Speaking at 360Flex this April

23 03 2012

360Flex: Maven by Example

Thoughts on Kickstarter

13 01 2011

The more I look at Kickstarter, the more opportunities I see for my friends and family.

If you don’t know about Kickstarter – it’s a startup that allows anyone to create a project, and set the amount of funding they require and the amount of time to raise it. They then advertise it to their social network (or anyone really) and users pledge a sum of money to the project. The crux of the idea is that the “pledge” is just that – if the project doesn’t reach it’s goal in pledges, the project is cancelled and no money changes hands.  It allows you to both crowdsource funding, build interest in the project and get a hint if it is viable in the real market.

It seems the best projects that suit Kickstarter are tangible items. The pledgers like to get something back for their commitment (as you’d expect). A great example is the iPod watch that has almost sourced $1M from users.

A counter example is Diaspora – the new open social network, where users own their own data (as opposed to FB). They offer tangible rewards, although it seems the pledgers are more into the project idealistically.

Regardless, I can think of plenty of examples where Kickstarter could help – particularly for my not-so-technie relatives. My sister who is putting together some Medidation CDs? A friend who wants to do more with her sewing? A close friend who’s been dying to shoot a short film idea she has?

Techies – tell your friends and family. This may be the edge they need to release their creative beast.

Silverlight, HTML5 and the state of RIAs

4 11 2010

So you’ve obviously heard about these statements regarding Silverlight – insinuating that Microsoft is going to abandon it in favour of HTML5 due to revelations at PDC2010. If you haven’t, here are the main links in this debacle:

One issue I have with this hype about MS abandoning Silverlight is that most of it is based on the following statement from MS, in an interview by ZDNet (see first link):

Silverlight will continue to be a cross-platform solution, working on a variety of operating system/browser platforms, going forward, he said. “But HTML is the only true cross platform solution for everything, including (Apple’s) iOS platform,” Muglia said.

Inferring from this that MS is pulling the plug on SL is pure hype. I daresay MS haven’t helped their cause by being more tight-lipped that usual over the issue, but PR has never been their strong suit.

Unfortunately, it tends to be people like MG (the TechCrunch article author) who jump on the sensationalist bandwagon. It may turn out that MS will eventually abandon Silverlight, but I seriously have my doubts. I honestly believe that they logically see their original goal of true “reach” severely hampered; what with iOS and Android now thrown into the mix since conception. Adobe haven’t done much differently – except that when they announce their HTML5 strategy (as they did last week at MAX), it’s to thunderous applause; they’re obviously much better at crowd-control.

Both of the big boys seem to understand that they cannot expect their platforms to be a presence on every single device, and they need a complementary strategy to remain viable to us developers – enter “HTML5”.

I can understand the apprehension amongst the RIA community – the religious connotations that permeate most of the Flex/Silverlight debate (RIA evangelists anyone?), would make one think we’re arguing about our very souls, rather than simply a career choice. Even if both Flash and Silverlight died tomorrow, we’d be in a pretty comfortable position to shift allegiances to any other rich client technology out there.

Let’s face it – RIAs are not going anywhere. The users have spoken.


New York Relocation

27 08 2010

So, after a lengthy interview process, I’ve moved to New York City, starting work with Lab49 in downtown Manhattan.

Lab49 are a bleeding-edge consulting firm for the financial services industry. They have offices in both New York and London, and have a swathe of highly talented developers that are quite frankly, the cream of the crop.

Interestingly, they are one of the few software houses that happily incorporate .NET (WPF/Silverlight), the Flash platform and the Java stack – a big reason that I was so attracted to them in the first place.

My role is primarily in the Flex space, working in their LabInteractive department.

One unusual aspect of the job is the regular onsite work across the city. For weeks to months at a time, developers are typically deployed in teams within client offices all across Manhattan, and in fact, the entire country.  These teams work closely with clients to produce highly customized (now I live here, I concede to spelling like an American) pieces of software that typically have to withstand some of the most intense data beatings  imaginable.

I relish the opportunity to live in one of the most exciting cities in the world, surrounded by some of the most competent, capable and established individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Wish me luck!

Blogging on InsideRIA

25 06 2009

I’ve started blogging on InsideRIA recently, and I must say – I’m enjoying it.

Latest post is on Flash & Silverlight.


Speaking at the first InsideRIA Conference

4 06 2009

In August this year, O’Reilly and 360 Conferences are running the first InsideRIA Conference.

What appeals to me about this conference over so many others is:

a) It’s not about the fluff, it’s developer-to-developer; and 

b) It’s platform agnostic.

As such, the topic I’m speaking on is what the two main players in the RIA sphere are doing within their markup languages.

State of the Union: XAML and MXML in 2009

An honest and objective look at the two markup technologies dominating RIA development today. There is something for both Silverlight and Flex devs to learn from each other, and this is a discussion that is sorely lacking in the RIA industry at the moment. Topics covered include Styles, Resources, Databinding and Layout.


InsideRIA Speaker







Come along! I always enjoy a yarn about RIA. 

Flex: Wrapping an ArrayCollection of Arrays

7 04 2009

April 15, 2009 Update: Unfortunately, DynamicCollection performs badly when the underlying arrays exceed a thousand elements. Stay tuned for an update.

What if you have a few Arrays or ArrayCollections of the same object data, and you want them to display as a single dataProvider? 

Using the below schema as an example, say you loaded a list of Projects from the DB and you want to display all the Companies in a single DataGrid. Or a list of all Employees. How would you do it?

Example SchemaSure you could append them all to one big Array or ArrayCollection. Although you leave open the door for inconsistencies when you add a Company to some Project object.

This is where the DynamicCollection comes in.

Essentially it is an ArrayCollection containing Arrays of the same object type.

However, when iterated over, it behaves as a single ArrayCollection. 

This means, when you alter the source arrays, the DynamicCollection will change also. 

I have written the solution twice, once using Arrays and once using ArrayCollections as the elements. If you use the former,  you have to call “refresh()” on the collection after updating any of the child arrays to enable databinding.

I’ve found it better to stick to Arrays noting that from Jon Rose’s blog and examples, you lose performance with a high number of ArrayCollections. 

Below is the DynamicCollection class and an example implementation.

NOTE: I haven’t had the time to test it out with other ListBase implementations – feel free to comment on any issues you encounter.


Live Demo and source is here

(Right-click flash movie to view source).