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Friday, December 21, 2007

Technology for the Holidays

So in case you haven't heard, Christmas is right around the corner - which means 2008 is coming up fast. We're gearing up for a new year at DWD, and we have some pretty cool prospects in front of us for oh-eight.

First and foremost, we're all-in on a consulting contract with one of the Philly area's leading WBT/E-Learning software development firms. We've spent a few weeks with the folks at this growing company, and so far it has been a blast. We're looking forward to working with them throughout 2008.

"Hey, what's with the title?!? I thought this post was supposed to be about technology?", you might be wondering aloud.

Well, fear not, we have some juicy tidbits for you from inside the walls of DWD!

As part of our contract with the aforementioned E-Learning firm, we've been looking into new ways to develop and deliver the firm's software. What did we find? We found the Flex 3 beta SDK and Adobe AIR, of course! After unzipping everything and flying through the code in the sample apps, we put together a few POCs for our client. All told, it was a lot of fun playing around with Flex and AIR, and we already have some ideas for some desktop RIAs that we plan to work on in our spare time.

While we wouldn't qualify this as a review of either Flex or AIR, they do have their downside - most notably the fact that Adobe has opted not to support Flex or AIR development in pre-CS3 versions of Dreamweaver and Flash. This is not very surprising, of course, as Adobe is doing everything it can to bring users of the Macromedia product line into the CS3 fold. However, it would be nice if Adobe gave some consideration to those who purchased Macromedia Suite 8.0 just before the merger was announced.

Seeking an IDE that would support both Flex and AIR development, we came across Aptana Studio 1.0. At first seemingly lightweight, we found some pleasant surprises in Aptana Studio's plugins to support AIR, PHP, AJAX, and Ruby on Rails development. We were also quite happy to find that we could build in support for Flex development simply by specifying the Flex compiler. What's more, Aptana Studio includes several Javascript libraries for RIA development - including Scriptaculous, Yahoo! UI, MooTools, and several others. Best of all, Aptana Studio supports iPhone application development via plugin, which is really exciting (almost as exciting as an iPhone under the tree).

As you can see, we have a lot to look forward to in the new year, and we hope you do as well. Happy and Safe Holidays from us to you... We'll see you in 2008!

Brian Driscoll
Owner, Driscoll Web Development

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