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  1. Hi, This is another of my 'lessons learned' posts that may be of use to someone attempting a similar endeavour. After countless hours and a lot of help, I have managed to get an AIR Native Extension incorporating simple Image Magick functionality working. Although, so far at least, I have not achieved my ultimate objective, I do have an AIR native extension incorporating simple Image Magick functionality working on my PC. The 'ultimate objective' was to create a Windows exe file/application which could be installed on anyone's PC without the need for that PC to have Image Magick also installed - that has so far eluded me, but if that PC has Image Magick installed in the manner necessary, then the application will indeed work on another PC. The basic development process is as follows: 1) build a dll which has both Image Magick and AIR native extension connectivity (I used MS Visual C++ 2010 Express Edition as my IDE). 2) build a library (I used Flash Builder 4.6) incorporating a class and then from that build an ane file. 3) build a Flash Builder AS3/Flex project to use the functionality developed in steps 1 and 2 which incorporates the ane file from step 2. Detailed guidance for the AIR bits can be found at http://easynativeextensions.com/windows-tutorial-introduction/ which did not exist when I started this endeavour but many thanks to Radoslava Leseva for her invaluable help in this bit. I used the Wand interface to Image Magick and guidance on that can be found at http://members.shaw.ca/el.supremo/MagickWand/ and http://www.imagemagick.org/discourse-server/viewtopic.php?t=11757 The application, via a simple user interface (UI - step3), allows the user to select a jpg image file for downsizing. The UI also requests a new pixel size parameter as well as a jpg quality/compression factor. The class (step 2) has an instance constructor and a method. The UI calls the method passing it the full path name of the jpg image file to be downsized as well as the size and quality parameters. The method then calls a resize function in the dll which in turn uses the Image Magick Wand interface to do the actual resizing. I know that there are easier ways to downsize a jpg image but I wanted to learn how to develop an AIR native extension! I am impressed with the quality of the downsized images. As a test I downsized an 18Mb high quality image to a file about 150Kb in size and on my 24 inch screen I cannot detect any reduction in the visual quality of the image. That of course is due to the Image Magick functionality. I hope that this may be of help to someone! Cheers from Oz.
  2. Hi Mr. Larry, I just begin to learn Flex after preparation of PHP & MySQL, And, I'm kind of confused about usefulness of FLEX, you know, hmtl5 is here, and also got so many third party frames about css and html, Should I pay much attention to flex learning? Does it turn out to be obsolete? Best wishes, Kelvin
  3. Hi, After a bit of sweat and tears, I finally managed to get a FLEX/AIR native process to work and Larry encouraged me to post it in case it is of interest. A bit of background: Since the publication of Larry's book, Adobe released version 4.6 of FlashBuilder as well as the 4.6 SDK. This and subsequent versions support a capability called 'native process' which enables a FLEX/AIR application to call another application which would normally run in a DOS box (Windows) or the equivalent in a Mac. This capability enables you to put a user-friendly front end (UI) onto an application that would normally run in a DOS box. Larry will shortly post my code which is an example of using native process to invoke ImageMagick to resize jpg image files - one by one. ImageMagick is available free to download from the 'Net and is a very powerful image processor - it can resize images as well as do heaps of other neat things with image files. So in a sense my example only scratches the surface of ImageMagick's capabilities, nevertheless I have found image resizing useful. Anyone trying this will have to edit one line in the mxml code and that is the exact location of the ImageMagick convert.exe file in their environment. I have left quite a few comments in the code which I hope will be of value. I found a couple of traps along my native process learning journey - firstly the xml file has to have the extended profile added to it - see the bottom of the xml file. Secondly, if you are using FlashBuilder to create the file which will subsequently be transformed by AIR into an executable, you need to export release build it as a 'signed native installer' otherwise you will get errors if you try to export release build it as a 'signed AIR package' (it took me ages to get that bit right!). Re the resizing functionality: the user first selects a jpg image file to be resized from the user's desktop or PC. Then it needs the new size parameter to be filled in (in pixels). The value will be the new image width for a landscape image or the new image height for a portrait image - in either case the image aspect ratios are preserved. Then the UI asks you for the image quality value to use for the processed image - the higher the quality parameter the larger the resultant image file will be. I have found that a quality parameter value of about 75 to 80 still yields good image quality with smaller file sizes. Once the processing is complete, the new image file is written out to the user's desktop/PC with a 'resized' file name suffix (in the same directory as the input image). Note that the usual pixilation problems will appear if you try to increase the size of the image, as the program is written to only enable the selection of a jpg file. Though this could be changed to select a lossless image file format but you'd need to change the file selection filter. Note: this application runs on the desktop (so that it can access the file system) thus is not a browser-Flash application. As mentioned above, Larry will post the code in case anyone wants to try this. Cheers from Oz!
  4. Hi Larry, Would you advise me on how to proceed with a project. I am wondering what tools you would recommend to 're-do' the capablilites created here with Flex. www.unlockspanish.com Would Edge w/ javascript be a good alternative, or something else. I'm wondering also if you think Apache has breathed new life into Flex with it's 4.9 release. Thanks in Advance.
  5. I just finished your books on PHP and am wanting to focus my efforts now on more front-end development. Even after doing research, I'm still caught wondering if I should invest my time in learning Flex since everyone is quick to suggest that anything related to flash is dying a slow death and HTML5 is the future. Recognizing the incredible investment it takes to be well versed in a new language / framework what would you suggest? Does Adobe Edge suggest that Adobe is even moving away from Flash, AND their is the ultimate big gorilla of iOS mobile development never happening for flash. I hope I haven't thrown to many questions at you, I would just like to know of the best route to go considering the trends / future needs and your advice has never failed to be spot-on.
  6. Dear Larry, I recently got your book and eagerly read it (I've read and tried 7 chapters in 3 days). I knew Flex when version 3 was in beta, but never programmed anything. I've just finished chapter 8 and tried to bind the drop down list showing the Departments using a simple query to the database in the same fashion you populate the grid with the employees. The PHP file i'm using is (getDepartments.php): <?php header('Content-Type: text/xml'); echo '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?><departments>'; require_once('mysql.inc.php'); $dbc = mysqli_connect(DB_HOST, DB_USER, DB_PASSWORD, DB_NAME, 3306); if ($dbc) { $q = "SELECT * from departments ORDER by 1"; //printf("\n%s",$q); $r = mysqli_query($dbc, $q); if (mysqli_num_rows($r) > 0) { while ($row = mysqli_fetch_array($r, MYSQLI_ASSOC)) { echo "<department> <id>{$row['id'] }</id> <Name>{$row['name'] }</Name> </department> ";} // End of WHILE loop } // End of mysqli_num_rows( ) IF } // End of $dbc IF echo '</departments>'; ?> Inside the declarations section I declare: <s:HTTPService id="getDepartmentsService" url="http://localhost/~Jorge/flex4ch08/getDepartments.php" method="GET" resultFormat="e4x" result="getDepartmentsResult(event)" fault="serviceFault(event)"> </s:HTTPService> I included the script: private function getDepartmentsResult(event:ResultEvent):void { departmentsList= event.result.department; } And in the MXML application I tried: <mx:FormItem label="Department"> <s:DropDownList id="employeeDepartment" dataProvider="{departmentsList}" labelField="name" prompt="Select one:"></s:DropDownList></mx:FormItem> And keep getting the error: 1067: Implicit coercion of a value of type XMLList to an unrelated type mx.collections:IList I thought I was very clever trying to replace the hardcoded list you included with this query which is now giving me headaches. Can you help me?
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