I was really excited to have the opportunity to attend the 360 Flex conference in Indianapolis this past week. For those that don’t know 360 Flex is a medium size conference that focuses on the developer community and generally fosters a great deal of social communication.
At 360 Flex adobe announced that their Flex Builder product would undergo a name change. (Read more here) The new name, ‘Flash Builder’, is intended to reduce confusion about what the product does and the platform it runs on. The underlying Flex sdk will still maintain the ‘Flex’ naming convention.
In my humble opinion, I don’t think this is anything to lose sleep over. I still believe that there will still be a significant difference in intention when referencing ‘Flex developers’ vs ‘Flash developers’. I would argue that one could draw similar parallels with the ‘Ruby developers’ and ‘Rails developers’. I think it’s important to keep in mind that Flex is an AS framework and while it has some additional functionality (mxmlc) at it’s heart it all compiles down to AS3 for the Flash platform.
The conference had a slew of additional community driven announcements. A few that I found really interesting were: Axiis, Merapi and the Flight framework.
Axiis is a new open source data visualization framework by Tom Gonzalez and Michael Vandaniker. The Axiis framework makes use of the Degrafa declarative graphics framework to allow developers to create stunning data visualizations with unbelievable flexibility. Axiis went into an open alpha release and can be found at http://axiis.org/
Merapi is a Action Script – Java bridge that allows developers to connect Flex applications to Java applications over a socket server. Merapi makes use of the AMF binary format for serialization of objects which means that you persist classes across both languages. Merapi has been around for a good while now (2 years?) and has just now announced the open sourcing of their code. You can check it out here: http://merapi.googlecode.com/
The Flight framework is a new framework for developing Flash and Flex applications. Two of my favorite developers Tyler and Jac Wright put together this Model-View-Controler framework that speeds up the team development cycle and has some additional bonus features like Weak-reference binding and undo/redo/history management.
Overall, I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to attend 360 Flex. I had an amazing time, met some great developers and I learned a lot. I’m extremely thankful to Tom (http://lordbron.wordpress.com/) and John (http://johnwilker.com) for putting this conference together. I can’t wait to see you guys next time!