Building Blogs with Flex

The race is on to build a blog using Flex.  When Flex first hit the streets I immediately thought of making a WordPress theme built entirely in Flex that works with PHP (the WordPress backend).  I never got around to creating this idea, but others have had the same notion to build a Flex-based blog.  I have seen a few implementations of this idea, but the best by far is Incito blog.  There is already a way to read WordPress using the ActionScript 3 RPC Library available on Google code and Incito implements this in a manner that makes the blog indistinguishable from a regular web page.   Some of the other entries include Code Zen and Mike Britten’s blog. 

I think to approach the Flex blog appropriately, you need to really flesh out the application to work like current WordPress themes.   Themes allow you to dynamically change the style and look of your blog.  Using Flex runtime CSS would be great here.   Allow users to configure the style of the blog (perhaps with Apollo to export a SWF file from a app that edits the CSS style sheet) or even change the blog’s appearance based on the viewers preference.  In addition, users can load their graphics to brand the site using either CSS or Modules.  WordPress widgets are essential to WordPress themes.  The Flex blog could use modules to load 3rd party Flex widgets, this opens up a whole other area for development.    Flex widgets could be loaded at run time and added to an XML configuration file so that the user can add/remove Flex widgets.    Think of all the mashups that are done with Flex and how these could easily be converted to widgets that plug into either a HTML or Flex-based theme.

I have long wanted to improve upon the WordPress blog manager, and Flex would definitely work well for that purpose.  This part could be in Apollo and allow users to even to write blog posts from the desktop in the way Windows Live Writer does.  So what is the down side to a Flex-based blog?   Well, for one the HTML code is limited.  Another issue would be the requirement to have Flash player 9 installed.  However, blog’s like mine are mainly read by people who have Flash player 9 installed, so it would not be a problem.   The other option is to have a basic HTML version of your blog as a backup for those who do not have the plugin installed.  I look forward to the first real open-source and customizable Flex-based them for WordPress, one that allows the community to build widgets, create themes, and modify to create new Flex themes off of a white labeled version of the Flex blog.   

 

– Mister

3 Comments

  1. I run a Flex blog with user commenting, valid atom and rss2 syndication and it also supports embedded media (flash, images, downloads with counters,etc). Instead of going the WordPress route or similar based on an existing blog engine to base admin on it seemed a better fit for me to custom build a php/mysql package that was both Flex on the frontend and Flex in admin. This way I can use RTE’s across the board, pull existing articles back in (or comments during approval process) for editing and use a customized backend to swap out to standard html if need be in cases where that fits better than the textarea tagging from he RTE’s (atom,rss, w3c html version,etc).

    http://www.flex-fanatic.com/index2.html

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