9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 3, 2009 4:22 PM by Phillies2008

    New to Flex

      HNY All, I'm a developer on IBM i platform and I'm looking to use Flex to create a better UX for my application. From what I've read Flex does not connect to any data base but does access data via a web service. I use DB2 for i5/os and we have very large files. I would obviously want to pull, list, update and push data back to backend system. Would this method have the performance needed to maintain an ERP system. Also, is there a WYSIWYG so you can drag widgets to canvas?

        • 1. Re: New to Flex
          atta707 Level 2
          Flex Builder let's you design your screens in Design View where you drag 'n drop components to the stage and set the their properties etc.

          Web Services isn't the only way Flex gets data. It can talk to any HTTP based backed end; Tomcat, Weblogic, Websphere, .NET, PHP, what have you and get the server can do all the processing and pass data along to Flex. For very large files, I'm assuming, you'll do some processing on the server side and send only selected data for user.


          • 2. Re: New to Flex
            chris.huston.t10 Level 3
            I would think that using RemoteObjects (a binary format, amf3, ideal for large data sets) would be able to handle an ERP system. The amf3 format is very efficient.

            • 3. Re: New to Flex
              Phillies2008 Level 1
              Flex is very exciting but development in my world is VERY easy. Unfortunately it’s text based and does not provide the UX that Flex does. Our RIA/WEB 2.0 development tool is IBM’s EGL. It is new and costly.

              I want to connect to our ERP data bases to see what it takes. If someone could help me I would be very appreciative and would try passing this on to other developers on our platform (IBM System i). My problems our No $$$, No Flex experience, No Java experience, Limited JavaScript, Limited HTML, Limited, Limited and more Limited. I do know data base design and business application development and I have a desire to move myself and my company into the RIA world.

              Q. What do I need to start?
              I have downloaded Flex 3.0 trail but have read about many other ingredients that may be required. Should I try the Open Source path or should I start with enterprise tools and move to OSS.
              Q. How do I connect back to my back-end server data?
              We are using DB2 for i5/os, HTTP, WebSphere so do I need to provide web services or remote objects?
              Q. How can I do this on a shoestring budget?
              I have to do this without company financing but if it can be done quickly and easily I could possibly sell my boss on opening up the purse. I know RIA could save our application and if it is doable could be a homerun for my platform. IBM recently adopted Zend PHP and MySql on my platform but PHP does not do it for me.

              I know “Dream On” but if I don’t ask then I can’t do.

              • 4. New to Flex
                jeffcg2 Level 1
                Take a look at these videos. They have helped me.

                Without someone with a Javascript background Flex will have a learning curve. I was lucky to have a Flash programmer to work with to get a couple of projects off the ground. There is a Wizard in Flex Builder 3 that will build a complete application that will search, add, edit, delete data from a backend db in about 5 minutes using RemoteObjects that communicate with Coldfusion Components. Adding other features like filtering the data, changing the default design styles, adding multiple screens, creating charts, etc. will take time.

                I have worked with Coldfusion since version 1 so I am partial to it for connecting to the backend database of your choice.

                James Ward's video should give you an idea of performance issues an a quick down and dirty overview.
                Working with Data in Flex by James Ward

                Tour de Flex has a lot of informative demos that were much easier for me to follow than reading thru documentation.
                Tour de Flex
                • 5. Re: New to Flex
                  Phillies2008 Level 1
                  Thanks Jeff, this gives me something to look at but I'm sure I'll hit a roadblock when i try to grab my data (cross that bridge). Can you tell me the difference between Flex SDK and Flex Builder. Is one OOS and the other enterprise?

                  Much appreciated...
                  GO EAGLES!!!
                  • 6. Re: New to Flex
                    Phillies2008 Level 1
                    Oh, forgot to ask... is there a framework that can be used to bring together and execute multiple Flex applications (called from a menu).
                    If I am creating multiple applications (ERP) and want to control/execute inside a standard framework is the done with Flex web apps or is this practice done only with desktop apps. I guess what i'm asking about is a portal?
                    • 7. Re: New to Flex
                      jeffcg2 Level 1
                      Not sure you mean by framework.
                      If you are referring to a coding standard, this is one MVC(Model-View-Controller) that is out there.

                      PureMVC is one coding framework that is out there. Seems to be a coding standard. Something that I don't know anything about other than it looks to be something to understand. I have it bookmarked to look into.

                      If you are referring to a way to have a home page with links to other pages, there are methods to accomplish that.

                      The difference between the SDK and Flex Builder is the SDK is basically the compiler that compiles the MXML code into a Flash swf file and Flex Builder is the IDE. You could for example write the MXML code in Notepad then compile it. BUT that will take a LOOOONNG time.

                      There are a couple of version of Flex Builder 3. If you plan to use charts and graphs for data visualization you will need the higher priced one. ;o(
                      • 8. Re: New to Flex
                        Phillies2008 Level 1
                        Sorry, i did not mean development framework i meant execution framework like Adobe Media Player where you have a list of videos on the left that you select one and it plays in the same frame. Only the application framework would give you a list or tree or accordian menu of applications from which you would select and execute multiple applications in a tab frame. Like MS Outlook or Eclipse...
                        • 9. Re: New to Flex
                          Phillies2008 Level 1
                          Like Tour De Flex...