May 09, 2008
Next big thing: Source Binder

Yesterday at the 10th flashconference in Stuttgart I was amongst the lucky ones who could witness the first public presentation of Source Binder by Visual Minds from Hungary and I can say that I was deeply impressed. What is Source Binder? In short: it is a lightweight framework for node based editing built in Flash. Oh yes - somehow it looks like this is the year of the node for Flash.

Node based editing means that instead of writing code you assemble a set of building blocks each with a specialized functionality on a canvas and "draw" the control flow or the dependencies by connecting those blocks with connector "cables". This allows you to create dynamic or interactive pieces in Flash without even having to know Actionscript.

The really great thing about Source Binder though is that it is infinitely extensible. The toolbox of available elements is not limited by what the developers put in but everyone can add new functionalities to it themselves. But it gets even better - instead of having to conform to a certain SDK and program classes especially for this tool Source Binder can simply attach to any Actionscript library out there - all one has to do is to use a wizard in which you declare some simple wrapper classes which tell Source Binder about the available methods and properties.

Currently there are already two popular libraries included: Papervision and the Wow physics engine. In his talk Balázs Serényi demonstrated how to build a 3d physics simulation with just a few mouse clicks. The clou was that the simulation was controlled with a WiiMote since SourceBinder also can make use of WiiFlash. And talking about physical computing: the wonderful Arduino Board is also available as a module already.

Still - if you are inclined to it you even are able to write Actionscript right within the tool (if you want to add extra functions to existing modules for example) and it will be compiled on-the-fly.

And the amazement doesn't stop here - of course you want to know what kind of output Source Binder produces. Well, there are two options: you can have a swf that you can just use straightforward or you can get real Actionscript. And I think here we are really onto something. Source Binder could be the missing bridge that Adobe burned down when AS3 was introduced and which left everybody who was (just) a happy AS1/AS2 on-the-side-coder and who was not able to pick up hardcode coding as easily back in slowland. Source Binder will allow people who are not programmers but still want to create fast AS3 based dynamic Flash to do exactly that. Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but I really see a new world opening up here

Source Binder is currently in a closed alpha but you can register on the site to apply for an account. Did I already mention that it will be free and AFAIK open source?

Posted at May 09, 2008 07:13 PM | Further reading

Hell yes.

Das wird dem coden eine ganz neue Dimension zufügen. Bin ich sehr gespannt.

Thank you for sharing.

Posted by: monkee on May 9, 2008 09:34 PM

"Year of the node" - you couldn't be more right.

Posted by: Zeh on May 10, 2008 06:26 AM

Damm, the first time I didn't attend the flashconference and I missed this. Sounds really sophisticated.

Posted by: Andre Michelle on May 10, 2008 08:51 AM

Oh yes, we definitely missed you there André.

Posted by: Mario Klingemann on May 10, 2008 09:23 AM

I was there and i am very impressed about sourcebinder. Looking forward to its launch-date cause i am exactly "a happy AS1/AS2 on-the-side-coder" who tries to learn AS3.
By the way i liked your presentation very much.
I like the way you pusch AS3 to its limits.
A big THANKS for sharing your thoughts and inspiring us.

Posted by: Apostolos Fotitzidis on May 12, 2008 04:03 PM

There are so many applications out there that make the art and design side literally cut-and-paste with templates and such, us non-coders should also have an option besides hiring programmers to rebuild the wheel every time. Go Nodes!

Posted by: on May 16, 2008 03:48 AM

Hey, I've uploaded the video of the whole presentation (i think just the last 2 minutes are missing or so).

Check it out at:

Posted by: Marcel Fahle on May 16, 2008 02:56 PM

i'll stick to vvvv for prototyping though. its about the performance baby.

Posted by: velcrome on June 2, 2008 11:34 PM

This has been on my mind for some time..... and I agree with you to some degree.

Posted by: Andrew on March 15, 2010 10:09 PM
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