— Forest and the Trees


Had a great time presenting at Boston Flex User Group last night.

Presentation deck

Sample DVS (printing)

Code for dealing w/ resizing, scrolling, and tracking which part of the swf is visible to the user. I will post a better stand alone example soon (really, well, hopefully)

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I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while. But, looks like infosthetics beat me to it. I’ve been working at PatientsLikeMe for about a year – first consulting and now full time. PatientsLikeMe is a social media site for people w/ serious diseases. There are currently eight main disease communities: ALS, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue System, HIV/AIDS, Mood Conditions (Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, OCD, PTSD), MS, Parkinson’s, and Organ Transplants. I’m making charts. It’s awesome. I really believe we’re making a difference in people’s lives and contributing to medical discovery. Please take a look at the very nice infosthetics post about us to learn more. I’ll try to start posting more about what we’re doing soon.

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I’ll be giving a talk on Flex Charting next week at NEIA. Please attend.

Here’s the description…

Intro to Flex Charting

Flex Charting is a pain in the ass to use. It’s very easy to create a simple chart but gets more and more difficult the more you want to customize. During this talk, we will start with a simple chart and add more and more features and functionality. By the end you should have a basic understanding of the Flex charting classes. Time permitting, we will discuss some other Flex data visualization libraries and some tips and tricks for making complex charts. Our sample data set will be Michael Jackson’s Number 1 hits, so if nothing else, you will learn something about the King of Pop.

Wednesday, October 28
7:15 – 9:00
Room 1001-1002 on Center Campus The New England Institute of Art 10 Brookline Place West Brookline, MA 02445 Brookline Village Stop on the MBTA D Greenline

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Adobe released a new sdk for Flex which fixes a cross-scripting security threat. So, you download the sdk, unzip it, create a new directory for 3.4.0 in your flex sdks directory. Also extract the data viz zip and put its files in the appropriate directories in the 3.4.0 directory that you just added. (You could do this different ways as well.)

Then in Flex Builder, right click on a project, choose Properties, Flex Compiler, Configure Flex SDKs. And add your new SDK.

So, pretty sure there are plenty of posts on how to do the above. But, now you need to extract the DataViz source. This post explains that. And here’s what you can copy and paste into Terminal to get it to work if you’re on a mac.

java -jar “/Applications/Adobe Flex Builder 3 Plug-in/sdks/3.4.0/lib/DMV-source.jar” “/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flex” “/Applications/Adobe Flex Builder 3 Plug-in/sdks/3.4.0″

The blog changes the straight quotes to curly quotes, so, you’ll probably have to change that.

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Just saw this post from Matt Chotin. Looks like no big changes to the Flex Charts, which is a bummer. However, I also came across this post (easy axis inversion in 4), which leads me to believe some changes have been made. I’d love to see a complete list of improvements, but, can’t seem to find anything. I will buy you a beer at the next beerfug, if you know of such a list. (I also promise to finally get the beerfug blog up and running before the next meeting. Blink tags are only funny for maybe 2 months.)

Here are some more links w/ info on charts.
Render Direction property on Pie Charts
More on the reversing axis direction.
Info on new filter functions for chart items.

Thanks to Sangavi for the links.

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I needed this for creating an axis label for a chart. The Flex Charting label was flashing. Basically it creates a bitmap of the text and then rotates that. Obviously, you can’t select text, but, might be useful for someone. Here it is. Click the “add a text field” button. Then change text in the text input component. Rotate using the slider. Right click, view source.

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Here’s a link to a pdf of the mashup talk I just gave to the Harvard Flash User Group.

A special thank you to Oscar Cortes. I shamelessly stole content from the mashup talk he gave to both the Design Patterns group and the excellent Flex Camp Boston.

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I’ll be speaking at the Harvard Flash Group this Thursday. It’s open to the public (kind of), you need to be let in by Nick. So, if you have any interest in going, send me an email. You’d just have to meet at Lamont Library before the talk. I’ll talk about using Flex for creating mashups and the wonder that is Web 2.0. I’ll also walk through some code I will have written by the time of the talk.Harvard University Flash User Group March 19, 2009, 12:15 – 1:45 Lamont Library
Web 2.0 and Mashups w/ Flex

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Tour de Flex is a great Flex reference tool. It might be the first Air app I actually use.

And, it features the Kap Lab components. I haven’t used them yet, but, they look like pretty nice data viz tools – and they are freeware. Currently they include the following components: Tree Map, Radar Chart, Visualilizer (node mapping), and Diagrammer (looks like node mapping where the end user can do the mapping).

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OK – well that’ll be tonight. Hilary’s bringing in her big supporters to New York. Bill’s said that he won’t be involved in a presidential campaign for while. And Obama needs 43 delegates to win. All signs point to yes. I’ve updated the Election Center. Unfortunately the state by state data is totally screwed up (not sure if it’s me or CNN (probably me)), so I commented out that tab. I’ll try to fix that tonight.

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