discovering Flex

I’ve been discovering the Flex development environment (Flash Builder) and the scripting language the last couple of weeks. I’ve been doing the very good on-line course which really gives you insight into the program and the object oriented approach that is used. It’s nice to test my knowledge of OOP and see how Flex compares to Java. In the course they use the MVC pattern to set up projects. The whole environment is set up so that it is easy to separate data from interface and functionality. Design can be styled in separate stylesheets. In design mode you can quickly create an application by dragging and dropping components.

After having worked with Flash for over 10 years this is such an improvement. Much credit of course goes to Eclipse, the base on which the Builder is build. I also love the Network Monitor. It lets you monitor all incoming and outgoing data in three views two of which being tree view (XML nodes) and raw (plain text). Binding is also a very important, new concept for me. It is used to bind data to UI components.

Flex can only take XML as input. Flash is a lot more flexible in that respect. So I have to format all the database data to XML which isn’t all that difficult once you get the hang of it. Below is my first Flex project using the data from the Collecting Silence database to determine the relationship between stress and silence. I’ve used a standard chart component to make a first visualisation and trying out the concepts.

silence explorer

Finally I can pick up the research about the correlation between silence and stress. This was of course the main goal of the Collecting Silence project but I never got round to really dive into it. So I picked up where I left two years ago.

I’ve worked on a sketch in Processing:

Blue = silence data, green = stress. I want to create a sort of landscape where the gaps between the two create the relation. I want to integrate this graph in an application where people can explore the data from the perspective of the correlation:

Rolling over the data lines displays the values and moves the map. You can pick a date and explore the data attached to that date.

I’m going to build the app in Flash/AS3 (as the website of the project is for a large part in Flash) and I’m trying to do it the OOP way again which is still quite hard for me.


silence over time

For some time I’ve been looking for a way to display silence on the maps
when I don’t move. I did a test to determine how far the markers must be
apart to make them accessible and how this corresponds with GPS coordinates.
In processing I’ve written a script that looks for the uppermost top-left
coordinate in a file and from that point starts building a grid. Of course
the coordinates aren’t exact but they will around the silent area and you’ll
be able to access all of the points. I build this example using GeoRSS that
I created in Processing.


making a silence map


Picture by Werkplaats voor de Stilte (Ingrid Bal)
In this final workshop we explored the actual space of the future silence
space. We used the social mapping method called MAPit, developed by the
researchers of the Media & Design Academy in Genk (B), visit for more information. It’s an intuitive and visual way
to think about a problem. In this case the problem was: what constitutes a
silence place, what do we think should be present in such a space. In the
picture you see the final version of our map. As I’ve got a soft spot for maps I really enjoyed working with this flexible
mapping tool. Apart from visualising it also makes discussion very easy.

Collecting silence first data visualisation


My first attempt at visualising the stress and noise data from the
collecting silence (¬†project. An aim of the project is to discover if there’s
a direct relation between silence and relaxation/well-being. In this cut-out
of a large graph there seems to be some relation. (The longer and more
transparent the line the higher the value.)