Tech Talk: Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex

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News: Tech Talk: Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex

  1. In this interview, Jeff Vroom previews the new features in Adobe Flex 2.0 and Flash Player 9. He discusses the benefits of using ActionScript for rich client programming, compares Flex and Ajax, and outlines how Flex integrates with existing Java EE architectures, including Spring, Hibernate and JMS. Watch Jeff Vroom on Building Rich Internet Applications with Adobe Flex.

    Threaded Messages (39)

  2. pricing[ Go to top ]

    I've heard that adobe are going to introduce more sensible pricing on flex2, has anyone any idea how much? the original price seemed a bit hefty, even though people that used it seemed to like it. is laszlo getting close to matching flex2 on features, has anyone adopted laszlo over flex for reasons other than pricing?
  3. Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    The Flex 2 SDK is FREE, like the JDK: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flexframework2/ To see what people have already built with the Flex 2 SDK, check out: http://labs.adobe.com/showcase/ Also, non-clustered use of Flex Data Services is FREE!!! http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Flex:SDK_Announcement My top 6 reasons you will love Flex 2: - Free SDK & non-clustered FDS - Consistent & Ubiquitous Cross OS / Browser Runtime - High Performance VM (JIT Compiler) - Great programming model (ECMAScript, E4X, Strong & Dynamic Typing, Component Model, Object Oriented) - Real debugger (step through, stack traces, breakpoints, watches, etc) - Beautiful / Functional out of the box components Disclaimer: I work for Adobe because I fell in love with Flex.
  4. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    Disclaimer: I work for Adobe because I fell in love with Flex.
    Cool get me a job! :-) Only wish they had a branch in Madison, WI ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  5. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    The SDK may be free, the runtime license is not. One of the advantages of Flex over Laszo, back when I evaluated it almost a year ago, was the better client-to-server communication of Flex. Is it time for me to reevaluate?
  6. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    The SDK may be free, the runtime license is not.
    Can you explain what you mean by this? The SDK is free. The runtime (Flash) is free. Applications you build with the SDK are yours and you can do whatever you want with them. Just like applications built with the JDK.
  7. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    The SDK may be free, the runtime license is not.


    Can you explain what you mean by this? The SDK is free. The runtime (Flash) is free. Applications you build with the SDK are yours and you can do whatever you want with them. Just like applications built with the JDK.
    Can someone clear this up? Can I as a developer, write a Flex application, deploy it for a client and run it without a fee of any kind (save the Eclipse plug-in somebody mentioned)?
  8. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    YES!!! 1) Download the Free Flex 2 SDK 2) Build your application 3) Take the swf file (Flash bytecode) and upload it to a server (any server) 4) User accesses a web page with the swf 5) ??? 6) You profit! (Sorry... bad Slashdot joke) :)
  9. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    The SDK may be free, the runtime license is not.


    Can you explain what you mean by this? The SDK is free. The runtime (Flash) is free. Applications you build with the SDK are yours and you can do whatever you want with them. Just like applications built with the JDK.
    I would appreciate a link to a free *standalone* Flash player.
  10. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    I would appreciate a link to a free *standalone* Flash player.
    http://www.adobe.com/go/labs_flex2_downloads The Flash 9 standalone player is available in the Flex SDK zip file. Just run SAFlashPlayer from the player/debug dir.
  11. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]

    I would appreciate a link to a free *standalone* Flash player.
    Standalone meaning without installing Yahoo spyware or other crap?
  12. Re: Flex 2 SDK is FREE!!![ Go to top ]


    Standalone meaning without installing Yahoo spyware or other crap?
    Yes, just download the SDK James Ward provided, all versions of flash player are in there (IE, Firefox, stand alone)
  13. Re: pricing[ Go to top ]

    We've been working with Laszlo. 1. Flex 2.0 is in beta (doesn't matter if your need isn't immediate but we couldn't base our product on an estimated release date) 2. Doesn't require a new version of Flash (concerns that we might lose some users because of the upgrade) 3. Hedge your bets in terms of Flash RIA or AJAX. (openlaszlo will hopefully have AJAX compilation by EOY...perhaps the biggest reason considering the state of RIA) 4. Availability of the source code facilitates extending existing components. Both products are very similar. We've been actually considering if we could easily convert a Laszlo app to a Flex app if Flex all of the sudden makes huge strides. But at this point, for what we are doing, Flex wasn't any better than Laszlo.
  14. Re: pricing[ Go to top ]

    2. Doesn't require a new version of Flash (concerns that we might lose some users because of the upgrade)
    Just in case anyone is wondering... Here are the Flash version penetration stats: http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplayer/version_penetration.html Almost 70% adoption in the US in 7 months!
    4. Availability of the source code facilitates extending existing components.
    The Free Flex 2 SDK now includes the source code for all of the Flex components.
  15. i wont get into this for any serious application development. we have two many layers in web applications already - dont need more of these action scripts etc. its more for fun ...all the demos say so too....
  16. Not really... Flex is more for building complex web deployed applications which are too difficult to build in Java, ie. lots and lots of AJAX and its associated pain.
  17. With Flex 2 the programming model is more natural than the traditonal web development, you have all controls ready to use and to provide a reach experience. Traditional With Flex ---------------- ------------- Client tier Client tier html flex javascript actionScript applet ajax Web tier Web tier webserver webserver servlet container servlet container struts/jsf, fds (flex container) (if needed) Application tier Application tier Application Server Application Server Flex 2 has all things you will need for Enterprise Applications: - dynamic swf load (like jar loading) - dynamic class loading - incremental download of data to client tier - asynchronous comunication - integrate security with the server - easy to learn language - mvc ready to use - good development environment Flex 2 is young... we will have to wait to see applications but they will come :o)
  18. Correction...[ Go to top ]

    Traditional Flex ---------------- ------------- Web tier Web tier Client tier Client tier ----------- ----------- html flex javascript actionScript applet ajax webserver webserver ----------------- ----------------- servlet container servlet container struts/jsf, fds (flex container) Application tier Application tier Application Server Application Server
  19. re: pricing[ Go to top ]

    Pricing and vendor lock-in are important concerns for us when talking to "the Powers That Be..." We are making some amazing GUIs using Laszlo. That does not mean we will never go Flex but at this time we are pretty happy and especially like that Laszlo has two runtimes now, Flash and DHTML, with more supposedly to come.
  20. Re: re: pricing[ Go to top ]

    Pricing and vendor lock-in are important concerns for us when talking to "the Powers That Be..." We are making some amazing GUIs using Laszlo. That does not mean we will never go Flex but at this time we are pretty happy and especially like that Laszlo has two runtimes now, Flash and DHTML, with more supposedly to come.
    Can you give a quick summary on your experience with using Laszlo to generate DHTML? I know it is new. Is it 100% compatible? Any quirks or limitations? How about browser/platform compatibility. That last item seems to be a big plus in the Flash column since there are so many quirky differences in Javascript/HTML/CSS implementations. How much power do you have to skin the Laszlo components? Is there a difference depending on the targets? For some reason I worry less about vender lock-in for GUIs than I do for server-side technologies and business logic. Maybe because UIs seem more disposable? Especially, if you separate out your concerns. But at the same time, Laszlo seems to give you much of what the Flex platform does. My guess is that the Laszlo developers will be able to use MXML as inspiration for more features. Does Laszlo have any Actionscript hooks or would that be a violation of some kind of license? It is nice to go beyond pre-canned controls when needed. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  21. I just got back from a three-day Adobe Flash seminar in Minneapolis, MN called Flashbelt I blogged quite a bit about the conference here: http://devilelephant.com Specifically, about Flex here: http://devilelephant.com/blog/articles/2006/06/14/flex-2-flashbelt-demo The flex platform is mostly free and available for trying out right now. You can download it from adobe labs. This includes a compiler/debugger, the core libraries, source code, demos, etc. You'll also need the Flash 9 beta. The part that costs money is the Flex Builder IDE, which is a plugin for Eclipse. The Flex Builder really looks quite slick and it is nice to see that you are never more than one click from the underlying source (MXML). The more important is that the entire Flash platform is available to Flex developers through ActionScript 3.0. If you haven't used ActionScript it looks and feels like JavaScript. It is a very nice scripting language with a growing set of features and libraries. There is even an open source Flash movement so you can have access to a Java-like collections framework and a JUnit-like testing framework. There is a lot to like coming out of Adobe this year for developers. I think that they are trying really hard to break into corporate development. The keynote speaker talked about how they want to add a million ActionScript developers. For real Web 2.0 features without a lot of hacking around the limitations of HTML/JavaScript/AJAX I think that the Flash platform will be hard to beat. That said, the speakers wanted to make it very clear that they are positioning Flex and Flash development as complimentary technologies to AJAX/JavaScript. As an example check out Google finance: http://finance.google.com/finance?q=ADBE There you can see Flash and AJAX used together to form a really useful tool. It may be important to state that Flex is Flash. Basically, Flex is a high-level XML language that gets compiled into ActionScript and then into a standard Flash SWF module. Flex just makes it really easy to put together your traditional user-interface components. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  22. This stuff is pretty awsome. I have spent nearly a week crawling over the new Flex 2 Beta 3. Flex has made some pretty significant strides. The new Flex Builder is an Eclipse plugin, and I have been running it in a stardard Eclipse 3.1.2 WTP. As far as UI builders go, its probably the best I have seen, better than Delphi. Laying out components with relative positioning is a piece of cake. The backing UI description is XML, and is surprisingly concise. When installing the Beta SK make sure you unintall Flash Player using Windows > Control Panel > Add/Remove Program, and then download the Flash 9 beta separately and install that. http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/public_beta/ Flex provides a Data Services layer is very intersting. This layer supports: * conversion between Java domain objects and JavaScript domain objects * transport of JavaScript domain object across the wire * updating Flex clients of domain object changes in near realtime * multiple communications protocoles I have been using Cayenne 1.2 for ORM and it has been a good fit. After writing an Cayenne Flex AbstractAssembler, which does the CRUD operations, there is not much more work to do except have fun with the Flex UI. Flex 2 is excpected to go GA by the end of this month. Enjoy... :) Malcolm Edgar http://click.sourceforge.net
  23. Can somebody tell me if the xml is interpreted or does it have to be compiled like laszlo. If it is interpreted then it is suited for generic gui generation, thats why i want to know.
  24. Can somebody tell me if the xml is interpreted or does it have to be compiled like laszlo. If it is interpreted then it is suited for generic gui generation, thats why i want to know.
    The MXML code (like the ActionScript code) gets compiled into byte-code. The Flash player only sees and understands the byte-code. However you can do everything you do in MXML also in ActionScript and setup the UI this way. Like you would do in Java/Swing. (The MXML tags correspond to ActionScript classes and properties and instantiate/set them.) This way you can dynamically create the UI at runtime. Of course you can also generate/compile the MXML file at build-time or just before the SWF file is served.
  25. Can somebody tell me if the xml is interpreted or does it have to be compiled like laszlo. If it is interpreted then it is suited for generic gui generation, thats why i want to know.


    The MXML code (like the ActionScript code) gets compiled into byte-code. The Flash player only sees and understands the byte-code.

    However you can do everything you do in MXML also in ActionScript and setup the UI this way. Like you would do in Java/Swing. (The MXML tags correspond to ActionScript classes and properties and instantiate/set them.) This way you can dynamically create the UI at runtime.

    Of course you can also generate/compile the MXML file at build-time or just before the SWF file is served.
    thanks for the explanation, that means that if you really want to have a dynamic gui you would have to write your own engine in actionscript that inteprets your own gui language or an existing one. I dont understand that the flex team doesn't provide this, to me it is totally unuseable this way, like laszlo and xaml are unusable to me. I'll stick with html for a while longer (maybe forever). The only ria framework that suites my needs is my own and backbase. Funny about backbase is that you can write your own html between the backbase stuff. Flex, laslzo and xaml seem to lock one in.
  26. thanks for the explanation, that means that if you really want to have a dynamic gui you would have to write your own engine in actionscript that inteprets your own gui language or an existing one. I dont understand that the flex team doesn't provide this, to me it is totally unuseable this way, like laszlo and xaml are unusable to me.
    Look if you use ActionScript instead of MXML it works exactly like with Swing (or any other OO UI-framework). Instantiate controls, set properteis, styles, add event handlers, add/remove/replace, Controls in containers and that all dynamically at runtime. MXML does the same and is for those who prefer the delcarative XML aproache - like your Backbase. Of course most of the time you will use the visual builder (like with Matisse). If you want to have a generic UI layer ie a domain-driven UI layer. Yes than you will have to provide some meta-data and interpret it yourself.
    I'll stick with html for a while longer (maybe forever). The only ria framework that suites my needs is my own and backbase. Funny about backbase is that you can write your own html between the backbase stuff. Flex, laslzo and xaml seem to lock one in.
    I understand that you do not want people to be locked into your competition. One step in this direction would be to not demand a login just for the manual. Anyway competition is good - good luck with your backbase!
  27. thanks for the explanation, that means that if you really want to have a dynamic gui you would have to write your own engine in actionscript that inteprets your own gui language or an existing one. I dont understand that the flex team doesn't provide this, to me it is totally unuseable this way, like laszlo and xaml are unusable to me.


    Look if you use ActionScript instead of MXML it works exactly like with Swing (or any other OO UI-framework). Instantiate controls, set properteis, styles, add event handlers, add/remove/replace, Controls in containers and that all dynamically at runtime.

    MXML does the same and is for those who prefer the delcarative XML aproache - like your Backbase. Of course most of the time you will use the visual builder (like with Matisse).

    If you want to have a generic UI layer ie a domain-driven UI layer. Yes than you will have to provide some meta-data and interpret it yourself.

    I'll stick with html for a while longer (maybe forever). The only ria framework that suites my needs is my own and backbase. Funny about backbase is that you can write your own html between the backbase stuff. Flex, laslzo and xaml seem to lock one in.


    I understand that you do not want people to be locked into your competition. One step in this direction would be to not demand a login just for the manual. Anyway competition is good - good luck with your backbase!
    dont get upset too much ;-), it is not my backbase. I just wanted to point out something that is more flexible than flex (in my huble opinion)
  28. dont get upset too much ;-), it is not my backbase. I just wanted to point out something that is more flexible than flex (in my huble opinion)
    Not at all. As said to me competition is good (as I don't have my own UI framework). What's more flexible in your framework or Backbase than with Flex? (And having normal html between controls is a good thing which Flex does not provide.)
  29. dont get upset too much ;-), it is not my backbase. I just wanted to point out something that is more flexible than flex (in my huble opinion)


    Not at all. As said to me competition is good (as I don't have my own UI framework).

    What's more flexible in your framework or Backbase than with Flex?

    (And having normal html between controls is a good thing which Flex does not provide.)
    Am I missing something or are you comparing apples to oranges? What do you mean normal html between the controls? To me Flex is more akin to Swing than it is to HTML. Fat client vs thin client. You don't have to use MXML with the flex components (although I'm not sure why you wouldn't want to). You can generate anything in the Flex framework with Actionscript. As another poster said, the MXML just provides an alternative way to layout the UI. This may not be the best comparison but I'd say it is somewhat like the difference between generating a UI with a JSP vs. a Servlet. Both use the same back end components, just one is more suited for templating. Not trying to defend Flex/Flash here but just don't understand your critique very well. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  30. dont get upset too much ;-), it is not my backbase. I just wanted to point out something that is more flexible than flex (in my huble opinion)


    Not at all. As said to me competition is good (as I don't have my own UI framework).

    What's more flexible in your framework or Backbase than with Flex?

    (And having normal html between controls is a good thing which Flex does not provide.)
    The fact that the markup is interpreted makes it more flexible as opposed to compiled markup. If the markup is compiled then it will get verbose and static. I understand that i can do this with actionscript but that is not the point, i would have to write an engine and get that stable while i dont have time to do such things. I basically work with a java object ui layer that generates markup. If the markup has to be compiled on the fly then the application becomes very slow. It was very easy for me to generate backbase components and they work with the components i already had. I cannot see how i would be able do this with flex,laszlo or xaml. Competition is on the framework level, i wish it was on the component level but that will probably never happen.
  31. The fact that the markup is interpreted makes it more flexible as opposed to compiled markup. If the markup is compiled then it will get verbose and static. I understand that i can do this with actionscript but that is not the point, i would have to write an engine and get that stable while i dont have time to do such things.

    I basically work with a java object ui layer that generates markup. If the markup has to be compiled on the fly then the application becomes very slow.
    With your framework you work with an java object ui layer on the server which generates markup and sends that to the client. A Flex application runs only on the client with an ActionScript object UI layer, which renders directly. Only the data is exchanged with the server. Exactly like an Applet or traditional Client/Server app. So on the server you do not have to create dynamic markup, handle user events, keep a session or have an object model which represents the user-interface.
    It was very easy for me to generate backbase components and they work with the components i already had. I cannot see how i would be able do this with flex,laszlo or xaml. Competition is on the framework level, i wish it was on the component level but that will probably never happen.
    Sure if you have already AJAX controls, want to make a traditional web-page more userfriendly or have to code for the big masses than AJAX is propably better. But for me to productively get up an interactive UI with a relatively smale number of users Flex is better: 1.) ActionScript vs JavaScript: ActionScript 3.0 is much like Java with static typing, classes, interfaces, final, protected, public modifiers, no need to use the JS prototype inheritance etc. And it adds two nice UI goodies with bindable properties and closures. 2.) Flash Plugin: Because there is only one who makes that you don't have the browser-incompatiblilities which IMO will always be. The whole enviroment can also evolve faster especially in the hands of a well know client-technology specialist like Adobe (just look how long it took to discouver the XMLHttpRequest - and that was not MS's fault). 3.) The much higher level client-server communication infrastructure. 4.) The (not free) IDE with visual builder, autocompletition, instant error-reporting, full debugging etc. 5.) The strong multi-media support of Flash. (I hope that Adobe adds in future releases some of its document and textprocessing knowledge).
  32. I think it is important to look beyond what is being done with HTML/JavaScript/AJAX when you consider the possible benefits of Flex. If you are just copying the traditional header/column layout of your traditional web application you won't see much benefit. I think the thing that is most exciting is that you are not limited to what markup can provide. Video overlays, slick animation, dynamic drill-down charts, 3d graphics, etc, drawing, sound-feedback, drag and drop, etc. All this stuff is trivial in Flex but would take some expert gymnastics with AJAX/JavaScript. Downsides? Well I wouldn't do a blog in flex because I'd want my text searchable by Google. Maybe I'd have an alternative interface and static html but I think it wouldn't be a good fit. Blog admin and editing would be a perfect fit for Flex though. Like any technolgy it is just another tool to consider. But it is a pretty impressive tool. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  33. I think it is important to look beyond what is being done with HTML/JavaScript/AJAX when you consider the possible benefits of Flex.

    If you are just copying the traditional header/column layout of your traditional web application you won't see much benefit. I think the thing that is most exciting is that you are not limited to what markup can provide.

    Video overlays, slick animation, dynamic drill-down charts, 3d graphics, etc, drawing, sound-feedback, drag and drop, etc. All this stuff is trivial in Flex but would take some expert gymnastics with AJAX/JavaScript.
    After I saw pages that use Ajax and Flash together, I started to think that Ajax and Flash are not rivals, they are allies. For example, check Google Finance, see how they use Flash to display stock chart. Or check out T-Mobile home page with plan slider.
  34. After I saw pages that use Ajax and Flash together, I started to think that Ajax and Flash are not rivals, they are allies. For example, check Google Finance, see how they use Flash to display stock chart. Or check out T-Mobile home page with plan slider.
    Right. I've mentioned in a previous post on this thread that Adobe is positioning Ajax and Flash as complementary technologies - I even provided a link to Google Finance as an example :-) I think I was talking about how much more flexibility (no pun intended) is available for UI development when you use Flex over HTML and friends. It is a trade off, like anything, but if you wanted to provide a unique interface - not just the standard grids, buttons, and drop-down menus, Flash is a great way to go. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  35. 1.) ActionScript vs JavaScript: ActionScript 3.0 is much like Java with static typing, classes, interfaces, final, protected, public modifiers, no need to use the JS prototype inheritance etc. And it adds two nice UI goodies with bindable properties and closures.
    You have a point there, if actionscript is static typed it will be possible to build something maintanable. The last time i did something with it it was basically javascript, hence terrible maintenance.

    2.) Flash Plugin: Because there is only one who makes that you don't have the browser-incompatiblilities which IMO will always be. The whole enviroment can also evolve faster especially in the hands of a well know client-technology specialist like Adobe (just look how long it took to discouver the XMLHttpRequest - and that was not MS's fault).

    also a strong point, although i dont have that much trouble with xbrowser. Safari is the big PITA but the rest is ok. Since i started working component based i dont have to reinvent the wheel every day again. I have minimal javascript functions that i can configure on the server with java code. Client side code is hidden a lot, programming is almost a "java only" thing.
    3.) The much higher level client-server communication infrastructure.

    point not taken. With ajax and a java object layer you can reach very high abstraction levels.
    4.) The (not free) IDE with visual builder, autocompletition, instant error-reporting, full debugging etc.
    the "not free" and Adobe only aspect is the biggest problem for me. I was locked in before and it felt terrible, once bitten twice shy i guess. Currently i am offcourse also kind of locked in by eclipse but the idea that i can switch with a little effort puts my mind at ease.
    5.) The strong multi-media support of Flash. (I hope that Adobe adds in future releases some of its document and textprocessing knowledge).
    within html one can use flash with all it's cappabilities and other media easy. But within flash i cannot use html or applets or activeX.
  36. the "not free" and Adobe only aspect is the biggest problem for me. I was locked in before and it felt terrible, once bitten twice shy i guess. Currently i am offcourse also kind of locked in by eclipse but the idea that i can switch with a little effort puts my mind at ease.
    Point kind of taken but it is sort of like saying one shouldn't program in C# because the .NET IDE is not free. The platform and basic tools are there for anybody to use. I guess you could make the statement that you don't want to be locked into Flash as a target. For the near future there is no real competitor to the Flash Player (with its 90%+ penetration of installed browsers) so having lock-in there can be seen as a benefit; few if any incompatibilities between browser/platform. Its what makes Laszlo such an interesting project. I'd be pretty surprised if someone didn't kick off an open-source Flex IDE as a competitor to the for-pay version. There is already a pretty large open source flash community with an ActionScript compiler and libraries.
    within html one can use flash with all it's capabilities and other media easy. But within flash i cannot use html or applets or activeX.
    This is just a goofy statement. Why would you want to use applets or active x within Flash? I'm not even sure what that would mean. You could have them side-by-side on a web page (yuck). You could even have them talk to each other through the JavaScript bridge. BTW: Actually, you can use HTML within Flash since Flash's text fields can accept HTML. You can also have Flash run outside of the browser as a stand-alone application (see many of the interactive kids games) so I guess you could say that HTML locks you into a browser as a target. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  37. within html one can use flash with all it's capabilities and other media easy. But within flash i cannot use html or applets or activeX.


    This is just a goofy statement. Why would you want to use applets or active x within Flash?
    Sometimes one wants access to parts of the client system where the browser is not allowed to operate. In that case the applet or ativeX is hidden but can access anything on the client machine. This is pretty powerfull and made a customer of mine very happy, they had a bunch of fat desktop clients they thought they couldn't live without but everything runs fully intergrated in the browser now, cutting on maintanance cost big time. So, not so goofy to them ;-)
    BTW: Actually, you can use HTML within Flash since Flash's text fields can accept HTML.
    not full blown, not by far.
    You can also have Flash run outside of the browser as a stand-alone application (see many of the interactive kids games) so I guess you could say that HTML locks you into a browser as a target.
    what is the difference between a browser with flash only in it or just flash, nothing IMHO.
    Its what makes Laszlo such an interesting project
    Laszlo now also renders in dhtml because flash is to slow for serious application with big loads.
  38. Sometimes one wants access to parts of the client system where the browser is not allowed to operate. In that case the applet or ativeX is hidden but can access anything on the client machine. This is pretty powerful and made a customer of mine very happy, they had a bunch of fat desktop clients they thought they couldn't live without but everything runs fully integrated in the browser now, cutting on maintenance cost big time. So, not so goofy to them ;-)
    That sounds like a fine use case for activex but doesn't solve the logic of "within flash I cannot use html or applets or activeX". Maybe we are just not communicating well on this one. I'm not sure anymore what your point is other than maybe Flash isn't the best technology for all use cases, to which I'll agree. But that is an easy thing to agree on for any technology. If your point is that HTML is more powerful I'd have to say it depends on what you mean by powerful. To me they are pretty different tools that can be used separately or together.
    BTW: Actually, you can use HTML within Flash since Flash's text fields can accept HTML.
    not full blown, not by far
    That's totally fair but I never claimed that it was 100% or near it. Its good enough for many use cases.
    what is the difference between a browser with flash only in it or just flash, nothing IMHO.
    I believe stand-alone Flash doesn't have to have the security sandbox that the browser plugin has so there is a difference (this may depend on the flash "projector" used). Sort of like the difference between applets and stand-alone Java. Interesting aside, there is an Apollo project from Adobe that was mentioned at the conference I went to that will make stand-alone Flash applications a much more attractive alternative to what is currently available: Swing, or SWT.
    Laszlo now also renders in dhtml because flash is to slow for serious application with big loads.
    I'll have to take your word on that, I'm not too familiar with the Laszlo project roadmap. I critique your "serious application" terminology. Are you implying that Flash/Flex is only for toy applications? I'm not sure what you mean by big loads either. Are you talking traffic between the client and server? Are you talking load time to stream the client to the browser? I'd be interested to know more about the limitations you've read about or experienced first hand. It seems to me that with a fat client you'd have plenty of opportunity to reduce server traffic because you could cache more on the user's machine. You wouldn't need to use the server to render grids, for sorting, paging, etc. What kinds of apps do you see Flex excelling at (if any?) and what kinds of applications do you see it falling short, and why? If the critique that the Flash rendering engine is too slow I think that may be fair but you should look at Flash 9. They completely rewrote the VM so that it has a JIT compiler. At the conference the differences were an order of magnitude higher. The player will still have the old VM for Flash 8 and prior compatibility. Not sure what having two VMs will do to the size of the plug-in. ______________ George Coller DevilElephant
  39. That sounds like a fine use case for activex but doesn't solve the logic of "within flash I cannot use html or applets or activeX". Maybe we are just not communicating well on this one. I'm not sure anymore what your point is other than maybe Flash isn't the best technology for all use cases, to which I'll agree. But that is an easy thing to agree on for any technology.

    If your point is that HTML is more powerful I'd have to say it depends on what you mean by powerful. To me they are pretty different tools that can be used separately or together.
    What i ment by powerfull is the concept of a thin client that can do anything on the client machine. It doesn't need to be an html rendering browser, but at least an engine that interprets something instead of compiled binaries. That was my point also, interpretation against compiling. If flex was interpretable i could write a renderer for it and we wouldn't have this discussion (i dont mind having this discussion though, i like exhanging thoughts about technology)
    I believe stand-alone Flash doesn't have to have the security sandbox that the browser plugin has so there is a difference (this may depend on the flash "projector" used). Sort of like the difference between applets and stand-alone Java.
    If you mean that the flash player is standalone and that the player can load swf's from an url then that is very interesting. Do you have an idea about what is possible then? The most important IMHO is disk, com port and usb port access.
    I critique your "serious application" terminology. Are you implying that Flash/Flex is only for toy applications?
    You are right, i shouldn't have said it like that. Offcourse every application is serious for the one who made it and the size of an application or the amount of users has nothing to do with the seriousness or profitability of it. What i ment was that because everything is clientside (i presume) you will end up with a very slow interface once you have thousands of records in a grid. With a grid containing 15 columns and 30.000 records (thats not even much) you end up with almost 1/2 million of cells. I worked on databases with 5 million customer records, i dont even want to go there. The performance of the application will degrade to totally unusable. Another thing is that you dont know the power and recources or state of the client machine. If somebody has opened a lot of other applications and almost consumed all it's internal memory then what?
    It seems to me that with a fat client you'd have plenty of opportunity to reduce server traffic because you could cache more on the user's machine. You wouldn't need to use the server to render grids, for sorting, paging, etc.
    I old-fashionably think that it is better to do as much as possible on the server keeping your client ultra thin. If you have 5 million records in a resultset you will only have to sent the result page by page, guaranteeing that the browser will never consume more memory than one single page. This is actually a bit of topic and more a paradigma thing, because you can do it both ways with either html or flash. There are also synchronization problems with keeping everything on the client. I am sure flex will get better and better but i dont believe in the fact that one single company will solve it all. I therefore strongly believe in open technology and formats. I see flex excelling on projects where there is a fixed amount of users that is not likely to grow very fast in the near future. Eg a company that exists for 25 years with 50 employees is not likely to grow to 10.000 employees in the coming 3 years. If a project has more then 10 developers and the application will be publically accessable i would stay far from flex because of vendor lock, fear of unscaleability and fear of unmaintainability.
  40. What about Accessibility? Does it cater to it Or is that not important enough for Adobe to build it into Flex yet? -Ryan