -but I’ll screenshot it as a app in the portfolio.

I don’t make any promises of it’s current status since it’s very much still an development release (read: expect an occasional crash, plain ‘halo’ styles, and some parts just aren’t implemented yet) -but if you’re curious to see how this is turning out, you can check it here.

It’s taken a fair amount of time in order to build this thing in my native language, and even pushed me outside my comfort zone to tackle missing links in the connectivity of php-MySQL.

There is still a ways to go in getting everything polished, but the core functionality is finally there. Source will eventually be released as it gets closer to the beta / release state. Current application size is hovering right around 700-800k, this is in large part due to the fact all images are still using the [Embed()] macro and not loading from an external source.

FlexPress Application Alpha 0.1

Depending on your specific responsibilities, in most cases, most of us programmers do not have to hash out the ideas of what becomes an effective design or work flow in the project or product of what we work on. Thankfully. However, if it is, then the following becomes a lot more common: where Engineering will say to Marketing, this idea just isn’t going to work and we’ll need another 2 weeks further from our already tight deadline. OK so I’m not dealing with any sort of hard deadline other than just wanting to have some sort of completion to the first stage, I did have to go back and come up with ‘a better way to use things.’ Notice I didn’t say ‘do things.’ (more…)

Not that I have any serious comments to any particular app, but it is interesting to see what other people’s take to user experience is when coming up with a RIA for interacting primarily in a passive way (mostly reading vs. active data entry on the user’s part). A few of them have even taken the time to really pay attention to the aesthetics of how their application looks and content is delivered.

I suppose mine can be added to this list in about a month or so, at least in alpha form. Once I get it mostly bug free, I’ll start working on aspects of being able to ‘build/modify/style’ your own with source.

For anyone who’s curious, here’s a snapshot of where it currently stands, but still has some styles / skins / icons to be done.

FlexPress snapshot pre-alpha

FlexPress snapshot pre-alpha

Mike Britton’s RandomUSA

Algirdas’: Incito

Ak33m’s http://ak33m.com/?cat=2

Arpit’s http://www.arpitonline.com/blog/?p=51

In the last post, I mentioned being able to overcome WordPress’s limitation of white space stripping so that a code formatter looks half way readable. The one I present here, primarily takes into consideration how a Java/C-based programmer would format it with rules like the brackets create the tabbing breaks inline: ie public function foo():void {, instead of the bracket being placed at the next line like others prefer. This is a matter of taste, but in the case of writing rules it actually makes it slightly easier to distinguish newlines instead of having to write RegExp’s with forward look up rules using ?: (more…)

In building the application over the past few months, it’s finally coming down to the final stages where it might actually be released as an alpha (ie mostly bug free and slightly useful). One of the things I’ve been working on as of late is building a code formatter that can at least pseudo display code like most IDE’s. While certainly a daunting task because even though most of the major rules are quite straight forward, the little variances really add up when say an attribute should be colored or not, or where and how a keyword might appear. (more…)