Great Start-up seeks Engineers in San Franciso

We need world-class software engineers to help deliver innovative content and community applications. You will work closely with other industry visionaries to create compelling new features and first of their kind solutions. If you like tinkering with widgets and Java is more than a drink to you, this is where you want to be!

Your responsibilities will include: • Actively participate in all phases of the software development lifecycle to develop cutting edge solutions • Collaborate with the product managers in the realization of new products by developingboth the technical specifications andsoftware solution • Participate in establishment of software development standards and processes • Support business partners in the creation of new interfaces and delivery channels • Drive the evolution of our unique mobile content delivery and advertizing platforms

Qualifications: • Experience programming and developing highly scalable applications written in Coldfusion and Java. • Demonstrated ability to work within a large engineering team and share opinions in a collaborative manner • Must have good oral and written communication skills • Must be able to work in a quickly changing and fast paced environment • Experience building international applications is desirable • Strong hands on SQL relational database experience (Sql Server, Oracle, MySql, Postgres) • 5+ years developing web server-based applications using Coldfusion and Java • Must have knowledge of and experience working with web services; that is, coding, planning, and consuming. • Essential technologies: Coldfusion, FLEX, AJAX, Prototype, Postgres, CSS • Bonus Technologies: Java, Python, PHP, Linux • A BS is required.

About the Company The company is venture backed and provides a powerful web-telephony platform that seamlessly integrates SMS, IM and voice into a single hosted system compatible with any carrier or handset. Through its patented technology, the company provides a suite of communication widgets and services such as phonecasting, audioblogging, microblogging, instant and large scale group communication (calling & texting) as well as mobile advertising (SMS and audio interstitials).

Please respond directly to me.

Adobe Air and Flex 3 preview

I woke up this morning and got this in the mail. Looks like the Flex team is ramping up to pushing Flex out the door. I'm really looking forward to being able to use some of the new Flex features in prod. The testing tools are quite nice as well.

The Flex show is going to be here in the bay twice on the 21st in San Fran and 22nd in San Jose. Should be fun... see ya there.

--------------------- mail below -----------

Flex 3 and AIR are getting close to launch and in preparation, the Adobe Platform Evangelist team is traveling to select cities to show off the great new features and some brand new demos.

Flex 3 is a feature-packed release, adding new UI components like the advanced datagrid and improved CSS capabilities; powerful tooling additions like refactoring; and extensive testing tools including memory and performance profiling, plus the addition of the automated testing framework to Flex Builder.

Adobe AIR is game-changing in so many ways, extending rich applications to the desktop, enabling access to the local file system, system tray, notifications and much more. Now you can write desktop applications using the same skills that you've been already using to create great web apps including both Flex and AJAX.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to see and hear about this highly anticipated release of Flex 3 and AIR during this special pre-release tour. Plus, in addition to giving away some one of a kind Flex/AIR branded schwag, we will also be raffling off a copy of Flex Builder 3 Professional (pending availability) and a full commercial copy of CS3 Web Premium at this event!

Check out the comprehensive listing of dates at to see if the tour is coming to your city!

Please help by taking a survey for Flex 360

Hey, my friend Tom Ortega (founder of the Flex 360 conference) is taking a survey on how to make the Flex 360 conference the best you've ever attended. So far they've had two and i know they are working on more.

Here's a link to the survey:

Your answers to the survey I'm sure will help him make the conference even better and more responsive to your needs.

Flex 3 (Moxie) now out in public beta

Check it out! Flex 3 is now out in public beta. Go download it! now! :) Flex 3 has some pretty awesome improvements that it's seriously worth checking out.

Download the new Flexbuilder 3 moxie app here.

and here's a good overview of what's new with flex builder 3:

A couple of the neatest things that i'm excited about are the webservice introspection and the code refactoring. The web service introspection is huge. this allows you to point at a webservice, and then flexbuilder goes and creates a whole set of objects for you to use allowing you to keep strong typing over webservices. The best part is that it seamlessly transfers values over to the internal classes.

So Nice!

Adobe open sources Flex

Looks like adobe decided to open source flex. What does this mean? well, it looks like they are open sourcing the sdk. This is the part of flex that is already given away for free. The part that hasn't been given away - opened up is the code for the components. Previously you had to purchase flex builder to get the code for the components.

Here's a couple of interesting links. video interview with members of the adobe flex team on open sourcing flex

the actual adobe announcement

overall, i think this is a really good move for Adobe. This gives them a way to compete with microsoft and puts them more in a psycological instep footing with the java community. It seems like Adobe has very much gone after the java community when trying to market flex. I think this just gives them "street cred" with the java and other open source development communities.

Achieving strong typing from web services in flex

Note: this is an article I wrote about a year ago for the CFDJ. It's a good article on how to get items from web services into flex as strongly typed objects. I'm posting it here too, just in case. here's the original:

Working with Web Services FLEX Class Introspection to gain strong typing

Recently, I worked on a project using FLEX to create a front end for java based web services where I ran into a favorite in the java world: Transfer Objects or Value Objects as they might also be called. Early on in the project I was a bit skeptical of the transfer object model but later on, after working with them for a while I came to respect the value that they offer.

Transfer objects allow two separate systems to trade descriptive data objects without fear that somewhere along the line the data will be mistyped or that the variable names will change. Transfer objects are an explicit agreement between all parties on how data will be encapsulated. They make integration easier because once everyone agrees on what the transfer objects should be, for the most part, everyone can separate and do their thing, knowing what variable names and types will be traded between the two (or more) services. And even in the case when variable names change, the compile process will catch variable name changes and alert the file locations to fix the problems.

Value objects are intrinsically supported when using remote objects, that is, class typing from a java class to a FLEX class carries over without any additional work in most cases. FLEX automatically does the work to transfer a class type when using remote objects (one of many reasons to use remote objects). However, when using SOAP web services strong typing is broken because the class associations are not automatically transferred to internal FLEX classes. It's unfortunate, and leaves a bit of a gap when trying to use strong typing and compile time error checking. What's the value of strong typing? It makes it easier to debug the application. Instead of complaining at some obscure point when a user clicks on certain button in the middle of a complicated workflow, it breaks during the compile process where the problem can be easily found and fixed. What could have been a 2 hour search for a misnamed variable becomes a 5 minute change.

The problem here though is how to get the untyped SOAP objects that are created by FLEX into typed objects that FLEX knows about – internal transfer objects. The values themselves are typed, but there is no association between the back end data transfer class and the FLEX data transfer class. Further, FLEX can't be told that X SOAP object is actually of type Y class. For example, trying to cast an incoming web service object into a user defined class will cause a runtime error.

public var dpHistory:HistoryTo = event.result.HistoryTo as HistoryTo;


public var dpHistory:HistoryTo = HistoryTo(event.result.HistoryTo);

When I started trying to use strong typing of classes on the FLEX side, I tried to accomplish the transition by writing a custom transfer function for each type of class that I had. For example,

var dpHistory:ArrayCollection = new ArrayCollection; var tempObj:HistoryTo; For (var i=0;i

What a pain! It's error prone and doesn't allow for reuse. It's boring and adds to the amount of upkeep you have to do if ever anything changes. Actually, in the beginning of using FLEX I avoided using transfer objects for the sheer reason that I didn't want to go through the pain to actually code up every one of my web service returns like this. There are a lot of benefits that are gained by using transfer objects, but at the time it sure looked like a lot of pain to go through to get it. It even appeared to me that the drawbacks (ie less code reuse, more duplicate coding, etc) outweighed the benefits. Sure, these functions can be written up and saved it off as an ActionScript file somewhere, they can be included in wherever needed, but it looked like one transfer function was needed per each transfer object. And that can really be a pain, especially in a large project.

However, following a few steps, the process becomes quite simple and dare I say it, easy. All that's needed is a generic object transfer utility. Once the transfer objects have been written on the FLEX side, then class introspection can be used to dynamically populate the values from untyped web service objects. Let me show you how I did it.

First off, create a transfer object class. One of the beautiful things about FLEX is automatic getters and setters for public variables on classes. This means that to create a transfer object (as long as nothing fancy is being done with it), can be very simple. FLEX is flexible enough to use explicit getters and setters as public properties or to take public properties/variables and create automatic getters and setters for them. Creating custom transfer objects then becomes a breeze and takes literally just a few minutes to put together.

For example a simple class might be a history display class:

package { public class HistoryTo { public var creationDate:String = new String; public var message:String = new String; public var objectName:String = new String; public var objectType:String = new String; public function HistoryTo() { } } }

Once the custom class (transfer object) has been created on the FLEX side, it can be used to store variables. Now FLEX Builder knows about this class and can display hinting on the class names, warn when a variable name has been misspelled, and make sure that the variables and values maintain their type across the application. The biggest problem is filling the class with the proper information. With a plain object or dynamic class, getting the dynamic values contained inside is done by simply looping through its properties. For example: for (item in myObject) { // do something here myVar = myObject[item]; }

Unfortunately, classes don't support this method for finding static properties (only dynamic properties). This is where class introspection comes to the rescue. Class introspection returns a listing of all static properties of a class and the types of those properties. Best of all, class introspection is actually very easy in FLEX. For example, there is a function in FLEX which returns an xml structure of all the class properties: import flash.utils.describeType;

var classInfo:XML = describeType(HistoryTo);

The function describeType returns an xml structure that can be looped over to get a listing of the public static properties, class methods, the class name, and the class base reference (if it extends a class). The function describeType will not return dynamic properties, private properties, or private functions. To get dynamic properties, loop through the class description. In the example, the classInfo variable now contains an xml object that can be looped through and/or treated like any other xml type data source. For instance, it could output the results in a tree (ala the old object inspector for FLEX 1.5). In this case, it can be used to loop through the FLEX side transfer classes, pull out the variables and types, check them against the web service objects, and transfer the web service object values to the appropriate class variables.

The root node, contains the name of the class and the name of the class that it extends (if any),

var className:String = classInfo.@name;

To get the list of public variables on the class is relatively simple as well.

classInfo..variable contains an array of variable names and variable types. Looping through those variables allows for assignment from one variable to the next:

for each (var v:XML in classInfo..variable) { //do something here }

With a list of the variables on the class, loop through and assign values to the class variables. Looping through the known classes allows the ability to look into the web service object to see if the variable is there. If the variable exists, then the value is automatically transferred over to the class. Because internal classes are static, an error is thrown if an attempt is made to set a variable that has not been written into the class at compile time.

if (translateFrom.hasOwnProperty(vName) && translateFrom[vName] != null) { // do something here }

From here, it's a matter of checking the type to transfer the variable accordingly. I've found that with some variable types (at least with my implementation) from java don't transfer over correctly. For example, longs sometimes don't transfer over as simple numbers and Booleans don't transfer over to a simple Boolean value. They sometimes transfer over as a complexString value type, which contains an xml snippet from the SOAP packet that FLEX received. In most cases when using the value in a complexString, it matches correctly and it is barely noticeable that the object isn't strictly the type needed. However, in certain cases, the difference becomes very noticeable. I've found that fixing it at the source helps to eliminate problems down the road.

case "Number" : translateTo[vName] = new Number(translateFrom[vName]); break;

This object translator can be extended to work with an array of objects as well. Once the class is inspected, you can then get the name of the class and use it to create a reference to that class object which opens up the ability to dynamically create new instances of that class.

var classRef:Class = Class(getDefinitionByName(className));

Then when looping through the class, create a new class object to store the data.

if (arrayOfObjects != null) { for (i=0;i

Notice that most of the functions within the class are static functions.

public static function translateObject(translateFrom:Object,translateTo:Object,classInfo:XML=null):Object {

Making the functions static functions means that the functions can be used without creating an instance of the class. Static functions are not tied to any particular instance of the class, but to all instances of that class. In effect it becomes like any other utility class that FLEX uses. An example of the difference between static functions and instance functions is best illustrated by the Date class. When using the date class, to store date information an instance has to be created, then functions are available to modify or get the information stored within that date object. For example: var myDate:Date = new Date; var myMonth:Number = myDate.getMonth;

The function getMonth is only available on an instance of the Date class. It uses information stored in that instance to return its value. The Date class also has a static function: Date.parse()

The parse function is a static function that's available on the class itself, not on a particular instance. Likewise, the once the object translator class is imported in the application file, any of it's functions can be used from the class itself.

import comp.ebay.utils.ObjectTranslator;

if (eventObj.result.HistoryTos != null ) { dpHistory.source = ObjectTranslator.translateArrayObjects(eventObj.result.HistoryTos.source,new HistoryTo);


For most cases, this returns what's needed in 90% of the cases; an array of objects. However there are times when all that's needed is a single object translated. In the function translateObject, it looks like an untyped object is being returned. In essence, that's only part of what's happening. This function returns a typed object under the guise of an untyped object. True, an untyped object is being returned, but now casting it as a specific class or transfer object will work because intrinsically it IS the needed class.

var historyItem = HistoryTo(ObjectTranslator.translateObject(event.result,new HistoryTo));


var historyItem = ObjectTranslator.translateObject(event.result,new HistoryTo) as HistoryTo;

Once all web service objects have been translated to internal classes, strong typing can be maintained by casting any web service objects to the transfer classes. If variable names on the transfer objects need to change (which often they do), it's a much smaller job to catch all of these problems at compile time than it is to debug and find them at run time.

When integrating with pre ColdFusion 7.02 web services where in most cases, all variable names are changed to upper case, you can easily add in a change to check for that occurrence, and easily translate it into the case you prefer internally in FLEX.

Here's the full code for the article.

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