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From Dirk Eismann <>
Subject Asset / i18n resource management improvements
Date Tue, 12 Jun 2012 13:27:09 GMT
I'm currently experimenting on how to improve resource management in
future Apache Flex versions.

It all started when I wanted to mimic the Android IDE (ADT) behavior
where ADT automatically creates a class R with static accessors for
project resources. E.g. a default Android project has a /src and a
/res folder. If you put a foo.jpg into the /res/drawable folder, the
ADT creates that can be referred to in your code (where
foo is actually a int that's used for resource loading at runtime,
more info here [1])

So I jumped in and created a plugin for Eclipse / Flash Builder that
does the same by autogenerating a class with static fields that
are used to [Embed] image assets. As soon as you drop images into
/res/images inside of a FB project, the class gets updated etc.
This happens before the mxmlc compiler starts a compilation run, so
you can do this in your code

<s:Image source="{}"/>

This works pretty nicely, although as of now it's only working in FB /
Eclipse, not with CLI builds (yet) [2]

The next thing on my list was to improve ResourceBundle / i18n
handling a bit. I'm too tired to use ResourceManager.getInstance or
resourceManager.getString("foo", "bar") all the way which is annoying
to type and error prone. Would be much nicer to have code hinting here
as well. Ideally, I'd like to do

  <s:Label text="{}"/>

which would get the value of the key "foo" from ResourceBundle
"myBundle". Another way would be to have a class B (for Bundles) which
is even less typing

  <s:Label text="{}"/>

or something like this.The general idea is to avoid too much typing
and taking advantage of what an IDE offers you in terms of code

The nice side effect of this "less code to type" approach is that you
get "less errors that will happen" as well since all asset / resource
accesses are checked by the compiler.

Currently I have a few ideas and things I would like to implement:

1) envision how a default project layout for a Flex project could look
like. As of now a default project has a /src folder. Maybe we can
agree that it's a good idea to put place assets into an /assets or
/resources folder. This would be the default path that is used for
automatic asset / bundle transformation and code generation

2) create a compiler extension for mxmlc or a patched version of the
flex2.compiler.i18n.I18nCompiler that automatically generates / emits
code for the R class and modifying the code that gets generated for
the mx.resource.ResourceBundle sublasses without breaking backwards
compatibility (so you can still do @Resource or

3) create a Ecipse / FB plugin that uses the "rules" from 1) and the
compiler extension from 2) to streamline this in the IDE (as of now I
am an FB / Eclipse user so I can only provide Elcipse plugin know-how,
I have not yet done anything with IntelliJ or any other Flex IDE)

So... what do you think? I would also like to know what other people
have in mind concerning asset / resource bundle management, maybe we
can team up?



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