I’m back from sabbatical and feeling antsy to get back to work so it was kick ass to see that the latest code checkins to Brackets have added a basic implementation of code hinting. This was always part of the Brackets plan and I’m glad to see it get in.
What was even cooler though was to see that Garth, who is design lead on the project, posted about the process and also laid out the specification. A great combination of open source for code and open source for design. Garth posted some of his ideas about what the plan is as well as some screenshots but he also started up a thread on the Google Groups in case anyone has suggestions or ideas. So if you have thoughts about how you would like to see code hinting implemented, drop by and chime in.
Today we’re announcing two more projects going up on opensource.adobe.com and becoming part of the open source family at Adobe. The first is the Text Layout Framework, which comes from some of the advancements we made in Flash Player 10 to improve text support in Flash Player. The other is the Open Source Media Framework, which was known by the codename “Strobe” and provides a robust framework for media playback of any kind (video, audio, dynamic SWFs).
The Text Layout Framework (TLF) is something that’s going to be a huge boon to developers. If you’ve been working with text in the new Flex 4 components then you’ve been working with the Text Layout Framework. If you haven’t seen the demo you can check it out over on Labs. It was created by a group that is just a few blocks north of me and does a great job of showing off the features of the new TLF. Now that the Text Layout Framework is open source you can push, pull, and extend it to your heart’s content. A great example of this in action is the New York Times Reader and the Boston Globe Reader – both of which wouldn’t have been possible without the Text Layout Framework.
The other project we’re releasing is the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). I’ve been digging into the documentation a bit and I’m excited about what this means for rich media and the Flash Platform. The OSMF includes hooks for any kind of media type the Flash Player supports including images, audio, SWF content, and of course video. Using the framework you can create your own media players and the OSMF provides a set of powerful baseline functionality. It has hooks for creating your own plug-ins for metrics, advertising, and other functions. It has support for both progressive download and streaming built in as well as all of the video controls and functionality. And there isn’t any UI associated with the OSMF so you can integrate it into your application however you want.
I encourage you to download the source code and check out the samples. There are some good examples that show how to go about building plugins, how to use the composite media features (so you can support a number of different media types in one player), and how to build UI components on top of the framework.
This week we added FlexUnit 4 alpha to the Adobe Open Source site but the biggest news was that Michael Labriola who created Fluint is going to be helping lead the FlexUnit project and will be merging the two projects. He’s got a great roundup of the new features in FlexUnit 4 on his blog and there is a TON of stuff there. Fluint was a great project that the Digital Primates crew clearly spent a lot of time on. Now we get those features in Flex Unit 4 and all under the open source Flex umbrella.
Big thanks to Michael for working with the Flex team to make this happen. It’s a great example of the community making a huge impact on the project. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some FlexUnit 4 stuff up on the developer center soon.
This is really cool. Brian Deitte has been doing some work on improving the speed and workflow for Flex 3. That’s something we’ve been working on in Flex 4 and since the projects are open source, Brian figured he could take some of the Flex 4 code and make the Flex 3 compiler faster. And it worked.
I think it’s a great example of what open sourcing the Flex Framework means. The goal was always to increase community participation by being as transparent as possible. It’s easy now to go look at how components are built, how the compilers work, and how we put the debugger together. Sometimes that results in things like what Brian’s doing – improving an entire companies workflow.
Matt Chotin posted about a new document which covers a bunch of the inner workings of the Flex Compiler. We open sourced the compiler as part of the open source Flex project and it’s probably one of the more interesting parts of the project but it’s always been a little bit of a black box. Compilers are also on the geekier end of things when it comes to development.
The new document covers everything from subcompilers, how MXML actually gets compiled into bytecode and also how things like Bindings and the Embed metadata work. As Danny notes, there are already a couple of people that have been using the open source compiler for their own projects. He also gives some good idea on other things you can create. I think it’s a cool effect of open sourcing Flex that you can really dig in to the nuts and bolts of how the Flex you write ends up on the users machine.