2006 The FLEXifier Is Live
Amidst the hustle and bustle leading up to MAX, I managed to steal some time to work on a skunkworks project. The idea was to let people experience the fun and instant gratification of Flex, without needing to download and install anything at all. And thus The FLEXifier.
Using The FLEXifier you can enter and compile any combination of MXML and ActionScript (the one limitation being that you can only compile a single file, so no external files or data or images). You can start with one of the examples, or enter code of your own. Assuming the code compiles you'll see the results immediately (if not, you'll see error messages instead). And then, when you are happy with your creation, The FLEXifier can even e-mail the SWF and MXML to you directly.
The application itself is a combination of ColdFusion and Flex Java libraries. Initially I was using <cfexecute> to spawn the command-line Flex SDK compiler, but that was just not fast enough. I tried several other options too, before plugging in a very clever Java API interface to the compiler created by Clement Wong (formerly of the ColdFusion team, now on the Flex team). I also implemented a sophisticated caching mechanism to avoid unnecessary compilations. And finally, the application was given a Spry based front-end, thanks to help from Ray Camden.
Enjoy The FLEXifier, and if you have suggestions on how to improve it, please share.