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As it turns out the conversion isn't the problem. I'm trying to display a progressBar iwthin the cell of a DataGrid column. If I hard code a value to a method everything works just fine. If I try to pass data.fieldvalue nothing happens. well the method doesn't get called and there are no errors. the Pbar is just empty.
I wonder if this can be overcome using data binding. There is default binding behavior you can set up, but if you are using custom classes perhaps some of the more advanced binding techniques would work.
These FB 2.0.1 help topics (or via LiveDocs) might help:
Defining bindings in ActionScript
Defining binding watchers
As it turns out its all about when to use the data. I was using the data from the data provider on the initialize of the ProgressBar in the column. I change to creationComplete and everything works.
Thanks for the insights