Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!

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Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Open Letter to Macromedia
Well, after having an Adobe/Macromedia dev contact me here in the comments, it is now obvious that I cannot simply use this space as though I am shouting angrily at empty walls anymore. BTW, jd, bravo on using your own time to visit random blogs and attempt to placate the angry mooks operating them. However, I see this as an opportunity that says that people who matter might just read some of what I say. First, to establish, I am a web developer and system administrator at work, and my primary contribution (if you can call it that), is what I call "the Flash monstrosity," the worst written Flash application ever made. Part of its problems are due to being written in ActionScript 1.0 (it was originally slated to run on PocketPC's, but we discovered that there wasn't nearly enough screen real estate), but largely they're due to my learning Flash while creating it. Since my job generally consists of making things work in ways they were never intended to, it's not very surprising that my Flash application, while it functions, looks awful. For example, each frame has an average of 300 or so lines of AS. Each frame. Not quite the way that Flash was meant to do things. But I spend a lot of time working with the software, so I do have a stake in having Flash from a programmer's standpoint, not just the "angry mook with a webcomic" standpoint.

So without further ado, if I could get one thing from Adobe--Macromedia division it would be this: complete documentation. It was very aggravating to search the Internet, hoping at random to find the secret, undocumented function that would do things like open and close the comboboxes on command (I was finally able to find this on Sephiroth, which means it actually is in the LiveDocs somewhere, but I found it at random in an Internet forum first). That one request would just be perfect. It would be nice to have an error checker that actually verifies that you are calling functions that exist, but I can, to some extent, understand why the error checker only does syntax checking. Since AS is pretty loose with variables (like PHP and Perl), and AS considers functions to be a bizarre form of variable, I can see why it would have some trouble error checking for them. A full doc would let me look the functions up properly and then I wouldn't worry so much about error checking. Though I guess I can be grateful for one thing. Having to guess at functions until I found what actually produced the effects I wanted taught me a lot about using the NetConnection Debugger, which is really quality work. Let me congratulate you guys on that one. Also, I hear Flash 8 has a thing that actually waits a specified amount of time and then fires a given function. Thank you. For us mooks, that alone is almost worth admission price. As much as I'd like to be able to import PNGs or implant HTML, or stream pure data (that was actually why I was looking to implant HTML -- I can add content-type headers, I just want to display my data), this isn't a perfect world. Thank you for your efforts to improve it, even if your grand project is primarily abused by web designers who hate humanity to punish the Internet at large.

2 Comments:

  • At 12:41 PM, January 10, 2006, Anonymous Sonja said…

    Also, I hear Flash 8 has a thing that actually waits a specified amount of time and then fires a given function. Thank you."

    Do you mean this one?
    timer = setInterval(functionName, 1000, variable);

    If not, the only thing it differs in then is that you wouldn't need a clearInterval anymore after calling this funciton.

     
  • At 3:03 PM, January 10, 2006, Blogger Avvy said…

    The name of the function (which sounds largely undocumented, like all too many of Flash's functions), is setTimeout(). And evidently you're absolutely right, Sonja, it's pretty much setInterval without having to clearInterval. But anything that simplifies the process of setting a timer in Flash is welcome. I'm all for anything that reduces the number of function calls I have to make without rendering my code virtually unreadable. Maybe I'm not in the majority on the opinion, but I think it's a valuable addition to the AS language.

     

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