Nice new usability feature in Flex Builder for Linux Alpha 2

OK, I say “new” because I am almost certain that this wasn’t there before…

I just installed the Alpha 2 release after realizing that my Alpha 1 installation had expired. As I opened up one of my AS files in the Action Script editor, I noticed that when you single click on a string, it highlights all matching strings in the file. That is pretty cool, and it immediately helped me out when looking for a place where a value was being set in that file. Now, this may become annoying, but for the moment that seems like a pretty cool addition. I have a feeling a bunch of Windows/Mac people are probably rolling their eyes going “Whoopdee dooo, we have had that all along”. Well… now I do to! :)

Adobe Keynote at CFUnited

Today was a great start to the conference.  After a brief welcome session by Michael Smith, it was Adobe’s turn to take the floor and give their keynote to start things off.  Ben Forta took the stage first and gave a mini-State of ColdFusion, followed by the official announcement (if you weren’t reading blogs at 12:01 last night) of the release of ColdFusion 7.02, Flex 2, and Flash 9.  He then spent a few minutes detailing the highlights of Flex 2, particularly in how it interacts with ColdFusion and how it is superior to its predecessor Flex 1.  And then.. the moment the Flex development community had been waiting for… the price!  Ben prefaced the price announcement by reminding the audience that Adobe has made assurances that it would be under $1000.00.  After a dramatic pause, he went to the next slide triumphantly and unveiled:

$999!

This was met with an obviously underwhelming response as Ben looked on with a grin.  Then in a moment reminiscent of Let’s Make a Deal, Ben went slide by slide at the urging of the audience whittling the price down $100 at a time until it reached:

$499!

This was met with a much more positive response from the audience…as I thought  “Did Ben just pull a used car dealer tactic on us?” :)

After the price announcement, Ben dove a little further into Flex and proceeded to demo some features, such as the Flex Application Wizard, which allows a developer to create a functional database driven Flex application in just a matter of a few clicks.  This is a pretty remarkable tool in that it creates a well formed “best-practices-for-now” MVC sample that immediately gives a new developer a good example to build their Flex applications from, including the creation of Bean and DAO components and the CFCs that Flex actually talks to.  The speed and effortlessness to make that happen is certainly impressive.

Although Ben’s presentation was rock-solid as always, I couldn’t help but recall Tim Buntel and Ben on stage the year before and I briefly wondered if Tim was missing being a part of the show this year.  Little did I know…

At the end of Ben’s presentation, he brought Jason Delmore to the stage, who is Tim Buntel’s replacement as the ColdFusion Product Manager.  Jason discussed the things to look forward to in Scorpio which as many know is the product that will eventually become ColdFusion 8.  He stated that he could not speak in great detail about much of the current development efforts, but he would offer some hints to the future.  He then very ambiguously offered up:

  • More Platforms
  • More Development Tools
  • Leveraging other Adobe Technologies

(shocking!)

One of the only real specifics he shared was a very cool feature, CFPDFFORM.  This tag will allow developers to populate PDF forms directly from their applications.  It also allows extraction of data from PDF forms.  He showed a working demo.  I did’t get all the attributes jotted down, but it looked much like this:

<cfpdfform>
<cfpdfformparam name=”foo” value=”bar” />
<cfpdfformparam name=”morefoo” value=”morebar” />
<cfpdfformparam name=”mostfoo” value=”mostbar” />
</cfpdfform>

Jason also announced the ability to create Breeze presentations on the fly and showed a simple dmonstration of this ability.  The new tag is:

<cfpresentation attributes-a-plenty=”" />

He made the comment that with CFPRESENTATION, there is no need to make screen captures ever again. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the real world.

Then as things were winding down and Ben appeared to be wrapping up, the doors burst open and two Adobe employees were dragging a blindfolded guy to the stage who was yelling about how there must have been a mistake as his birthday was last month.  They pulled off the blindfold, slapped an Adobe shirt on him and the audience then welcomed Tim Buntel.  After a few moments of explaining how it came to be, Tim announced that he is the new ColdFusion Senior Product Marketing Manager.  Tim has a great energy and is very passionate about ColdFusion.  It is great to see that he is back on the team.

I have so many notes to translate to my blog from the day, but that about wraps my take on the Adobe keynote.

Dear Adobe, I want Flex too

I have been proudly exclaiming for the past month or so how I am a newly converted ex-Windows guy.  I haven’t found the need to run any Windows applications, but if I get in a pinch, I can run things like Photoshop using Crossover Office Pro.  Today is the first day that I really ran into a problem.  The problem is with lack of support for Linux by Adobe when it comes to Flash and Flex.   Like many of the other developers in the community I am really chomping at the bit to play with the official Flex 2 Builder (the price of which was announced during Adobe’s keynote this morning… $499!) and tie into ColdFusion 7.02.   In addition to the announcement of ColdFusion 7.02 and Flex 2 today, one of the quieter announcements was the official release of Flash 9.  “Great!” I thought…. I will go directly to that since Adobe never released a version 8 for Linux and I am still using 7.   It appears though, that once again Adobe is not releasing this version for Linux (at least at the time of this posting).   The best option for Linux users is still 7.

Now, in theory I can install the Windows Firefox under COO and then Install Flash 9  under COO as well and (I repeat… in theory) be able to access Flex apps.  I don’t know if this is true, but I suppose it is something I will  have to try.  But that solution is hardly the optimal way to go.

So… viewing Flex applications would be a start, but what about building them?  Flex Builder is only available for the Windows platform.  There is nothing for Macs and nothing for Linux.

After lunch I am going to drop by the Adobe booth and see if they have any insight on what we should expect as far as future supporting Linux (and Macs for that matter).  If I get any information of substance, I will update this evening.

EDIT:  I just found this post …… Early 2007?!?!??! <sigh>