8 Replies Latest reply on Aug 21, 2009 9:33 AM by JeffryHouser

    Steep learning curve for Windows developers


      I want to share some remarks about our rewrite old Windows application to new AIR/flex application.


      If any Adobe staff will reading this it will be great :-)




      For colorfull web application with exotic buttons is Flex undoubtedly great choice.

      But there is many developers (and firms like us) who looking for something little different.

      We got bunch of Windows application written in Delphi. And we want (must) to move to another technology.

      AIR is superior in language, runtime, simple move-to-web, blazeDS, tools and ecosystem growth is promising.


      The only bad thing about Flex/AIR is UI. Yes, you hear right. UI is our biggest show-killer. And I am afraid that even with spark it will not be better.



      We wrote application not coloring-book.


      So we want only basic but state-of-the-art UI-standard componnets.

      ToolBar, CoolBar, Button with three states, Button with icon and auto-disabled-grayed-icon, etc..


      1) I found on the web three technique how to add icon on the spark button. Two of them include skinning. Absolutly confusing!


      2) No useful CoolBar. How long it takes make CoolBar like in Adobe Acrobat Reader or MS Word in my application? This is matters for me!



      I dont want two or three full-time developers extra for making basic components for us.



      In this point Silverlight got 100% lead. No doubt.





      We still evaluate both technologies. We like Flex because is more JAVA friendly that SilverLight, but lack of usefull components will be final dead-end.

      Am so sorry.




      Know Adobe staff about this issues?

      Want Adobe application-developers or only web-developers?

      Planning Adobe making application components in the future or is satisfied with current state?

        • 1. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
          Flex harUI Adobe Employee

          1)  In Spark, there will probably be a button with an icon by the time we ship

          2)  Adobe does not ship a CoolBar.  I don't know if any third-parties have one available.  The minimum functionality is probably just an HBox with components in it, but docking and what not is going to be extra work.


          We are never satisfied and always wish we had more time and resources to provide more components.  We go by what we hear from our customers and CoolBar has not been high enough on the list.  We also rely on third-parties to fill in the gaps.  Direct porting of Windows apps to AIR has not been our top priority also because of lack of customer demand.  So, unfortunately, porting your Delphi apps won't be as easy as some other tasks.  We can't make everybody happy at once.


          I think if you look at our showcase you'll see more than coloring books.


          Alex Harui

          Flex SDK Developer

          Adobe Systems Inc.

          Blog: http://blogs.adobe.com/aharui

          • 2. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
            cesnek Level 1

            First, thank you for the answer!


            Don't get me wrong. I am big fan of Flex/AIR.



            But still I am surprised that such great product hasn't basic thing like object-wrappers for primitive types (Boolean, BigDecimal, Integer).

            It is very easy to implement and is necessary foundation for server-side data exchange and data-driven-components.



            I hope in the future there will be more than one real commercial component suite (now only ILOG Elixir).

            (SilverLight has now more than five commercial supported component suite! This is deadly for our decisions! :-( )




            Good job keep in!
            I keep fingers crossed.


            • 3. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers

              As a Delphi and Windows programmer for 10+ years I also found the jump from Delphi/Windows to Flex to be quite a scary proposition.


              However, I had no choice, it was a total change in direction at my company, so I had to choose between resisting or just jumping in with both feet. I chose the later. This was just under a year ago.


              Yes, there are many components that were available in Delphi that are not available in Flex. On the flipside, there are many things that are simple in Flex that are difficult in Delphi. Swings and roundabouts.


              I have yet to find a situation where I'm sat there *needing* a component from the old days. Sure there are times where I wish I had some components from the TMS Suite etc. but wanting and needing are two different things.


              Yes, I do understand where you are coming from though. Would be nice to have more component sets out there, but there again, if a component isn't available, I'll just write it, or find an example off the 'net that is close and modify it. That's the difference between Delphi world and Flex world. In the Flex world everyone writes their components, gives away the source for free and even writes a great blog post about how they wrote it, why they wrote it and how to use it. That never really happened in the Delphi world.


              There are other great components out there, flexlib is one great set, and then there are the individual ones, just needs a good search to find them.


              I have spoken to many of the Delphi component set writers/companies, most have plans to produce Flex/Silverlight etc. components as they see the writing on the wall for traditional platform specific applications.





              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
                cesnek Level 1

                Little comment about button with icon.


                Is absolutelly right that spark button has not icon property. It is logical. Button know nothing about icon or checkbox or anyhing else on that button.


                Bad thing is that there is no clear and simple path how to add two icons, three labels and five checkboxes on spark button.


                Adding back icon property to spark button is, in my opinion, way back - wrong way.


                Instead there should be one clear way how to add anything to anything (without skinning).



                Maybe there is something wrong with spark architecture flexibility, or spark button flexibility :-(

                • 5. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
                  Zolotoj Level 3

                  I did not want to jump in, but I can't resist.

                  You are absolutely correct: it has to be the same way of doing same things.

                  As an example try to set a border on either VGroup or HGroup. Where did these border properties go?

                  Why do I even have to go into skinning? All I want is properties. Yes, an application has to have a feel and look, but writing multiple liners of code just to create a border around some area is too much, in my opinion.

                  We all love Flex and healthy critic should be good for it




                  • 6. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
                    cesnek Level 1

                    Absolutely right.


                    I was solving "border" problem one month ago. Result? Stick with old good mx component :-(



                    What about R.A.D. development. It is 2009 not 90's.

                    • 7. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
                      Gregory Lafrance Level 6

                      I may be wrong, but I suspect part of the problem is Adobe's attempts to bridge the "designer-developer" gap. Flash Catalyst in one piece of this, and it will be easier to create assets in Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. and bring them into Flex.


                      That's good, I think, but what you may end up with is very verbose code with lot's of FXG.


                      Of course it is the age old dilemma, developers and designers think differently, but each is important for a great UI.


                      I don't know who's right, I really don't.

                      • 8. Re: Steep learning curve for Windows developers
                        JeffryHouser Level 4

                        I would love to talk to anyone about the components you wish you could use in your Flex Framework.


                        I'm in the business of building components, and ideas are always welcome.  Contact me off-list ( http://www.flextras.com/?event=ContactForm ) or direct through these forums if you're willing to let me pick your brain.