100 Posts! A retrospective and the best links from my blog.

TADAAAAA ! This post is the 100th blog post on my blog. Its been a fun ride so I figured I wrote a bit on the history of this blog as well as link to my favorite posts here.

Winning the People's choice award at Flash Forward, Austin, 2006
Part of the Comcast Interactive Media Flash Team at Flash Forward, Austin, 2006. The Fan 3.0 won the People’s Choice Award (which is voted for by people on the www and not a panel of judges). A lot has changed since then: The team has changed, Fan 4 is a 100% Flex app and I have longer hair ;).
My first post here was on July 19, 2006. That said, this was my second attempt at blogging, the first attempt was something on blogger, where I posted my opinions on Flash, but I got bored of that real quick as I hardly got any traffic. I started Code Zen with the basic assumption that I will get no traffic at all. I basically wanted a place to keep all the code I worked on and get back to it months later. This was around the time Flex 2 was coming out of beta, and I needed a place to host FlexAmp, my entry to the Flex developer contest (FlexAmp was featured on labs.adobe.com for quite a while and is still featured on the community sample apps section on Adobe.com).Of course once in a while the entries here would be purely opinion, like defending Flex when someone took cheap shots at it, but for the most part, I used this blog to document Flex techniques and gotchas or full blown components (list at the end of this). Some of the examples have even inspired greater work within the community. For example, SuperTabNavigator, one of the most used components on FlexLib, the open source Flex library that seems to be the one with the most traction right now was developed by Doug McCune on top example code on this blog (He of course packaged it into a complete component from the proof of concept I had here).

One of the most memorable moments was getting on the main page of Digg. I had been working on an implementation of a Treemap algorithm, and just to test it out, I used Digg api’s (undocumented at the time) to render the stories in the treemap. I posted the result here and the next morning I had had 904 diggs and comments by some big names including Kevin Lynch, CTO of Adobe and some folk from within Digg itself. The link to the now busted application is here and the Digg page is here. I later repackaged the DiggGraphr application as an AIR application and entered it for the Digg Api contest. I didnt win but I was in the final 10 so I got some Digg T shirts and stuff. The air application was even featured on TechCrunch, one of my favorite blogs.

Around a year or so ago, we adopted Flex as a framework here at Comcast Interactive Media for a lot of our applications. This was definitely big since Flex 2 had just been launched, but I had been working with it since Beta 1. So when I architected and developed the forth version of Comcast Interactive Media’s flagship video portal-esque application in Flex, I blogged about it here. That entry got picked up by some high profile blog as well, including Mashable, ZDNet and Cable 360. That entry also allowed me to strengthen the case for developer blogging within Comcast. That has come to fruition with the recently launched developer blogs at CIM including the Flash/Flex team’s blog here.

Continuing on the cultural revolution within CIM, we recently even started releasing code under some of the most permissive open source licenses. A few months back we released LogBook, an AIR application for logging events from Flex applications under the MIT license. The launch was announced on this blog as well. Ryan Stewart from Adobe blogged about it as well, which was kinda cool :).

Like I said, its been a fun 100, even if it did take me a year and a half ! I am still as passionate about Flash and Flex today as I was earlier if not more. My life of course has changed a bit in the meanwhile, so that may start getting reflected in the content here. I am getting really interested in Ruby and a little intrigued by Processing. Meanwhile, at CIM, my role is changing as I move towards a principal engineering position. That means I spend a lot more time coding these days which is cool ;).

Here is a list of some downloadable code from here:

ScrollImage Flex component: An implementation of ScrollPane for Flex that isn’t based on the Canvas container, making it a lot lighter and efficient.
ImageSlicer: A class for cutting any DisplayObject into a grid and grabbing slices out of it.
MP3Playback Package: A pure AS3 package for playing MP3 sound.: A class for loading content into Flash from WordPress based on XML-RPC.
AS3 WordPress class

TabNavigator with closable/draggable tabs: The FlexLib container has more functionality but this has an explanation and can be extended arbitrarily.

Fixed Treemap code coming soon. I released it earlier but its broke again, so I’ll release it once its fixed.

Thanks all for visiting :).

Author: Arpit Mathur

Arpit Mathur is a Principal Engineer at Comcast Labs where he is currently working on a variety of topics including Machine Learning, Affective Computing, and Blockchain applications. Arpit has also worked extensively on Android and iOS applications, Virtual Reality apps as well as with web technologies like JavaScript, HTML and Ruby on Rails. He also spent a couple of years in the User Experience team as a Creative Technologist.

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