Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source

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News: Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source

  1. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source (77 messages)

    Laszlo Systems has made the announcement that their Laszlo platform is now open source. The entire platform has been released under the Common Public License (CPL), which means you can build commercial solutions on top of Laszlo. The company itself will now try to make money on services, support, and commercial app development.

    Laszlo applications are written in LZX, a standards-driven XML and JavaScript description language that enables a declarative, text-based development process. LZX supports rapid prototyping, collaborative software development and long term code maintenance.

    Press Release: Web Innovator Laszlo Systems Unveils Open Source Strategy for Rich Client Platform

    David Temkin (CTO) speaks out: Laszlo Goes Open Source

    Threaded Messages (77)

  2. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    Very nice. I look forward to playing around with this.

    My one immediate concern (as with all web UIs based on Flash), is w/regards to the ability of users with poor eyesight (I fit in that group) to customize the font sizes used within the UI.

    For a normal HTML based web-site, Mozilla allows me to easily resize _all_ fonts in the web page to something larger, even if the designer used tiny, normally fixed-size pixel based fonts. Native apps (i.e. Windows, MacOs, or Linux based apps) also allow you to set font sizes (indirectly) since they will generally respect the font settings you have set at the OS level.

    On the other hand, when I was trying out all the Laszlo demos, I did not see any ability in any of the apps for users to scale fonts to their own needs. Does the Laszlo platform make it possible for apps to allow users to easily (dynamically, or on a per-user basis) change font sizes?

    Regards,
    Colin
  3. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    I have not yet completed the 100MB (!) source download. Are the gorgeous demos on the main site included in the source distribution?
  4. They sure are[ Go to top ]

    Many of the demos you see on the Laszlo Systems demos page are included in the LPS binary download.

    -Antun
    Laszlo Systems, Inc.
  5. This is awesome![ Go to top ]

    I wonder why I've never heard of Laszlo before! You'd think with all the Macromedia Flex hype, you'd hear about its competitors.
  6. Impressive![ Go to top ]

    Its extremely rare to find open source project that's as polished as this. I hope this leads to better looking Java applications.

    Carlos
  7. Laszlo + Velocity[ Go to top ]

    I just downloaded and installed Laszlo.
    Looks great.
    I think I'm going to try Laszlo + Velocity + Hibernate.
  8. Laszlog + Velocity progress[ Go to top ]

    I just downloaded and installed Laszlo.Looks great.I think I'm going to try Laszlo + Velocity + Hibernate.

    How was this experience for you? I'm thinking about doing the same. Can you shed some light on your experience combining Laszlo and Velocity? Thanks in advance for any info.
  9. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    Cool!!! About time a decent RIA framework was open-sourced.
  10. Interesting![ Go to top ]

    Very interesting indeed! How does this compare to Macromedia Flex?
  11. OpenLaszlo, Flex[ Go to top ]

    Very interesting indeed! How does this compare to Macromedia Flex?
    Read this: http://www.richinternetapps.com/archives/000074.html
  12. Lazlo, Flex, Testing[ Go to top ]

    I took a cursory look at Lazlo (and at Flex). I'm very interested in these technologies, especially in concert with Tapestry.

    In any case, my concern for these technologies is group developement, debugging and testing.

    To what degree can you split up a Lazlo UI into smaller pieces (perhaps as different tabs within a master interface) and allow different developers to work on the whole? What are the choke points? At what point does the generated Flash file become too large, or too slow to generate? Alternately, can you have different web pages hosting different UIs and easily chain between them (passing state as needed)?

    What kind of error reporting is built into the Flash side? Can you enable a debug mode? A full debugger? Error reports back to the server?

    If you put UI/business logic into Flash as JavaScript/ActionScript ... can you unit test it? Is there a simulated Lazlo client container so that you can test your code non-interactively?

    I'm setting a high bar here; at the level I'm looking at it, Lazlo and Flex seem quite equivalent (though I found the Lazlo interface a little more snappy).

    BTW ... Flex had a skinning/L&F feature, how does Lazlo compare?
  13. Look closer...[ Go to top ]

    Great questions!

    "To what degree can you split up a Lazlo UI into smaller pieces[?]" Laszlo development is designed to be broken down as far as needed. Since the whole thing is built in LZX (XML + ECMAScript) you can have some developers working on the UI logic and others working on the business logic. Your example of some developers working on the tabs is a good example. The Laszlo Component set is built this way. One group develops the UI classes, publishes the API and another group can use them easily. LZX is OO so the best practices apply.

    "At what point does the generated Flash file become too large, or too slow to generate?" The LZX compiler caches much of the compiled code so incremental changes don't have a large affect on the compilation speed. I don't think there's a good answer to this. There's some really big apps out there that compile and run in seconds. I've written apps that take quite a while to start up but we later optimize those cases using the Krank Optimizer.

    "Alternately, can you have different web pages hosting different UIs and easily chain between them (passing state as needed)?" Yes, in much the same way you would now. The La Quinta mapping app does this (here) state (no pun intended) is passed to an external app and back again.

    "What kind of error reporting is built into the Flash side?" There's an integrated debugger that you can use to watch for internal events. For the reast: Yes, Yes and Yes.

    "can you unit test it?" Yes, there's a test component simmilar to JUnit that ships with the server called LZUnit. As for the second part, I think LZUnit fits that bill.

    "Lazlo and Flex seem quite equivalent" Not any more :)
  14. Look closer...[ Go to top ]

    "Lazlo and Flex seem quite equivalent" Not any more :)

    Except in price. I'd say Lazlo is more affordable.
  15. What a coincidence!![ Go to top ]

    Flex non-commercial license is out :

    http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2004/flex_ncni_license.html

    Congratulations Laszlo!!
  16. What a coincidence!![ Go to top ]

    Flex non-commercial license is out :http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/proom/pr/2004/flex_ncni_license.html
    $9 for shipping and handling? ;)
  17. What a coincidence!![ Go to top ]

    Wow, capitalism has its advantages :)
  18. Kudos...[ Go to top ]

    ... to the Laszlo team on a cool product. I haven't used it myself but the demos look nice, and of course I like that it runs on Tomcat. It's nice to see that not all the action on theserverside.com is on the server side ;)
  19. Alternative render engines?[ Go to top ]

    Good news, I look forward to trying it out.

    I have a question regarding the dependency on flash as a render engine. Has there been any thought to using alternative render technology. I'm thinking of SVG in particular. Especially now it's a open source product using an open standard for the underlying vector engine might be attractive.
  20. everyone is following this model now[ Go to top ]

    sell something for free , but be the "cerfified, offical " support desk and make money on that. Thats what linux vendors are also doing ...
  21. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    Congrats to laszlosystems, this is *massive* contribution to the community. I, sincerly, hope that the OS model works for their business.
  22. Works in Tomcat, not Orion[ Go to top ]

    Good job Laszlo. Looks like a great product.

    I just tested it in Tomcat (works great). But I couldn't get it to work on Orion? Any ideas? I hit the hello example and nothing comes up. A lot of server side programmers love Orion, so I think supporting that app server will greatly help make Laszlo the standard for server side Flash.
  23. Works in Tomcat, not Orion[ Go to top ]

    It should work in Orion, there might be something in the config that is sideways.
    There's a support forum for installing LPS on laszlosystems.com that might have Orion info. It's been sucessfully deployed in Jetty, Tomcat, Resin, Websphere and Weblogic.
  24. Works in Tomcat, not Orion[ Go to top ]

    I searched in that forum already with the word "Orion" and "OC4J" and nothing came up. Time for me to put a post then :)
  25. Laszlo and MVC frameworks?[ Go to top ]

    Laszlo looks really cool indeed.
    Laszlo can access dynamic data in the form of an HTTP request, fired up from the Laszlo GUI, to a JSP/Servlet that will render data in XML format.
    From the documentation (http://www.laszlosystems.com/lps-2.2/docs/guide/data_app.html), it seems that Laszlo would work well with Struts or WebWork. In fact, the horrible example that is shown would look a lot better with Struts or WebWork.
    It could be an exciting view technology to use, but I'm worried about the fact we now use a JSP/Servlet as a DTO... Very weird....
    Does anybody have any experience with this?
  26. Congratulations to Lazlo, seems like they've made great move to spark interest for this technology.

    Now what I would be very interested would be to look if this framework could be integrated with Java Server Faces. Maybe doing custom UIComponents in JSF to map to the rich Lazlo components and then make several RenderKits to render out to both Lazlo LZX and HTML and maybe Flex?
    Maybe the guys at Lazlo Systems have had similar ideas or even someone else?

    Regards,
    Tryggvi
  27. Thinking.........
  28. Extending Laszlo[ Go to top ]

    I've had a look through your docs and played around with a few demos.
    Congtratulations on a developing such a professional product.

    I just have a few questions...

    How difficult or easy is it to add new components to the system?
    Can you fade components in and out ( I couldn'd find info about it in the docs )?
    Can you develop systems to take advantage of improvements made in the latest Flash Player, ie. improvements in the quality of video playback?
  29. I love it![ Go to top ]

    This can be big. I mean REAL big.

    Regards
    Rolf Tollerud
    (and KISS too..)
  30. Quick Flex vs Laszlo[ Go to top ]

    Did a quick comparison of Flex vs Laszlo and they are, as a whole, competative. I find Laszlo less strong (and if it turns out that I'm wrong, atleast in the documentation area) in the integration. Laszlo can do regular HTTP get/post, but there is no alternative for Flex's fabulous remote object AMF thingy. And, although less important, the integration of Flex in JSP using taglibs. And there is no builder as far as I have gathers (debugging is done "in application").

    So I must conclude that Laszlo is great but Flex appears to be a tad more great. And that means that, things being as they would be, customers would choose Flex over Laszlo (probably if they were exactly alike, customers still would).

    So one option for Laszlo would be to compete with Macromedia on features... Ahhhhhhhhh. Probably unwise, since MM owns Flashplayer and suddenly Microsoft tactics come to mind. Or remove the other big factor: money, making things unequal again. Have to compliment the Laszlo management on this insight and daring to make preemtive choices!
  31. Flex vs Laszlo[ Go to top ]

    Well,
    macromedia guys were quick to Reply... Flex is now Free for non-commercial use !
    Also, Laszlo produced interfaces seem slower than Flex... Internal functions ?
    OpenSourcers will have a huge work to compete credibly with Flex... Even if Flex isn't perfect at all...
  32. Inspired move Laszlo![ Go to top ]

    I actually thought the Laszlo demos were a good bit faster than the Flex apps I've seen before....

    Huge congratulations to Laszlo!! This is an inspired move!

    I have tried Flex + Spring + Hibernate, and it is very nice, so am looking forward to Laszlo + Spring + Hibernate. My only dislike of Flex was that any client-side code had to be written in ActionScript.

    Is there the ability in Laszlo to write client-side code in Java?
  33. Flex vs Laszlo[ Go to top ]

    I chose Flex when looking at these 2. Flex has a bit to go to be truly excellent (file upload, listening to server events[you can do this with another add on from Macromedia], more of the html tags to embed into flash widgets) but macromedia is on the job and I think in the next few months we'll see changes and great things from the good people there.

    With laszlo I would like to see integration with XAML, but I still love Flex.

    Also for issues of speed such as the "AMF thingy" why not put a gzip compression over the http request? I did this with AMF and got 88% compression ratio of my data. Speeds it up considerably. I only compress the /amfgateway/* on flex.

    Also maybe introducing openAMF into Laszlo would be good. Open source helping open source imagine.

    http://www.openamf.org/ Don't know if it could be done but someone should try.

    No i don't work for Macromedia, but I do respect anyone who deals with me openly and honestly and that's what I have received from Macromedia, good customer service.
  34. Flex vs Laszlo[ Go to top ]

    How did you setup the compression? Just by adding a gzip filter?
  35. Flex vs Laszlo[ Go to top ]

    The only problem with Flex is the cost. Fortunately they issued a non-commerical license the other day which I'm hoping to get a hold of.
  36. Laszlo - GigaSpaces?[ Go to top ]

    Tom : "So I must conclude that Laszlo is great but Flex appears to be a tad more great."
    I think you underestimate the power of Open Source.

    Wojciech:"I guess the rpc-style server integration might be better solution than using jsp/servlet/web frameworks"
    I would think so too. I wonder if there is difficult/or if there is any plans to hook up Laszlo with GigaSpaces?
  37. Laszlo - GigaSpaces?[ Go to top ]

    Tom : "So I must conclude that Laszlo is great but Flex appears to be a tad more great."I think you underestimate the power of Open Source.
    No I do not and I hope someone will put in a nice back end wrapper, maybe based on Caucho, who knows. But I can only compare things as they are now, and Flex already has it.
  38. i've just examined the demos, 10-minutes guide and toc of main documentation. the whole thing looks really great. as simple as it should (and could) be. i guess the rpc-style server integration might be better solution than using jsp/servlet/web frameworks.
  39. Maybe Hessian or Burlap support would be good for client-server communication?
  40. Maybe Hessian or Burlap support would be good for client-server communication?
    as far as i understand laszlo architecture description, laszlo uses it's own protocol for client-server communication, which is optimized for performance. i guess the mechanism might work like a proxy to remote services via xml-rpc or soap.
  41. Great news! Goodbye JSF, JSP...[ Go to top ]

    This is a very great news! No need to do those HTML stuffs anymore. Forget JSF, JSP whatsoever!

    Lofi.
  42. This is a very great news! No need to do those HTML stuffs anymore. Forget JSF, JSP whatsoever!Lofi.
    laszlo (and flex) seems to be targeted to front-office web applications (shops, portals, etc.). i'm not sure if it's good for back-office bussiness apps development.
  43. <quote>
    laszlo (and flex) seems to be targeted to front-office web applications (shops, portals, etc.). i'm not sure if it's good for back-office bussiness apps development.
    </quote>

    Why not? In the demos I see that the components for the user interface are quite complete (the contact demo looks like a normal Swing/SWT application). I surely prefer to write my contact application using Laszlo now (instead of Swing or SWT), since it is still based on web browser (+ flash plug-ins, everyone uses this plug-in anyway). And now because it is Open Source I can imagine that many developers will add a lot of components to Laszlo.

    IMO, the fact that Laszlo is Open Source will push this type of presentation layer development to the edge...

    Lofi.
  44. <quote>laszlo (and flex) seems to be targeted to front-office web applications (shops, portals, etc.). i'm not sure if it's good for back-office bussiness apps development.</quote>Why not?
    ok, i haven't put it right. it might be targeted for all kinds of applications, but the main motivation for using it (rich gui experience) is most important in case of front office applications. in back office there is no such a strong need for rich interface (html is enough), so there's be no push for using it.
    IMO, the fact that Laszlo is Open Source will push this type of presentation layer development to the edge...Lofi.
    that's right.
  45. Great news! Goodbye JSF, JSP...[ Go to top ]

    I surely prefer to write my contact application using Laszlo now (instead of Swing or SWT), since it is still based on web browser (+ flash plug-ins, everyone uses this plug-in anyway).
    I prefer not to use Flash, too much Flash ads that can't be blocked. Also, I could not see even one truly scalable (visually) Flash app.
  46. Great news! Goodbye JSF, JSP...[ Go to top ]

    This is a very great news! No need to do those HTML stuffs anymore. Forget JSF, JSP whatsoever!Lofi.
    I think you forget that the main selling point of JSF is the ability to use RenderKits. As another poster pointed out, you could see a JSF RenderKit that targets Lazlo (or Flex or XAML for that matter).
  47. Great news! Goodbye JSF, JSP...[ Go to top ]

    This is a very great news! No need to do those HTML stuffs anymore. Forget JSF, JSP whatsoever!Lofi.
    I think you forget that the main selling point of JSF is the ability to use RenderKits. As another poster pointed out, you could see a JSF RenderKit that targets Lazlo (or Flex or XAML for that matter).
    I'm not sure if it's possible (and makes sense). JSF supports traditional web development as it uses page-oriented approach. Laszlo does not. Quote from the guide:
    "With Laszlo technology, web appllication designers are freed from the familiar limitations of static, linear, page-based task flow. [...] One of the key benefits of using Laszlo to build your project is its strength in consolidating information through interaction and presentation. A process that might have taken 20 html pages to accomplish for the very patient user, might now be designed to occur within the framework of a single "page" with small bits of information elegantly surfaced as needed. "
  48. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    Looks fantastic. We will be taking a closer look at this one for sure.
  49. Perhaps we should remember that Java has its own browser solution that can build RIAs - Applets. And there is an excellent toolkit as well, not swing, not AWT, not SWT, but Thinlets. http://www.thinlet.com.

    My opinion remains that Flash is useful for consumer based websites where graphics and marketing people dominate, but Thinlets are much more useful for serious business applications, like configuration, database management, in fact anywhere where the RIA is not just exposed over the internet to the general pubilc.
  50. Jup. And don't forget the problems that exist with applets... I was able to start the flash demos without problems in Linux/Konqueror&Firefox, Windows/IE&Firefox.

    I tried some thinlets and had problems within Konqueror and Firefox in Windows (because of JVM issues). I want a customer to have zero configurations and installations and it seems that flash is more flawless in this direction.
  51. I tried some thinlets and had problems within Konqueror and Firefox in Windows (because of JVM issues). I want a customer to have zero configurations and installations and it seems that flash is more flawless in this direction.
    For consumer based websites this is a major issue. However when you're targeting intranet-users, I don't think this is a show-stopper.
  52. I tried some thinlets and had problems within Konqueror and Firefox in Windows (because of JVM issues). I want a customer to have zero configurations and installations and it seems that flash is more flawless in this direction.
    For consumer based websites this is a major issue. However when you're targeting intranet-users, I don't think this is a show-stopper.
    Applets in Firefox are a no go.
    "Don't forget Applet based solutions". There isn't much to forget anyway.
  53. Running the thinlet-demo http://thinlet.sourceforge.net/demo.html in Firefox (version 0.10.1/Windows) works for me.
  54. Running the thinlet-demo http://thinlet.sourceforge.net/demo.html in Firefox (version 0.10.1/Windows) works for me.
    My experience with applets in FireFox is that they works but tend to freeze the browser.
  55. Applets in Firefox are a no go.
    Works with me, Firefox 1.0PR on Win2K.
  56. I tried some thinlets and had problems within Konqueror and Firefox in Windows (because of JVM issues). I want a customer to have zero configurations and installations and it seems that flash is more flawless in this direction.
    For consumer based websites this is a major issue. However when you're targeting intranet-users, I don't think this is a show-stopper.
    Yes, I think this is a matter of using the right tool for the right job. We cannot simply say that which technology is better. We've been using Thinlet for data entry intensive purpose for our intranet (where we can limit the choice of the browser to IE, Netscape and Mozilla) with very good results. On top of that, you have an end-to-end J2EE-based OO solution throughout which is not possible with flash. But for public sites, I agree that flash is a better choice.

    Clifford Cheng
  57. Why target Flash?[ Go to top ]

    The answer that is normally given is that Flash has great reach, runs in 97% of browsers, etc.. But it wasn't always so. People installed Flash because they ran into web sites that used it, it was easy to install, and the content was cool. It's a testament to its flexibility that you can use it for something like rich clients for which it was obviously not designed. Are we stuck with it though? Is there something that exists now or could be designed that could be as easy for the end user as Flash but more suited for rich client applications? Given its architecture, Laszlo can render into other client-side environments. Question is, should it and will it? I suspect they're thinking about targetting some kind of enhanced what-wg HTML at a minimum.
  58. Cocoon integration[ Go to top ]

    Very interesting product!

    I'd like to see a demo application built with Cocoon + Laszlo !

    bye,
    Luca Garulli
    OrienTechnologies.com
  59. Cocoon integration[ Go to top ]

    I've actually used Laszlo with a Cocoon backend. You can see a few details about this on the laszlo discussion thread: http://www.laszlosystems.com/developers/community/forums/showthread.php?s=a322e3ad9d798791214bacc5985d6c92&threadid=887

    I used Hibernate on the backend for storage and then put Cocoon between it and Laszlo. Overall, it worked quite well. Cocoon is about the only way I could find to publish XML for Laszlo to use with the exception of using XML generated from JSPs as the Laszlo documentation suggests. I managed to get Laszlo to integrate with Cocoon's authentication framework as well. I just wish Cocoon did not have such a steep learning curve because debugging your work in Cocoon is a little difficult.

    Bill
    white@winston-school.org
  60. Cocoon integration[ Go to top ]

    I couldn't think of anything worse! XML is fine in very small doses, I would run a mile from an alomst complete XML solution. I've created a servlet that uses XStream to convert the objects from my struts application to XML which works fine without the compilcation of using cocoon.

    Of course, if XML is your bag, then fill your boots ;)
  61. Cocoon integration[ Go to top ]

    XStream might have worked great, but I wasn't familiar with it at the time. Cocoon makes a good layer for producing XML if you need it for lots of different destinations (FOP/WML/XHTML etc), but if you only need XML for supporting Laszlo, XStream might be the ticket. Can you elaborate on your XStream solution or was it a pretty standard implementation?
  62. Cocoon integration[ Go to top ]

    To migrate a small section of an existing application, all I did was update the struts config to forward objects in the request to the servlet. The sverlet looks for the values and creates an XML representation of them.

    In your case, where you want to create different forms of XML, XStream would not be of any use. But it allowed me to test Laszla quckly with an application I was familiar with.

    I also had to assign 512mb of RAM to get Laszlo running, I haven't tried to remove much of the default installation, nor have I profiled it under any load. My first impression is very positive, tho. The documentation is first class, and it it fairly simple to get up to speed with the interface code.
  63. Looks really cool.

    I ran into problem running the demo:
    I deployed it on tomcat 5.0.28 and every time I open http://localhost:8080/lps-2.2/docs/guide/rpc-javarpc.html server falls with OutOfMemoryError.
    When I increased mx to 512M it stopped falling, but it means that Laszlo server is VERY VERY memory gready.
    What is recommended amount of memory for a site with moderate load,lets say 5-10 active users and 50-70 dormant sessions?
  64. Did you use the Tomcat installation that comes with Laszlo or deploy it on your own Tomcat installation? The release notes mention that the version of Tomcat that comes with the Laszlo installation has tweaked memory settings to avoid out of memory issues. You might need to apply those settings to your own Tomcat installation if you didn't use the one that ships with the installation.
  65. XML Publishing[ Go to top ]

    Bill,

    We have a light weight and powerful XML mapping component we've been very heavily using on our project for almost 5 years. I was reluctant to open source it because lack of time I can allocate for maintenance, documentation etc. I am not sure if I would do it now but if you are interested please contact me directly <shurik AT peacetech DOT com>

    Basically you define your XML-Database mapping in XML schema file and then can run query against it choosing only elements you want. Engine will optimise database access including table joins based on elements selected. Output is SAX stream. It integrates with another very light weight component - Schema/Query caching framework, XSL stylesheet caching. JSP tags and servlet to access the functionality are provided

    Here are some features of XML mapping component (XMAP):
    •Mapping via Named and Anonymous Xmap Types. Types can be extended and their mapping properties overridden on any level. Abstract Types are supported
    •Transparent support for multiple data sources. Data from several databases can be combined into a single Xmap Type
    •Intelligent SQL mapping whenever possible assembles data from multiple tables into a single SQL select statement. Only data elements requested by Xmap Query will be retrieved from database – not entire Type.
    •Role based and Callback based Security on XML element/attribute level
    •Special mapping constructs - Variants, Composite Elements, Containers for greater control and flexibility
    •Parameterized Xmap Schemas/Queries.
    •Any subset of one or multiple Xmap Types can be returned by a Query with SQL optimisation based on elements requested
    •Output format can be defined for any Xmap member.
    •Supports SAX2 interfaces
    •Designed to run in server environment. Schema and Query are immutable and can be cached and accessed by multiple thread
    •Thread safe Xmap factory with caching and time stamp checking
    •Some hooks for J2EE (Security and JDBC resources
    •Support for non-database data (bean arrays)

    Alex
  66. Spectacular contribution![ Go to top ]

    This has to be one of the most spectacular contributions to the Open Source community in recent years. My company has been developing RIAs recently and when looking at Flex and Laszlo all we could think was "wouldn't it be great if there was an open source project that did the same thing!"

    It's a wish come true. To the Laszlo executives and management, thank you for an incredible contribution and for taking such a bold and risky leap. If this project gains the right momentum from developers, it can become the de-facto standard for developing and deploying RIAs. Forget clumsy JSF and quirky web frameworks. Lazlo+Tomcat+Spring+Hibernate, the future of distributed, rich internet applications :)

    The quality of the documentation alone deserves an award! It is definitely far beyond anything else I've seen in open source projects recently. Great demos and examples.

    Thanks again, congratulations and much luck on your new corporate life!

    Comments:

    IMO, it is strategically dangerous to depend on the Flash Player as the sole rendering engine/client (I know it can potentially render to other client technologies, but it currently does not and I don't know of other client engines that can deliver the quality and features Flash has). Although it is widely deployed, Macromedia can change their mind on a moment's notice and limit its distribution to Flex licensees and/or paying customers. I know it doesn't seem likely now, but many things can happen in just a few years, when XAML and other RIA alternatives threaten their livelihood.

    Many features of the platform depend on features of the Flash Player. For example, the newer Flash Players have very solid media delivery capabilities (e.g. Flash Video). It would be impossible for open source developers to create sophisticated new features when they don't control the client engine. Although what is there now seems "good enough" for most application requirements, who knows what we'll see in the next two years.

    Suggestions:

    As someone else mentioned, an OpenAMF transport should be a no brainer.

    I'll look deeper into the RPC approach, but at first, it looks like it could benefit from additional flexibility/pluggability/plumbing with alternative back-ends frameworks (e.g. Spring). The current JavaRPC seems a little rigid and tightly coupled.
  67. Spectacular contribution![ Go to top ]

    Suggestions:As someone else mentioned, an OpenAMF transport should be a no brainer.
    I'm a developer on the OpenAMF project.

    There are definitely some areas where these two projects can complement
    each other.

    I invite all interested parties to join the openamf-developer mailing list

    http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?forum_id=32429

    -Sean
  68. Offline capability?[ Go to top ]

    Does Laszlo offer offline capability, which is useful for apps like time entry for mobile users?
  69. Flash Lite?[ Go to top ]

    What about Flash Lite support? Does Flash Lite by itself provide enough support for applications and data access? Would be great to use Laszlo for mobile devices.
  70. Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    As impressive as Laszlo work is, I think that Flash is only a temporary solution on a way to truly internet-integrated applications. Basically, there are two ways of interacting with outer world: either fully embrace it or treat it as a insecure and even hostile environment.

    The traditional document-based HTML technology makes a clear separation between local computer and an outer network. Fully integrated applications are on the other end of spectrum, this is what Avalon promises.

    Flash seems to be neither here nor there. Granted, I have not programmed for Flash (yet? I will surely try with Laszlo), so my thoughts are based mostly on Flash applications that I evaluated.

    * Flash applications run in the browser window and assisted by browser code. OK, this may not be the biggest issue, browser window may be created without header and borders. But it is not the standard case now, so visually Flash applications do not look like native.
    * Flash has its own widget style, so Flash apps stand out and do not blend with native apps.
    * Despite that Flash was supposed to run within browser, its integration with browser does not seem to be great. How about hooks for common browser tasks like encoding, font size, color palette and background color, full screen mode, etc? Macromedia has separate Flash playeer versions for different browsers, why they did not bother to stick in some hooks proprietary for each browser? Or did they, but no one uses them?
    * What about standard print/preview/pagination?
    * What about standard help?
    * What about cache/local storage management? How Flash apps can be stored locally, updated when changed, etc? There is no point to download the same 300K or even couple of megs of SWF each time I navigate to a Flash web page, but I do not have much control over it.
    * What about fluid visual design and user-configurable font size? Currently Flash apps' fonts, colors, widget sizes cannot be configured neither from web browser nor from OS "Desktop preferences" settings. I would like to see at least one Flash app which allows to configure these settings. Where and how the settings are stored?
    * Apparently, settings can be stored on the server only, because Flash does not have access to local directories and files. This makes Flash applications not as powerful as applets. They cannot be controlled separately from other web sites, so if a user erases all cookies, the Flash app settings are effectively gone. Contrary to Flash, local apps or Java applets can store their configuration and user data locally, and are not succeptible to manipulations with browser settings and cache cleanup.
    * Flash does not have much of a windowing system or task management. Can I run two different Flash apps in one player window? And moving or resizing of windows is painfully slow.
    * Either Flash keyboard support sucks big time, or developers do not bother to assign all needed keyboard mappings to the controls (if Flash has a notion of controls at all). Even Laszlo demos lack keyboard support, only pushbuttons and edit fields can be focused. I don't know about artists who create Flash apps, but I prefer to use good old keyboard whenever possible.

    My feeling is that Flash cannot substitute a real windowing application. In that sense, even Java applets are better than Flash. Applets can have L&F of client OS and can store data on client system.

    Web-start applications with SWT UI are even better, they can be easily installed, they blend with native applications and can access local resources. What they lack, though, is unpredictability of internet; they should be loaded as one piece, and the whole process of "loading" is boring. They need JRE too.

    My dream of RIA applicaiton is something that:
    * visually blends with client system
    * does not require "loading"
    * is not solidified after it is downloaded
    * has access to local resources, and allows to easily change security settings

    Based on what I know, Avalon apps should be closer than any other to my ideal system. If I would be able to download dynamic XAML from the internet while browsing and visually interpret it as application windows and controls, I would be completely happy.

    What I like about Laszlo approach to Flash though, is datasets. The source code for Amazon front end shows how easy data management should be:
    * ask Amazon for XML data
    * show needed elements using XPath
    This is really, really, really neat.

    On the other hand, I do not like to program in XML. XML is for data, not for programs. Apparently, Laszlo guys started from markup and added code later, but it does not look pretty. Microsoft approach with code-behind classes is nicer. One can blend code and data in XAML or in .Net code, depending on their likes.

    As of now, Avalon looks better than other RIA solutions. Flash will die very fast after Avalon/XAML applications rolled out. The question is: what should we do in the meantime?
  71. One more thing[ Go to top ]

    Just one more thing: SWT Web Start or even Java applets can work with local devices. Flash application apparently cannot. Thus, Flash cannot be used to create a full-blown client application, it is only a visual front end. If I need to interact with printer or scanner, I would have to write a separate app and interact with it over HTTP/FTP/whatever. This makes things more complicated than I would like them to be.
  72. RE:Laszlo Platform Goes Open Source[ Go to top ]

    Michael, you bring up some valid points here; I personally also do not like the idea of programming in XML; it is not too convenient to say the least.

    Look at IAB Studio from www.worcsnet.com; basically, it is a somewhat interesting tool for RAD development of RIA apps; the guys use JS controls on the client side instead of Flash and some J2EE framework on the server side; One interesting feature is that they have in-browser Page designers, which is kinda kool - they are also written in JS -) There is a demo application at www.iabstudio.com;

    Flash demo's looked better from the design point of view for me; but otherwise IAB Studio does the same thing; have a look.

    John
  73. Why not Bindows?[ Go to top ]

    Bindows base on Javascript too.It can work with Java and .NET. And it also can work with WebService too. It's databind and UI ,User control is very good.

     Flex take too much money and run very slowly :( , So I willn't use it now.

     Laszle is good but more complex than Bindows.

      See this : www.bindows.net
  74. Why not Bindows?[ Go to top ]

    Because Bindows only works with IE?
  75. Why not Bindows?[ Go to top ]

    Because Bindows only works with IE?

    Claims to work on most Linux PC's. Demo apps works on mine. But it's not open-source. Quoting from the FAQ:<p/>

    1.5 Can I use Bindows for a commercial application?<p/>

    It's possible to use Bindows™ as a part of a commercial application. Please contact us at sales at bindows dot net for details.
  76. Can you interact with the user's desktop like you can with an applet? I've had a need before for an applet to load a native library on the client desktop to do some work. I'm wondering if you still have that same control with Laszlo.
  77. OpenLaszlo 3.0a[ Go to top ]

    On November 8th, the OpenLaszlo project released version 3.0a

       http://www.openlaszlo.org/download/
  78. IDE for OpenLaszlo[ Go to top ]

    http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/ide4laszlo