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By vandelay
Published: Jul 31 2007 / 10:36

As previously discussed, my friend Joshua from Sun recently blogged about how the consumer JRE will take market share from Flash in 2008. Today Sameer Tyagi , also from Sun, blogged about problems with using Flex to front-end JAX-WS. Both posts seem to insinuate Flash and Flex as competitors to Java. Yet for me Java and Flex have always been a perfect match.
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mike_p replied ago:

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I don't see how he can say that flex and java are a perfect match; esp when Sun is directly competing w/ Flash and Flex a la JavaFX. Surely this implies that Sun doesn't see it that way either.

IMHO though, Flex and java are not a perfect match. We did a lengthy proof of concept w/ a swing app vs Flex and though we liked Flex, you know what the most bitter pill to swallow was? Having to create the same Value Object on both the java server side and actionscript side. Flex + java guys beware, if you build on this architecture, you will not adhere to DRY(Some might say you can do code generation, but code generation doesn't cover 100% of all cases). Mind you we didn't do Flex Data Services, but we were never planning on spending 20k a cpu, esp when we discovered we could build the same gui just as fast in Netbeans Matisse. Actually, it was faster b/c we weren't rewriting stuff already written into actionscript!

I hope that Adobe VASTLY improves FlexBuilder...because when WPF hits you can assume that the tool support M$FT will provide will be pretty decent, which would actually be a huge upgrade on FlexBuilder. FlexBuilder is the worst $500 tool ever...and the worst part is its necessary if you are going to do any RAD. It completely boggles the mind that a company who created such a good tool as Photoshop just completely missed the mark w/'s almost as if the JV team was on this one.

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James Ward replied ago:

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Hi Mike,

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with Flex Builder. It really is still a pretty new product. The first release of the Eclipse Plugin was just over a year ago. So it does still have some things that need to be improved. I'll admit that. But it does seem like what you were trying to build and how you were trying to build it may not have been a great fit for Flex. Thus the reason I do not think Flex & Java compete. Flex is great for RIAs. But if you want to just make a Swing app look better and you don't mind requiring your users to have Java installed, then perhaps Java will be a better solution for you.

As far as the VO thing goes... Client side VOs are not required. ActionScript supports optional static typing. So you could have gotten away with not writing your VOs. Also you are right that VOs can be generated but may not cover 100% of all cases. In this case I'd recommend either adapting the code generation tool to fit your needs or just not using it for the edge cases.

Also there are open source and free alternatives to Flex Data Services. Granite Data Services is one option.


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