Half way to Christmas, it’s about time to express your wishes… I wanted to list my more or less realistic wishes for the Flex world. Before we start, I also want to mention that the Flex eco-system has already made many, many wishes become true. To underline this with a current example, Flash Player 10 brings real text editing capabilities, loading files directly into the player or a simple typed array called ‘vector’.
1. Flash Player: HTTP service
This is on top of the list. In a RESTful world, a basically non-functioning HTTP service is just not bearable. I hope that Silverlight puts some heat on this issue.
2. Flash Player: Cache swf on client
Actually, that’s a security question. Because data transmitted over SSL does only get cached in memory (at least for Firefox), the entire application is downloaded after every restart of the browser. The only way around this massive penalty of start-up time is dropping the secure transmission.
The swz-files of the framework show that the technology in the Flash Player is ready. However, I also do not have an answer on how to sign only the good guy’s files. But hey, this is about wishes!
3. Flex Builder: Refactoring
Refactoring in Flex Builder compared to Java refactoring is far behind. For instance, moving a file into another namespace is just pure hand craft.
4. Flex Builder: Collapse license information
This is a “quick win”: Hide all legal stuff from the developer, like in Java. Because this is so easy, let’s add collapsing imports and a @SuppressWarning in the quick fix.
5. Compiler: Runtime compiler
Well, I have just found As3Eval what appears to be exactly the thing I’m looking for. Let me dive into this library before I express any wish. In the mean time, +1 for compile time.
6. Compiler: Mock objects
Drew Bourne made a fabulous job with mock-as3. I use it on daily basis. However, he also states the limit: For a non-trivial interfaces and classes creating these stubs manually is a pain in… To solve this, you either have to tweak the compiler or wish number 5 gets satisfied.
7. Community: Functional and integration test
While code coverage is with Flexcover on its way, functional testing in general is not yet very well developed. As little as I know about Mercury QuickText Professional, it smells like an old-fashioned, big, clunky, over-priced software piece. FunFx is neat and VisualFlexUnit is another try at testing visual components.
8. Community: Serious build tool
Adobe offers Ant. This is basically a fine choice because Ant integrates well with Eclipse and continuous integration servers. By no means am I an Ant expert, but it does not seem to be that difficult to create some reliable tasks for compiling. However, you rather stay away from Adobe’s implementation.
9. Community: Framework
Tony Hillerson has summed it up nicely. We currently use our own framework that has grown out of Cairngorm. Basically, we replaced the singletons with injected objects and added to the controller the ability to declare parallel commands. However, using a home-brewed framework is just not right.
10. Community: ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
Skip this nasty ; at the end of line! It’s just visual clutter with no advantage.