Learning Technology

Xerte 3.0 Beta

1 October 7th, 2010 at 01:10

There is a new beta of Xerte 3.0 to play with that you can download here: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xerte/xerte3.htm. Xerte 3.0 is a complete rewrite of Xerte 2.x, using the Flex framework. There is a major difference between this latest version and previous versions which I wanted to say something about. Anyone following Xerte 3.0 developments, or starting to use Xerte 3.0 to develop content needs to be aware of these changes.

Xerte 3.0 now compiles .swf files. It creates, from your code, the actual .swf file. There is no engine.swf unlike previous versions of Xerte 3.0 and Xerte 2.x. There are a number of good reasons why this was a good step to take.

Xerte 3.0 is really an .mxml editor and compiler using the Flex SDK to compile.swfs. You will need to download and install the Flex SDK to use Xerte 3.0 (see instructions on the web site). This means that Xerte 3.0 is quite clearly a tool for developers. It also means that you are interacting with the Flex SDK directly, rather than having our code parse and play your code. There are major performance benefits to doing this, as well as getting access to all the benefits of the Flex SDK, and it means that you can directly draw on all the Flex community’s knowledge to create content with Xerte 3.0. Xerte 3.0 can compile many of the examples on Adobe’s website and in the help system, as well as dozens of samples already available from the Flex community. It also means you are developing marketable skills in an established software development environment.

Flex is a very powerful, flexible (pardon the pun) and extensible suite of tools. Xerte 3.0 aims to fill a gap in the market of tools that sits somewhere between the hardcode coder’s IDEs such as FlashDevelop or FlashBuilder, and something like Xerte 2.x or Authorware, and as time goes on Xerte 3.0 will contain more and more elearning specific features.

Xerte 3.0 can build ‘normal’  flash applications. It can also build Air applications, and package them into installers, and when the Flex 4.5 SDK is complete, Xerte 3.0 will be able to build Mobile Applications. Being able to target all these platforms is exciting, particularly the mobile Air applications. Xerte 3.0 development is now closely following the development of the Flex 4.5 SDK – when that is complete I’ll be able to finish Xerte 3.0 and draw on all the new features in Flex 4.5.

There’s loads more to say about Flex, but not enough time or space here. I’m going to start a series of short tutorials to introduce you to the new environment and features, and walk you through all the new components, and other stuff you’ll want to know about: components, styles, skinning, states, effects, transitions, data binding, using your own custom classes…

In the meantime, download and install the beta, and let me know any comments,

Thanks to Peter Huppertz – who has made a major contribution,

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