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Export character and paragraph styles for Flex/Flash as css from Indesign

September 22nd, 2008 | By Cedric

postImage 01short Export character and paragraph styles for Flex/Flash as css from Indesign image
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Problematic

Sometimes they would occur situations when you have to convert a set of styles and paragraphs made with Adobe Indesign. In fact they are not much solution available, but epub and Digital Edition can come to your rescue…

Solution available

Paragraphs Styles and Characters Styles set in Adobe Indesign CS3’s documents or books are very efficiently converted into a .css style sheet.
This .css file works great with your Flex projects because Digital Edition is build on Flex, so this conversion makes it just perfectly fit Flex css requirements.
So it is a good temporary way to fill the gap between designers and developers in Flex 2-3 products workflow, before Thermo and XFL export are made available.
It is also an excellent generic solution to export .css files from Indesign CS3 styles.

How to

28 ps menu Export character and paragraph styles for Flex/Flash as css from Indesign image

Steps to get the css file.

0: In Indesign put text field with text to which you applied all styles that you want to export and select text fields
1: In Indesign choose File CrossMedia-export
2: Rename the exported .epub file into .zip
3: Decompress it
4: Open folder containing decompressed files and open subfolder: OEBPS/
5: Get the template .css file.

As you can see it put even fonts information, for example: @font-face {
font-family: “Corbel”;
font-style: normal;
font-weight: normal;
src:url(Fonts/CORBEL.TTF); /*note that only opentype fonts are officially supported*/
}

Only font information in the css file are usable in a Flex project, the “embedded encrypted font files” (OEBPS/Fonts) used by Digital Edition is not usable by Flex because they are restricted/binded to your DE document ):

More information about .epub and related formats: http://blogs.adobe.com/digitaleditions/indesign-epub.html
You should check out Live Docs on export epub
You should also install and test Adobe Digital Edition (AIR Installer), this is a beautifull piece of software.

Pattern Park Reviewed Flex Application Frameworks PureMVC winner

November 20th, 2007 | By Cedric

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I have read and listened recently about a really interesting review on Application Frameworks for Flex. I was happy to see that my choice of using PureMVC several months ago was relevant…

Application Frameworks for Flex comparison

Silvafug, the Silicon Valley Flex User Group has had a presentation by Luke Bayes and Ali Mills from Pattern Park about Flex Application Frameworks review. This is presented for the first time. They tested Cairngorm, PureMVC, ARP, MVCS, Flest, Model-Glue: Flex, ServerBox Foundry, Guasax, and Slide.

They built their report on following key points:
A: Approachability: documentation, adoption, active community, shared knowledge.
B: Scalability: testable, clear encapsulation, accommodates change, support parallel development, modular applications.
C: Flexibility: open-source licence, context independent.

You can check the full Adobe Connect Session of this presentation. They did not finish their presentation, because an open discussion started. It is a pity that they did not show their timed comparison between Cairngorm and PureMVC. By the way the discussion is also interesting.

Results of Luke Bayes and Ali Mills review of Flex application frameworks

Their results is that Cairngorm, officially supported by Adobe, is the best way nowadays to cooperate with a wide range of consultants around the world. But they showed that PureMVC Application Framework is the one which best fulfil approachability, scalability and flexibility. Their piece of advice is then to go firstly with Cairngorm, but to learn and to use PureMVC as much as the context allows it because they consider it is the best one. PureMVC was built by Cliff Hall, a very experienced Project Architect. He started to develop PureMVC after having a broad commercial experience of Cairngorm. This can explain why PureMVC is so good and so smart addressing drawbacks of Cairngorm.

analogd use PureMVC, my experience.

I personally choose this framework few month ago during analogdesign’s transition phase to Actionscript 3. After several months of use in a commercial context for Flex and AIR development, it revealed to be amazingly efficient, flexible and clean. It deserves its denomination of pure, everything is well organised based on the role of each element in a complete respect of the Model View Controller pattern and integrate most of Gang of Four design patterns. It has also the advantage to remain independent, to lighten at the maximum the logic within views (MXML files) and delegate all business tasks. It also manages very well events by keeping them within the outer bounds of the Framework. It adds also another level of abstraction to communicate events (named notifications) through the Framework. It avoids a cumbersome spaghettis’ plate of events which may occur sometimes with development only based on official Flex events. Moreover, PureMVC has a test suite API to allow corresponding Unit Testing and on the long run seems to be very stable (the core is simple not much modification to occur which may break your apps). Last but not least, PureMVC has an excellent documentation made by people who are very efficient to communicate complex information and devoted to answer in detail every question on their forum. They are also setting up a courseware which I am currently Beta testing.

Conclusion which application frame to choose for flex

My piece of advice is that you should have a look at this framework at http://www.puremvc.org, even if you are a very experienced Cairngorm user, it does not take much time to check the main documentation which is very well written. I will prepare soon a generic Model for PureMVC to be used on Enterprise Architect (which I will review shortly). Do not hesitate to drop me a line on this subject.

Appendix

Alex Uhlmann has plenty of articles on using Cairngom efficiently.
Thomas Burleson made several points on problems caused by Cairngorm and made multiple proposition to improve it.
Derrick Grigg made very interesting suggestions on diverse points.

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