With today’s economic downturn affecting pretty much everyone everywhere, it’s created an atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, and a general sense of dread — much like those final, silent, slow motion moments before you realize that your car has been stolen… but it’s not the end of the world! Today’s stagnant economy offers opportunities that you may never have considered, just like losing your car (or any property) can lead to any number of positive outcomes (getting a new car, saving the money the insurance company gives you, riding your bicycle more, being outside, etc.).
Here at We Are Mammoth, we’re looking for ways to turn today’s economic zeitgeist (yes, I just wrote “economic zeitgeist”) into something positive. One of the main things that is changing here is how we answer the question “Should we build this, or buy it?” by deciding to buy products from vendors rather than spend our energies on building an ancillary tool.
By choosing to buy solutions to problems, we’ve freed up a lot of our time to focus on the actual meat of the product that needs the solution and thus provide our clients with more of what they came to us for in the first place: creative, interesting, unique, and highly usable applications. Secondly, I am a proponent of partnering with companies and people in such a way that we build relationships with each other that can benefit us both going forward. We have a great rapport with our hosting provider, Rackspace, for example that has opened up opportunities for both of us (I’d like to think so, at least) that would never have existed had we decided to do our own hosting.
We have also begun to embrace this ideology by releasing our own set of internal tools, namely X2O, to contribute back to the community in a way that we think can benefit a lot of people. By providing our infrastructure and exposing our methodology to people and organizations that we hope will partner with us, we’re giving everyone an opportunity to adopt the things that have helped us to streamline our operations and focus on the heart of the solutions that our community is hired to provide for clients.
So, cheer up people! It’s not all bad, out there — with each problem that we are forced to confront, we are given a matching opportunity to find a new solution that may help us to change our thinking in a way that works as a catalyst for something positive.
Please consider this a FORMAL INVITATION to an interview that the guys at The Thirsty Developer conducted with our dear friend and resident Know It All Mr. Ka Wai Cheung on the exhilirating topic of SOFTWARE FACTORIES. I think you’ll find it titillating and informative…it will also get you SERIOUSLY HYPED for the upcoming beta release of X2O.
With all the hype that’s floated around in the past few years regarding agile web development and (naturally) generated programming frameworks for agile web development (See Ruby on Rails, Django, CakePHP, TurboGears) I’ve recently been intrigued by the idea of building a similar database-driven framework for Flash/Actionscript.
Using the same gists of these existing frameworks, can you build a similar one for Flash/Actionscript? In fact, if you’re going to use Flex instead of Flash, you can perhaps even get these frameworks to spit out MXML for you instead of HTML (and some of us, like Stuart Eccles and The Midnight Coders are already doing that).
But, we know Actionscript has the capabilities of both client-side rendering and data access. You can create and tween movieclips with the same language that can build full-on OOP-stuff and grab and send data to the server through XML or LoadVars or Remoting. So, to simply smash Flash/Actionscript on top of these existing web frameworks seems, to me, to be only somewhat advantageous and not really exploiting the uniqueness of Actionscript in its entirety.
My point is, if you really think about it, you could build a framework where you only wrote in Actionscript. The server-side stuff would be entirely dictated and managed by this utopian framework. That’s the gist of what I’m working on at Xoprecious.
There are many questions to ask, before actually figuring out how this kind of generated framework would manifest itself.
What would scaffolding (generating templated views and view logic) look like in Actionscript?
How do you handle state and asynchronous data loads in this kind of a framework? (i.e. What tools and API should a developer get for trying to construct query calls to the server from Actionscript)?
Would this actually perform well?
Being the stubborn Flash-o-phile that I am, I see an opportunity to marry agile web development with Flash application development. It will take a little bearing with me.