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Michael Smith: I am talking with Flash guru Chafic Kazoun about his talk "Component Development in Flash MX 2004" in the MX integration track of CFUN-04. Why should programmers be interested in Flash components?

Chafic Kazoun: Components are a great way of reusing code. Object Oriented Programming is always promoting the reuse of code, but at times it is hard to ensure that this principal is practiced in application development, especially when multiple developers are involved. Components help isolate certain parts of an application and help ensure that logic is not tightly coupled with the rest of the application.

MS: What kinds of things can you do with Flash components?

CK: With Flash Components you can abstract UI functionality (widgets) or pretty much any application logic. Generally though, Flash Components are created to abstract UI functionality to help simplify the complexities of Flash application development.

MS: So what are specific example? Slider controls, picture selection or what?

CK: The most obvious example of UI Components would be the components included with Flash. You can see them in the Components panel. Simple components like button and checkbox, to complex components like the DataGrid and Tree.

MS: Is it hard to make a component?

CK: It really depends. Building a simple component that doesn't rely on any framework is pretty easy. Once you get into building a more complex component, a good knowledge of best practices and the usage of a framework is crucial. As with everything, and especially with component development, the more experience you acquire building components, the faster you will be able to develop them.

MS: Do you have any tips for people new to components?

CK: Don't expect to get it right the first time. Component development takes time to master. The more components you develop the better equipped you will be for the next component.

MS: Are there any tools or code snippets that help?

CK: I would recommend a good source code editor and documentation generation tools if you plan to sell a component commercially. Other then that, studying the source code of the components Macromedia includes with Flash MX 2004 is very useful.

MS: That is great - Flash components sound cool and I am interested to hear your talk!

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