Free, an interview with Adobe's Flash guru Grant Skinner on Flash CS3
April 19, 2007 by Luba Sirakova

Dmxzone.com interviews Grant Skinner, a "Geek with a design twist" as he calls himself. Grant worked on the new ActionScript components of Flash CS3 and has worked on everything from digital art, computer vision, and installations, to games, interactive video and large scale applications.

Read on for an extract of the interview, you can read the complete interview in the April 2007 e-Magazine.

Overview

About Grant Skinner

DMXzone: Who is Grant Skinner? Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and your work? What is your drive?

Grant Skinner: "That’s a good question, and one I’m still trying to answer. I’m still trying to decide what I want to be when I “grow up”, but for now I guess I’m a geek with a design twist?

I’m very easily bored, and that has made the hallmark of my work diversity. In the past year I’ve worked on everything from digital art, computer vision, and installations, to games, interactive video, large scale applications, components and everything in between.

Fortunately I now have an amazing team of developers that offset my capriciousness, and make sure we get real work done. It lets me focus on inventing creative solutions to tough problems, which is when I’m happiest. I also have a very understanding wife."

DMXzone: How did you get involved in designing the V3 components for Flash 9?

Grant Skinner: "My team and I were asked to develop the new component set by Adobe and Metaliq, based on our experience in this area, and our understanding of the Flash development community. I’ve been building UI “components” since I developed FlashOS in Flash 5, culminating in the glic / mCOM lightweight interface components that we ultimately sold to Metaliq."

About Flash9 components

DMXzone: You’ve been working on the V3 components for Flash (Blaze) together with Adobe. What are the major changes in comparison to previous components and why did you design a completely new component structure?

Grant Skinner: "These components are really focused. We stripped a lot of secondary features that the majority of developers never used, and worked to make the important features much easier to work with and extend."

DMXzone: What was the main goal of the V3 components?

Grant Skinner: "Actually, we identified five core goals when we started the new component set:

• Reduced file size

• Customizability (specifically skinning and styling)

• Extensibility

• Improved performance

• API compatibility with Flex"

Read the complete interview in the April 2007 e-Magazine read more

DMXzone: Can you tell more about the philosophy behind Flash 9and the new components?

Grant Skinner: "There are two major overlapping spheres of Flash development: Rich application development and rich experience development. The former is addressed specifically by Flex, and has a robust (though large and complex) component set designed for it. We set out to build a component set that targeted the latter. This includes areas like website and game development, where simple skinning, small file size, and custom component modification / creation is critical."

DMXzone: The new components are much easier to skin and style. Can you explain why it took up to this version before they where implemented?

Grant Skinner: "In the past, skinning was a balance between simplicity and control. The v2 components leaned heavily towards control, and the trade-off was that they were quite difficult to skin. We leaned back the other way with this set, but the addition of scale9 to the Flash player allowed us to simplify things without sacrificing too much control."

Read the complete interview in the April 2007 e-Magazine read more

About Other Projects

DMXzone: I liked your overview of projects at galleryincomplet. Can you give a short description of your favourite projects?

Grant Skinner: "Well, I’m not sure about specific projects, but there have always been a couple of core themes in my experimental work: simulation of organic systems, and interconnectedness. The complexity that springs from the simplest natural system is awe inspiring, and the patterns that emerge when you connect simple systems fascinate me. I love watching the hypokeimenon (I’ve always wanted to use that in a sentence) of a system emerge as I tweak numbers and code."

About Flash and Flex

DMXzone: What are the main advantages of ActionScript 3?

Grant Skinner: "Speed and consistency, though there are a TON of others – as evidenced by the talk I’m giving at FitC Chicago titled “50 Reasons AS3 Kicks Ass”."

Read the complete interview in the April 2007 e-Magazine read more

Luba Sirakova

Luba SirakovaLuba Sirakova is happy to work as a Content Manager for Dynamic Zones – the company behind the zones network.

Luba graduated from Technical University Sofia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer systems and technologies. Now she masters her Master`s in HR.

See All Postings From Luba Sirakova >>

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