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I'll give you my opinion, and let others give theirs. First of all:
"There is this belief in some technology community that Flex is good for only audio, video, streaming and other "non-form" based application? "
I don't know where you get that from - Flex is a fully functional language that allows you to build all-encompassing web applications, and yes, forms can be a part of that.
To address your overarching question: Use AJAX if, on a HTML based site, you want to do stream minor parts of the app - for example, immediate validation on whether a username exists (before the user submits the form). Stream a stock quote. Small parts of the application that can benefit from immediate interaction with the user.
Use Flex if you want to build a larger application with more user features. A sales dashboard, a helpdesk application, for example. An application that takes in information from disparate sources and displays them in one UI would be a perfect example. I would strongly advise against pushing AJAX to the limit - it is a browser hack, and is was designed to deliver fully functional applications (not that THAT stops some people, though).
I hope I answered your question, please post back if you have any more specific questions in mind.
Thanks for your input and I'm not commenting on what Flex can and cannot do. I hope you're not an employee of Adobe.
There is no clear answer whether to use Flex or Ajax / DHTML when it comes to form based application. I think it's based on one's comfort level. I agree with you that Flex is better for complex application where we can easily leverage key features of Flex such as data binding, web services support, it's superior UI components & presentation framework and simply create a product that is NOT document oriented. There are also operational and maintenance benefits Flex provides as well. Software architect and engineers see this as a value add even though Flex is proprietary.
Many web designers miss these points. From their standpoint, when building a web application, they have a hard time distinguishing between the inherent features of Flex versus doing something with Ajax / DHTML. They also miss the point of a shift in paradigm between document oriented development version true application development. One reason given to me at one point was that by using Flex, one cannot leverage a standard stylesheets and templates. It's clear to me that using stylesheets and teamplates as a decision point for architecture and design is a poor one. I do agree with the fact that with Flex, a new application does not mesh well with a pure web based portal. You do not have this issue with AJAX / DHTML. And for a large portal, I think this is truly a downpoint of using Flex.
I welcome other feedback.
For the record, i'm not an adobe employee (nor have I ever been). Just a few comments on your latest posting:
"..one cannot leverage a standard stylesheets and templates." - you actually can leverage stylesheets in Flex. I know that with HTML, you can use CSS for general layout, and I don't believe that's possible with Flex.
"I do agree with the fact that with Flex, a new application does not mesh well with a pure web based portal. " - I hope it wasn't me that gave you this impression. There is no reason why a Flex app cannot work with a portal. I know that SAP is actively integrating Flex into it's products, and I have heard of portal specific companies doing that same. In fact, packing up a small Flex app as a Flash file (SWF) and deploying it on a portal seems like a great use of Flex to me. Flex could also BE that portal.
I will agree that in the end it comes down to personal preference, and you may want to have Flex and Ajax work side-by-side (I believe there are examples of such on the Adobe site).
Thanks for your reply.