Dan Orlando

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since Mar 04, 2010
Dan Orlando is currently a Sr. Flash Platform Developer for Universal Mind and an active member of the Adobe Community Professionals program. Dan specializes in large, enterprise class Flex and AIR applications where application performance, clean code, and a solid architecture are most critical. Dan has written a number of articles and white papers involving the Flash Platform for PHP Architect Magazine, IBM developerWorks,  Developer Connection sites of Adobe, Amazon, Mapquest, and Zend Technologies, and Flash & Flex Developer Magazine to name a few. Dan's book achievements include author of "Flex 4 in Action" (Manning) and Technical Editor of "Professional Papervision3D" (Wiley).

Dan has played a role in the development of several important innovations for the Adobe Flash Platform, including the AWS S3 integration library, an AMF server that runs on C++, and an open source REST library for Flex.

Aside from consulting and development, Dan is a musician and the founder of Sonic Masterworks, the first independent record label in Arizona to target dance and club music. Dan is also an artist under SMW, describing himself as "...a DJ that plays my own music."

Dan can be found speaking Flash Platform and application architecture subjects at conferences throughout the country by day, and performing in major cities throughout the  US under the stage name "XtatiK" by night.
Tempe, AZ
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Recent posts by Dan Orlando

I've done Flex projects with PHP, Coldfusion, Java, .NET, Ruby, and even C++. After a while it all looks the same, just different syntax. I honestly have no preference. What I do care about is that the code is clean and readable and uses best practices in design patterns so other devs can step in and figure out what is going on.
10 years ago
This is a bit of a can of worms once opened, but if you are good with low-level TCP/IP communication (binary and hex), it may not be too cumbersome for you. What you'll want to do is review the AMF0 and AMF3 open specification documents from Adobe, but beware that they are a bit dated (there are some "anomalies" in regard to data typing). For the server side, BlazeDS is open source, so you might want to download and decompile the JARs to see how it does it. I'll warn you in advance though, don't be surprised to find some pretty messy code inside if you do decompile Blaze. For the client side, dig into the classes in the mx.messaging package.
10 years ago
In regard to your first question, the VScroller and HScroller components will automate the adding of scrollbars for you like most Flex 3 containers did. The reason you probably haven't seen much on this is because I think those containers were added fairly late during the Flex 4 beta.

In regard to your second question, AMF is secure as long as (and only if) you are communicating over https. In other words, if you have an SSL for domain xyz.com and provided that you load the flash or flex app with https://xyz.com, the AMF messages will be just as hard (or easy, depending on how you look at it) to intercept and decrypt as any other type of request.
10 years ago
Yes, the book does cover migration, and it makes the process of moving from 3 to 4 fairly easy since we were all in the process of transitioning while we were writing it, so there are a lot of "migration tips" that we included as we encountered related issues.
10 years ago
If you take a look at chapter 19 on Architectural frameworks, you'll find that one of my first points is - "If you focus on the business, the tool will present itself." In other words, each framework has its own respective strengths and weaknesses, so which one you use is entirely dependent on the situation that you are building for.
10 years ago
I prefer the use of signals over events whenever possible because there's a considerable difference in terms of conserving resources among other things. I believe a deeper integration is still slated for Robotlegs in the not-to-distant future, and we're all pretty heavy advocates of Robotlegs as an architectural framework.
10 years ago
I agree with Paul in regard to comparison with struts, spring, etc.... different tools for different purposes.

As far as it being a beginners book, the first section of the book is for people who are new to Flex 4, whereas the 2nd and 3rd sections deal with more advanced concepts.

10 years ago

andrew ennamorato wrote:2 questions for the price of one.

Looks like the book just covers Adobe's BlazeDS. Recently saw a demo at SpringOne2GX of integrating Flex with Spring BlazeDS and it was a pretty slick solution/demonstration. Just wondering if you're familiar with the BlazeDS "version" that Spring offers and what differs between the two.

Also, for someone who is familiar with javascript development, how tough is the transition to Flex?

BlazeDS is meant to simplify the bridging of Flex and Java communication. I'm not too familiar with the version of Blaze offered by Spring, but you have definitely sparked my curiosity now.

Prior to dedicating all of my development to the Flash Platform, I was doing a lot of PHP (~gasps~) and a little C++, but had gotten heavily into Javascript, particularly Scriptaculous and Prototype. It was this that really made coding ActionScript easy to pick up. Plus I had done a good amount of work in Flash under my belt from college. So the short version of that is - yes, definitely
11 years ago

Vyas Sanzgiri wrote:What is the IDE support for Flex? I have heard about Flex Builder. Is there any other open source free IDE support available or in the pipeline?

The community edition of IntellijIDEA can be used as an open source alternative. I know several people that have done so, and have only heard positive things about it. There are some limitations to the community edition though, whereas the Ultimate Edition is the full-blown version.

Probably the most potential lies in someday seeing an open source plug-in for Eclipse to code Flex applications, which would really be great to have as I think the Java community would come up with something seriously powerful considering the significantly large adoption of ActionScript and Flex by the Java development community. Such a thing would be incredibly useful for those of us that code many languages at once and therefore have Eclipse environments with a large number of plug-ins, and maybe don't want to install a plugin as heavy as the Flash Builder plug-in. However, there are currently no such projects that I am aware of. FDT is a commercial alternative, and a mighty nice one I might add. If you're just looking for an alternative to Builder and open source would just be an added benefit, then I definitely suggest becoming familiar with the Intellij and FDT offerings.
11 years ago

Satchit Talla wrote:Dan,
Thanks for your response. Just to make sure, I wasn't using skinnableContainers as skinParts. They are just custom components(skinnableComponents). But, I do get your suggestion of the way I should be accessing. So, let us say if I change my container that contains other custom components to SkinnableComponent(using composite component), I should be able to access the custom components from a composite component by using the "bindable" for the properties? Please let me know if that would work in my situation.

Good luck with the new book. Still waiting for it to come out so I can buy. Has been a long wait!

Sorry, my mistake. SkinnableContainer and SkinnableComponent look a lot like, so I must have glanced over it to quickly and thought they were all SkinnableContainers. There actually isn't much difference between the two, with SkinnableContainer sub-classing SkinnableComponent, so that doesn't change anything with regard to my response. It should still work the same if you use the methodology I described. Let me know if you have any issues with it or run into anything strange via this thread and I'll keep an eye on it.
11 years ago

Joel Hooks wrote:

Sonny Gill wrote:Like Joel, I also use IDEA for Flex 3 development. The new 9.0.* versions have very good support for Flex development.
The only thing it lacks is a visual layout designer. For all other tasks, the IDEA support for code completion, refactoring etc. is much better than Flex Builder.
Our team has Flex Builder licenses, but the only time I use it is when I need to do some trial-and-error visual design of a Flex screen.

Honestly I haven't actively used the Design Mode in a long time and don't really miss it. There was some speculation that it might be removed in the next cycle in favor of Flash Catalyst. It would certainly make it easier for Adobe to update the product. I think it is a bit of a nightmare :>

IDEA has quirks, but MAN it compiles fast and I love the FlexUnit integration.

Heh... trust me, you're definitely not the first person to say that in regard to the visual layout designer. I think I used it a little when I first started with Flex, but can't remember the last time I switched to "Design View".
11 years ago

Rahul Juneja wrote:Dan,

Appreciate it.
I have already looked at this example, but i was wondering if there is something without the Blaze stuff as i am not very inclined on getting in Blaze.


I had a feeling you might say that. I've put a couple feelers out to see if I can come up with something for you. I should have some links posted here soon, assuming that something exists out there, and i can't imagine there wouldnt be.
11 years ago

Jahnvi Pathak wrote:Thank you all for reply and suggestions.

When I think about Flex I see mostly Cairngorm or PureMVC as they are used extensively and because they have more presence on the web. But I will surely now look into the other frameworks also.

- Jahnvi

Note that this is changing at an exponential rate. I'm seeing enterprises, previously frustrated by projects that failed when they hit Cairngorm's infamous "scalability wall", start over again using one of the big three second-gen micros (4 if you count Parsley). We're not talking about spare time developer experiments here anymore, I'm talking about some seriously massive enterprise apps. I've seen more Mate than Swiz and Robotlegs in the enterprise, but its worth noting that I've seen a faster adoption rate in the enterprise with Robotlegs than with any of the other frameworks, including Cairngorm back when Cairngorm was all there was (there was a lot of homegrown architectures being built by those who knew better than to use Cairngorm - unless they knew the application want going to get any bigger, that is). Robotlegs is about half the age of Swiz and Mate and yet it is just about neck and neck now with the others in terms of production applications being written with it. In my eyes, that holds a lot of implications that suggest that, well, there must be a reason for this. This is a good discussion though... Would like to hear others' thoughts and opinions on the subject as well.
11 years ago

Paul Sturrock wrote:Thanks Dan. We have just started to look at FlexUnit 4, after slogging away with limited success with the previous versions. It does look like an improvement - we are very familiar with JUnit 4, which we use to test all the Java parts of our applications. One thing we are keen to get is a way of testers being able to write automated tests (as they can with a tool like Selenium). Do you know of anything out there that would let us do this for Flex? We've had a brief look at Flex Selenium, which uses ExternalInterface to hook Selenese in to the Flex application but there seems to be a few too many hooks (i.e. a bit brittle) for our liking.

This should solve your problem: http://www.riatest.com/

Works beautifully.


11 years ago

Paul Sturrock wrote:

Flex heavily depends on Flash player by adobe so if in a case it is missing the flex files wont run.

Flash won't run without it.

Also the flash files in webpages were used minimmaly as in some cases it took much time to execute wont this happen in the case of Flex also.

Yes. You can construct a Flash (or Flex) application that is in modules and can be loaded on demand. You can also keep static resources (images etc.) external. So you can avoid giving the use a single big file to download, if you write it to do so.

Good answer! It is true that the only 3 real reasons for a Flash or Flex app to take a long time to load is: 1) The server is slow as hell or is overloaded and can't provide the client with data quick enough 2) The application is poorly structured in that it is a large application and the developer is loading the entire thing on startup instead of loading assets and data on demand with a modular architecture, and 3) you're still using a 300 baud modem

Those are the 3 "biggies", but I've also seen some pretty interesting things, like developers that set the buffer to 1000 in their movie players, and I've even seen developers manage to use AS3 as a procedural language using a chain-of-command pattern and synchronous data communication so that nothing can pass through the pipeline at the same time. There was no justification either. They had procedural language backgrounds, so that is what they knew, and its the only way they knew how to code, unfortunately.

I've never had an opportunity to ask these developers the reasoning behind the decisions they made because they were (not suprisingly) no longer around.
11 years ago