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Flash Goddess
April, 2004
Vera Fleischer
Vera Fleischer
A tutorial that teaches elementary school kids about word problems

DNA strand
A DNA strand modeled in 3D Studio Max and exported to Flash via the Swift3D plugin

rotating 3D molecule
A rotating 3D molecule with planes drawn in
web services RIA
A sample web services RIA to go with a magazine article
Deutsche Version
Deutsche Version














Vera Fleischer

You recently wrote an article about web services in Flash, and you will be speaking about web services at Flash in the Can. What is your fascination with web services?
I have always liked combining Flash with server side technologies. I think that what attracts me to it is the challenge of getting Flash to work with something that's not native to it. Once you get the two to talk to each other and have Flash spit out the result, it's very rewarding.

Web services are especially challenging because they can be written in so many different languages. The eternal question of “Will this one work with Flash?” and the subsequent trying and prying are what keeps me fascinated by web services.

What new features of Flash MX 2004 do you like the best?
The support for web services of course!
Is this your first time speaking at a conference? Are you naturally a good speaker or was it a skill you needed to acquire?
Yes, this will be my first time speaking at a conference. The only public speaking I have done previously were presentations in college and a recent ActionScript 2.0 primer for a handful of people. For lack of evidence, I'm not sure if I'm a naturally good speaker. We will have to see what happens at Flash in the Can.
How do you like your new job on the Central team?
I am very excited about my new role, especially about the AOL API. As you may know, Macromedia has partnered up with AOL to make AIM and ICQ available inside of Central. I am testing these APIs as part of my new job.

People have built some great-looking chat applications with Flash. But to me, they have always lacked in usability. One of the main drawbacks of Flash-based chats is that you don’t know what’s going on unless you have the chat window focused. Many of us do lots of other stuff while we’re chatting. What I really value about “traditional” chat and instant message programs is that they can alert you visually when you have received a new message. When I receive a new IM in Trillian, for instance, the minimized window blinks at the bottom of the screen. This sort of cue wasn't possible with Flash – until now! Since Central is a host for Desktop applications, the developer has access to the Central icon in the Taskbar. She can make it blink and even display a balloon message when a specific event takes place in a Central application, even if that application is currently hidden from view. I think this feature will be put to good use in the next generation of Flash-based chats.

What are you doing to promote women in technology?
I try to support the women I know in the field as much as I can by making them known. I link to them, mention their work and generally remind the community of their existence. I especially make an effort for women who are very technically minded. I want to expel the stereotype that women don't use their left brain as much as men do. I personally am a predominantly logical and mathematical thinker, and I know I'm not the only female with that quality.

Of course the fact that I go the extra mile to make women heard only highlights the imbalance present in our society. But somebody has to do something. I think pointing out women who are hardcore geeks and successful at it is the first step.

I can't wait till a woman writes a groundbreaking article on OOP in Flash or a similar topic. I know it will happen. Just you wait.

What has your experience been with the Flash community?
My experience with the Flash community has been nothing short of fantastic. Over the last couple of years I have had numerous email exchanges with other Flashers, some of which have led to meetings in person and even friendships. Ever since I moved to San Francisco, Kristin Henry from GalaxyGoo and I have been meeting and geeking out on a regular basis. During a recent trip to Seattle I had dinner with Jessica Speigel and Aaron Adams from We're Here. Last December I went to Europe to visit my family, and while I was there met up with Peter Hall and Aral Balkan in London. During that trip I also attended the ColdFusion User Group meeting in Düsseldorf where I met Kai König. Kai and I ended up writing an article about Flash and ColdFusion web services together, which just recently appeared in the German magazine Internet Professionell. And how could I forget all the fun I have had with my Flash buddies at conferences such as Flash Forward and FlashKit!

I have not had any bad experiences with people from the Flash community. Granted our common interest in Flash makes it easy for the conversation to flow, but even if you take away Flash, all of these people are just plain cool.

Do you have any final thoughts and what would you like people to take away from this interview?
Keep sharing code, peoples! The Flash community would never have been the same if people hadn't shared their code so openly. Where would each of us be today if it hadn't been for a more seasoned Flasher's help? The thing about sharing code is that it definitely helps the recipient, but more importantly it helps the originator by feeding his or her reputation. It's a win-win situation, so I encourage everyone to keep doing it.

Thank you Vera! Looking forward to seeing you at the FlashintheCan Festival.

More articles by Vera:
Flashers: Just a bunch of copycats
A Day in the Life of a Macromedian
Getting a Handle on Web Services in Flash MX 2004
The Building Blocks of a Central Application

Vera's blog