Flex/Flash/Actionscript

Announcing FlexLib – open source Flex component library

FlexLib

I’m pleased to announce the FlexLib project hosted on Google Code. This is an open source library of UI components for Flex 2. The goal of this project is to gather all the great components that people are releasing on blogs, Adobe Exchange, mailing lists, etc. and create a central open-source project that everyone can contribute to. Hopefully this will provide a central location for people to find custom Flex components.

What is it?

  • It’s open-source, released under the MIT license (about as free a license as you can get)
  • It’s on Google Code, which means SVN access for members, issue tracking, wiki, etc.
  • You can contribute your code!

What’s in it?
We started off by contributing a few components to get the ball rolling. See the full list of components on the Google Code project page. The quick list of components follows: ConvertibleTreeList, Draggable Slider, PromptingTextInput, Scrollable Menu Controls, SuperTabNavigator, Alternative Scrolling Canvases, Horizontal Accordion.

But more important than what FlexLib currently has in it, is what’s going to be in it? And of course the answer is: everything you have! If you’ve been developing components and posting the source on your blog, we’d love for you to round up your collection of components and integrate them into FlexLib.

Why another place for components?
The question has been raised as to whether there’s any reason to create yet another place for people to find Flex components. We certainly don’t want to add to the clutter and just make another barely-used source for components. We’ve already got the Adobe Exchange, tons of blogs, and the nice newly released flexbox app that tries to aggregate these sources. So here’s my thinking:

  • This is going to be a high-quality source for components. This means code gets reviewed by project members and components are well documented.
  • We can build off each other’s code if it’s all in the same project. Component developers aren’t in their own little blogosphere microcosms, if we all have one source for everyone’s code we can all extend and improve the library.
  • We can consolidate our effort. I know that I’ve spent time working on some component or another only to find out that some other Flex blogger has been doing the same thing. Hopefully this will help us coordinate and work together.

Who’s involved?
The project was started by Darron Schall and myself, with the input and help of Mike Chambers and Ted Patrick from Adobe. But FlexLib is meant to be a community project, so we’re inviting all Flex developers who can contribute to join. Take a look at the How to Contribute wiki page, start playing with checking out the project from the SVN repository, join the discussion group for the project, and most importantly send us your code!

Related:

  • I've just updated FlexLib and added some components from new contributors and fixed some reported bugs in the existing components. The new additions include: Text Highlighter from Tom Lee, Base64 Image from Stacy Young, and Enhanced ButtonSkin from Daniel Wabyick. Darron also added a component this morning, HorizontalAxisDataSelector. And I've…
    Tags: components, flexlib, code, project, contribute
  • This post discusses the features Ted Patrick blogged on Wednesday: the Advanced DataGrid component, Deep Linking, Resource Bundles for localization, and the Flex Component Kit for Flash CS3. Advanced DataGrid (I would've called it SuperDataGrid) This is basically what the community has come to call a "TreeGrid", plus the addition…
    Tags: flex, component, components, it's, adobe, people
  • I just made a quick new component and added it to FlexLib. It's a Button component, but it allows you to add any child UI components to the button via MXML. So if you find the single icon and label format of the button to be a bit too restrictive,…
    Tags: component, flexlib, it's, source, components, find
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15 thoughts on “Announcing FlexLib – open source Flex component library

  1. Nice work Doug and crew. Seriously nice work. The SuperTabNavigator [http://flexlib.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/examples/SuperTabNavigator/SuperTabNavigator_Sample.swf] looks insane.

    Thanks.

    Ali

  2. Sweet. May I ask though why you didn’t use RIAForge? Do note that even if you prefer Google’s service, you should still at least _list_ your project over at RIAForge.

  3. Great start! I too wanted to start something like that. Now that its already there, all I need to do is just contribute. Thanks Guys

  4. Yet another flex library of components ? I like the idea but one is definitely enough. Where is the value proposition in all these different sites showcasing flex components from a marketing perspective? By making the bloggers and dev’s components centralized you inadvertently draw traffic from the blog/site of the person/company. Traffic to a blog let’s one know that what they do is appreciated by people which directly converts to motivation. Not to mention the marketing power stemmed from blog’s is considerably hindered by this. Bloggers blog for exposure. For many a blog is a marketing tool whether personal or for business reasons.

    These types of projects while created with good intensions, take away from that marketing in more way’s then one, and on both sides of the coin. Personally I’m quite happy with MXNA.

    I did mention I like the idea for 1-2 but +-10 is getting ridiculous.

    Sorry if I sound like a stick in the mud.

    -jason

  5. Jason,

    I certainly understand your worry, and I wouldn’t in any way want developers to think that contributing to this project would draw traffic away from their blogs. I see blog posts fitting in as a very important piece of the puzzle. For example, I plan on contributing any new components that I make to the FlexLib library. But I also plan on blogging about each one just like I do now. Blog posts will be a way to announce the component to the world, show some cool examples, and describe in more detail what the component does. The list of current components on the FlexLib page can easily point to a blog post for each component if one exists.

    Also, we’re certainly making sure that anyone who contributes gets proper credit on the FexLib project pages. Your name and link to your blog would be published. I don’t think you should think of it as a way to draw traffic away from your blog, but instead as a way to draw traffic to your blog.

    As for the marketing potential, I see involvement in this project as a huge boost to promoting yourself in the Flex community. One goal of the FlexLib project is to make sure contributed components are up to certain coding standards that the other project members approve of. The project has just started, so obviously there are only a few people involved, but I would hope that we could attract all the prominent Flex developers to contribute in some way or another. This allows you as a developer to throw your name into the ring with the top Flex contributors out there. I see that as a big opportunity.

    Are you referring to Adobe Exchange when you say “one is definitely enough”? Or MXNA as the aggregator? I think MXNA is far too broad to be a legitimate resource for finding a library of custom components. It’s great for announcing and publicizing your work, but I don’t want to have to search through MXNA, filter out the blog posts that have source code, check if they’ve been updated since I last looked, etc etc.

    And not to bash the Adobe Exchange too much, but it really doesn’t provide what I want from a component library. If I submit my actual code to the exchange then any updates I do means I have to reupload my code. Or I can simply provide a link to my blog post (which is what I have done with the exchange listings) but then the exchange simply acts like a blog listing aggregator, like a more focused MXNA.

    The main point is that we need a central place for the code. This will help all of us work on each other’s code, improve someone else’s code, extend someone else’s code to make new components, etc. And it allows us to set certain standards for code, so you know that if a component is in FlexLib, it’s a solid component, with documented source code. FlexLib is just one piece of the puzzle. We still need blog posts to announce and discuss components. I have no intention of drawing focus away from your blog (or my blog for that matter, we’re in the same boat!).

    Feel free to email me separately if you still have concerns about the project. Or post your comments to the flexlib discussion group.

  6. Pingback: Sönke Rohde » flexlib - open source flex component library

  7. Terius says:

    Hello guys, I have been trying to use the flexlib.swc, I downloaded it, I have tried adding it through the properties menu into the libraries path, and source path. But I can’t seem to be able to use the componentes.

    I am adding this also xmlns:flexlib=”flexunit.flexui.*”

    but the only component I get is

    What am i doing wrong?

  8. Pingback: dispatchEvent » Blog Archive » FlexLib news, reviews, schmooze?

  9. nemoforone says:

    What about the possibility of pulling out of Iraq, letting Iran invade and lose resources fighting their own kind,
    and then come in and mop up the dregs?

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