I’ll admit. I’ve seen those cool Flash ads that have things you can click or that provide some kind of interaction with the user and always thought they seemed really cool and something that we could take advantage of for our clients…if we had time to do such a thing. But I always thought those things were created in Flash. I’ve dabbled in Flash but just don’t have time to get good enough with it to do those kinds of things.
And then I met Flex.
Adobe Flex is a platform for creating interactive Flash widgets. A flex file is an XML file that is compiled into a Flash movie. The Flex framework is free, and using it all you need to create Flex files is a text editor. But Adobe makes a product that allows for visual, drag-and-drop style development, at least from the user interface perspective (there is still a lot of manual coding involved).
We were recently hired by Prototype Advertising to create a promotional widget for Regal Cinemas. While investigating different ways to pull this off, I discovered Flex. Here is a preview of what we have created:
I have a fair amount of time invested in this, but it would have been much more difficult if I had had to create it directly in Flash. Another very cool feature of Flex is that it allows you to convert your online widgets into desktop applications using Adobe Air. Awesome.
So now you know…all those cool Flash ads and widgets you see? It’s all Flex, man!