Monday, September 3, 2007

Configuring Eclipse for Servlet and Flex Development

During the past few months I've been doing Flex and Servlet development in Eclipse on a WinXP machine and simultaneously on a Macbook Pro running Mac OS 10.4. The tools and set up are pretty much the same on Win and Mac.

For newbies, figuring out the correct tools to use and how to configure them can take a bit of time and a bit of guess work. It isn't always obvious from searches on the web which are the best options, and what information is up to date. I started capturing configuration details on an internal wiki, because we have a few people on my project at Adobe that have needed to simultaneously come up to speed on these procedures. I've publicly posted this information here to help others that may be in the same situation that I was a few months ago.

Click here to see the full article.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

What I'm Reading - isn't exactly what I'm reading, but this site's collection of training videos and sample code is a learning resource that is worth checking out. covers a wide range of development topics and software products, including most Adobe products. They are an interesting alternative to sitting through days of not-always-suitably-paced classroom training, or reading technical books.

I discovered when I was gripping to Patti Sokol how I had missed an opportunity to get into a Flash training class. Patti is a first class trainer that Adobe uses for teaching Adobe employees their own products. She whispered to me to check out I subsequently watched a disk for ActionScript 3.0 in Flex Builder Essential Training and was sold.'s courses are current, interesting and nicely divided into small Quicktime movie files, allowing you to absorb a few movies at a time, whenever you have a spare few minutes. They make the first few movies of most courses available on their web site for free, which is great for trying before you buy.

You can buy individual full courses for a few hundred dollars. A better alternative is their subscription model of $25/month, or $250/year.'s products are well suited to a subscription model because software technologies are changing every year, and so every year there are new courses that you need to take. Having the freedom to go in and cherry pick a lesson on a particular subject (eg. using library elements in Dreamweaver) is also quite useful.

Here are comments on a few of the titles that I've gone through so far:

There are courses on Javascript, expert courses on using Photoshop, Mac OS X, MS Office, you name it.

Something that I don't like about the subscription model is that you can only view lessons online. This is an issue for me because most of my spare learning time is when I am not sitting at a desktop and connected. For example when using Caltrain, or at Peet's, or in the late evening in bed where my wireless doesn't reach. You can get around this by copying the .mov files out of your browser cache, or running ethernet to your bedroom (which I subsequently have done). Copying the files feels a bit dishonest, but if I couldn't do this, I don't think the site would suit my needs. Getting files out of your cache is made an easier operation by the Firefox CacheViewer addon.

Jim's Technical Blog Created

I have a back log of technical information that I've written, or intend to write, and have been meaning to publish. I'm hoping the creation of this blog might encourage me to do so.