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Flex Sample - A rich RDF/RSS reader in 50 lines of code
by Sean Neville
December 2, 2003
Summary
Christophe has provided sample Flex and MXML source worth a peek. While crafting a browser-based RSS reader is not exactly a likely use case, it is more interesting than yet another Hello World intro, and it illustrates just how much can be accomplished in Flash with a few lines of MXML.

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I wouldn't look to replace NetNewsWire or FeedDemon (I'm one of those guys who wears out carpet and the swivel feature of his chair by working simultaneously on a Mac and a PC all day long) but what's encouraging to me about this example is just how much can be accomplished with a few declarations using MXML and the Flash components bundled in Flex. It reminds me a bit of how I sometimes feel using Ruby or Python for certain tasks in a Java-dominated server world, in that while not appropriate in every tier -- it seems to excel in the web presentation tier -- it's refreshingly simple without sacrificing power.

Link: http://www.markme.com/cc/archives/003901.cfm

Screenshot:

Source:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>

<mx:Application width="900" height="600" xmlns:mx="http://www.macromedia.com/2003/mxml">

    <mx:Style src="main.css"/>

    <mx:Script>
        var selectedBlog;
        var selectedEntry;

        function treeItemSelected(evt) {
            // When a new blog is selected in the tree, use the HTTPService to get the feed
            var url=evt.target.selectedItem.attributes.url;
            if (url!=null) {
                selectedBlog=url;
                feed.send();
            }
        }
    </mx:Script>

    <!-- an XML document containing the list of blogs I read -->
    <mx:XML id="treeModel" src="tree.xml"/>

    <!-- The HTTP Service used to get the feeds  -->
    <mx:HTTPService id="feed" url="{selectedBlog}"/>

    <mx:HBox>
        <!-- The tree displaying blogs organized by categories -->
        <mx:Tree width="250" heightFlex="1" change="treeItemSelected(event);">
            {treeModel}
        </mx:Tree>

        <mx:VBox>
            <!-- The blog header -->
            <mx:VBox verticalGap="0" backgroundColor="#EEF5EE" borderStyle="outset" widthFlex="1">
                <mx:Label styleName="title">
                    {feed.result.rss==null?feed.result.RDF.channel.title:feed.result.rss.channel.title}
                </mx:Label>
                <mx:Label>
                    {feed.result.rss==null?feed.result.RDF.channel.date:feed.result.rss.channel.lastBuildDate}
                </mx:Label>
                <mx:Link click="getUrl('mailto:'+event.target.label)">
                    {feed.result.rss==null?feed.result.RDF.channel.link:feed.result.rss.channel.link}
                </mx:Link>
            </mx:VBox>

            <!-- A datagrid displaying the post titles for the selected blog -->
            <mx:DataGrid widthFlex="1" height="220" change="selectedEntry=event.target.selectedItem"
                dataProvider="{feed.result.rss==null?feed.result.RDF.item:feed.result.rss.channel.item}"
                columnNames="{feed.result.rss==null?['title','date']:['title','pubDate']}"/>

            <!-- The post excerpt -->
            <mx:TextArea id="description" widthFlex="1" heightFlex="1" html="true" wordWrap="true" editable="false">
                {selectedEntry.description}
            </mx:TextArea>

            <!-- A link to the article in the original blog -->
            <mx:Link id="itemLink" click="getUrl(event.target.label, '_blank')">
                {selectedEntry.link}
            </mx:Link>

        </mx:VBox>

    </mx:HBox>

</mx:Application>


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About the Blogger

Sean Neville is a software architect at Macromedia where he is focused on creating the Flex platform. His previous projects include the JRun application server and Flash-related products for J2EE and .NET. His experiences include membership in the JCP Executive Committee and numerous JSR expert groups; authoring articles, contributing to books, and speaking on enterprise topics; financial services app consulting; building doomed yet fun web startups; maintaining open source projects; and half-decent fiddling of Irish jigs and reels.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2003 Sean Neville. All rights reserved.

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