So last night I was able to attend the my very first London Flex User Group meet, organised by the guys at Emak Mafu, kindly hosted by those at Poke.

First up was meant to be a walkthrough/demo/first look from the people at doof.com, who’ve developed a fully Flex-based ‘casual gaming and social networking site’, but a beta bug meant their presentation was prematurely cut short. I’d already had a play beforehand anyway without a hitch and it’s pretty nice. They’ve gone further than a lot of other Flex projects I’ve seen, it’ll be good to see it at full tilt when all the bugs have been ironed out.

Simon Gladman took over demonstrating WatchFaceBuilder, a CAD-like application process for designing custom built watch faces. His self-proclaimed debut outing in Flex, it also uses Cairngorm, which I first encountered a while back. I was surprised how easily Simon claims to have emigrated from Flash to Flex and how much of this he puts down to Cairngorm.

The night’s main event was a comprehensive an insightful talk with Mike Potter from Adobe’s Flex product marketing team. Running through the top picks in recent Flex and AIR development, he covered a fair amount of the usual apps as expected, but also some that deserve far more attention.

Firstly on behalf of Adobe, there’s Photoshop Express, essentially a lite Photoshop in the browser, online, but as he admits there’s already Picnik doing very well – which personally was probably the first Flex app I’d ever seen and catalyst to start learning. But he compares Photoshop Expresss to Premiere Express, Adobe’s parallel Flex/brower-based video editing software, which already powers YouTube’s video editing and MTV’s Remixer contest. Where a number of independent Flex apps lock features for premium users, Photoshop Express could be a angled as a could-be de facto standard to power any kind or number of image manipulation online platforms.

There’s Bluestring, from AOL, which lets users upload, store and share files, video and images, as if we need another, but what’s more interesting is even if the idea might be already becoming redundant, companies the size of AOL are investing considerable amounts in Flex.

Buzzword is impressive, this is basically for word processing what Picnik is for photo editing. Far more responsive and comprehensive than say Writerly, it pretty much is what-you-see-is-what-you-print unlike a lot of other online word processors. Needless to say, it handles Word .doc files and has an amount of saving/sharing options to boot.

Other links of interest, the Flex showcase (generally), Mike’s new blog RIApedia, Adobe Share (more file sharing), the new Adobe DevNet, the Adobe Media Player and eBay’s desktop/San Dimas project can now be found at http://desktop.ebay.com.

Followed was a lengthy, pretty sincere feedback session for Mike to take with him back to Adobe. Overall an insightful evening, good stuff.

Oh and free beer and FLEX STICKERS? – Sold ;)

2 Comments

  1. “First up was meant to be a walkthrough/demo/first look from the people at hoof.com”

    I think you mean doof.com?

  2. Eagle eye, Timothy – updated.


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