Flex 2 Provides Best

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2006-09-25 Print this article Print

of Both Worlds"> Having launched its effort to upgrade its solution in April, Tahvildary said Primavera for Services is on a tight schedule to deliver by December. But he said the company is up to the task because the developers on the team were able to get up to speed on Flex 2 in two weeks or less. Flex 2s wizards and ease-of-use features helped the developers, Tahvildary said. In addition, the Adobe ActionScript scripting language that is native to Adobes technology "is very natural for Java or C# developers," he said. And the ubiquity of Adobes Flash technology, on which Flex 2 is based, means that developers need not worry about browser-compatibility issues, Tahvildary said.
In addition, it didnt hurt that Adobe relaxed its licensing strategy with Flex 2. The company is now bringing its Flex core SDK (software development kit) to developers free of charge.
"With Release 2, the tools are free," Tahvildary said. "Adobe has delivered a great tool for developing rich Internet applications." When Adobe announced the availability of the Adobe Flex 2 product line on June 28, it was the companys new tiered licensing model—aimed at bringing the power of Flex development to the masses—that had the company excited, according to Whatcott. "Our strategy is to get us into the enterprise and get a million developers using Flex in three to five years," Whatcott said. And with a tool set based on the Eclipse open-source development environment, a data services offering and the newly free Adobe Flex 2 SDK, Adobe is preparing developers for the next generation of the Web and rich Internet applications, Whatcott said. He said Adobe moved to a free model for its core Flex SDK because "now its time, as the market has moved, and [RIA] has gone from a phase where we invented the term in 2002 to now being heavily adopted in the market." Moreover, "Flex is all about building next-generation experiences on the Web," he said. Meanwhile, Adobes Whatcott said ISVs such as Primavera for Services have long struggled to deliver the kind of user experience that Flex 2 provides, typically in HTML. Now, "Flex gives them the best of both worlds," Whatcott said. "It gives them the richness of client/server environments and the robustness and reach of Flash." Despite areas where Flex 2 and AJAX compete for the attention of developers, Whatcott said the two technologies can be complementary. Indeed, Adobe has created two open-source libraries—the Flex-AJAX Bridge and the AJAX Client for Flex Data Services—which will enable developers to easily add the capabilities of the Flash Player and the Flex 2 framework to AJAX applications, Whatcott said. And developers also can add AJAX functionality into RIAs built with Flex 2, he added. The Flex-AJAX Bridge lets developers call Flash Player Graphics APIs and create Flex objects and other activities. In essence, the bridge can enable things such as passing data from an AJAX data grid to a Flex bar chart or passing data to an AJAX widget from a Flex 2 application, Whatcott said. The AJAX Client for Flex Data Services, expected to be available later this year, allows AJAX applications to connect to Flex Data Services 2.0 and support publish-and-subscribe messaging and other data services. In the meantime, Adobe is working on its Apollo client. The Apollo project is an effort to build a cross-operating-system run-time that lets developers leverage their existing Web development skills, such as Flash, Flex, HTML and AJAX, to build and deploy desktop RIAs, Whatcott said. "Were developing a new client for delivering AJAX and Flex applications outside the browser," Whatcott said, adding that he believes the browser is not necessarily the best place to run applications. Case File: Primavera for Services, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
  • Organizational snapshot Provides project and portfolio management solutions, enabling customers to get insight into the full portfolio of their resources
  • Business need To upgrade a customer-facing Web application that had grown complex and was not interactive; the goal was to modernize the system with Web 2.0 capabilities and to deliver the new system in nine months
  • Technology partner Adobe Systems, San Jose, Calif.
  • Recommended solution To use Adobe Flex 2 to enhance Primavera for Services applications ease of use and to provide users with a rich interface to simplify complex tasks Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in Web services.

    Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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