19 Replies Latest reply on Jul 13, 2009 6:28 PM by MichaelKazlow

    Flex structural questions

    Crescendo123

      Hi there,

       

      I'm in the planning phase for a new project and am not a flex expert (I plan on hiring one), but am trying to find out if Flex is the right tool for the job.

       

      The system is basically composed of 5 modules, each having 10-20 questions. Each question is composed of a streaming video, and then a multi-choice question. The system needs to track the results of each question, and then write the result to the database at the end of the module. Is Flex the right tool for this? Secondly, I want to be able to add/change new questions and/or videos easily - what is the best way to structure this (you don't need to be too specific, I'm just planning it)? I imagine I would have some sort of external XML file that contains all the questions and a reference to the relevant .swf or .flv  video file, and another file that maps the questions to the modules - does this sound right? I'm guessing the swf, flv and xml files would all work together with a php script to record results to the database for logged in users? Any help/advice on the structure of this would be much appreciated :-)

       

      Also, I understand Flex can output projects for either web or offline use (via AIR I think), but if we create a full web-based application with flex, including an interface with a Mysql database, can we then export a version for offline use too, without creating the whole thing again? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm a beginner an intend on hiring a Flex expert if we decide to go with it.

       

      Thanks for your help,

      Dave

        • 1. Re: Flex structural questions
          meshgraphics Level 2

          Whats your budget?

          • 2. Re: Flex structural questions
            leybniz Level 4

            for the first question - yes Flex is capable even more than you think, so your task could be and will be implemented successfully!

             

            As to structure, I've got some thoughts, first of all you'd better correct initial terminology to avoid misleading from the very beginning for instance you should go with the "question groups" rather than "modules".

             

            As to codebase sharing between web-implementation and Desktop/AIR  one, also yes if it's done properly from the start, bearing in mind that possibility, as well you should think about localization aspect of your application in case if it'll be multilingual.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Flex structural questions
              Gregory Lafrance Level 6

              Flex is a great choice for this system.

               

              As far as the best way to structure the application, you have mentioned using modules, and that would be the way to go. You could an XML file to contain the questions, or you could store the question data in the database as well.

               

              You could simply use PHP as middleware between the UI and the database, or you might consider Zend, WebOrb, and Coldfusion.

               

              You can create a Flex app for the web and an AIR app for offline use, but there will likely be differences anyway between the apps, so no, you will not be able to write one app and use it online/offline.

               

              The two apps will share a lot of code, but AIR apps allow you much more freedom to leverage the desktop, so use that to your advantage, but architect the app for code sharing, with custom components and classes.

               

              If this post answers your question or helps, please mark it as such.

              • 4. Re: Flex structural questions
                JeffryHouser Level 4

                I have no doubt that Flex can be used to implement this question.

                 

                Is it the right choice?  I don't know enough to say. Obviously Flash is a great choice for video, so that is one point in its' favor.

                 

                But, who are your users?  What software will they have installed on their computer?  Is it a known entity, such as a corporate environment with standard installs, or is it for more mass market which may have differing qualificiations? 

                 

                I'd also keep in mind that Flex is an interface library for creating applications for the Flash Player.  You will need a backend, most likely comprised of a database (MySQL is fine) and an application server ( ColdFusion, PHP, .NET, Ruby, etc.. ).  My impulse is that I'd recommend storing your 'survey' information in the database as opposed to XML files.  But, with XML Flex can handle it easily.  With data in a database, you'll need the middleware application server.

                 

                To deploy to a Flex application to AIR is relatively easy, assuming you want to keep things consistent.  It can get more complicated if you want different functionality for AIR vs Web deployment.

                 

                To the person who asked about your budget; I wanted to add...  Figure out the best approaching for solving yor business problem; then find the budget to make it happen.  Since it sounds like you are in the exploratory stage right now, I'd also recommend checking out Silverlight and AJAX as possible solutions.  AJAX can be deployed to the desktop using AIR; and Silverlight 3 includes some out of browser functionality which may work.

                 

                [Of course, I am a fan of Flex myself, as I expect most people in this forum are except for the ebook spammer]

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Flex structural questions
                  JeffryHouser Level 4

                  One correction, WebORB isn't middleware in the same vein as PHP or ColdFusion.  WebORB is better compared to LiveCycle, GraniteDS, or BlazeDS.  They are server product that integrates with your application server to provide AMF / object translation / push for server side technologies including.  I know WebORB supprts Java and .NET and I believe other technologies.

                   

                  I thought that Zend was just the company behind PHP; not a server side technology in and of itself.  There is a project, ZendAMF which provides an AMF solution for PHP.

                  • 6. Re: Flex structural questions
                    meshgraphics Level 2

                    To the person who asked about your budget; I wanted to add...  Figure out the best approaching for solving yor business problem; then find the budget to make it happen.

                     

                    Ok, smart guy.  Let's see you make a budget.  Cheap as possible.  As much freeware as possible.  Chinese children doing the coding.

                    • 7. Re: Flex structural questions
                      JeffryHouser Level 4

                      I'm not sure what you're askng me to do.  The suggestion of "Figure out what you want to do" before "deciding how much it will cost" seems like a logical approach to me.

                       

                      What does that have to do with freeware or chinese children?

                      • 8. Re: Flex structural questions
                        meshgraphics Level 2

                        I think the guy provided a good set of job specs.  I don't think the average employer or prospective client would give you more.

                         

                        Can you build it?  And how much will it cost?

                        • 9. Re: Flex structural questions
                          JeffryHouser Level 4

                          In such a situation I would sit down w/ a client [possibly face to face; possibly over the phone] and ask the plenty of questions about the project.  Then I would prepare a proposal for them which included a detailed scope of work, proposed timeline and a fixed cost.  Sometimes there will be multiple contacts before the client gets the proposal.

                           

                          I have done none of that here and have no interest in providing a bid based soley on the information I currently know.

                           

                          If you can, more power to you, I wish you the best of luck in your business endavors.

                          • 10. Re: Flex structural questions
                            meshgraphics Level 2

                            You're fired.

                             

                            I'm looking for a doer not a talker.

                            • 11. Re: Flex structural questions
                              JeffryHouser Level 4

                              I didn't even realized you were trying to hire me.

                               

                              There is a time for planning and a time for doing.  Those that spend no time planning aren't very effective at doing.

                              • 12. Re: Flex structural questions
                                Gregory Lafrance Level 6

                                Are you actually suggesting that taking some time to confirm the client's goals and vision is a sign of incompetence? I think Jeff is being perfectly reasonable in his approach. Spending too little or too much time on user requirements is always a mistake, but your approach just seems simplistic.

                                • 13. Re: Flex structural questions
                                  JeffryHouser Level 4

                                  Thanks for the support.

                                  • 14. Re: Flex structural questions
                                    meshgraphics Level 2

                                    Run along, boys.  I've got work to do.

                                    • 15. Re: Flex structural questions
                                      Gregory Lafrance Level 6

                                      Hmmm... I think we are speaking like men, respectful and professional.

                                      • 16. Re: Flex structural questions
                                        meshgraphics Level 2

                                        Like I said before, all the information you need is in the first post.  I'm not paying you sit around with customer and talk about theire feelings.

                                         

                                        Produce a quote based on the job spec provided by the customer.

                                         

                                        [Deleted by host]

                                        • 17. Re: Flex structural questions
                                          JeffryHouser Level 4

                                          I don't understand; you're not paying me at all.  Nor have we ever discussed such an arrangement.

                                           

                                          In DotComIt's 10 years, I have never been asked to produce a quote based solely on a customer e-mail with no additional contact with the customer.

                                          • 18. Re: Flex structural questions
                                            meshgraphics Level 2

                                            I have a $1000 US.  Can I get it done?

                                            • 19. Re: Flex structural questions
                                              MichaelKazlow MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                              meshgraphics

                                               

                                              Your tone and behavior in this thread is unacceptable. Everyone should be treated with respect. This thread is now locked.

                                               

                                              Michael Kazlow Forum Host.