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Working with Flex – nuances

June 27, 2012

I have been working in Flexbuilder 3 the past few days and have been reminded how tedious it is to bring code from source to a compiled state.

I confess that I have been working in PHP and HTML and javascript for awhile and use either Dreamweaver or Notepad ++ to do the editing of code files.  This is simplier, just open a php file, make a change and refresh the browser.

With Flex, we are building Flash movies, updating HTML/XML ish <MXML> and using ActionScript to write the logic of the application.   Using Flex Builder 3, we are running a project that hopefully compiles into a new flash movie or .swf file.

Flex Builder feels like Eclipse, where you are working in a project.  This still feels foreign to me when I first start working in it.  It took me a couple tries to create the project the way I wanted.  Initially, I created the project directly in the source code folder where I had checked out the code from SVN.  Eventually, I was able to create the project off the root of the C drive and copy into it code from the repository, minus all the SVN folders and other artifacts that are part of the project, like documentation, but not necessary when updating code and compiling a new .swf file.

The Flexbuilder project has a couple key concepts that take a little while to get your head around. Think of the project as needing to contain information about

  • where to place the project
  • what to put in the project, makes you think critically about the code repository and how much needs to be in the project
  • where the project src folder should be
  • where the compiled output should show up
  • how to connect to the Coldfusion CFCs, via Remoting

Remember, before a flex project can remote into a DB, the DB must be set up, in my case, locally.  I had to install MSSQL 2005, Import a backup file of the DB.  Then, I had to install Coldfusion and then create a DSN that points to the DB created in MSSQL.  A lot of setup work to create a local development environment for my flex project.

Flex Builder and Coldfusion are both Adobe products, which creates nice integration between the two technologies.   Flex uses a Remoting technology to allow the .swf files to call directly to the database via Coldfusion CFCs.  Coldfusion CFCs are files that contain bus. logic and have direct access to the DB.  They have a special property on the function signature that allows them to be called remotely.

I have been wrestling with a flex generated error, when trying to get it to call the DB.

After way to much analysis, I finally discovered why my remote object calls were not working.  I will confess, that this problem was mainly with me, not the technology.  In hindsight, the problem does not look as difficult as I made it.

I will post the problem synopsis in another post.


From → Flex

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