arpit.net : Technology and other shots...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

BBC's Developer Network

I came across Backstage. Its BBC's Developer Network program and lists free APIs and services to be consumed for non-commercial use.

They also have Ideas and Prototypes sections where you can share your stuff. Some are interesting, and will really benefit from Flash/Flex based user interface.

Check them out...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Flex's Hour Glass Functionality

First, I have not been using or developing with Flex at all, but being Flash Developer for over 6 years, it keeps me fascinated. Developers obviously take learnings from newer, better applications, and try to implement the good, which also help maintain consistency, and often with time become more of standard way of doing things.

Anyway, I have been viewing Flex 2 demo applications showcased at the Adobe Labs, and really like the hour glass (nice clock animation) implementation within Flex applications. Its a really nice way of letting the user know that something is happening in the background, mostly some data being loaded from the server. I have been using a similar practice in my application, as it has to make lots of calls to webservices.
Well, you can call it a rip off if you want... :)

But there is a difference. Doing so I realized, completely hiding the mouse becomes a bit of a worry. Since the pointer is still functional, wouldn't it be a good idea, if instead of hiding the pointer completely (and showing the hour glass), let the pointer be there and add hour glass next to it? I mean, most desktop applications do not hide the mouse completely if something is happening in the background. When the applications stop responding completely, pointer is completely replaced by hour glass. I know, its a small thing, but Flex is definitely bridging the gap between online and desktop applications, the way they function, so it should behave as closely as they do...

How does this work in Flex? Does it have any way of configuring these options?

Lists in applications also have drag and drop functionalities which I have seen, I don't know if the components with Flex have these capability, but here too, replacing the complete pointer is a bit of a worry.


Here is what I have seen in applications currently:




shouldn't this be better:



Screenshots taken from the following application demos:
BrightPoint Dashboad
StatPods