Sunday, January 20, 2008

Components are good for us

Imagine a skilled cabinetmaker who has always considered that the only way of installing good furniture in a new kitchen is to build each cupboard and table from scratch.

Intrigued by new kinds of hinges and drawers available in big hardware stores, he tries to incorporate them into his constructions, but something seems to have gone wrong. His cupboard doors no longer close correctly, and his drawers get stuck, because the woodworker is incapable of correctly integrating these new elements into his old-fashioned construction procedures. Then, one day, a friend invites the cabinetmaker along to an Ikea store, enabling him to discover a revolutionary approach to the installation of kitchens.

Today, concerning my operations as a Flash website developer [links], I'm very much in the same situation as the old-fashioned cabinetmaker. Since 2001, when I started to use Macromedia Flash, I've become quite proficient in the construction, from scratch, of websites based upon this approach. Meanwhile, the Flash tool has become considerably more complex. When I attempt to patch up certain aspects of my old websites, they refuse to function correctly in the new Flash environment. So, I tend to leave them alone, in their old operational state. Fortunately, today, there's an "Ikea solution" to problems of this kind. Instead of trying to patch up one of my antiquated tailor-made website elements, I can simply replace it by an off-the-shelf Flash component.

The reason I'm writing about this technical hitch [a non-problem, thanks to the concept of components] is that I've been held up recently, through bugs of the above-mentioned kind, in my preparation of two Flash websites that should interest Antipodes readers:

— One is an interface that will make it easier to access the Antipodes archives in a user-friendly fashion.

— The other will consist of free online access to my novel All the Earth is Mine, whose 16 chapters will be released on a weekly basis.

I'll provide precise details of these two services as soon as I've got them up and running.

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