Flash, Flex and Scrapblog.com

Flash, Flex and Scrapblog.com
Once in a while, I like to talk about how FlashR is used in real-world applications. Just a few years ago, when you thought of Flash, the thing that popped into your mind foremost were Flash websites and animations. After all, that's how Flash got its start.

But, today we use Flash in more ways than anyone realizes. It's working behind the scenes of many online and offline applications. One popular example of the use of Flash is the online photo slide-shows that you can create at websites such as PictureTrail and Photobucket. Another newer example, and one of the best examples, is ScrapblogTM. This is an online service where scrapbookers can create multimedia scrapbook slide-shows, share their creations online and print them at a reasonable cost. But, what you may not realize is that not only are the slide-shows Flash based but the online Scrapblog builder RIA was created with Adobe FlexR. In fact, the Scrapblog builder is a very impressive web based RIA.

The Scrapblog builder has many of the features of desktop applications such as word processors and photo editing software. Of course, the Scrapblog RIA does not have all the features of a full fledge photo editor such as AdobeR PhotoshopR or word processor such as MicrosoftR Word, but it has more features and better response time than previous attempts at online RIAs. The workspace is similar to a Windows-based interface with those familiar menu bars and floating panels. The editor allows you to edit many parameters of the graphics including cropping, resizing, repositioning and opacity. The text feature works much like those found in word processors with font, style, alignment and color controls. Almost everything that you add to your Scrapblog can be made into a hyperlink. Can you think of the Flash technology that these features are based-on? For example, the drag and drop feature which allows you to drag photos and other design elements is driven by the mouse event. When you use the eraser, you are changing the alpha parameter. As for the slide-shows that you create, they display Flash transitions between images and use Flash video technology to display external video from Photobucket and YouTubeTM.

As you can see, Flash can be used in so many more ways than just a few years ago. With the addition of Flex to these technologies, we have newer and better web based RIAs. In just a few more years, who knows how much we will be able to do online.

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