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News: What can Flex do for you?

  1. What can Flex do for you? (26 messages)

    Christophe Coenraets has just published the "30 minutes Flex test-drive for Java developers." The objective is to give Java developers the opportunity to learn key features of Flex, and its underlying programming model, with a minimal time commitment. Deploy the test-drive war file to deploy in Tomcat (or another app server) and then explore 10 targeted sample apps. The samples focus primarily on integrating Flex with Java back-ends (remote method and web services invocation, server push, real-time collaboration, pub/sub messaging and JMS integration, persistence), but also demonstrate other features such as charting and rich media components. Flex is being adopted for everything from Enterprise apps to simple CRUD apps. For those of you who have built apps with Flex, why did you choose it? What have you liked about it? Message was edited by: joeo@enigmastation.com

    Threaded Messages (26)

  2. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    I guess nothing much besides some fancy stuff. Thats why no one responsed to this thread. How much ever you try to market this stuff - dont market it to j2ee developers. we all know its just not fit for our environment.
  3. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    dont market it to j2ee developers. we all know its just not fit for our environment.
    You might be shocked how many very well respected J2EE folks are very excited by what Flex has to offer the J2EE and enterprise community. For example, I was a three time speaker at JavaOne on topics like Advanced Transaction Processing and CORBA Interoperability. Not subjects for the "pretty picture" Flash stereotype. Or someone who helped develop one of the first J2EE application servers *ever*. I feel of late like I could be a J2EE apologist. An apologist for creating an environment where elegance of architecture and design patterns supercede a focus on users, their experience and the business benefits that software can deliver. Personally I think Flex is an amazing companion to J2EE. All of the applications we develop use a Java J2EE infrastructure including Tomcat and/or JBoss, Hibernate, Spring, SOAP Based Service Oriented Architectures tightly integrated into J2EE security and messaing services. You should open you eyes to what an amazingly rich user experience can do for a very well architected J2EE infrastructure. -- Dave Wolf Cynergy Systems, Inc. http://www.cynergysystems.com http://www.cynergysystems.com/blogs Email: dave dot wolf at cynergysystems dot com Office: 866-CYNERGY
  4. Flex 2 is a very compelling[ Go to top ]

    I have been playing with Flex 2 for the last month. Integrating Spring managed JPA beans is fairly straightforward. The forums are helpful. You can access spring beans transparently from flex using the mx:RemoteObject. Flex handles the translation from/to Java objects from/to ActionScript objects for you. With defined datasources, be they web services or managed java objects, the Flex developer can be completely separated from the middle tier code. I believe the Flex environment of EcmaScript + components + databinding is the future. HTML + AJAX feels ancient in comparison. Frank
  5. HTML + AJAX feels ancient in comparison.
    But to host "ancient" costs zero dollars whereas Flex prod env would make you pay thru the wazoo.
  6. Not unless you use the crazy enterprise features. The normal stuff is free for production deployment. I agree that HTML + AJAX feel ancient. The whole discussion of AJAX technologies has the feel to me of companies competing to produce the best ice transport technology before the dawn of refrigeration. I don't know if Flex will be what changes things, but it's certainly going to be something like that because working with AJAX and HTML is just crap.
  7. Re: Flex 2 is a very compelling[ Go to top ]

    There are full of FLEX's AD in many techology sites, so many people at least know the name. "FLEX: revolutionizes the way people interact with the web". Java Tutorials
  8. For some I got "you need version 9 of flash" and send me to a place where I could download and it said on the side I had version 9,0,16.0 ...but that is what it wants and I have it. For a few others I got Compilation Results Errors, warnings or exceptions were found while compiling /sample5/SampleUpdate.mxml. Visit the online Flex documentation or API reference for further information. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Exception found. Exception java.lang.OutOfMemoryError ================================================== I wasted ~1 hr trying your stuff.... It is a new technology and if the first tutorial/demo bombs then people will "write not even once and just run far away" :)
  9. Neal, In this test-drive the web compiler is used to compile the applications. Depending on your configuration, this may require you to increase the heap size of your application server's JVM. This would not be needed in a production environement since you typically deploy precompiled applications. I mentionned that in the instructions, but I'll make sure it is more clearly emphasized. Christophe
  10. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    I used to love Flash because it is cool and very interactive. But nowadays, Flash almosts equal to ad. I don't even install flasher player in my browser.
  11. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    Dont even install it in your browser huh. Pretty interesting being one of only 2% of people in the entire world who don't install it. It gets more interesting since you would be absolutely shocked how often the Flash Player is being used by what appear to be HTML applications on the web. For instance, MSNBC. Yup. A Microsoft property uses the Flash player to run what looks on the face of it to be HTML news links. How about one of the largest financial institutions in the US and the world who uses the player as a segment of their login process. To claim the Flash player is only for banner ads is like claiming that AJAX is a joke because JavaScript is just for pop-up windows. -- Dave Wolf Cynergy Systems, Inc. http://www.cynergysystems.com http://www.cynergysystems.com/blogs Email: dave dot wolf at cynergysystems dot com Office: 866-CYNERGY
  12. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    Dont even install it in your browser huh. Pretty interesting being one of only 2% of people in the entire world who don't install it.
    Count me in as well.
    It gets more interesting since you would be absolutely shocked how often the Flash Player is being used by what appear to be HTML applications on the web. For instance, MSNBC.
    "This product requires Microsoft© Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft© Media Player 10, and Macromedia Flash 6." Maybe they also want the keys from my house? Fortunately there is BBC, so who needs MSNBC anyway.
  13. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    A quick Google search indicates that the bbc site is also using quite a bit of Flash. But I am curious... Do those of you who disable Flash also disable JavaScript? In my web surfing I see just as many annoyances, if not more, built with JavaScript. I am working on a blog about the general issue of web technology abuse and how we fix it, rather than to just not use great technology. If we all stopped using great technologies because of how they were abused, what would we be left with? Certainly not email. Also, I want to note that Christophe has posted a new version of the test drive which works in Tomcat 5.0.
  14. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    Do those of you who disable Flash also disable JavaScript?
    Adblock. If I like the site, I turn Javascript on. I usually don't bother using websites that simply do not work without Javascript instead of telling me that Javascript is required for proper functioning.
  15. Re: What can Flex do for you?[ Go to top ]

    A quick Google search indicates that the bbc site is also using quite a bit of Flash.
    From the BBC:
    bbc.co.uk contains interactive elements such as animated movies, clickable guides and games, which may require a Shockwave or Flash player plug-in to be installed.
    There is quite a lot of content on the BBC, and they use Flash sparingly. Although they can hardly be said to rely upon it, where they have used it (say for kids games), they really make it shine. A couple of years ago I deliberately broke Flash after one of the ad services ran a series of ads where a Nokia phone span backwards and forwards over the top of the news stories on TheRegister. I was still able to use the BBC site without any problems. Times have changed and now Adblock allows me to keep Flash in use but in check. I don't think people would have got so wild about Flash if it hadn't been so uncontrollable. Yes JavaScript can be used to annoy the user, but it's no so easy from an off-site ad-server, and we could always put that ad-server into a security category that stopped it using JavaScript. When a site is about distractions rather than content, we don't go there. When a site has content that we want but annoying adverts, then we do our best to stop the adverts. We were always able to right-click and stop animated GIFs playing or looping, but the Flash player didn't allow us to do this. It left us feeling that someone else was in charge of our computer. You just have to sit there and watch or go elsewhere (and then it steals your Alt-LeftArrow key press). You are right Flash is a useful technology, it has become much more accessible, and allows sites to give a richer user experience. If you want to reduce the hostility, then let the user control it and distinguish between scripts coming from the page's site and what might be an a server.
  16. My Experience with Flex..[ Go to top ]

    Until recently, I have not worked with Flex and Flash. Like many people, I would not bother with watching most of the Flash movies. Recently, I have been looking for a new platform to develop a new application for users who consider computer a necessary evil, and who count the time spent with computer as overhead. For my application, I decided, JavaScript and HTML was not good enough, with or without asynchronous communication. Have been there and done it. So, after reading some reviews of Flex 2, I decided to give it a try anyway. My requirements for a perfect application: (1) It starts instantly, (2) It looks and works as good as a desktop application, (3) Stable over a long periods of work sessions, and (4) Most of the work is done on user’s computer. Action Script looks promising for a number of reasons: it is compiled to byte code like Java, so it is fast enough for serious computing. You can create desktop like applications, which are nearly as fast and as familiar. And Flex has good set of controls and support for multimedia and graphics. And it appeared that large applications could be build from small incrementally loaded and cached applications. So a Flex app may come close enough to my perfect application. If you simply ignore the MXML and do all with Action Script, Flex looks very much like Java/Swing. The design of the GUI classes conceptually very close to Swing: You have Models Renderers, and Editors. If you worked with Swing, it should be a very easy transition. Together with extensive CSS support you can make you app look like anything you wish. I wish Action Script supported multithreading for background processing. Otherwise GUI support is really good. The second in my wish list is the documentation/information for people who like to write and organize their programs, for example, like Java. Most documentation examples are written in MXML. I believe nobody will/should write a large-scale program in anything which ends with XML. I was able to write my entire program without MXML. Clearly it is perfectly possible and preferable. It is surprising that Abobe is actually underselling Flex by focusing on MXML and also its coolness, which often becomes a source of distraction and confusion for the user. I had stripped all the cool stuff from my Charts to make it look like a regular chart embedded in a regular looking desktop program. Shadows, and animation of the charts, and controls will likely to be counter productive in applications where you do not want to distract the user. This overemphasis on marketing and artistic aspects is likely be the cause of misconceptions that all you can do with Flash is marketing stuff. I think it will help to expand the documentation and examples to show that you can create less cool but possibly more regular and familiar programs. The prevalent culture of Flash and Flex is somewhat at odds with the boring applications whose purpose is to do things as fast as possible and with as little distraction as possible. The last thing I would like to mention here is the lacke of detailed information on how a large application can be broken into smaller applications, which are loaded in small pieces and on demand. It seems that RSL (Runtime Shared Libraries) are created for this purpose. I was hoping that an RSL would play the role of a jar file in java, and they will load on demand when it is needed. When I created a simple SWC for a custom control (equivalent to a jar file or library), I found that the smallest SWC file was around 500 KB! I do not completely understand the details of why. But as far as I can see, when a library is created, Flex is actually copying all the dependent classes into the SWC file. This is like if you extend the JTable in java and put into a jar file, the resulting jar file contains nearly all of Swing. This seems incomprehensible to me. It clearly goes against the goal of modularizing the application. In an alternative approach, one can break a large application into smaller child applications. These child applications can be loaded on demand. It will really help to have some detailed information on how a large application can be created from small independently developed and loaded applications. It is really important to eliminate the compiled code duplicated within application and/or libraries. Flex IDE is closer to Eclipse 1.0. I assume the work is already underway to provide full capabilities of Eclipse to Flex projects. I think Flex has the potential to go way beyond JavaScript/HTML/DOM. One really needs to give it a real try before making judgments on the basis of hearsay.
  17. Re: My Experience with Flex..[ Go to top ]

    Good stuff. Thanks Sermet. As far as modular / large applications go, you are right that documentation is lacking a bit. We are addressing this. For more info check out Roger Gonzalez's blog. Roger is the lead engineer working on modular / large app support. Can we see what you have built, or is it behind a firewall?
  18. Useful Messages[ Go to top ]

    As with most serverside threads these days it moves off the real topic and start questioning who installs Flash, uses Javascript etc What we actually need are comments like the previous two where people provide good feedback which is helpful to us all in gaining an understanding of the product and how we might be able to use it. I would also like to hear how I might use Flex to develop great looking applications whilst still keeping a solid J2EE backend. Come on J2EE community ... we need to start embracing easy to develop, good looking front end technologies to enbable us to build useful applications otherwise things like .NET web parts and the MS "drag and drop wizards" will gain even more market share (and please lets not use this as an excuse to divert into a Java v MS religion type discussion)
  19. Re: Useful Messages[ Go to top ]

    I would also like to hear how I might use Flex to develop great looking applications whilst still keeping a solid J2EE backend.
    Good point. That's the kind of discussion I was hoping to generate with the article. Flex allows you to keep your J2EE back-end unchanged, and, in my view, it can also make the integration patterns cleaner and more straightforward than with an HTML or Ajax client. One reason is that a Flex client can directly invoke methods in your Java components at the server-side; either through a web service call or a Java RPC call (see samples 2 and 3 in the test-drive). In other words, you are dealing with method invocations and objects at both ends, and not with requests and page parameters (you don't need the plumbing to recreate objects at the server-side). Another J2EE feature that Flex clients can directly integrate with is JMS: Flex clients can publish and subscribe to JMS topics (see sample 6 for more details).
  20. Re: Useful Messages[ Go to top ]

    As with most serverside threads these days it moves off the real topic and start questioning who installs Flash, uses Javascript etc
    What we actually need are comments like the previous two where people provide good feedback which is helpful to us all in gaining an understanding of the product and how we might be able to use it. I would also like to hear how I might use Flex to develop great looking applications whilst still keeping a solid J2EE backend. Come on J2EE community ... we need to start embracing easy to develop, good looking front end technologies to enbable us to build
    useful applications otherwise things like .NET web parts and the MS "drag and drop wizards" will gain even more market share (and please lets not use this as an excuse to divert into a Java v MS religion type discussion)
    Hi JP, Good point. I'm afraid you are unlikely to get a useful debate here. I was a Java advocate way back in 1996. The things is though, that today the average Java developer is happiest in the middle of the herd. He/she didn't decide to use Java/J2EE etc, someone else did and they just decided to follow. So what you are left with is a bunch of scared people who can't decide for themselves. If you are looking for inovation, useful ideas and change then look elsewhere. By and large the Java community has become the stalwarts of the status-quo. Even Sun realise that change is inevitable - look at the recent work on dynamic language support in the VM and the recent hire of JRuby developers. A lack of support by the Java community IMO is holding back change. So we are left with AJAX as the "next big idea". Shame really, Paul.
  21. Re: Useful Messages[ Go to top ]

    As with most serverside threads these days it moves off the real topic and start questioning who installs Flash, uses Javascript etc
    What we actually need are comments like the previous two where people provide good feedback which is helpful to us all in gaining an understanding of the product and how we might be able to use it. I would also like to hear how I might use Flex to develop great looking applications whilst still keeping a solid J2EE backend. Come on J2EE community ... we need to start embracing easy to develop, good looking front end technologies to enbable us to build
    useful applications otherwise things like .NET web parts and the MS "drag and drop wizards" will gain even more market share (and please lets not use this as an excuse to divert into a Java v MS religion type discussion)

    Hi JP,

    Good point. I'm afraid you are unlikely to get a useful debate here. I was a Java advocate way back in 1996. The things is though, that today the average Java developer is happiest in the middle of the herd. He/she didn't decide to use Java/J2EE etc, someone else did and they just decided to follow.

    So what you are left with is a bunch of scared people who can't decide for themselves.

    If you are looking for inovation, useful ideas and change then look elsewhere. By and large the Java community has become the stalwarts of the status-quo. Even Sun realise that change is inevitable - look at the recent work on dynamic language support in the VM and the recent hire of JRuby developers. A lack of support by the Java community IMO is holding back change. So we are left with AJAX as the "next big idea".

    Shame really,

    Paul.
    Thanks, Paul, for bringing the thread back on-topic.
  22. Re: Useful Messages[ Go to top ]

    As with most serverside threads these days it moves off the real topic and start questioning who installs Flash, uses Javascript etc
    What we actually need are comments like the previous two where people provide good feedback which is helpful to us all in gaining an understanding of the product and how we might be able to use it. I would also like to hear how I might use Flex to develop great looking applications whilst still keeping a solid J2EE backend. Come on J2EE community ... we need to start embracing easy to develop, good looking front end technologies to enbable us to build
    useful applications otherwise things like .NET web parts and the MS "drag and drop wizards" will gain even more market share (and please lets not use this as an excuse to divert into a Java v MS religion type discussion)

    Hi JP,

    Good point. I'm afraid you are unlikely to get a useful debate here. I was a Java advocate way back in 1996. The things is though, that today the average Java developer is happiest in the middle of the herd. He/she didn't decide to use Java/J2EE etc, someone else did and they just decided to follow.

    So what you are left with is a bunch of scared people who can't decide for themselves.

    If you are looking for inovation, useful ideas and change then look elsewhere. By and large the Java community has become the stalwarts of the status-quo. Even Sun realise that change is inevitable - look at the recent work on dynamic language support in the VM and the recent hire of JRuby developers. A lack of support by the Java community IMO is holding back change. So we are left with AJAX as the "next big idea".

    Shame really,

    Paul.


    Thanks, Paul, for bringing the thread back on-topic.
    Not so much "on topic", but "in context" IMO. It's always useful to stand back and see the big picture :^). Paul.
  23. Re: My Experience with Flex..[ Go to top ]

    James, Thanks for the link. I have read his blogs. I should admit I did not fully understand the details. Application is still in development. When it is ready I would love to show it. It will be available on the Internet when it is completed. Actually, one of the reasons for this post was to see how others are partitioning their applications. I expect to reach thousands of classes when done. Roger's comments suggested that RSL has adverse runtime effects. So I focused on creating a minimal application, which shows up almost instantly, a shell. Then I load the other applications using the SWFLoader class on demand. I am wondering if there are any limitation and gotchas in using the SWFLoader to create multiple applications within applications. As far as I can see, each application can get references to each other, which should also mean they can listen to each others messages and interact with each other. This provides a cool way to load the application in pieces and most of the times pieces should come from local cache. Any link or comments will be appreciated.
  24. Re: My Experience with Flex..[ Go to top ]

    You can indeed use an RSL to reduce the size of larger applications. As you state, the compiler will by default copy all the required linked classes into a SWF or SWC. If you create an application which has multiple SWF's then yes those could become duplicated. The role of the RSL is to act very much like a JAR and to become a single shared library that multiple SWC/SWFs can link to, and thus reference those required classes. You're right, the documentation doesnt do a great job sometimes at listing out things like the layout or topology of large applications. Then again, what API/Product documentation does. That's where a newsgroup fills out that role. We can show some pretty amazing user experiences with Flex. More so, many of these experiences are built over some pretty impressive J2EE enterprise class infrastructure. Take the Over-C application (see very cool demo video on our home page). This app integrates into SMS, IVR, RFID Readers, JMS, an EFT/ACH third party as well as data feeds in and out integrating into third party accounting packages. The entire system is a SOA exposing SOAP based web services and doing so though a full SSO expereince across all services. Take all that great enterprise geekiness and mix it with an amazing cinematic user experience that has all the advantages of AJAX (async data calls, partial page refresh, etc) without the primitive request/response, page centric view states. Like I said, most of our infrastructure is exactly how you might build any J2EE application. Tomcat, POJOS, Hibernate, Swing, etc. But doing so with some truly stunning user experiences. -- Dave Wolf Cynergy Systems, Inc. Adobe Flex Alliance Partner http://www.cynergysystems.com http://www.cynergysystems.com/blogs Email: dave dot wolf at cynergysystems dot com Office: 866-CYNERGY
  25. Re: My Experience with Flex..[ Go to top ]

    One can use CSS in ActionScript? This is an eyeopener. Then why most Flash apps are visually non-scalable?
  26. Re: My Experience with Flex..[ Go to top ]

    Michael, You can design your application to use constraints rather than absolute dimensions, same as using Swing GridBagLayout. Then it does scale/stretch with the screen size. I am not sure why some Flash applications are fixed in size. This is not because of Flex. None of my screens are fixed in size. All screens will fill the entire available screen on resizing as long as they do not use fixed size graphics (because stretching the graphics degrades the quality).
  27. What about functional tests?[ Go to top ]

    I ws involved in a project which used flex 1.0 + 2.0 (most of the gui developers burned out and left after 6 mths) It looked very pretty but was difficult to debug because it was so javascripish. Things would break VERY easily and you wouldn't know it until you actually ran through a full test/business process manually. Are there any open source/free automated regression test tools you can use on flash front ends? This is a major deal breaker in my eyes esp. if you're writing in a very dynamic, untyped language. This is why I stick to html-based guis.