UrlKit 0.5 hits the streets

September 22, 2006 on 8:05 pm | In Flex, Programming | 11 Comments

Together with Todd Rein of Adobe Systems, I’ve been working for some time on a Flex library called UrlKit that helps with the thorny problem of coupling a browser’s URL-based navigation to the behavior of a Flex application. It’s finally ready to release in a provisional form. You can get it from Google Code.

What’s so cool about UrlKit?

  • A new UrlKit URL appears in the browser’s location bar whenever your application state changes. Likewise, whenever the browser navigates to a UrlKit URL, it is parsed and the application receives a new state without being reloaded. Bookmarks and Back/Forward are thus supported seamlessly.
  • You get to define what “state” means. Absolutely any aspect of your Flex application can be coupled to the browser’s URL, not just properties of UI components.
  • Your URL syntax is as transparent, readable and maintainable as you like, e.g. http://example.com/myApp.html#/search;keyword=cameras;productId=123. Unlike the built-in Flex history mechanism, you can completely control the URL syntax and what goes into it.

To see it in action, try the sample application.

Here’s an MXML snippet showing what it’s like to set up a URL/state mapping like the example given above, binding the different URL pieces to various bindable variables in your application:

<url:UrlRuleSet>
    <url:UrlValueRule urlFormat="/*" sourceValue="tabName"/>
    <url:UrlValueRule urlFormat=";keyword=*" sourceValue="searchKeyword"/>
    <url:UrlValueRule urlFormat=";productId=*" sourceValue="productId"/>
</url:UrlRuleSet>

Todd and I think this is pretty fun and powerful stuff, and we’re using it at Allurent in some of our applications. Looking forward, this will be an important tool in integrating conventional HTML-based search engines with Flex applications.

Final note: it’s still in an early stage, so expect a few rough edges! There’s been no exhaustive browser testing and there are some known issues with Safari.

11 Comments

11 Comments »

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  1. Awesome stuff Joe and Todd! And thanks for the very liberal license! I look forward to using this in a number of projects.

    Comment by James Ward — September 22, 2006 #

  2. This is a really cool project. Thanks for sharing.

    However, the stuff crashes my Safari browser v2.0.4 (419.3) consistently. I’m on intelMac.

    Works great in firefox.

    Comment by michael hansen — September 23, 2006 #

  3. Thanks, Michael. Yes, we know there are Safari isues and I neglected to mention it; I’ve added a note on current browser support to the URLKit page.

    There are basic problems with Safari support for deep linking. We’ll enhance the Javascript integration to either work with Safari or, at a minimum, not crash the browser!

    Comment by joe — September 23, 2006 #

  4. [...] UrlKit Joe Berkovitz ha creado UrlKit, una librería open source que permite recuperar el control de la estructura de enlaces de una aplicación RIA en el navegador de forma que podamos asignar una URL a un contenido determinado. Esto puede ser muy beneficioso de cara a mejorar la indexación de contenidos en los motores de busqueda. Un ejemplo que usa Urlkit se encuentra disponible aquí. [...]

    Pingback by MadeInFlex &#187; Blog Archive &#187; UrlKit — September 23, 2006 #

  5. Wow Joe,

    some people blog, some people blog interesting stuff, and there there are peops who blog killer stuff.

    I know you have been working for a while on this, its awesome!

    thanks a lot for an excellent piece. I will definitely put in my standard reportoire!

    Cheers to you and Todd.

    Comment by ilya — September 24, 2006 #

  6. Joe,
    Very cool – we had plan to develop similar product for enterprises and retailers – combination of server based context storage and shortUrl.com type facade.
    Would be interesting to try on the next web (not intranet) application. Thanks again for sharing
    Anatole

    Comment by Anatole Tartakovsky — September 27, 2006 #

  7. Soooo sweet guys.

    Nice work.

    Comment by Campbell — September 27, 2006 #

  8. Thanks.

    good job =)

    Comment by engin83 — March 14, 2007 #

  9. The link to the urlkit is not working it returns to this page

    Comment by Darren — January 27, 2009 #

  10. Thanks for pointing this out Darren – we’ve moved the project to Google Code since this original long-ago post.

    The link is now fixed.

    Comment by joe — January 27, 2009 #

  11. Thanks so much Joe and Todd. That’s really adds pep to the Flex application.

    Comment by Vishnu Prasd Parandhaman — February 7, 2010 #

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