Embrace the timeline….

On creating rich, flashy and immersive advertising experiences online by Owen van Dijk

The MX Experience Model: Building for the experience layer

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I work at Clockwork, a webfirm based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We do quite some cool projects for clients such as Coca-Cola, Bacardi, Citroen and the Achmea Group. We use a range of technologies, from Java/J2EE to .NET to MM related technologies such as Flash and Flash Remoting. Right now, i am developing one of the biggest Flash projects i’ve worked on ( think a Flash-based RPG for educational use ) but that deserves a posting on it’s own. Actually, Martijn de Visser, has been working on it as well, since he is on the same team ( Hi Martijn… 😉 )

Anyway..last week was very interesting as we had a few companies doing presentations on their latest products and technologies. On Wednessday we had BEA Weblogic ( Chief Architect of BEA, Adam Bosworth keeps an interesting debate on Rich Internet Applications on his weblog ), on Thursday was BroadVision, and Friday we had Waldo Smeets from Macromedia. Especially, the presentation of Waldo was of interest, not only because it was about Flash, but because of two slides, talking about the ‘MX Experience Model’


The first slide describes a ‘top-down’ approach, on how to create online experiences using different layers:

  • a Client layer, consisting of 2 more layers:
    • Look & Feel, including the Behavior and Flow, and Practices & Guidelines
    • Runtime, including the Framework, the Components, Managers and languages
  • a Server layer, consisting of 5 more layers:
    • Server Framework, including Data Managment, Debugging, Profiling and Security
    • Shared Objects
    • Webservices
    • Application Servers
    • Databases


The second slide uses this model to present a matrix, using the different layers and related Macromedia technology. For example, the new Halo elements would represent the Look & Feel layer. It looks a bit like the map i made two months ago ( which btw needs to be redrawn ) but that map is made from a technology point of view, putting in the various tools that are readily available. The big difference with the slide i saw, was the seperation between the different workflows. From what i can remember from the slide, Macromedia has developed Royale as a new workflow to create “Rich Internet Applications” not tied anymore to the Flash IDE, but to a server-side solution. This has two major benefits:

– Not dependent on a single IDE ( Flash ), developers can continue to work in their own, trustworthy environment
– Runtime generation of Rich Internet Applications

What also important is, that the two workflows can continue to work together, so instead of throwing away the knowledge you or the team have gained over the years working with Flash, other developers can use their knowledge and start right away crafting “Rich Internet Applications”. Looks like a big win-win for both. I am serious interested in what Royale will bring us.

Something totally different, last week Mike Chamber released FlashCompiler, a tool to create SWF files from the commandline. Although this is not a ‘real’ compiler ( for instance, it is still dependant on the Flash IDE ) this surely is a step in the right direction. I got a few comments if this is the same thing as JSFLCreator does. Well…not exactly. I had the privilige to work with FlashCompiler in an early stage, and noticed it lacked a option to go recursively through a directory and compile everything in that directory. That’s why i created JSFLCreator, because it will just do that, go through a directory and create a ‘buildfile’ that can be processed with Flash MX 2004. I was waiting for Mike to release FlashCompiler and bugged him through email about it ( sorry Mike… ). I only found out though, that FlashCompiler is _not_ able to process jsfl files though ( yet! ) but in the meantime i will post V0.6 ( which i’ve been working on lately ) which solves a few bugs and some changes to match the behavior of FlashCompiler. There is still a little bug i would like to resolve before i release this version, i need to change the PATH variable during the installation, which is something i cannot achieve with my current installer. Overall, there have been some really cool tools published by fellow developers, Robin is working on a SWF compiler and alessandro is doing great work on his Actionscript Editor. The daily toolset of the flashdeveloper keeps expanding, nice work guys!

Finally, a little plug, Simon, a young dutch designer has released his new website, and it looks damn smooth. Keep up the good work Simon!


Written by ohwhen

November 5, 2003 at 1:26 am

Posted in Weblogs

One Response

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  1. The MX Experience Model: Building for the experience layer pt2.

    Thanks to Scott Benson of Macromedia, i am now able to show you the actual slides i was talking about yesterday ( click image for detail ): Read more about the MX Experience Model.

    MX Traveler

    November 5, 2003 at 6:49 pm

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