Flash Player crashes?

Been reading alot of Flash Player bashing lately and one of the main cons against the "little" player is the fact that it crashes so often. It does? Like when? It has happened once to me while visiting a web site and it was so long ago I don't remember. And like most people, I visit websites where I have to watch Flash content; like tsn.ca, espn.com, youtube.com, etc... It's not like I don't touch websites with Flash content with a 10-foot pole. Heck I develop in this stuff.

And then you have to wonder...if the Flash Player crashed so often, wouldn't nobody develop for this platform at all? Why would it still exist 15 years after it original release?

So wake-up people, Flash Player is here to stay for a little while longer, we can do more with it today than we ever could, and the web is more dynamic because of it. Will it cease exist some day? Perhaps, but not for another 10 years I hope :)

HTML has spoiled end-users

"People are quick to learn (in most cases), but slow to change."

Change happens all the time. We change our shoes, our clothes, the car we drive, what we eat for breakfast, where we live and where we work. But change certain things on people and wow, you are in a world of hurt.

I've recently been re-writing/migrating/enhancing an application at work, which used to be in JSP pages to Flex 3 and things have been progressing well. Until of course people started using the application. Main complaint? "Why can't I highlight this page and copy it into an email?" Well what the end-user was referring to as a page is actually a TitleWindow that has some information on it and a DataGrid with the financial information in it. What he basically wants to do would be possible if it was an HTML page, cause you can highlight anything in an HTML page. But the real reason for having to do this? The person needing this information did not want to take the time to access the application to see this information for himself. (so is the main issue here lazyness?)

So the simplest thing has caused negative feedback for the new version application and not just from one person. And it is the most basic thing really, copy'n'paste functionality that is normally part of the OS/browser. Something people have been able to do since forever is now no longer possible. They could use screen capture applications, but they don't support the Flash Player and its DataGrid control. People don't see that the information is more presentable and easier to navigate, they are only taking about the simplest basic feature that is no longer working.

So what to do? I will have to do some research to see if anyone else has had this problem and basically make Flex more HTMLism I guess. But mostly, in the end, I will have to change.

Chrome 5 comes with Flash Player

Been reading alot lately of how HTML5 will spell the end of the Flash Player and then today, bam! Google release an alpha version of Chrome 5 that comes with the Flash Player! Wonder what that's all about really.


Loading CSS at runtime

Just spent like 7 hours trying to debug a problem and finally found the solution by reading someone's blog. Basically was trying to load the CSS settings at runtime in my Flex 3 application. It didn't work at all, kept getting the following error:

Error #1034: Type Coercion failed: cannot convert bla to IFlexModule

Finally the problem was... the CSS filename (bla.css), was the same as the application MXML file (bla.mxml)! Changing the name of the CSS file to something different (app.css) basically solved the problem. Guess when you compile a CSS file to SWF, internally the generated ActionScript class is named the same as your CSS file and thus conflicts with the main application classname.

To learn how to load at runtime, read the "Loading style sheets at run time" in the Flex Livedocs.


Data Visualization Components now part of SDK

Just saw this post by one of the Flex engineers, Deepa, that the upcoming Flex 4 SDK will now contain the Data Visualization Components. These components include the AdvancedDataGrid, OLAPDataGrid and all the Charting components. This means you no longer need a serial number to use these components within any Flex projects build with version 4 of the Flex SDK. This is a great way for Adobe to continue promoting Flex and allowing developers to create even better applications without having to spend a penny. You can download the latest beta version of the Flex 4 SDK here (the nightly builds contain the Data Visualization Components).


Things that inspire

Everyone once in a while I visit a website where I read an article that inspires me to do better. Today I happened to see the new Home Tab Design for next version of Firefox (4.0). It was a contest actually and the winner is a gentleman by the name of Yatrik Solanki. Check out the video on this page where he basically explains his design for the page. Now I've got ideas for the main internal application used at my work place. Seems like I'll have some extra work to do :)