Customizing Flex Components at NYFLEX

On January 18th, Michael Labriola presented 'Customizing Flex Components' to the New York Flex user group. There was a bit of bad weather which kept roughly half of the 40 prospective attendees from making the meeting. Those of us who went were in for an excellent presentation from a man who really knows his Flex.

In Flex, components are essentially wrapped functionality, quite similar to custom tags in CFML. You can extend a particular component with ActionScript 3 to have custom appearance or behaviors or whatever else you can dream up. When complete, the result is a new tag to use in your flex code.

In addition to what was the most comprehensive overview of the Flex framework and the internal states, we were also shown the underlying ActionScript code of the Flex Framework. This is quite useful when extending components as it is easy to find out what behaviors and parameters are available to subclasses. Now, when I wonder why a particular component behaves in a certain way, or if I can pass it an ArrayCollection in place of an Array, I know where to find my answers. This has already saved me hours of scanning the web, the flexcoders list and the help files.

I am a big fan of the "Teach a man to Fish..." theory and appreciate knowing how to get myself out of those sticky Flex knots I seem to get myself into.

Shlomy Gantz the leader of the NYFLEX user group, consistantly puts together practical sessions from excellent members of the Flex community. If you happen to be in NYC when the NYFLEX group meets, definately stop in.

Michael Labriola, one of the authors of Adobe Flex 2: Training from the Source, is an engaging and entertaining speaker. He is also very generous with his time. Baz Karam and I bent his ear for a while after the meeting, peppering him with question after question. Michael answered all of our questions clearly, insightfully and patiently. I can't say enough good things about him.

Michael is a principal with www.digitalprimates.net so if your organization is in need of a top Flex consultant to train your team, I give him the highest recommendation.

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