Friday, October 10, 2008


I know some developers out there will be gutted by the demise of Visual Foxpro – I know I was. VFP was a great tool, and I doubt whether that kind of performance will be found again (and I was programming in Clipper before that!). But that said – the more important question for me was “what’s the next step then”.

I’ve settled on AIR and Flex. The possibility of a cross-platform solution that provides both Desktop and web access to an application and an application’s data from the same code base is basically irresistible. The fact that the SDK is open source as well – and that Microsoft are not involved – were also persuasive factors in the decision making process. I also had PHP and Flash experience, and my back-end database was already using MYSQL. But then the final clincher – “oh brilliant, they’ve got grids!”.

Given that, there is still a rather steep gradient going up the learning curve, so I’ll be sharing some of the experiences along the way, and aiming some of that specifically at ex-foxpro developers who might be following the same route. I’ve received a lot of help from fellow coders on blogs and wikis in the past, and I feel it really is about time I made an effort to give something back myself. I would also like to say a big thank you to all of you out there who that go that extra mile to share a few pearls of wisdom.

And so to start in that vein – let me point out some very good general Flex and AS3 resources that are already in place:

Alex’s Flex Closet
Alex is apparently one of the engineers on the Flex project who makes time to share assorted gems from an insider perspective. If you wanted “authoritative” then you wouldn’t find much better.

Peter Ent’s Blog:
Lots of great information – particularly on renderers.

Flex Monkey Patches
Again – a welter of useful information – and pretty much always with a working example.

Colin Moock
Colin Moock is “the man” when it comes to Flash and Actionscript. He has been around pretty much from the beginning - and I’ve consulted his writing in the past while working on flash projects on literally hundreds of occasions. He has also written a very good book – Essental Actionscript 3 (O’Reilly) – which you should make space on your bookshelf for. I even bought a copy myself (well my company paid for it).

Good luck in your efforts anyway – and expect more from me soon.

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