I'm preparing to release a personal project to public beta in a few weeks. As part of the private beta, I have people giving me feedback on the user interface. Chas, my wife, complained that the time picker component I was using, from the Yahoo Astra package, was confusing. Another of her complains was that she couldn't tab through the time fields without difficulty. I have had this complaint as well, so her feedback was valuable.
In looking around at the various timechooser/timepicker controls out there, I didn't really find anything I felt worked well. I think some folks have made noble efforts at creating some nice controls, but I just didn't feel they hit the mark when it came to simplicity, usability or ease of implementation. I really did not want to develop my own because I realized this would take me a couple of my evenings. However, after hours of searching I set about to do exactly this.
I'm not going to go a lot into how I built it in this post. Overall its relatively simple, made from a DateChooser, Spark TextInputs, and a DropDownList. It has built-in validation and the isValid property on the object can be bound to determine when the date is a valid value.
Click here to see demo and view source (right click on the demo to view the source)
I have not done extensive testing on this, but would appreciate any feedback or bugs you might find. It's not skinned, so it's not the prettiest thing in the world. Also, I built the control for a Spark app in Flex 3 Compatibility mode. The demo I provided works with without Flex Compatibility mode, and you will need to change the namespaces of the ns tags to mx when you want to use it with Flex 3 Compatibility mode. I would love any feedback you might have!
Flex, Flash & AS3
I wanted to create a quick list of Flex-specific plugins I find most helpful for my day-to-day Flex development. Mostly this serves as a reminder to me when I rebuild my IDE, but I thought others may find them useful too.
FlexFormatter - This is probably the plugin I use the most. In addition to highly configurable code formatting, FlexFormatter also has some excellent tools to assist in generating ASDoc comments. Installation is easy, just download and drop the jar files into your Eclipse plugins folder, then restart Eclipse.
FlexPMD - I recently discovered FlexPMD and wish I'd had this tool much sooner. The FlexPMD Eclipse plugin works with FlexPMD to help you spot and solve issues in your code. It comes with some prepackaged tests, but you can also create and customize your own. It encourages best practices code, and will help you improve your code before you push it to production. FlexPMD can be executed from ANT tasks, and there is plenty of documentation on how to integrate this into your Continuous Integration tooling.
ActionScript Framework Downloader - If you work with frameworks and other libs, this is a tool you cannot live without. It allows you to download common frameworks directly into your project with a couple of clicks. HUGE time saver! Read the installer instructions carefully, as it does require the SVN command line tools in addition to the plugin.
Flex Builder Localization Tool - Another tool I recently discovered, the Locatization Tool assists you in removing hard coded strings in your application and replacing them with calls to localization scripts.
Not Flex-specific, but Mylyn is a very popular plugin to assist with code versioning and issue
tracking. I use it with JIRA/SVN and Trac/SVN. I won't go into it a lot
here simply because so many resources already exist for Mylyn. But I do
highly recommend adding it to your workflow!
If you know of any other "cannot live without" Flex plugins for Eclipse, I'd love to hear about them.
Flex, Flash & AS3 · Process & Tooling