25 Replies Latest reply on Mar 12, 2009 12:46 AM by Richard_Abbott

    Flex is the way to go

    DonTheScone
      To all you budding newbie developers trying to decide between Flex and Silverlight, I have spent 6 months learning Silverlight and got pretty frustrated with the lack of decent tutorials and initial foundation building. I've spend a couple of days looking at Flex. I can tell that developing in Flex is much simpler and does great to save brain cells. I was getting tired of having a brain cramp every step of the project. Hopefully this convinces you to try Flex first!
        • 1. Re: Flex is the way to go
          Gregory Lafrance Level 6
          I got Flex 2 certified (ACE) in April of this year, and as soon as I get Flex 3 certified in the next couple of months I was going to check out Silverlight.

          The only reason I was going to check it out is because I feel that having become somewhat competent in Flex I may be in a good position to comment on Silverlight now.

          Looks like I may have a tough time. Great post, and its great to see that Flex stands a chance against Silverlight. I'm certainly banking on Flex / AIR becoming hugely popular in the future. My gut tells me it is the technology to study right now. Hope I'm right.
          • 2. Re: Flex is the way to go
            DonTheScone Level 1
            Greg,

            The way I see it is that technology needs to be simplified in a manner that allows for quicker integration into exisiting circumstances. In my opinion, embracing a new technology will ultimately entail some sort of learning curve. However, it's not supposed to be frustrating and the folks promoting it need to do a good job of providing resources that are non-contradictory and simple to understand. While the launch of Silverlight is great to further promote RIA development, I'm afraid that already it has caused much frustration to folks interested in learning it. So far, I have found Adobe to be at the top of the shelf in how they have structered their training and availability of resources. To conclude: the use of controls in Flex is far more simpler to implement than in SL. See for yourself and you'll quickly understand just how powerfull Flex is. (This coming from someone who felt that SL was the ONLY weapon for the RIA developer) :)
            • 3. Re: Flex is the way to go
              Gregory Lafrance Level 6
              That's good news. Like I say, I'm behind Flex / AIR 100%, and I'm banking my future on it to a degree.
              • 4. Re: Flex is the way to go
                Level 7

                "Greg Lafrance" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
                news:gecq5u$hg8$1@forums.macromedia.com...
                >I got Flex 2 certified (ACE) in April of this year, and as soon as I get
                >Flex 3
                > certified in the next couple of months I was going to check out
                > Silverlight.

                Is the Flex 3 exam out yet?


                • 5. Re: Flex is the way to go
                  DonTheScone Level 1
                  According to Adobe, the Flex 3 exam will be out in Dec.

                  "Note: While we are working on the Flex 3 exam, the Flex 2 exam will still be available until at least December of 2008. "

                  web ref: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/articles/flex_certification.html
                  • 6. Re: Flex is the way to go
                    Gregory Lafrance Level 6
                    The Flex 3 exam study guide will be posted later today.

                    Note that those of us already ACE certified for Flex 2 are out of luck. There will be no shortened version Flex 3 exam for Flex 2 ACE to get recertified, because the Flex 3 exam includes AIR, so we all need to take the full exam again.

                    At least that is what I was told today from the guy in charge of the certification program.

                    It's a little bit of a bummer, but what the hey, we get to build our expertise in AIR as well.
                    • 7. Re: Flex is the way to go
                      Level 7

                      "Greg Lafrance" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
                      news:ged6i7$59m$1@forums.macromedia.com...
                      > The Flex 3 exam study guide will be posted later today.
                      >
                      > Note that those of us already ACE certified for Flex 2 are out of luck.
                      > There
                      > will be no shortened version Flex 3 exam for Flex 2 ACE to get
                      > recertified,
                      > because the Flex 3 exam includes AIR, so we all need to take the full exam
                      > again.
                      >
                      > At least that is what I was told today from the guy in charge of the
                      > certification program.
                      >
                      > It's a little bit of a bummer, but what the hey, we get to build our
                      > expertise
                      > in AIR as well.

                      I haven't done any remote objects yet, so I'm not sure I could pass a
                      certification...


                      • 8. Re: Flex is the way to go
                        Peter Lorent Level 2
                        On a Flex forum you will probably don't find any people who will contradict you but you can bet that SL will get better and better. It's something developers have to take into account and there will be clients who will ask for SL.
                        • 9. Re: Flex is the way to go
                          DonTheScone Level 1
                          I totally agree with you. SL is a formiddable opponent, and will gain ground quickly. However if you've spent any time trying to learn SL, you'll agree with the lack of structure, planning, and implementation. MS has received much criticism for the manner in which they brought it to market. That's what you get for Alpha and Beta versions. Please don't misunderstand me. I was not trying to have a go at SL on a Flex forum. I wanted folks to know that there is a steep learning curve, but that is meant more for those with less programming experience than average. (Me included) :)
                          • 10. Re: Flex is the way to go
                            Peter Lorent Level 2
                            No, I don't misunderstand you. SL is basically at a Flex 1 stage. The components are there but now the rest has to be developed. If they get it right... well, we will see...
                            • 11. Re: Flex is the way to go
                              Gregory Lafrance Level 6
                              Amy, I've done nothing with remote objects other than study related material for the exam, so you can do it!

                              Greg
                              • 12. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                Level 7

                                "Greg Lafrance" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
                                news:geg4sc$41t$1@forums.macromedia.com...
                                > Amy, I've done nothing with remote objects other than study related
                                > material for the exam, so you can do it!

                                :-) I'll see how it goes


                                • 13. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                  Stephen Cox
                                  Also point out that Flex and Silverlight aren't the only games in town. Curl is huge outside of America in the enterprise market. There's also the Java RIA tool talking hold. I'd take a look around before i threw all my eggs in one basket.

                                  My biggest problem with Flex is ActionScript. Yet ANOTHER language I have to learn that has one purpose. I mean, you [Adobe] couldn't throw in a language that has uses outside of Adobe?

                                  That's a huge advantage Silverlight has over Flex. Silverlight uses a form of XML (just like Flex and Curl) but the language used to glue it al together is c#, or vb, or c++, or ruby, or python. These are languages you can invest your career in.

                                  But Flex is older so has more support right now. Which is a good thing. And the only reason anyone uses Flex is because Flash has such a penetration in the world. Like 98% of browsers in the world have Flash installed? Compared to Silverlight which is like nothing. And Curl which uss it's own runtime.
                                  • 14. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                    DonTheScone Level 1
                                    All very thought-provoking points. There is much truth in what you had to say. I totally agree about not putting all your eggs in one basket. A friend advised me not to only have 1 tool in my toolbox. For me, I'm going to focus on a solution that meets my client's needs the best with the most support and best ROI. That's what pays the bills.
                                    • 15. Flex is the way to go
                                      Karl_Sigiscar_1971 Level 3
                                      The amount of knowledge you have to acquire to call yourself a Flex expert or a Silverlight expert makes it difficult to pursue both.

                                      I think it's better to specialize. For example, with Flex, it's better to know Java also (which is a big piece) because of LCDS.

                                      If your clients already use Windows Forms and .NET, they will most likely want to use Silverlight (that said, I have seen Flex projects based on .NET web services).

                                      If on the contrary they use Java, they will be biased towards Flex or Java FX.

                                      The best thing not to loose customers if you are contractor is to partner with someone who knows Silverlight inside out and you focus on Flex to become an expert. Then, you can swap clients depending on the needs.
                                      • 16. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                        JZBAO Level 1
                                        What about Java Fx? Is it in the stage to compete with Flex or Silverlight?

                                        • 17. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                          Karl_Sigiscar_1971 Level 3
                                          Last time I checked Java FX, Sun were adding the on2 VP6 video codec to their technology. Not sure how they will address the lack of vector graphics though. Maybe in a next version.


                                          • 18. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                            Dave_Story
                                            This a great thread, and I appreciate all the good comments on what works for people and what doesn't.

                                            Thanks for all your passion around doing the right thing for customers and for giving us feedback on what we need to do better.

                                            Cheers,

                                            Dave Story
                                            VP Developer Tools
                                            Adobe Systems, In.c
                                            • 19. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                              Richard_Abbott Level 3
                                              Hi all,
                                              at my place of work we have tried to spread our risks as a team: I use predominantly Flex and a colleague has the same role with Silverlight. Kind of covers both bases, and we are seeing that they have complementary roles rather than directly competitive. Personally (and of course I'm not at all biased) I think Flex wins hands down on the component creation side, and coming originally from a Delphi background I really appreciate this.

                                              SL is definitely very good at integrating directly into the whole ASP.NET thing - I have very successfully blended Flex front ends into an ASP.NET application, but there is a definite plus in being able to manage the whole as one project. Hence my interest in the Ensemble Tofino plugin to Visual Studio... though not as good an environment in lots of ways, it does allow you to manage a Flex app as part of a single VS solution. Of course, when one encounters customers who already have a J2EE environment of some kind (relatively common in my line of work) we're back on terrain in which Flex has an advantage.

                                              All the best,
                                              Richard

                                              • 20. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                                Level 7
                                                It's kind of a shame the rest of this thread doesn't show up on the NNTP
                                                side. Sounds like it might have been an interesting read.

                                                "Dave Story" <webforumsuser@macromedia.com> wrote in message
                                                news:gp4rff$o2f$1@forums.macromedia.com...
                                                > This a great thread, and I appreciate all the good comments on what works
                                                > for
                                                > people and what doesn't.
                                                >
                                                > Thanks for all your passion around doing the right thing for customers and
                                                > for
                                                > giving us feedback on what we need to do better.
                                                >
                                                > Cheers,
                                                >
                                                > Dave Story
                                                > VP Developer Tools
                                                > Adobe Systems, In.c
                                                >


                                                • 21. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                                  Level 7
                                                  It's because the rest of the thread was posted last November.

                                                  You actually commented on it twice. :P
                                                  • 22. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                                    Level 7

                                                    "skider" <nate.skiba@chalklabs.net> wrote in message
                                                    news:gp6ka7$340$1@forums.macromedia.com...
                                                    > It's because the rest of the thread was posted last November.
                                                    >
                                                    > You actually commented on it twice. :P

                                                    I'm not good with delayed reactions :)


                                                    • 23. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                                      Hy all,
                                                      i think it's a question for what you want to use your application.
                                                      in comparison to silverlight, Flex is much easier to learn.
                                                      But the fact, that there is no text editor control which supports inserting tables, ....
                                                      i had to use Silverlight for our solution.
                                                      Maybe something like that will be available in the near future for Adobe Flex:
                                                      http://community.devexpress.com/blogs/thinking/archive/2008/09/03/silverlight-rich-text-ed itor-rtf-control.aspx

                                                      Best Regards
                                                      • 24. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                                        Stephen Cox Level 1
                                                        quote:

                                                        Originally posted by: Christoph Zach
                                                        in comparison to silverlight, Flex is much easier to learn.



                                                        Oh no, no. Flex is only easier if you used Flash or are familiar with JS (or JAVA). Silverlight is easier for every .Net developer (and there are millions of them).

                                                        Action Script 3.0 is a dog compared to the languages you can use with Slverlight (ruby, python, c#, etc, etc). That said, learning the framework is probably the toughest part. And again, Microsoft beats Adobe in regards to documentation of the framework. I mean, have you ever seen the MSDN library? The Silverlight framework (which is a striped down .Net framework) is well documented *with* comments.

                                                        That said, there are some things I think Adobe does better than MS. Like using Eclipse is a huge draw for me. With Silverlight you end up using Blend and VS (though that's changing). And, of course, Flash is supported everywhere. Silverlight is playing major catch up. it'll be interesting too see how that plays out in the corporate market.

                                                        And the biggest draw for me is that Flex (being on Eclipse) is cross platform. In other words, I can use Mac to develop. Though if Adobe wanted to do some good they'd update the Flex Eclipse plug-in for Linux. Get it our of alpha/beta and finally release a working version.

                                                        • 25. Re: Flex is the way to go
                                                          Richard_Abbott Level 3
                                                          Hi all,
                                                          As a brief addition to this, I am currently involved in a proof of concept test in which I wrote a Flex app which made part of a WebLogic (J2EE) server project, using sundry database and web service calls. To avoid any need for specific cross-doman, the Flex calls simply go up to the immediate server code, and the server pages are responsible for all the DB and web service calls. I then set up an ASP.NET project that mirrored the external calls using its own conventions such as LINQ, WCF etc and was able to drop the Flex bit in as-is. The server code page references are held in an XML config file loaded at run-time, so there's not even any page addresses in the Flex code needing to be compiled.
                                                          Richard