Linked by David Adams on Wed 8th Apr 2009 05:32 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Adobe has a promotion that states that if you will attest that you're unemployed, they'll give you a free license to Flex Builder 3 that you can use to burnish your skills.
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RE[5]: A good deal
by raboof on Wed 8th Apr 2009 21:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A good deal"
raboof
Member since:
2005-07-24

As for now, Flex and Silverlight are far ahead of HTML 5. Sproutcore is pretty good too.

Dude, what's with the comparision of apples, oranges and furniture in the comments on this article?

If you have to compare, recognise that a RIA platform (using the term lightly) basically consists of 3 components: a markup language, a programming language to write code that manipulates the markup, and a container the user will need to install to run the application.

In Flex, MXML is the markup language, ActionScript is the programming language, and Flash is the container.

In Silverlight, XAML is the markup language, the .Net languages are the programming language, and the Silverlight plugin is the container.

In 'the modern interweb', HTML5 is the markup language, Javascript is the programming language, and the browser itself is the container.

The main differences between the approaches are in the supported programming language and in the container. Silverlight is ahead of the pack in the sense that the .Net languages are much more powerful than Java/Actionscript.

This, however, comes at a cost when comparing the containers: plain HTML5+Javascript has the huge advantage that the browser *is* the container. Flash, the Flex container, is a nuisance, but after some years of frustration this is actually getting relatively stable. I'm afraid that the new kid on the block, the Silverlight plugin, still has those years of frustration ahead of it.

All in all, I think all solutions suck. One alternative that's been largely left out of the discussion so far, JavaFX, also sucks (mature, widespread and open platform, good backing language, but slow and generally unimpressive). As far as I'm concerned, the jury isn't out yet on which sucks less - it's probably a tradeoff situation where project-specific factors will decide how the balance plays out. There doesn't seem to be a clear winner to me.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: A good deal
by JeffS on Thu 9th Apr 2009 18:25 in reply to "RE[5]: A good deal"
JeffS Member since:
2005-07-12

"In Flex, MXML is the markup language, ActionScript is the programming language, and Flash is the container.

In Silverlight, XAML is the markup language, the .Net languages are the programming language, and the Silverlight plugin is the container.

In 'the modern interweb', HTML5 is the markup language, Javascript is the programming language, and the browser itself is the container."


Good post. But there are subtle differences here.

In the case of both MXML and XAML, those are just high level markup abstractions on top of corresponding ActionScript (MXML), and .Net (XAML), and compile down to Flash and .Net executable byte code.

In the case of HTML, it's not a high level markup abstraction on top of programming constructs. It's markup for documents - representing structure and presentation of documents.

Also, Javascript is interpreted at runtime, not compiled to intermediate bytecode.

Both or those are huge differences.

The HTML based web was, and essentially remains, a way of distributing documents. In spite of using great DHTML, CSS, Javascript, and AJAX techniques, to try and make HTML document look and behave like actual applications, they're still documents at the core.

And Flex and Silverlight are actual applications, made with actual programming languages, with all the power and richness that comes with those things. The MXML and XAML, once again, markups are merely high level abastractions on top of actual application programming constructs.

Recently, after initially mostly rejecting Flex and Silverlight, and preferring AJAX, I'm getting on board with the whole Flex and Silverlight RIA phenomenon. I really see the power, ease of development and deployment, and versatility. And I take those things as complmentary to the HTML based web, not as an all out replacement.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: A good deal
by raboof on Fri 10th Apr 2009 07:48 in reply to "RE[6]: A good deal"
raboof Member since:
2005-07-24

Good post. But there are subtle differences here.


Sure - any comparison is bound to make (over)simplifications, but i tried to do it a bit less blatantly compared to some other posts ;) .

Javascript is interpreted at runtime, not compiled to intermediate bytecode.


This is indeed a huge difference between JavaScript and .Net/Java. As for ActionScript (Flex), the advancements in browsers' javascript engines makes the difference less pronounced - in fact, much of the Flash9 ActionScript code is open-source and planned to be shared with the Firefox javascript engine (e.g. http://hecker.org/mozilla/adobe-mozilla-and-tamarin - not sure what the status of those efforts is today).

In spite of using great DHTML, CSS, Javascript, and AJAX techniques, to try and make HTML document look and behave like actual applications, they're still documents at the core.


I wholeheartedly agree the whole HTML/AJAX thing is clumsy. However, each step in the more 'powerful' direction (Flex, then Silverlight) brings bigger issues with the requirements (Flash, then the Silverlight plugin).

Also, turning your service from a 'document' into an 'application' contained in a plugin also makes it more of a black box - things like microformats and browser plugins get less useful.

Reply Parent Score: 1