5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2006 8:56 AM by inlineblue

    FB2 BETA 4

    cheftimo
      Adobe calls it “FB2 Final”, but it sure feels like another Beta. Now, don’t get me wrong: I like the products that are available; I have been using these things going all the way back to Allaire ColdFusion 3 and CF Studio and the Macromedia Suite, beginning with Dreamweaver et al version 2 or 3.

      Flex is very pretty, but in combination with Eclipse, overwhelming for those coming from the CF/HomeSite/Macromedia Studio scene, unless you really got into Flash and became very proficient at ActionScript in spite of its super steep learning curve, which I suspect is not a very high percentage of us. This whole Flex thing in its present state, reminds me of another horrible thing Macromedia did some time ago and which some of you may remember: it was the first version of Dreamweaver UltraDev. That, of course, got fixed as time passed, and I imagine it will eventually be the same with Flex.

      Even though I have used ColdFusion extensively for a while, only in the last 3 – 4 months I stumbled upon the Flash forms and am using them in a project that is not yet finished; because of that, I decided to take a look at Flex.

      One thing is wrong with ColdFusion Flash forms: they never finished the job – a lot of the stuff they are supposed to do just doesn’t happen. All the simple examples in Ben Forta’s CFWACK (my Bible for the last 4 - 5 editions) work fine, but any little deviation, and you run into problems. If Benny and his team just put a little more into <cfform>, most of us don’t really need Flex; after all, the sites we build are for providing information, which is all site visitors really care about. That is not to say we won’t want Flex – most of us will because it enables us to make our presentations a lot more attractive and interesting – and, in the long run those who do embrace Flex will do so because they will really appreciate the difference. We will have become interested in ActionScript to make these forms more useful and flexible and will want to become ActionScripters out of desire to present a better product, not because of all the hype about RIAs and rich this, rich that.

      If we attract a lot of amateur designers and developers with hype, pretty soon we’ll need to write things like:

      public function skipTransition():void {
      // bypass this goddamned thing
      some code here }
      like happened with the much-abused Flash intro (read “Skip Intro”). I hope we don’t reach that point.

      So, why don’t a bunch of us let Benny know we would like to see <cfform> completed? Let’s post on the ColdFusion “Rich Forms” forum and on all the wish lists – and maybe we’ll get the wish and be able to make a more natural transition to Flex.

      Carlos

      P.S.

      I asked one of my clients what he thought of his rich login form and he said “Huh?” Adobe, this “rich” stuff is OK in the propaganda, if you don’t overuse it – but in the product documentation? There, it’s literally too rich; I think I might throw up the next time I’m trying to research something serious and end up reading about a rich interface or a rich text field or .... I think you know what I mean.

        • 1. FB2 BETA 4
          ANSCORP
          Man....It took a lot of cajones to post something like this in an Adobe forum. Nevertheless, you make some excellent points. Like you, I recently got into using CFForms to generate relatively simple RIAs but form layout was a nightmare (seemingly endless trial and error to get the app to look like you want it to) and I often ran into the dreaded 32KB limit errors. I think it would have been hard for Macromedia to provide a more robust CFForm development environment in ColdFusion and still justify the $15K price tag for Flex 1 and 1.5. Who would have purchased it if you could do nearly the same thing natively in ColdFusion?

          I think Flex 2 is a great product and it will only get better. Realistically, most version 1 releases are truly beta "x" applications until at least 2 servcie packs have been released. The pressure we as consumers of the latest and greatest software put on software developers has a lot to do with this, I think. It's certainly not an excuse to release marginal products into the wild, but the trend has been in place long enough that many of us won't purchase a product until version 1.5 or 2.0 comes out (I'm still squirmish about 2003 Server and Vista is looming on the horizon) . It's a simple matter of choice.

          And yes, if I see the word "rich" one more time relative to Flash, Flash Forms, or Flex, I'm going to "wretch". I think we get the point by now. It's time to come up with some new buzz words. How about "Exceedingly Wealthy Internet Application" or "ATP Applications" (ain't this purty). Personally, I like more crude acronyms for my software, like "CRap" (Certified Rich ap). Maybe Adobe will give me a job in their marketing department.

          M. McConnell
          • 2. Re: FB2 BETA 4
            Level 7
            IMHO,

            I think the most "rich" feedback you can give Adobe, is how your customers
            are reacting to the types of features Flex gives you.

            I.e. if interfaces where componets are full of complex state transitions,
            behaviors, effects and transitions - and these really supercharge the app.
            Then making this easy in Flex is going to be the key.

            On the other hand, if it is many plain but boring connections to web
            services and quickly being able to display the results in a table, tree,
            grid, collapsable zoomable accordian, Then that will be the feature.

            Forget for the moment whether this is easy or hard for developers. If
            developers find customer niches demanding this, then they will love it.

            Another way to say this is that the customer, really will not care how hard
            or diffuclt or pleasurable is your Flex experience. But if you can show him
            things that pop-his-eyes, then that will be sufficient for Flex to succeeed.
            (The task after that, of convincing Adobe to make your life easier with
            better actionscript tools, VS or DreamWeaver quality layout and code
            editors, etc - will all be easy if Adobe sees that you are able to exploit
            Flex's power to create RIAs (or whatever you want to call them).

            Dr. YSG


            • 3. Re: FB2 BETA 4
              inlineblue Level 1
              quote:

              Originally posted by: cheftimo
              Flex is very pretty, but in combination with Eclipse, overwhelming for those coming from the CF/HomeSite/Macromedia Studio scene, unless you really got into Flash and became very proficient at ActionScript in spite of its super steep learning curve, which I suspect is not a very high percentage of us.

              Perhaps this is true in your circles, but this is not the case generally. Those who program for the Flash platform come from varying backgrounds. Many (and I mean many) of us have done plenty of work in languages such as C++ and Java. Learning ActionScript is trivial in comparison. You just have to take a quick look at the Flashcoders and Flexcoders mailing lists to see how many people make full use of ActionScript on a regular basis.

              quote:

              That is not to say we won’t want Flex – most of us will because it enables us to make our presentations a lot more attractive and interesting

              Perhaps therein lies the problem. To me, Flex is not about producing "presentations". We got involved with the Flash platform because we wanted a way to produce rich (yes, that word again) user interfaces that would easily run on multiple platforms. Java was a possible alternative at the time but it was just too damned ugly unless you put a lot of work into it. The Flash MX IDE was sufficient for our purposes, but we really wished for an IDE that was meant for programmers and not animators. Concepts such as the timeline and layers went completely unused, and at times even got in the way of what we really wanted to do. FB2, AS3, and the new Flex Framework turned out to be the perfect solution to our problems. FB2 is about buildling applications, and it certainly has made things easier.

              I understand that FB2 is not for you. I don't expect it to be for a lot of Flash MX users, but understand that it answers the prayers of a lot of Flash developers. To you it might seem too complex, but to many others it's just the beginning. Yes, I and others do find FB2 too simplistic. We're itching for some advanced features to facilitate OOP design.

              And, you know, this is why Adobe is still committed to the ideas of Flash MX. Flash 9 is in the works (a preview is already available) and perhaps will be more of what you're hoping for.
              • 4. FB2 BETA 4
                cheftimo Level 2
                Hello, inlineblue, I’m very happy to finally hear from someone at Adobe. I have been wishing for a dialogue.

                Quote 1 from your reply:
                “Perhaps this is true in your circles ……..”

                As far as I am concerned, we are all in the same “circles”; after all a lot of the propaganda is aimed at people in my same boat.

                Quote 2, regarding my use of the word “presentations”:
                “Perhaps therein lies the problem. To me, Flex is not about producing "presentations" ….”

                That is fine – and I am aware of the fact that this is Flex, not PowerPoint - but, if I may, I would like to point out a couple of items.
                this one is right out of the FlexBuilder Help: “The purpose of a transition is to make the visual change smoother and more interesting”;
                and this one is at the top right on http://www.adobe.com/resources/business/rich_internet_apps/, referring to Flex: “The presentation-tier solution for delivering enterprise rich Internet applications” .
                If the above two don’t refer to “presentation”, maybe I have to go back to Class (as in English school, not in ActionScript). I agree with you on Flash being for animators, and I always thought there should be a better way to create SWFs that allow you to interact with all the neat things that ColdFusion generates related to data.

                A very short story here: for twelve years, I was a chef-restaurateur until a couple of years ago, when I sold my restaurant. It was called Timo’s; if you live in the San Francisco area and never ate there, shame on you! Anyway, the reason I migrated to your circles was that I decided to build my own web site (still alive – timos.com), so it wasn’t long ago that I still thought a menu was something you look at to select what you are going to eat. The point? I got into that business because of my love of food and cooking, and I put out a very good product, but it took me a while to admit that “presentation” is rather important, and very much so to the customers. And whether we like it or not, it’s the same thing with web site visitors – to the end user, your application will succeed to the degree that it makes a good presentation.

                Honestly, I am very excited about Flex. Since I submitted the post that you replied to, until about two hours ago, I have been studying ActionScript, and am beginning to get it – I even got to the point where I submitted a form and populated a DataGrid, using FlashRemoting and Flex. Yeah!

                So, if you think I am a worthy member of your circles and are speaking to me, I would really appreciate it if you or a qualified delegate can take the time to dig up my posts of 7/16 and 7/21 on the Flex Builder 2 forum, and at least point me to where I could find the answers. I have been having problems with the ColdFusion/Flex Application Wizard and with getting sample ColdFusion applications to run on my web server.

                Peace,

                Carlos


                • 5. Re: FB2 BETA 4
                  inlineblue Level 1
                  Just so you know, I'm not an Adobe employee; just someone who supports the idea of Flex. When I said "we" previously, I was referring to my own little software firm. Sorry for the confusion.
                  quote:

                  but, if I may, I would like to point out a couple of items.
                  this one is right out of the FlexBuilder Help: “The purpose of a transition is to make the visual change smoother and more interesting”;
                  and this one is at the top right on http://www.adobe.com/resources/business/rich_internet_apps/, referring to Flex: “The presentation-tier solution for delivering enterprise rich Internet applications”

                  Well, the idea of a transition isn't limited to presentations. In an application, there's usually a need to move around and hide/show parts of the user interface. Using transitions can make these activities more visually appealing. It's just about adding eye candy.

                  Their use of the term "presentation-tier" requires a bit of going back to class, actually. They're actually referring to a layer in the framework of a network application. Something like the OSI Model is a good example. In that model, presentation is in layer 6.

                  Good luck with everything.