Post AJUG: Flex is OK on the Server

I’m convinced Flex is ok on the server. I’m convinced Flash developers are in no way a part of the Flex vision.

Spoke about Flex & FlexBuilder tonight at the Atlanta Java User’s Group, and when talking about how Flash developers weren’t comfortable with Flex being on the server, but most Java developers I’ve seen on the Flexcoders list are, a lot of audience members were nodding their heads before I even finished the statement. I just met Flex’ target market tonight, first hand.

Macromedia doesn’t encourage prototype usage in Flex, they don’t encourage using Flash to make Flex components, and they condone the use of Flex generated SWF’s outside the browser (Central non-withstanding).

Although my time was my limited, and the speed of my speech accelerated, racing across details at 60mph, I think I got a lot of people at least interested in further investigating Flex. As a whole, I think the Roundbox Media Development team hopefully got many interested in OpenAMF, and Java & Flash integration in general.

Thanks for letting me speak about Flex at your meeting, AJUG members! Thanks for inviting me, Dan!

8 Replies to “Post AJUG: Flex is OK on the Server”

  1. Your enthusiasm was infectious. I was also pleased to see how development in one tier respected the issues involved in the other tiers (a desired quality that often gets ignored by developers who just stick to the tier they are developing in without paying attention to the needs and limitations of other tiers).

  2. Why don’t you think Flash developers are part of the flex vision? Is it because Flex is aimed at J2EE folks, and doesn’t make sense for people who already know the ins and outs of Flash?

  3. – Prototype langauges, such as AS1, and parts of AS2 support quick development and quick test cases. Flex, although it supports AS2, has a stricter compiler, stricter and more enforced methodlogies (you can’t use lv[‘owner’] = this to get around the non-parent variable of LoadVars in Flex like you can in Flash to fool the compiler)

    – Flex 1.0 had some support for skinning Flash comonents for use in Flex. Flex 1.5 has changed this perspective and supports skinning programmatically. While great, it prevents Flash from having as much as a design impact on Flex since a lot of what the average wants to do in skinning components can now be done in Flex without the need of Flash

    – Using a Flex generated SWF outside of the Flex generated HTML wrapper in a browser violates the EULA. This prevents win32/fat client/smart client development, which is a lot of what I do with Flash. 3rd party wrappers such as Zinc, mProjector, as well as Macromedia’s own Director are typically used to further Flash’ functionailty on the desktop; you can’t do that with Flex legally.

    – They have stated many times on the Flexcoders’ list (Macromedia employees) that they don’t encourage prototype manipulation; prefer inheritance (since it’s easy to do in Flex), they don’t encourage Flash component development since they feel, I believe, that the majority of components in Flex are already there for you, and the ones you need to tweak are customizable via CSS and exposed skinning properties.

    – Finally, every Flash developer I know, save 1 (Ted Patrick) thinks having Flex on the server is ridicolous and makes no sense. Java developers and others I’ve read about & judged reactions have absolutely no problem with this, dare I say, prefer it since everything else they typically do is on a server.

  4. Re: components in Flash. One reason that we haven’t encouraged it for Flex is that it’s nearly impossible to explain to non-Flash developers and we found many issues in having a clean integration model. The skinning architecture is a lot cleaner for Flex users when it’s done programmatically, but we also do want to suppor the Flash developer who does more graphical assets. We’re working hard now on improving the workflows and getting both types of developers involved in building Flex apps.

  5. Score++; That’s great to hear (plus the email recently published on Flexcoders about the changes). I really want to make components for Flex!

  6. Dude we had a great time. We were visiting from the Calgary JUG. You should think about taking up standup or motivational speaking.

    It was cool to hear a flash/flex guy go on about the merits of layout mangers :)

    – Peace

  7. Thanks for coming to the meeting Jesse! We’ve been invited to come back on May 25th for the day long Atlanta Java Devcon. Sorry about the warpspeed time slot I promise to not only give you more time at the next one but to focus quite a bit more on MXML myself.

    More soon…..

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