Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Flex and Real Time Collaboration

I stumbled upon this interesting Video Podcast from Dereck DeMoro of Jive Software in which he discusses the benefits of switching to Flex while developing the Spark Web Client. A few key points that he mentioned was that they were developing a desktop application (Spark) that was written in Java (Swing in particular) and a Web client that was written in HTML and JavaScript. He mentions how they wanted to mimic the two applications to provide the same user experience, and how they struggled to do this. Once they switched gears and started developing with Flex they were able to have one code base that utilized for the web application and the desktop application. For the web app, you just embed the swf into an HTML file, and for the desktop application they leveraged Adobe AIR (formerly Apollo). He talked about how this greatly simplified their development efforts, as well as things like testing since they only had to test one baseline.

Another key thing he mentions is the easy transition he and his team had (They were all Java developers with no Flash or Flex experience) in transitioning to Flex. I've had to opportunity to program in Actionscipt and it is very similar to Java, in fact I would bet most Java Programmers could pick it up in no time.

Sometimes I get the feeling that Java developers don't want to try something different, they just want to stick to what they know. To me, if it's better I don't care, and in my opinion Flex is better.

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