Flashing Flex Talk and Examples

As promissed in my session at FOTB here is the presentation and the examples that featured in it (right click for source). Any questions, please post in the comments and I will do my best to answer them.

Flashing Flex
As Flex/AIR becomes increasingly popular, its becoming more important for applications to look and feel less like the default produced by the framework.

The ability to implement custom designs and transitions is an ever growing request by clients, and knowing the best approach to achieve the desired result is key.

This session will take a look at the various ways this can be achieved providing information on styling, skinning, preloading, and transitions.

Flex is Flash. Release the inner devigner!


Preloader Example
Styling Example
Programmatic Skinning Example
Flash Skinning Example
Custom Styles Example
Custom Skin Example
Move Example
Flip Example (this post may also be interesting)

I do hope that people found the presentation useful, and although we didn’t have time in the hour slot available to look at all the code in great detail, making the code available so that you can go through it in your own time will help out people who attended. You’ll need flex Builder 3.0 to run the files.

Yet again this year FOTB was a blast and I’d like thank John Davey, all the other speakers and everyone who attended.

One of the things that did come across at the conference was how many people felt that AS 3.0 was too big a step and much more complicated than AS 2.0. I’m not really sure about how that can be resolved. The technical sessions were always less attended than the creative/inspiring session which doesn’t really make sense if people need to learn AS 3.0 and are struggling. I think its more about people aren’t not giving AS 3.0 a chance. It’s easier to me entertained than to try to learn something. Also to learn somthing you to have a decent crack at it, like we all had to do to learn AS in the first place. I think most will find that AS 3.0 will slip into place if they just give it a good go.

I also noticed that most of the creative/inspiring presenters were pretty much against Flex, most having little dig at it, yet none of the technical presenters had a dig at the creative stuff. Most of the creative/inspiring presenters advise people should do more experimentation ‘like we used to’ as if they feel somewhat threatened by Flex, yet the confence in itself had very few Flex sessions and definitaly a more creative overtone. The market for people who can build well structure sites and applications far outweighs the experimental/installation market, and putting the audience off from looking in this direction is not great advice.

For those that attended the techinal sessions and didn’t find them exciting, they weren’t meant to be. They were there to learn from, and learning is the key to lots of locked doors in front of you.

There was also a guy I was speaking to Tuesday evening very drunk but we never manage to get to the point. I did see him briefly a couple of times on the Wednesday, but was busy trying to sort things out. Sorry I can’t remember your name, but if that was you, please get in touch by leaving a comment.

Here’s to next year, and hopefully I’ll be back on the list to speak again.

30 Responses to “Flashing Flex Talk and Examples”

  1. I also noticed that most of the creative/inspiring presenters were pretty much against Flex, most having little dig at it, yet none of the technical presenters had a dig at the creative stuff.

    Let’s see if we can put that to right now, eh…

    “That painting, it’s just arranging a load of paint on a canvas to make a picture. Rubbish, I could do that with a few servos and a cad/cam machine.”

    “Generative art? It’s just a load of incredibly well designed algorithms and data visualisations set to a complex analysis of musical signals. I could do that, if I felt like it”

    “Sculpture? Carving stuff? Why bother when you can use a milling machine and a 3d scanner? LOSERS!”

    “Conceptual art? Bad stand up comedy more like…”

    “Performance art is rubbish… sensors and that? Dancing? It’s weak mate! Who does that Stellarc think he is, dancing around on that ridiculous robot? Twat.”

    …etc :)

    Good to see you this week mate. One of the things that has come out of this is that we desperately need to find ways of making AS3/flex seem less intimidating to art and design people. Maybe we should try and put on some LFPUG sessions about it? Get a bit of crossover dialogue going on? It’s true that everything has gotten more “us versus them” between designers and developers, and I’d like to try to reverse this trend.

    Seeya soon,

  2. Tink says:

    LOL. I love the creative stuff. Just don’t understand why they feel so threatened.

  3. rich says:

    Actually i found your presentation very entertaining and definitely one of the best technical presentations.
    If you are interested in being a trainer give us a shout.

    BTW Am i being stupid.. how do I download the source for the projects.


  4. tbm says:

    was a good show man..

  5. Tink says:

    You should now be able to get the source by right clicking and selecting ‘view source’.

    FB 3.0 seems to have a bug where it doesn’t always create the new menu item. I’ve checked them all, and they now all have ‘view source’ enabled (some i had to export over and over to get the bloody thing to work).

  6. DannyT says:

    Hey Tink, thoroughly enjoyed your session. Definitely one of the most useful to make use of in the real world! I wouldn’t worry too much about not being able to step through all of the code, you explained the key points and like you said we can always go through the code in our own time.

    On the designer vs developer stuff, I also noted a bit of resistance to change from the creative sessions (which all rocked imo). I can’t help but think Adobe has a part to play in promoting not only the boring businessey benefits of AS3 but also the advantages it can lend to experimentational stuff – I.E. kick ass performance for putting even more particles and ribbons and shit on cool looking stuff!

    Cheers for the presentation and see you soon!


  7. wenzhi li says:

    thanks for your sharings!

  8. [...] lications. Even if you didn’t attend his session I highly recommend checking out his slides and source code whe [...]

  9. Keith Peters says:

    Yeah, it was definitely leaning more on the creative side of things, rather than application dev and Flex. Quite a big difference coming in from MAX Chicago, where there was hardly any creative stuff going on at all. I didn’t hear any digs about Flex though.

  10. Adam says:

    Funny, couple of the designers I spoke to said it was pretty codey, no-where near as creative focused as conferences they love (like OFFF).
    Can’t please everyone :)

    Unfortunately out here in the advertising world, AS3 is big and scary to your average designer turned ‘coder’, can’t see it being used heavily any time in the future while AS2 still basically gets the job done.

  11. Tink says:

    I don’t ever remember seeing a line of code the couple of OFFF’s I’ve been, so I would agree it was nowhere near as creative focused as OFFF. As far as I can see OFFF isn’t a Flash focused event, its a design focused event.

  12. Neil says:


    Thanks for your great session. Now I know Flex can look like Flash im so happy! No more AS2 for me.

    I think Adobe need to do some focussing on the performance for the creative types so maybe we can see some of that Processing style stuff in flash.

  13. hey tink, it was really cool hanging out with you around the old ship bar :-) . That had such nice plants over there in the bar :-pp

  14. Merrick says:


    I am in love with all of these effects. How can I use these classes in flash without flex?

  15. Tink says:

    @ Keon

    I won’t forget those plants ny time soon. They seemed to be alive ;) . Was really good meeting you bud. I’m thinking about investing in some plants for LFPUG, maybe you should get some for your user group. Speaking from a bush sounds much more fun than speaking from a stage.

    @ Merrick

    Those 3D effects require the Flex framework, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to re-write something for Flash.

  16. sakri says:

    Hi Tink,

    I would be the ‘very drunk’ guy you spoke to on Tuesday night :D We didn’t get to a point?! erm, I fear that point (if there ever was one) died a quick painless death in the loving hands of yet more drinks :D

    Anyway, in my world of RSS feeds and line of work, Flash is applications, flash is Flex, and at FOTB I entered a world of? what? Artsy fartsy code fiddlers? (I joke, I joke). Sure I was inspired, got some creative juices flowing, but truly, I was hoping for more Flex/RIA inspiration than what I received… Good times though, and I’ll probably be back next year, maybe we can rediscover “the point” then ;)

    Cool meeting you!


  17. Hey Tink,
    Is it possible to re-create the Flip Example in Flash using the class that’s currently in there? If you have an example of it in Flash, that’d be great. I know you said that you need the Flex framework for these to work, but in particular the Flip example is what I’m interested in and re-creating it in Flash.

  18. Tink says:

    @ Matt

    No you would have to re-write it, as it uses classes in the Flex framework that are not included in Flash.

  19. Tink says:

    @ Sakri

    LOL great post. It was great meeting you too man!! I’ll also pass your comments on to John about more Flex/RIA stuff. Seems these session weren’t as well attended though.

    If the point comes back to you, please dont hesitate to get in touch.

  20. Jim says:

    It was good pres Tink, about right on the code detail I thought.
    You’re never going to remember all the details without checking out the code afterwards, so for me I’d rather just see the the important points so I know which bits to pay attention to when I do.
    Apart from that, well paced, and delivered spot on time.
    And your voice held out ;)

  21. [...] I afterwards I felt like I walked away having learned a thing or two. Be sure to check out Tink’s comments on the conference as well as all the source code from hi [...]

  22. For anyone interested, i’ve created the Flip Example (or a prototype of it) in Flash. You can see it and the details about the class here:


  23. [...] ch will be a great opportunity for a bit of experimental navigation. Firstly, Tink’s Flashing Flex talk, showed how simple it is to style Flex and not feel l [...]

  24. Richard Lord says:

    Hi Tink

    Your’s was a very good session, one of the best, as I think I mentioned when I saw you afterwards.

    I think one of the issues around AS3 adoption is the impression that you have to write classes to do AS3 programming. Many people seem to have forgotten (including Adobe with the AS3 sections of their various help documents) that it’s still possible to write gotoAndPlay in a frame script in flash, even when programming in AS3.

    The majority of AS2 developers don’t write classes, they just use the intrinsic classes and write bits of code in frames and on buttons. They can use AS3 in a similar way (although they have to get used to not putting scripts on buttons). In this respect, it’s not very much more technical than AS2, but I suspect that from the outside everyone seems to be talking about classes and flex which makes the whole AS3 thing seem a lot more complicated.

    The good news is my AS3 training courses are getting busy and I get the impression that next year lots of people will be making the switch.

  25. [...] Need a preloader? Well there are a lot of examples out there. Let me give you some links: Tink(Flashing Flex Talk and Examples) Ted Patrick (Flex 2 Preloaders – S [...]

  26. lorie says:

    great work… i’m really amazed on how you did those stuffs, but i’m having a problem with it coz when i downloaded the source files its seems that its lacking some libraries coz i can’t find “import org.papervision3d.objects.Plane”, and other as3 classes that has to do with org.papervision3d…. thanks…

  27. Tink says:

    @ Iorie

    Those classes are part of the Papervision3D librray. You can get the source via SVN here: http://code.google.com/p/papervision3d/source.

  28. [...] =”javascript:urchinTracker (‘/outgoing/www.tink.ws/blog/flashing-flex-talk-and-examples/’);” href=”http://www.tink.ws/blog/flashing-flex-talk-and-examples/” target=”_blank”>Tink(Flashing Flex Talk and Examples) Ted Patrick (Flex 2 Preloaders – S [...]

  29. [...] ch will be a great opportunity for a bit of experimental navigation. Firstly, Tink’s Flashing Flex talk, showed how simple it is to style Flex and not feel l [...]

  30. joen says:

    Is there a process of importing the source into flex 3, tried everything but keeps giving me the error

    : Type was not found or was not a compile-time constant: Flip.

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