Tuesday, 8 April 2008

AIR UML thingy overview

So ... here's the overview of the project.

The green box contains the most basic possible release of the software - no real whistles and bells beyond getting something useful that we can start using / testing.

The boxes above that are the language / saved file format stuff.

The blue boxes are things for versions 2 to 100 ... 

All saved data / parameters / language specs etc will be in xml.  The entire app will be written in AS3 only - nothing specific to Flex or Flash.  No assets ... well, maybe a png library later, but it should be possible to compile the project from either an empty FLA or a simple Flex project without requiring any assets.

So - with the whole project written in pure AS3, anyone who uses the software will also be able to modify / adapt / enhance / reskin it.

In terms of UML elements, I think we should start with the most commonly used elements and then add further ones later.  

As far as interface / usability goes, my 2 favourite pieces of software are coda, by panic, and omnigraffle by omnigroup.  If we get anywhere near to something as beautifully usable as those two I'll be a very very happy bunny.

The 'class swatches' add on is something I'm kind of excited about myself.  It would allow you to have templates for classes / design patterns that you drop in and edit.  

I'll expand more on the diagram above as soon as I get a chance, and it's by no means a concrete solution, just the one that I've come to so far - all feedback / ideas gratefully received.


Jeroen said...

Why not design specifically in Flex? I would think that Flex is perfectly suited for this. If we would use flex, we could use the basic components, which are nicely skinnable on their own, which will allow for easier design of the program once we have something functional.

Have you checked out osflash? (Or if that doesn't suite your needs, google code ?)

Stray said...

Hi Jeroen - thanks for chipping in :)

It's a good question - I guess I just felt that the potential for people to contribute is quite significantly restricted by making it a Flex only project. That might be entirely based on my personal experience so I know it's probably not accurate.

I have only done rough sketches but I haven't yet thought that there are very many of the standard Flex components in the main application, though these might emerge as we develop further. The beauty of AIR is that we can use the native menus for quite a lot of it ... which should cut down on the need for common UI stuff. The drag / drop interfacey bits all feel quite a long way from the Flex Component suite, but perhaps I'm missing something?

I guess starting out hoping to be all embracing is a jumping off point - if it seems that one or other of flex or flash is going to be a much more suitable environment then I can see that we'd choose to restrict it.

I like the osflash stuff - have had a quick look and once I've had time to do a little more top level development I'll definitely set a project up on there.

I've done a tiny bit of work on this - will post up where I'm at shortly - all feedback gratefully received!