FlashCanon Flash Platform stuff from Jason Fincanon


A new gig for me (an open spot for you?)

I’ll be starting a new job in the next few days and thought I would go ahead and take a few minutes to let my few readers know about it. While I’ve enjoyed my time at Blockdot, several things have aligned in such a way that it’s time for me to move on to a new position. My new employer will be The Marketing Arm (a member of Omnicom Group) and my new title will be Sr. Flash Developer. I’m very much looking forward to the work I will be doing with TMA as well as the wide range of opportunities that will present themselves within each project.

So what could my change in jobs possibly mean to you? Well, if you’re interested in the possibility of becoming a Flash Game Developer and working side by side with other extremely talented Flash Developers, Blockdot has at least one (and maybe more) open spots. They are located in Dallas, TX and you can find more information about the position(s) on their careers page.

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I learned to program in Flash

This post may come across a little harsh, make me sound angry, produce some new enemies or even turn you off to the idea of ever doing work with me, but please remember to take it with a grain of salt as I am just one man with a small gripe to get off his chest.

I don’t typically like to write “rant” posts, but there’s something that has really started to grate at my developer nerves lately and I need to get it out there. When I stepped into Flash back in ’98/’99, I had no idea that it would end up being the main tool at the base of my career. You see, I graduated from The Art Institute of Dallas with a degree in 3D Animation and wanted to end up working for someone like Pixar or any other similar company. Well, as we all know, most people don’t come directly out of college and go into that dream job and I was no exception. I got a job that introduced me to Flash and I started learning it… first with simple tweens and animations and then on to this thing called ActionScript. This brings me to my point: I learned to program in ActionScript as opposed to some other “real” programming language. So what should bother me about that? There’s LOTS of old school Flash guys and gals out there that learned the same way, right? And together we helped Macromedia (and Adobe) grow the Flash Platform into what it is today, right?

A lot of developers that I’ve met who come from a background with “real” programming languages (C#, Java, etc.) and who have computer science degrees have long looked down upon us lowly ActionScript developers because ActionScript was considered a joke and not a real language. However, we kept our skin thick and persevered despite their condescending attitudes and attempts at programmer insults. But now things have changed. Now we have ActionScript 3. Now we have Flex 2, 3 and soon 4. And now we have those same developers migrating over. WHICH IS GREAT except for one thing… many of them still want to tell us how we’re “doing it all wrong” and then, in the same breath, ask us how to complete a given task in ActionScript. Here’s an idea: Let’s all learn from each other and let’s keep a mutual respect for each others’ training, knowledge and backgrounds.

Something else that’s more amusing than frustrating to me is that I still hear some of them complain about Flash and/or ActionScript in such ways as to make me want to ask them why they are working with it if they hate it so much. “Jason, why does Flash work this way? It’s really wrong and really messed up…. Jason, I can’t believe ActionScript doesn’t have a ______ method! Why doesn’t it have a ______ method like the language in which I learned to program? This is all wrong and really messed up.” To those I answer: Call Adobe or check out bugs.adobe.com.

Anyway, before I finish up on this post, I feel like I should add that I DO realize that I’m generalizing a bit here. I know that not all traditional developers are this way and I also know that the teams at Adobe who actually produce these products most likely come from these backgrounds. However, I’ve seen and heard so much of it lately that I just wanted to bring it up. And now I’ll move on and get back to thickening my skin again.

I learned to program in Flash and

  • I don’t have a computer science degree
  • I write BOTH procedural AND object oriented code
  • I use the timeline when needed (animation and/or code)
  • Design patterns are not my #1 priority

Thanks for reading.
The comments are open.


TexFlex – Dallas Flex Camp (Reminder)

Adobe FlexJust a quick reminder that TexFlex is coming up this weekend and tomorrow (Oct. 15) is the last day to register.

TexFlex – Dallas Flex Camp
Miller & Associates and Adobe invite you to join us at Flex Camp, a one day gathering with food, drinks, and coding covering everything you need to know about Flex 3 and Adobe AIR.

October 17 from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

The Marriott at Legacy Town Center in Plano (MAP)

Doors open for Flex Camp at 9:00 AM
9:00 AM – 10:00- Registration, Food, & Drinks
10:00 AM – 10:30- Keynote / Introduction: Bob Tierney *Provided by Adobe
10:30 AM – 11:00- Welcome: Mark Miller
11:15 AM – 11:45- Breakout Sessions

11:45 AM – 12:30- Camp Session 1: Michael Smith– Rich Internet Enterprise Application
12:30 PM – 2:00- Lunch Break
2:00 PM – 2:45- Camp Session 2: Bob Tierney– Flex and LiveCycle Data Services
2:45 PM – 3:00- Break
3:00 PM – 3:45- Camp Session 3: Jonathan Campos– The Hidden ROI of a Flex RIA
3:45 PM – 4:00- Break
4:00 PM – 4:45- Camp Session 4: Carter Bradford– Comparing Flex with other RIA Technologies
4:45 PM – 5:00- Combine Groups

11:45 AM – 12:30- Camp Session 1: Mark Piller– Cross Platform Client/Server Flex Development
12:30 PM – 2:00- Lunch Break
2:00 PM – 2:45- Camp Session 2: Jonathan Campos– Flex Libraries: Making Reusable Code Reusable
2:45 PM – 3:00- Break
3:00 PM – 3:45- Camp Session 3: Michael Smith– Building Components with Adobe Flex
3:45 PM – 4:00- Break
4:00 PM – 4:45- Camp Session 4: Andrew Longley– Making Flex Events Work for You
4:45 PM – 5:00- Combine Groups
5:00 PM – 6:00- Closing Q&A (All presenters as a panel)

*Bob Tierney has been with Adobe for 4 1/2 years, having started with Macromedia during the Flex 1.0 days. He is currently a Senior Product Specialist for Flex / LiveCycle Data Services in the North American Sales organization. Prior to Adobe, he was the Evangelist for SilverStream Software, one of the very first Java Application Server vendors. Before SilverStream, he was the PowerBuilder Technology Evangelist for Powersoft Inc, a very successful GUI based client server development tool. That accounts for the second half of his career. In his previous career, Bob was an Electical Engineer specializing in the area Digital Simulation and Fault Analysis for VLSI Devices – which explains the jump into IT software development.

Mark Piller is the founder and Chief Architect of Midnight Coders, an innovative and forward-thinking company specializing in the RIA integration technologies. Mark has over 15 years of software development experience. For the past 5 years he has been specializing in building software infrastructure products designed to integrate Flex, Flash and AJAX applications with a variety of backend systems including .NET, Java, PHP and Ruby on Rails. Mark is very passionate about ease-of-use of software and prides himself in creating technologies that clearly demonstrate that quality.

Jonathan Campos, user group manager of D-Flex.org, is an enthusiastic Flex user that has worked with the Adobe’s Flex technology for a variety of small to mid-sized companies. Having worked on an array of different Flex projects Jonathan has had to learn Flex “in the field” as he created a diverse portfolio of Flex based programs for both the web and AIR applications.
Jonathan’s experience lies in application planning and development, programming, and the integration of Flex with multiple different server side technologies.

Carter Bradford has been working as an IT Consultant for the past 10 years with an emphasis on IT strategy and large-scale systems integration. Much of this time was spent working on international assignments including projects in Finland, Brazil, and Japan. Prior to this, he was a research engineer working on various projects for the Department of Defense. Carter has been working with Flex since the 1.0 days and has a keen interest in the web and browser as a platform for enterprise applications.

Andrew Longley has been with Miller & Associates for less than a year but has been using Adobe Flex for almost four years. Longley is currently supporting one of Miller & Associates oldest clients building custom Flex and Air applications. Prior to that, he supported a Flex UI for a company in the telemetry services business, initially converting the application from Flex version 1.5 to Flex version 2.0, and then building upon the large collection of drag-and-drop widgets used to represent readings on remote devices. Longley initially used Flex in 2004 and 2005 to build a threat response system while on contract with Lockheed Martin. Each of these applications make heavy use of the Flex event framework.

Miller & Associates


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Time to play catch-up

Over the past several months, I’ve been very busy with everything from changing jobs at the end of last year to moving into a new house less than two weeks ago. Combine that with all of the time I love to spend with my wife and our two beautiful children and it seems as though I’ve fallen behind on nearly everything related to Flash and Flex in my life (except work of course). Well, now that I seem to be settled in to my job, we’re all moved in to the house (even though there are plenty of boxes left to unpack) and I think things are getting back to some kind of a “normal” pace, I have some catching up to do.

Outside of just getting back to posting here, I’ll be spending some time soon updating a few items. A few of those items include:

  • vizX – this was my (non-winning) entry for the Adobe AIR Developer Derby and right now it is several versions behind the current version of AIR.
  • The code for my book (Hands-On Guide to Creating Flash Advertising) – while right now it doesn’t look like I’ll be writing a new edition of the book itself, I do plan to update the classes to AS3 and make them available along with the AS2 versions on the book’s companion website.
  • Get back to blogging for the Dallas-Fort Worth Adobe User Group
  • One other thing I’m going to try to start squeezing back in is my lab. As you can see if you click on that link, I haven’t even touched anything there since January 19, 2007! Ironically that’s the day the lab got added to the MXNA. So I’ll be trying to do some experiments with both Flash and Flex when I get time but this will probably be the first thing to take the backseat if need be.

    Anyway, I better get back to work (since I’m actually at work). Talk to you again soon…

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    Update on the new job with Blockdot

    BlockdotWell, I’ve been with Blockdot a little over a month now and I thought I’d post a quick update for those that may care for one reason or another so here are some quick bullets:

    • First off, I love games… this is awesome
    • I’ve been working on some pretty cool games and I’ll post about some of them individually as they launch (much like I did with sites I worked on while I was with Click Here).
    • The Flash team here is great and I have to admit that I’ve found myself humbled more than once by a few of the guys when it has come to coding.
    • The type of development and processes that I’ve been used to while working at an agency for the past 4 years is a slight bit different than it is here so I’ve actually felt a little bit of culture shock (but it’s been a good shock).
    • My title is “Game Developer”… this is awesome

    Ok, I’m going to get back to work now but I’ll post more another time. Keep an eye out for my posts about our games and in the meantime check out our game site: Kewlbox

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