4 Replies Latest reply on Nov 9, 2006 4:00 PM by erlendbv

    Understanding Flex: Can it be used without Flash-knowledge, and some other questions

    erlendbv
      Hi.

      I'm trying to understand how Flex works. My understanding is that Flex is like the integration link between Flash-content and .NET-applications on the web. We need rich interface on our .NET-applications - without ActionScript-coding required from the programmer's side.

      Can this be acheived with Flex alone?

      What is Coldfusion required for? Can Flex be used without it to create the rich web interface?

      Are basic components included and ready-to-be-used? What if special components are needed? E.g. multi-level menu-tree or some special data grid. Can this be developed by a Flash-programmer and used as a "generic" component?

      My reason for choosing this would be that we easily can acheive great web-layouts that are Flash-based, and that interact with our .NET-applications. Is this the product I'm looking for?

      Thanks alot in advance! :D
        • 1. Re: Understanding Flex: Can it be used without Flash-knowledge, and some other questions
          ntsiii Level 3
          Using Flex as a front-end ui for .NET business logic is an effective solution, I have been doing it for three years.

          "No ActionScript"? Well that is asking a bit much unless the UI is functionally very simple. Things like navigation, updating, sending data to the server almost always require some ActionScript. Are you aware that AS is VERY similar to JavaScript? It is very easy for a developer to reach the proficiency needed to support UI functionality.

          Flex is a client-side Presentation technology. It needs some back-end business logic tier. .NET is a fine platform for that. ColdFusion is just another back-end option, along with MANY others, including FDS(Flex Data Services).

          Yes, the "stock" components are adequate, and there is a good body (and growing) of third party components available, both free and commercial.

          I recommend Flex whole-heartedly.

          Tracy
          • 2. Re: Understanding Flex: Can it be used without Flash-knowledge, and some other questions
            erlendbv Level 1
            Thank you very much, Tracy. :)

            This was very helpful. I know that AS is quite similar to JavaScript, so I guess I can push people at our end. ;)

            - But are the Flash / AS-components or communication channels possible to create inside of Flex only, or do you need Flash Pro in addition?

            When creating a form of some sort. How much time do you use on the front end, communication and back-end? Roughly - in percent. :)

            It sounds very much like this fits our purpose, but there is something with the communication between the .NET and Flex I'm still not getting the hang of... I think answers to the above should get me there. :D

            Thanks again.
            • 3. Re: Understanding Flex: Can it be used without Flash-knowledge, and some other questions
              ntsiii Level 3
              It is absolutely possible to create complex custom components in Flex and without FlashPro.

              Flex can communicate with the server in several ways.
              WebService: SOAP-based
              HTTPService: XML over HTTP, (like REST and AJAX)
              RemoteObject: uses proprietary amf protocol, needs Java or CF on back-end

              There are some others like URLLoader and sockets.

              Unless you need your back end functionality to be generally available to anonymous third parties (hence the wsdl), WebServices are unnecessarily complex.

              I prefer HTTPService, I post xml strings in the normal name=value format to the server and use e4x xml as the resultFormat in flex.

              Even though you said "roughly", that is still an impossible question to answer, there are too many variables: On the back-end, do you need to install a database? Create the schema? or is some of that part done already? On the front-end, How will you navigate the records? See, too many variables.

              The communication part is by far the easiest. Almost negligible, although the Flash Player security can cause some head-scratching!

              Tracy
              • 4. Re: Understanding Flex: Can it be used without Flash-knowledge, and some other questions
                erlendbv Level 1
                Hi again, Tracy.

                Thanks for enlightening me. :)

                From what you tell me, I understand that I get everything I need with Flex only. That's great. Unless, I've misunderstood.

                We're creating .NET-applications today with database-communication and stuff. Not my area. I'm just collecting the info. ;)

                Regarding the estimate; What I was looking for, was to understand how much more work Flex requires compared to setting a decent ASPX-layout with CSS etc. Is the amount of work doubled by the Flex-interface, or is it almost acheived in the time you'd use to fine-tune the HTML-code?