Nov 02 2004

MAX Live Blogging: Alistair McLeod on Engineering Flex Applications – V6

Published by at 16:13 under Wayback Archive

Alistair of IterationTwo is presenting on the I2 experience in building Rich Internet Applications with Flex: Unit testing, refactoring, continuous integration and more.

09:15 Session starts, Ali is just in time (I guess he was at Matt his session as well ;-))

09:16 Ali warns his Scottish and that we need to remind him to speak slow (and I have to type fast). “Money helps to make me speak slow”

09:20 Test driven development: write new code only when a test is failing. So you first need to write your tests.

09:22 FlexUnit: a unit testing framework for Flex, by Iteration Two.

09:30 Testsuites to test a series of specific use cases at once. You can add multiple tests to a suite and even add existing suites to a new suit (a suit of suites for large tests).

09:35 The framework allows you to do very in depth analysis of your code and the tests that you set up. Ali shows a Flex application that visually informs you on the passing or failure of a test. Thing of it as a inspector panel for your tests.

09:39 Note to I2 employees: Ali just fired one of his unnamed developers because of a bad test 😉

09:40 Refactoring: the art of changing code without braking it. Target is to make code as simple as possible. Your code becomes it’s own documentation because it’s so simple, no comments in code. Ali things that if your code needs comments, it’s too complex and thus needs to be refactored.

09:45 Don’t stress the layout manager: don’t use too many nested containers. Sometimes you should consider absolute positioning and sizing of containers, as well as using spacer images (personal note: I agree that it helps for performance, but isn’t this something we always used to avoid in HTML? Sounds like there’s something that Macromedia needs to improve in new versions of Flex).

09:46 Don’t suffer “grid lock”. This also has to do with the above… grid (mx:Grid, not mx:DataGrid) can be very resource intensive.

09:48 When building custom components, try to avoid a container as the root tag as it might be one other unnecessary nested level of containers (note to myself: I always thought that it *had* to be a container. I need to dive a bit more into it, cause sounds very reasonable improvement).

09:51 New in Flex 1.5: creationPolicy=”queued”, sweeeeeeet!

09:55 Ali mentions the need of more ‘grown up’ IDEs for Flex development: they could help better with for example Code Refactoring etc.

09:58 Announcement: FlexUnit will go opensource under Apache License. More in the upcoming weeks at (and FlexCoders I guess)

10:00 Q & A & Applause!

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