3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2007 10:19 AM by cluebcke

    Evaluating Flex

    hay7777
      Hi,

      We're looking at Flex for a new project, but I am a little wary of making such a big jump and trying to take a long hard look at it before we do. We're looking at the free approach - using the Flex 2 SDK, receiving XML from Spring backend.

      I'm sure everyone here loves it ;-), but I was wondering if I could solicite a few honest responses to the following questions?

      1) Performance - our main concern. What areas are subject to some of the flash player performance issues? Any hints on how to design for best performance? How does it compare with Ajax?

      2) Support - concerned that it's not open source. What happens if we find a show-stopping bug? Is it possible to subclass classes in the SDK? Does the SDK come with source?

      3) Existing Bugs - is there a bugs database? What bugs exist that can't be worked around?

      3) Licensing - what does the phrase "There are some limitations in the license that restricts the redistribution of the SDK in commercially distributed software." mean here: http://weblogs.macromedia.com/pent/archives/2006/06/flex_20_now_ava.cfm?

      4) Testing - I know there is some support for automated testing, but can it actually test the UI we ship with?

      5) We need to create a web app that can have different sub-apps plugged into it. Can Flex support this? Suggestions how?

      Many thanks!!

      David

      PS I also posted on FlexCoders Yahoo group - is that a separate forum?
        • 1. Re: Evaluating Flex
          cluebcke
          I'm sure you'll get a few responses, and please don't take mine as authoritative or anything other than my own perspective as a Flex 2 developer (working as a UI architect for a small enterprise ISV).

          quote:

          I'm sure everyone here loves it ;-)


          Oh, you'd be surprised :) There's a lot of support but people aren't shy about voicing their frustrations when they have them. Moving on...

          quote:

          1) Performance - our main concern. What areas are subject to some of the flash player performance issues? Any hints on how to design for best performance? How does it compare with Ajax?


          That's such a broad topic that it's difficult to give a coherent answer. I'm no performance tuner (I haven't yet taken a Flex 2 app through a performance testing cycle) so I would generally defer to the wisdom of others on this. Where you'll feel performance pinches in need of tuning really depends on what your application is doing. However, if you search around here, flexcoders (which is a separate forum, independent of Adobe (although Adobe members do contribute to it) and the web in general for Flex 2 and Flash Player 9 performance, you can pretty quickly generate a list of the most common issues.

          quote:

          2) Support - concerned that it's not open source. What happens if we find a show-stopping bug? Is it possible to subclass classes in the SDK? Does the SDK come with source?


          There's a form ( http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/mmform/index.cfm?name=wishform) available for finding bug reports. However, without a purchasing a support plan you can expect responses to bug reports to be based on volume of reports and severity of the issue, and don't bank on getting individual attention--although you certainly may.

          You can subclass any SDK class, and the SDK does indeed ship with source code (which is, of course, invaluable).

          quote:

          3) Existing Bugs - is there a bugs database? What bugs exist that can't be worked around?


          I'm not aware of a publicly-accessible bugs database (but would love to hear if there is). And I'm not personally aware of any bugs that can't be worked around.

          quote:

          3) Licensing - what does the phrase "There are some limitations in the license that restricts the redistribution of the SDK in commercially distributed software." mean here: http://weblogs.macromedia.com/pent/archives/2006/06/flex_20_now_ava.cfm?[/q

          Review this post from Matt Chotin (of the Adobe Flex team) on exactly this question:
          http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/flexcoders/message/64326
          I would never want to claim that I can clarify Adobe's licensing, but I believe this answers your question in a positive way.

          quote:

          4) Testing - I know there is some support for automated testing, but can it actually test the UI we ship with?


          The mx.automation package can only be used if you purchase a Flex Data Services license (which will immediately get you from $0 into the five figures). This is a sore point with me and many others, and while there are a few different projects underway that I've heard of to provided alternate automation testing frameworks, I'm not aware of any besides Mercury Quick Test Pro (four figures at least), which only works with the aforementioned mx.automation package.

          quote:

          5) We need to create a web app that can have different sub-apps plugged into it. Can Flex support this? Suggestions how?


          Check out the mx.modules package, and read up on modules in the docs. I think that's what you're looking for.

          Anyway, hope that helps, and don't take any of my responses as being representative of anyone besides myself.

          - Chris
          • 2. Re: Evaluating Flex
            hay7777 Level 1
            Hi,

            Really appreciate your reponses...

            quote:

            You can subclass any SDK class, and the SDK does indeed ship with source code (which is, of course, invaluable).

            Is it possible to recompile the SDK code?

            thanks!

            David
            • 3. Re: Evaluating Flex
              cluebcke Level 1
              You can compile any source code, whether it comes from the SDK or not. We don't get the complete set of source code; I'm not sure exactly what we do and don't have, but in the "don't" column you'll likely find the code for Flex Data Services as well as some other stuff. But anything you have can be compiled into a SWC and included in your main application.

              You would probably want to have clarity on the licensing issues of making changes to Adobe's code and then distributing it. I personally haven't found an issue in the SDK that I wasn't able to work around by subclassing.

              - Chris