The Yahoo! Flex Coders mailing list group is really good at connecting developers with important people in the know at Adobe to get help with the strange bugs they’re having while developing applications with Adobe Flex.
However, Yahoo! Groups is such an unfortunate and antiquated technology to use for developers asking and answering questions. Sure, it’s great if you like communication in a 1995-email-list-serv sort of way.
However, it doesn’t have to be this painful. By using StackOverflow.Com, all your developer Q&A pains are solved.
1) Better long term archivability of question and answers, all nicely rated and richly formatted. On the Yahoo! groups, you get a string of old emails, including usually the original question again, all in a nasty string-formatted email archive that you have to dig through. Don’t believe me, this is usually what a thread message looks like.
2) StackOverflow allows formatting source code so it is readable by both the questioners, the answerers, and those in the future trying to decipher both. Try maintaining your source code formatting when sending through an email, or worse, using Yahoo!’s poor website UI for posting to the Group. And if you’re generous enough to answer someone’s questions, why complicate by having to deciphering the poor formatting? Or, if you’re fortunate enough to view the archive through one of the many spiders that you find via Google, it might look like this. Ick.
3) Adding images and screen shots that are managed in the flow of your question. This allows for captioning of images, etc.. Take a look at my latest question’s nice formatting (or, look at the answer to this question, with nice source code, inline, with ability to leave well formatted comments around it). Try doing that in the Yahoo! interface.
4) Searching by keywords and tags. Want just see what’s happening for “Flex”, just search on the Flex tag, which BTW, gets a nice “Adobe” icon next to it, letting you know that’s the Flex tag isn’t related to something else.
5) Sometimes your question isn’t exactly a Flex question. Maybe it falls more into the realm of “Flash”, or “Actionscript” or “AIR”. So the answer might be more pertinent to a larger audience than initially thought. It’s important to think of the larger audience for your questions, as someone down the road might have a similar issue as you and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t easily find the answer to your question, as it might keep them from asking the same question again.
I could keep listing more, but I don’t think I need to. I wish the Adobe gurus like Alex Harui (@aharui) would let the Flex Coders depreciate, and have everyone move on. (Sorry to only name Alex, as there’s lots of good people there answering questions) And btw, I fully visit Flex Coders because I know that some of the Adobe people actually take a lot of time to answer questions there. (I’m also sure they have a valid reason for maintaining the Flex Coders list.)
StackOverflow.com has a perfectly viable Adobe user base answering all sorts of questions, today, right now. However, this suggestion is still based on the fact that I have to go use the Flex Coders group at Yahoo for the really tricky things that no one else can fix.
So get started today by viewing the Stackoverflow.com’s Flex questions (and answers).