1 person found this helpful
Flex is a framework that allows for developing Rich Internet Applications more quickly.
So what does that mean? It means that Flex has tools that help you write applications faster, and it uses the Flash Player to "present" the application to the user.
So what is the difference between Flex and Flash Professional?
Well, Flash Profesional is geared towards the designer, it's great for doing artwork, custom animations and then adding some code to interract with. But Flash Profesional really lacks the tools to write complex applications that handle lots of data. And the Flash Action Script IDE was a joke. It's better in Flash Profesional CS5.
This is where Flex steps in. Flex is geared towards developers, where the write applications in a way the are more familiar with. In Flex, you don't "usually" worry about frames. Everything is Event Driven. There is no timeline in Flex. Flex produces a Flash .swf that can be used in Flash Player, but it converts all the timeline things for you.
Flex is desingned around components that are tipical of any User Interface (UI), it has Comboboxes, TextInput, Buttons, labels, forms, etc...
What Flex lacks is the ability to easily create artwork. Although you can customize the components in Flex, they tend to be similar, you don't have the absolute freedom that you have in Flash.
Flex 4 has come to "resolve" that issue, in that it makes it easier to create your custom skins, but it is not like Flash.
When to use Flex? When you have lots of data that you need to deal with, or you are building a application that involves multiple forms, not just a simple UI to select which Picture to load.
Flex sdk is free. Flex Builder, now knows as Flash Builder is not.
You do NOT need Flex Server (I think that's obsolote anyways).
If you are writting apps that are talking to Windows servers running .NET, Flex sounds like the way to go, rather than Flash Profesional.
Hope I answered your question.
Thanks for that clarification... I always thought Flex required an application server on the backend. Flash Builder is a little rich for my blood.. probably because it's targeted towards the corporate developer. I guess I'll stick to ASP.NET for now. It's amazing what you can create with free MS Visual Studio Express tools. I was raised on the $49 Turbo Pascal and bought the Macromedia suite back when it was around $300. Those were the good old days!
You are welcome.
In the original days of Flex (ver 1.0) it did require a server. Since 2.0 it doesn't.
Although you are motivated to talk to CF, it can talk to just about any backend server without much work.
Yes it somewhat targeted to the corporate developer, although the SDK with the compiler is free. What is not free is Flex (Flash) Builder, but you can use any text editor and develop for free with Flex.
The way to go now with Adobe products is getting the suites. Flash Builder is incluided with the Creative Suite Web premium, so is Catalyst, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator, and something else...
But then again, the entry price is not low at all. Yeah, the $49 good old days, I do remember then. But then I was in college and didn't have $49 to spare for Turbo Pascal.
If you can live without the "nice" ide, you can build flex apps for free.