To anyone who's been reading this blog for a while. you won't be too surprised to hear my enthusiasm for Flex.
But look at this lineup:
Flex Builder (Zorn) built on Eclipse.
Flash Player 8.5.
How hot is that?
I was fortunate enough to be in on the first Flex beta. Due to some changes in my company at the time. I was unable to continue working with it. But I did see the potential of the platform and kept my eyes open for an opportunity to use it.
Just about a month ago we realized one of our projects could really benefit from a rich dashboard for status and reporting capabilities. We mocked up an HTML version and immediately got clearance to start working on the "next generation" UI for the tool. Not too much later we learned about Flex 2...so guess which platform we'll be using?
We're so excited that we don't want to wait another day to get started on the project. The client is chomping at the bit to get the app up and running too. Alpha bits are on my laptop as of tonight :-)
Beyond that. i've done rich internet apps with Flash in both AS1 and AS2. The changes that i've noted so far regarding AS3 look like a really great movement towards "cleaning up" the language and making it somewhat more approachable (and comprehensible) by us server-side geeks.
We've got a LOT of learning to do!
I'm excited...REALLY excited...because i've seen what Ajax can do. i've seen what Flash can do and i've seen what Flex can do.
* Flash: I can't tell you how much I hate the timeline and movie clips and all that "design" stuff. I have seen some AWESOME RIAs done in Flash. but i'll be damned if I have a good way of getting started without making a mess of the .fla. I could go and do a cheesy CF application in much less time simply because I don't need to know a darn thing outside of my application. Doing Flash RIAs is a PITA because of the knowledge outside of AS (and about design/layout) that you have to have.
* Flex: Frameworks constantly evolving. in use right from the very beginning. A programming model aimed at clean separation of sexy and slick presentation from a SOA backend. Tag based - i get it! ActionScript 3 - an ECMAScript compliant langage - I can figure it out. Oh. and I can develop for it in Eclipse? Woo hoo!
So yeah. if you think i've had too much kool-aid. you may be right. We have spent a LOT of time as a company developing our proficiencies as software engineers. devouring as much as we can about software architecture and frameworks and design patterns. We have coding standards. We do peer review. And because of this effort. we can immediately see how Flex gives us the "pretty face" to put on our bulldog-tough back ends.
We're excited. I'm excited. You should be too!